TOWOIT #208

August 16, 2017… Day 209

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Just checked again, and this tweet now has 3.8 million likes:

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Side note. Forgot to say yesterday, in all the commotion–I really appreciate how the women on Hellbent (Sarah Lerner and Devon Handy) model the behavior of white non-fragility. They have a weekly feature where they say what Maxine Waters has been up to and award someone a Maxine Waters Badassery Award (or some such name). And a black woman wrote in and said that this was fetishizing Congresswoman Waters and this was forcing her into this position where she had to be this magical negro that replenishes others’ spirits, etc. etc. And Sarah and Devon were just like “Wow, that made us both really uncomfortable because we recognized the truth in it.” And they ditched that feature. They said they would still talk about Maxine Waters from time to time but they wouldn’t frame it in the same way anymore. And that was that.

I knew there was an element of truth to the criticism right away, because remember how I said that Hellbent reminded me of Baby Geniuses, which is why I like it so much? Well, Baby Geniuses has a weekly feature called Chunch Chat… in which Emily & Lisa hilariously and adorably check in on Martha Stewart’s pony, Banchunch. I don’t think I need to say more.

I too admire Maxine Waters, and I too will take more care with how I talk about her.

P.S. it’s a few hours later now and the Barack Obama tweet is up to 4.0 million likes. The tweet from Twitter–pointing out that Obama’s tweet is the most-liked tweet ever–is itself up to 284,000 likes.

 

TOWOIT #160

June 29, 2017… Day 161

“I’ve been through impeachments, but we can’t wait that long. It is TIME for YOU to RESIGN.” –Sheila Jackson Lee

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Jezebel has a new bulleted list of daily political news scraps. They call it Barf Bag. It’s funny and has links and is more comprehensive and less gratuitously personal than this blog so I recommend it.

Wall Street Journal published an article today about attempts at collusion between a Trump associate and … Russian hackers? I don’t have the full gist yet. Haven’t seen the article. I suppose there’s no need to rush on that. I can’t even tell when something is new anymore.

Trump’s “election fraud commission” wants states to hand over all their voter information for individuals. So far, three states have said no.

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Here’s what reporters asked freakin Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a liar who complains about being called a liar to her face:

  • Sarah, in reference to the President’s tweets this morning that have been a matter of some discussion today, you said earlier on Fox News that the President has a right to defend himself when he is attacked and it’s no secret that this particular program has been very critical of him. However, the nature of the tweets this morning has drawn condemnation from people on Capitol Hill, including the Speaker of the House, Senator Graham, Senator Susan Collins — all of whom are allies of the President. Did the President go too far with his tweet in its deeply personal nature?
  • If I could just follow on that, Sarah, if I could just follow on that. A couple of the criticisms from supporters of the President have been that this particular tweet was beneath the dignity of the office. Where does the President draw that line, on the dignity of the office?
  • I have a healthcare question, but on this, just one other aspect of it. Some have suggested in their tweet response or public announcements today that the President misconstrued one of the messages that should have been gathered from the shooting that involved Steve Scalise and others, the hostility of the verbal environment can create an atmosphere of violence. I’m not saying that, but members of Congress have said that about this particular tweet. I know that episode affected the President and those here at the White House personally, very importantly and deeply. Do you have any reaction to that sentiment, that conversations like this create an atmosphere that is either dangerous or one we need to avoid?
  • Sarah, I just had a healthcare question. So you talked about the President’s overall priorities. Last night, late last night, as part of the amendment and evolution on the Senate draft, $45 million was put on the table for opioid treatment and health savings accounts can be used, according to this new draft, to pay premiums in the future. Does the President support those two initiatives, and why does he believe they make the bill better, specifically does he believe that opioid allocation will be sufficient, as many people do not, to address that problem?
  • How about on health savings accounts?  Does he have any particular approach —
  • Sarah, what about the Republicans who are criticizing the President?
  • Sarah, thank you. I want to go back to the shooting and remember what President Trump said then. He said, “Our country will perhaps become closer, more unified, so important.” Does his tweet this morning, his series of tweets help to unify the country?
  • But do his tweets help to unify the country, to do what he said he wanted to see happen in the wake of that shooting?
  • He’s the President of the United States, Sarah.  
  • Sarah, two questions, to follow up on that. One is that I understand your point, but he’s the President of the United States, they are cable news anchors.  So he has to stand to a higher standard, one. And two, you talk about criticism, he said that former President Obama wasn’t born in this country, right? So he clearly was a part of criticizing the past President, who was not immune to criticism himself. So I wonder how you make that argument.
  • Doesn’t he have to meet a higher standard than cable news anchors, Sarah?  Doesn’t he have to meet a higher standard than cable news anchors?
  • Sarah, how is insulting a woman on Twitter being a fighter?
  • What about the impact of statements like this on his effectiveness? There was a Maris poll this week that said 68 percent of registered voters say the President’s tweets are reckless and distracting. Only 22 percent say that they’re effective and informative. And Republicans on this question are split down the middle — half of Republicans say that they’re reckless and distracting.  So how can you argue that this is something the President must do?
  •  Sarah, as a woman, how do you feel about the President attacking another woman specifically for her looks? And what does that show as an example to how men should be treating other women?
  • He’s the President, Sarah. 
  • Why can’t he take the heat?
  •  I just have a follow-up, Sarah, and then I have a separate question too. And this kind of gets to the point that’s been made, and —
  • You’ve been talking about the idea that the President is a fighter. I just want to put it in — because you talk about being personally affected by all of this as well, and that nothing is wrong with the President fighting fire with fire, is the argument that you’re making. So I would ask this to you sort of on a personal level. You have stood here and talked about your family from this podium. Are you going to tell your kids this behavior is okay?
  • I want to ask you my follow-up, Sarah — a follow-up question just on more policy points, with the G20 coming up next week.
  • I disagree with that. I think we talk about policy a lot here.
  • I just did one about five minutes ago, Sarah.
  • But I want to ask about his meeting with President Putin that is coming up next week that has just been confirmed by Gary Cohn and H.R. McMaster, and a definitive answer from you on whether the President will bring up election interference. It is clearly the biggest topic between the U.S. and Russia right now, the fact that Moscow meddled in the election. Is the President going to press Putin on that?
  • Thanks.
  •  Okay, thanks a lot, Sarah. The President’s tweet today, does it help his legislative agenda? Does it help him win the votes of those nine senators who have come out against that Senate bill? Senator Collins, Senator Murkowski, for instance? What’s your view on that?
  • But as it relates to his legislative agenda — I’m not asking about the tweet itself, I’m asking about whether or not this helps his legislative agenda.
  • All those points that you make, Sarah, about the —
  •  — the positive elements of the President’s agenda are certainly true. All of those things are true. But the President today put out this tweet which takes away from all of that, and do you expect us here in this room to simply ignore that? Now, I think that’s the valid question that should be asked of you right now. Should we just ignore this entirely?
  • Two questions for you, Sarah. First, did the U.S., did the administration send a representative to the funeral mass for Chancellor Kohl? Or will they send anyone to the official funeral service July 1st?
  • My other question is this: You’ve had people turn down nominations to be deputy secretary of the Treasury. The President is on his third appointee, I believe, for Secretary of the Army. And the ambassador to Ireland has declined the nomination, and there’s no candidates for ambassador to Germany or France — both major allies — or Greece, for that matter, an important country.  Is the President having trouble recruiting people to fill some of the key slots that remain unfilled after six months?
  • Hey, Sarah. Thank you so much. I don’t want to talk about any tweets. I want to talk about making America great again, and part of that energy dominance in Energy Week. Here’s the thing:  During the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, we had some pretty scary times in North Dakota.  Just a couple weeks ago, a judge (inaudible) suggesting that the Army Corps of Engineers had prematurely issued some permits. This creates more uncertainty for people. My question is this:  What specifically is the administration going to do to give these companies more certainty, more clarity as they make these multi-billion-dollar infrastructure investments to improve our energy? At the same point in time, our tribal leaders and tribal nations (inaudible) feeling honored and respected about this entire permitting process.
  • Thank you, Sarah. I want to ask you again about this Russia sanctions legislations in Congress. If, as Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said, the administration wants to go to the upper limits of the law in keeping those sanctions on Russia, then why not support this legislation that basically keeps what has been slapped down in place?
  • Sarah, our question is on healthcare. Specifically, our governor put out a number that perhaps hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana will lose their healthcare if this bill goes through. If you add up the other states, that kind of puts it into the millions.  Is there an acceptable number (inaudible) behind the scenes of people losing coverage to get the great bill through?
  • Thanks, Sarah. I had a two-parter. The President had let us know that he had planned on having an ISIS news conference to update people on the situation within the next couple weeks, which is now-ish. But we’re coming up on departure —
  • Now-ish. I’m wondering, do you expect that we would get that update, whether it’s a news conference or just kind of remarks before the upcoming foreign trip, or whether we need to wait? And I also wanted to ask you — it looked like there might be some coverage of remarks at the fundraiser yesterday. It didn’t work out. But beyond yesterday, are you guys looking at beginning to do that now for fundraisers of a certain size to have some transparency and the ability to hear what he’s telling donors?
  • So no apology from the president, Sarah? (called after her as she left — and ignored)

TOWOIT #71

March 28, 2017… Day 68

On the day Sally Yates was supposed to testify but didn’t, Hillary was back on stage in a black leather jacket over a floral collar shirt. While giving a talk about women in diplomacy (or something like that), she stood up for two black women in the public eye– the reporter April Ryan and Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Why did she have to do that? Just white Republican guys being assholes.

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Bill O’Reilly said Maxine Waters’s “James Brown wig” was too distracting for him to be able to hear what she was saying–as she spoke earnestly about democracy. Sean Spicer told April Ryan to stop shaking her head at him. But the worst I thought was right before that, when he said “I’m sorry if that disgusts you” for no reason. April Ryan felt bad that her fellow reporters didn’t speak up for her, and that makes me sad.

I listened to the c-span briefing live and Sean Spicer leaves abruptly after talking to April, with many people yelling after him for follow-up questions. After he left the room, one man said “REALLY?!… ok…” And someone else said, “April got him mad” and the first guy said, “Oh yeah. He just runs, man.”

Maxine Waters told Chris Hayes tonight that she could not be intimidated and wasn’t going anywhere.

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The House Ways and Means committee killed another resolution that called for President Trump’s tax returns. Representative Bill Pascrell from Patterson, New Jersey was full of fire, thunder, and righteous indignation. I never heard of him before, and I appreciated him greatly. Suzan Del Bene from Washington piped up in the debate, and deposited a rather demure statement in support of Pascrell and his resolution. But she came across as rather a real person–like if I were a congresswoman, I might speak like her and with less sturm und drang. But who knows, I might be a real barn-burner. I especially appreciated the committee members who cited the protests in Russia as all the more reason we need to promote transparency and democratic institutions. At the end of the debate, they vote on whether or not to pass the resolution along with disapproval. The Republican ayes are so anemic and mumbled. Then the Democratic NOs ring out so forcefully, several times louder. It means something, though they knew the vote would split down party lines and they would lose. It still means something.

Trump joined the House Republicans in taking away Internet privacy protections. I know from my job, that this is seen as quite a revenue opportunity.

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It was a sad day for the whole world, and all the things living on it. Trump rolled back initiatives to fight climate change.

Obama’s record is being erased. Hope for our species to continue in functioning societies is also being erased. Yeah, I’m sure someone survives after climate change really hits — but not most of us. And not with civil societies intact. It’s the biggest health issue, the biggest social justice issue that there is. It’s the biggest economic inequality issue. It’s the biggest foreign relations issue, the biggest national security issue, and the biggest issue for families with children.

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With Sean Spicer’s lies and Devin Nunes obstructing his own committee’s investigation of Russia ties to the White House, and the Republicans just spinning and spinning and spinning to protect Donald Trump — it feels to me again like they will get away with all this. Maybe because I had hope, briefly, I feel nauseated again today, revisiting the grief of just after the election.

The lion’s share of that grief was NOT specifically about Hillary Clinton’s loss. That was sad enough on its own, but was dwarfed by the bigger picture. For Bernie Bros and Republicans, it is all still about Hillary. That came up today online with her back in the public eye again. And it has always hurt to have the sexism of leftist guys nipping at our ankles in hard times. We can’t count on all our brothers. I work hard to overcome this thought that was ingrained in me by my childhood circumstances: that men hate women and children. This election is hurtling me back through time to re-fight all these old battles for my emotional health and wholeness. Anyway, when it comes to Bernie Bros of various intensities — I have to be allies with them, but I don’t have to forget or forgive.

By the way, I’ve noticed that some male Bernie supporters love to say that the Clinton campaign invented and propagated the term Bernie Bro. Naturally, the lived experiences of real live female Democrats online can’t be seen as real.

OK, but enough white feminist tears for one day. People got real problems. I heard a story on NPR about how people are withdrawing from food stamp programs (even if their children are American citizens) because they are afraid of the government. There was a story in the New Yorker about how kids are afraid to go to school after an ICE raid.

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Side note — this is a good illustration why maybe you should just use numerals in your text. Maybe it’s not classy? Who knows, just do it!

 

BREXIT BEGINS.

 

Questions the reporters asked Sean Spicer today:

Continue reading TOWOIT #71

TOWOIT #43

February 28, 2017… Day 40

Radio alarm: Protests in Vancouver, B.C. today, as the new Trump hotel has its grand opening. It’s Vancouver’s second-tallest building now. The mayor of Vancouver called it “a beacon of racism.” The radio announcer said, “The U.S. consulate is warning Americans to stay away.”

This afternoon the financial markets, and the podcasters and the bloggers took a big quiet breath ahead of Trump’s much ballyhooed address to a joint session of Congress. There’s a thing I know about from Alaska, something some Alaska Natives still do, left over from Russian-America: The Forty Day party. Forty days after someone dies, you throw a party. 

Maxine Waters, after Katy Tur asked her if it is disrespectful for her to skip Trump’s address to Congress tonight:

“No, it is not. It is absolutely not. This is ceremonial. And in this ceremony people laugh, they smile, they shake hands, they hug each other, they honor the president. I’m not about any of that. I’m prepared to interact with the president only when he puts up his budget and his agenda that I’m going to have to fight. So let’s not talk about this ceremony in relation to real public policy. I don’t choose to go. I don’t choose to go. I don’t choose to honor him.”

Elizabeth Warren will be there, with Tiba Faraj, an Iraqi-American accounting student. Warren put her on the spot, asking her to talk about what she likes about America, and she responded charmingly like a cute, ordinary young accounting student who isn’t sure what to say on the spot. She said that she just wants to be like everybody else! They were also sitting oddly near each other on the couch which I decided in the end was also cute.

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This is representative of what I’m seeing on Twitter:

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Congresswomen are wearing white for the suffragettes. I love that there is a visible show of protest. And many of the representatives in the photographs I saw were black. They seem psyched about it, so good. I did learn last year that the suffragettes were racist and that wearing white for the suffragettes is a slap in the face to black women! And that it’s peak white feminism to celebrate suffragettes! So, I hope that on this, the last day of Black History Month, no one is feeling slapped in the face. It is certainly not my place to tell anyone they ought to. I’m sure Twitter will weigh in shortly.

My haphazard live-blogging of the speech:

Continue reading TOWOIT #43

TOWOIT #37

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.

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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.

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Badly done, WAPO

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.

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Thank you, Maxine. I would not have wanted to miss that.

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. 

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I prefer the hundreds of women who have got NC for Non-Compliant tattoos in the couple years since Bitch Planet came out.

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:

Continue reading TOWOIT #37