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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TOWOIT #38

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.

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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.”

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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

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White House press briefing without Sean Spicer:

Continue reading TOWOIT #38

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

TOWOIT #32

February 17, 2017… Day 29

AP reports on leaked DHS memo from January that floated the idea that 100,000 National Guard troops would be used to round up immigrants for deportation.

Later in the day, Business Insider published this:

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A rambling and peculiar profile of Mark Sanford in Politico. He’s a sitting Republican lawmaker who says he can come out against Trump because he’s already died politically and come back to life.

New York Times editorial board writes piece titled Bring on the Special Prosecutor.

New York Times piece from yesterday, saying a top aide of Ben Carson at HUD was escorted out by security because he had written something critical of Trump back in October.

CBS reports that not a single State Dept. official was in on meetings between Trump and Netanyahu — Jared Kushner the shadow Secretary of State.

Yesterday, Shep Smith spoke out on Fox News about Trump’s crazy press conference. He stood up for Jim Acosta at CNN. So naturally, today this:

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Fox News viewers are calling for his head.

Mitch McConnell gave a press conference today. When a reporter asked if he believed Trump’s statement that no one from his campaign talked to Russia prior to the election, McConnell said “I have no idea.” When a reporter asked if McConnell thought the press conference yesterday hurt or helped Trump’s credibility to lead, McConnell said “I don’t have any observations about that.” What McConnell did say was “I’m not a fan of daily tweets.” But, he said, he was a big fan of Trump’s agenda.

Ina rare display of activism, EPA employees reached out to their Senators and begged them not to confirm Scott Pruitt as head of EPA. 3000 pages of communications between Pruitt (as Oklahoma Attorney General) and the oil & gas industry is due out on Tuesday–after a judge ordered Pruitt to release them. He had with-held them for 3 years.

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What strange times we live in that I haven’t been able to get around to being upset about this development.

At the University of Washington, Nazi-recruitment posters appeared:

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This is lonely. John McCain in Munich:

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This is lonely. Second DREAMer has been detained by ICE:

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This is lonely. A woman and her baby walk through the snow  to be arrested by Canadian police:

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Fox News, supposedly NOT fake news, puts out poll numbers that Trump won’t like:

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And the Guardian trolls him for his “media accountability” survey.

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And here is today’s most amazing and nauseating thing– Trump declares the media “the enemy of the people.”

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“But the language he deployed on Friday is more typically used by presidents to refer to hostile foreign governments or terrorist organizations”
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These people are not my enemy

 

TOWOIT #30

February 15, 2017… Day 27

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A helluva day on C-Span (but no Spicey)

No White House Press Briefing today, because of Netanyahu’s visit. This was the third time Trump gave one of these joint conferences with foreign leaders, and each time he has only called on conservative news outlets. As he left the room, reporters yelled questions about whether the campaign had communicated with Russia, and he didn’t answer.

Last night’s campaign-Russia intercept news washed back and forth through news outlets and social media, but it felt like the story circled back to Flynn’s resignation and then settled into stories about what it means that the White House leaks like a sieve and intelligence agencies won’t share certain information with Trump for fear that he will pass it along to Russia. That news  broke in the Observer  a few days ago, and was picked up on more widely today.

Dan Rather also passed along an alarming and oddly sensational (for Dan, who 24 hours ago was still calling this situation a 5 or a 6 compared to Watergate’s 9) Rawstory.com article which cited high level intelligence officers saying of Trump “he will die behind bars.”

Bannon, in an interview with some journalist (I forget who now!) at the White House, pushed back against the idea that Priebus was in hot water. Then later they seem to have jointly telephoned The Hill to say how great everything was and how well they’re getting along.

A couple of major news shows including Morning Joe, said they won’t book Kellyanne Conway anymore because she’s a liar.

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Front page of Fox News website this afternoon. Nowhere near the attention given to the White House Russia woes.

Trump further mangled the messaging about Flynn’s retirement in his Bibi press conference, saying it was terribly unfair what the media did to a wonderful man liked Flynn. Jake Tapper said later on CNN, “You fired Flynn, the media didn’t fire him.”

Washington Post headline: Trump says Flynn was treated unfairly, a day after Spicer said Flynn was fired for lack of trust.

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When asked by an Israeli reporter about anti-semitic attacks and charges that he had catered to racism and xenophobia, Trump answered by first gloating in his electoral college victory at length, and then saying “I will say, there’s tremendous enthusiasm out there.” He then went on to pay lip service about how racism is bad and to rattle off some of the Jewish people he personally knew.

This Saturday, Trump is holding a rally in Orlanda, Florida. He referred to it as a campaign rally.

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Whoever wrote this sentence in Fortune really has no moral high ground when it comes to things looking increasingly like quicksand

Earlier in the day there was a tweet tirade about the failing, crooked media and how the real story is the leaks. Supporters on his Facebook page frothing at the mouth, lock everybody up, lock up Hillary, lock up the press, find the leakers and lock them up too. Everybody seems to want to live in Putin’s Russia. No one even seems to know what democracy is and how it functions in their life.

I honestly couldn’t keep track very well — between the House Dems, House Republicans, Senate Dems and Senate Republicans — who on what committee was calling or not calling for which kind of investigation. Independent, not independent, subpoena power. Echoes of what Rachel Maddow said last night–with Jeff Sessions as Attorney General (and adamant that the won’t recuse himself), with Jason Chaffetz heading the House Oversight Committee, with James Comey at the head of the FBI — this could all just get dropped down a deep well and called done.She said “We have the rule of law in this country. I’ve read all about it. But who’s going to make it reality against THIS administration, with THESE allegations?” She demonstrated how the rule of law also exists on paper in Russia. It just doesn’t exist in reality.

Yesterday, when Flynn’s resignation was known but the interception of calls between the campaign and Russia (from before the election) hadn’t come out yet, Rand Paul told reporters that he didn’t think it really made sense “for Republicans to be investigating Republicans

But then in the evening I saw this — so, I’m still confused.

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Yesterday, Republicans killed a bill that would have forced Trump to show his tax returns.

Republican Senator Bob Corker said on Morning Joe: “Is the White House going to have the ability to stabilize itself?” 

Top Senate Republicans ask Trump to withdraw Larry Puzder as nominee for Labor Secretary. Throughout the day, the number of confirmed “No” votes mounted among Republicans. By the end of the day, Larry Puzder had withdrawn his own name.

Intermittently reasonable Republican Susan Collins of Maine, said she would vote against Scott Pruitt for EPA.

Most interesting thing said by a known Republican at work today: “The intelligence community is sworn to protect the American public, and they are going to do it one way or another.”

Specific, hyper-local warnings zinged around social media today about where ICE were conducting raids, for instance: “Stay away from the Bothell Costco.” 

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These congresswomen spoke out against the ICE raids, the sloppy vagueness of both the raids and the executive order behind it, the murky definition of “criminal” and the detention of DREAMer Daniel Ramirez in Seattle. Pramila Jayapal was there (not pictured) and spoke as well. She’s a new congresswoman who until recently was a state legislator representing Seattle. I like this picture because of the women in standing in front and the women reporters sitting below asking questions. Almost everyone in the room was a woman. 

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Meanwhile, back in Seattle, councilwoman Kshama Savant called for people to come to a Free Daniel rally at the courthouse on Friday.

Tomorrow is a day without immigrants. It’s so brave for immigrants to strike. Restaurants in the D.C. area and around the country will be closing in sympathy. A women’s strike is scheduled for March 8.

This creepy thing is also happening in Oklahoma (see below), but I haven’t even been able to go there mentally or emotionally. There has been a host of insidious legislation introduced in the states and maybe I should be focusing on it more–it’s just impossible to get a handle on everything alarming that happens in one day.

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TOWOIT #29

February 14, 2017… Day 26

“She speaks for the president. I speak for the president. All of us in this administration–all of the actions and all of the words in this administration are on the behalf of and at the direction of the president”

–Sean Spicer today, on why Nikki Haley’s tough words meant that Trump has been “incredibly tough” on Russia

Reuters says we have our first ICE arrest of a DREAMer today and its in Seattle. He’s 23 and his name is Daniel Ramirez. A lawsuit has been filed on his behalf by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.

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Breaking news at 6:16 pm PST: New York Times: Intercepted calls show members of the Trump campaign had repeated contact with Russian intelligence before the election, officials said.  

Even the Go Fug Yourself girls (who are very clever but exist solely to say snarky things about what celebrities wear on the red carpet) retweeted the article in the minutes following the release of the news story.

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Earlier today, before the NYT story broke, the idea of investigating Flynn went around. Most Republican lawmakers were lukewarmly against the idea. There will be some sort of congressional investigation but not the independent, bipartisan commission that would have any teeth to it.

Trump tweets that it’s the White House LEAKS that are the real story. Which is interesting because those make him look bad and incompetent.

In the morning, Kellyanne made Flynn’s resignation sound like Flynn’s decision (makes Trump look loyal). In the afternoon, Sean Spicer strongly made it sound like Trump’s decision (makes Trump look like he’s in charge).

Guardian headline: The first 25 days of Trump have been a zoetrope of galloping despair.

 

White House Press Briefing without Sean Spicer (it’s a doozy today)

Continue reading TOWOIT #29

TOWOIT #28

February 13, 2017… Day 25

“Day Without Immigrants” Rally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ten thousand people at least, according to MSNBC. No work, no school, and no buying.

200 African Muslims march in New York.

A federal judge blocks the travel ban for Virginia residents, saying “maximum power does not mean absolute power” (CNN)

Washington Post: Justice Department warned White House that Michael Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

Politico headline: Reporters turn on each other over Trump. After president calls on two questioners who fail to ask about Flynn, reporters from other outlets call foul.

From the article: “By handpicking reporters, Trump manages to get through news conference without being asked about Flynn,” tweeted New York Times reporter Peter Baker. … Reporters covering Trump were already chafed by his decision to call on reporters for conservative-leaning outlets – Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post and Fox News – during last week’s briefing with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Reporters were shouting questions at Trump about Flynn as he left the room. NPR’s Tamara Keith said a group of reporters were waiting in the hallway outside Sean Spicer’s office to try to ask him about Flynn when Trump just happened by. He wouldn’t answer the question about Flynn, saying there would be a statement later. He did say when asked that he had confidence in Reince Preibus. 

Later Spicer read a statement saying that Trump was evaluating the situation.

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Dossiers: For some reason it was in the STYLE section of the Washington Post tonight that Omarosa Manigault bullied and “physically intimidated” April Ryan just feet from the oval office and mentioned that there was a dossier on her. “She stood right in my face like she was going to hit me,” Ryan said. “I said, ‘You better back up.’ . . . She thought I would be bullied. I won’t be.”

More dossiers: Another news story detailed that a memo from Steve Bannon to aides was leaked—in which he asks them to investigate four senators, including Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

Russian dossiers: The musician Moby posts on social media that based on several conversations he’s had with well-placed acquaintances, he can safely say that the Russian dossier is true and that the hookers peeing story is just the tip of the iceberg.

While Trump swears Mnuchin in as Treasury Secretary, he says “Everything he touches turns to gold.”

Maxine Waters tells Joy Reid not to be fooled by Republican acceptance of Trump’s cabinet nominees. She said, “Keep your eyes on John McCain and Lindsey Graham” and called them patriotic. She called Jeff Sessions “a throwback.”

Washington Post headline: Upheaval is now standard operating procedure inside the White House.

Seen downtown:

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Overheard in the office kitchen:

  • White conservative guy: All these people complaining about Trump, they’re just whiny spoiled brats.
  • Non-white conservative Christian woman who hated Hillary too: Uh huh. But I mean… you have to admit that Trump is a HUGE liar, a serious liar.
  • White guy: That’s meaningless! All politicians lie!
  • Christian woman: [purses her lips and says nothing more]

I’ve been reading this book I was loaned by a Republican work friend, called Enhanced Interrogation. It’s written by a CIA psychologist named James Elmer Mitchell, who has waterboarded people. Its basically his rebuttal to the writings, arguments, and reporting that came out around the time of the McCain-Feinstein anti-torture legislation. I’ve tried to keep an open mind about the narrative, but was unnerved by this account of how detainee KSM (the psychopath who beheaded Daniel Pearl, among other terrible things) described radical Islam’s goals.

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The stuff of nightmares

Giving that quote from KSM the full weight of being a chapter-ending sentence seems really irresponsible. And even though Mitchell made disclaimers before including this paraphrasing of KSM’s thoughts–there’s a feeling that part of him enjoyed getting this out there, and doesn’t really mind if people use it to confirm their worst fears or persecute immigrants.

Evening update: CNN reports that it has two sources saying Michael Flynn has resigned his post.

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TOWOIT #27

February 12, 2017… Day 24. Everything is political now; everything is school.

I’ve been reading Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead instead of paying attention to the latest news. I know the novel was written to be painfully relevant to the modern America that existed before Trump was elected. But now there are even more exclamation points and flashing lights on everything.

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I’m sure this was all just about economic insecurity and national security

Not trying to censor C.W. above, just keeping the word out of my mouth.

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Good thing we’re putting identity politics behind us

Steven Miller did the Sunday talk shows for Trump. On Face the Nation, he said that “the world will see” that the powers of the president “will not be questioned.”

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The Washington Post points out that Miller refrained from expressing confidence in Mike Flynn.

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Meanwhile, Senator Chris Murphy says on Facebook, “Racism still exists.”

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Continue reading TOWOIT #27

TOWOIT #25

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”!!

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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:

Continue reading TOWOIT #25

TOWOIT #24

February 9, 2017… Day 21

Long, long day. I’m going to try to focus on the hopeful stuff as I wade through some of what happened.

Getting this out of the way: Virginia state Senate passes an anti-LGBTQ bill that legalizes discrimination.

Biggest news (I think–God, I don’t even know!) is that the 9th circuit panel of judges unanimously struck down the Trump administration’s appeal to reinstate the travel ban. This buys at least a couple weeks of time, and it strikes a legal blow to Trump. Hillary simply tweets “3-0”

This morning Kellyanne Conway shilled for Ivanka’s fashion line, with the seal of the White House behind her–it was an interview on Fox News. The website of the Office of Governmental Ethics crashed. Jason Chaffetz finally got off his ass and did something regarding the Trump White House and ethics. He issued a letter saying what Kellyanne did crossed the line and she needed to be disciplined. That was much too little, much too late to assuage Jason Chaffetz constituents. A thousand people who didn’t make it inside Jason Chaffetz’s town hall in Salt Lake City, Utah, outside chanting “Investigate Trump.” Inside the auditorium, hundreds boo as soon as the name “Trump” is mentioned, and chant “Do your job! Do your job!”

South Carolina stood up to Donald Trump by ruling that taxpayers would not clean up environmental damage at a property where he lied about his involvement with the previous (polluting) ownership. Previous owner was Donald Jr.

Protests tonight in L.A. to try to stop deportation of 20 detainees. Last night in Phoenix, protesters tried to stop a woman named Guadalupe (mom of two teenage U.S. citizens) from being deported after being in the U.S. since she was 14 years old. On Twitter, people are saying the deportation force is here, the ICE raids are now.

Liliana Segura wrote a piece in the Intercept about how resistance  to Trumpism is waking up and building in Red States.

Rowdy and raucous scene tonight outside healthcare town hall in  Murfreesboro, Tennessee: “If you want to represent us let us in!!”

Rosie O’Donnell changed her Twitter profile picture to a mash-up of herself and Steve Bannon (they look similar–it must be those stubborn Irish genes).

Late-breaking news that Mike Flynn did discuss Russian sanctions with Russian officials before Trump was sworn into office. This is something he had denied.

SIX Patriot players have said they will not go to the White House

John McCain clapped back hard at Sean Spicer, after Spicer said yesterday that he owed the Trump administration (the country? not sure) an apology for saying the Yemen raid was not a success.

Last night Rachel Maddow talked about how Chuck Cooper is probably going to be the solicitor general under Jeff Sessions, and just how racist COOPER is. She said the White House no longer cared about the optics of racism. Racism had become completely acceptable.

Chuck Schumer said the Republicans are afraid to break with Donald Trump. He said they knew in their hearts that some of these cabinet nominees were wrong, and they were displaying “a lack of courage, lack of strength, lack of conviction.”

Reporters in the White House Press Corps banded together to try to hold Sean Spicer to account. At issue was Trump’s attacks on a Democratic Senator who relayed Gorsuch’s feelings on Trump’s attacks on the judiciary. Gorsuch’s words had been confirmed by his own White-House-appointed spokesman, and two Republican Senators. The whole thing was so weird, part of the Internet wondered if it was all a political ruse the that had been set up by Bannon, and Trump hadn’t been let into the loop. The idea was, it would show Dems that Gorsuch would be independent by showing discord between him and the White House. It just all stopped making sense when Trump doubled down on vehement denials (with the help of Sean Spicer).

The Democrats are in their third all-nighter this week in the Senate, holding the floor through the night–this time to speak against the nomination of Tom Price for Health and Human Services. Democrats are dragging their heels on the confirmations in order to slow the train wreck down enough so that the American public can see some of the details. They know that the Republicans are in lockstep and that there’s no hope for the vote.

Late Update: Chuck Cooper asked to be withdrawn from consideration for solicitor general.

Postscript: China seems to be dodging our calls now

White House daily press briefing without Sean Spicer:

Continue reading TOWOIT #24

the only way out is through #23

February 8, 2017… Day 20

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These guys aren’t counting the inauguration as Day 1. Either that or I’m just off a day already.

Radio alarm: Elizabeth Warren, Coretta Scott King, Seattle divests from Wells Fargo, and Starbucks offers its employees free legal aid if they have run afoul of Trump’s executive order on immigration.

Appalling morning tweet: 45 bashes Nordstrom for dropping Ivanka’s business, and then retweets it on the POTUS account. But in the supportive comments on the FB version of the tweet, more signs of cracks:

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Reminders to drain the swamp

CBS has a daily feature now that also rounds things into a digest. It seems to be the most stabilizing way to deal with our new reality.

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Almost as soon as they came out of his mouth, Mitch McConnell’s words about Elizabeth Warren have been commandeered for the feminist resistance:

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

Neil Gorsuch’s comments that 45’s comments about the judiciary were “demoralizing” and “disheartening.” According to Blumenthal anyway. Blumenthal (a Democrat) said over all, he was disappointed with the meeting.

Now 45 says he wanted to wait a month before the rollout of his immigration order, but law enforcement officials said no. I’m working on not saying his name, but I’m not sure a number is any better. I’ll never look at fours, fives, or even nines the same again.

The Congressional Black Caucus went to the Senate floor to protest the Jeff Sessions vote

Ted Cruz said the Democrats were the party of the KKK. Later the same day, David Duke crowed about Jeff Sessions’s confirmation on Twitter.

McCain and Graham (best friends forever) introduce bill to limit Trump’s power regarding Russian sanctions.

Ted Lieu introduces a bill that would require the White House to hire a psychiatrist for 45– this is a weird one, and I know people with mental illnesses are probably upset about it.

Snippets overheard from private Republican-on-Republican convo: “…stupid tweets about Nordstrom… zero self-restraint… I’m disappointed… they should have been able to strike while the iron is hot on the tax thing… just seem to be floundering

New York Daily News headline: Trump launched Yemen raid after being told Obama wouldn’t have.

White House Press Briefing Without Sean Spicer

Continue reading the only way out is through #23

the only way out is through #22

February 7, 2017… Day 19

Early this morning, tweets from Donald Trump. I saw them on Facebook.

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The really satirical-sounding one came just before this one. It said that “haters are going crazy” about him and Putin. I noticed something in the Facebook comments on that one though–some cracks and caveats among his supporters.

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Other supportive comments suggested he not think about his haters quite so much, and maybe ease up on Twitter usage.

136,000 people listening on youtube to appellate court proceedings over Washington State’s restraining order on Trump’s executive order on immigration. Nothing conclusive tonight. Washington Post headline: Trump’s loose talk about Muslims gets weaponized in court against travel ban.

Betsy DeVos squeaks through for Secretary of Education with Pence as the tiebreaker. Most senators just catch the clerk’s eye and give a thumb’s up or thumb’s down motion to vote. Al Franken rings out with a loud “No!”

It seems like a long time ago now that Trump said yesterday, “negative polls are fake news.” Shep Smith on Fox paraphrasing Trump today: “Don’t listen to accurate reporting; listen to my false assertions”

A Lindy West Facebook post imagines “straight cis white Christian men” saying to America, “If I can’t have you, no one will.” Several white male commenters reply in aggrieved confusion. They do not even recognize this language as a reference to abuse, murder, domestic violence.

Department of Homeland Security head James Kelly says to congressional panel that immigration ban roll-out problems are all his fault. He said he should have waited and talked to Congress.

After the DeVos vote at noon EST, the Senate immediately votes to advance Jeff Sessions nomination proceedings. At about 9:00 pm EST, Elizabeth Warren is punished by the majority leader for trying to read Coretta Scott King’s letter about Sessions. It was called impugning a sitting senator. The vote does not pass, and Elizabeth Warren is not allowed to read the letter.

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  • Slate headline: Government by White Nationalism is upon Us
  • Reductress headline: Woman Cries Herself to Sleep over Country and not some Dumbass Dude for Once
  • New York Times headline: Iran’s Supreme Leader Thanks Trump for Showing America’s “Real Face”
  • New York Times headline: Yemen Withdraws Permission for U.S. Antiterror Ground Missions

Gallup poll has Trump’s disapproval rating at 54%

A second black Patriot player has said he will not go to the White House with the rest of the team. Devin McCourty said “I don’t feel accepted in the White House.”

White House daily press briefing without Sean Spicer:

Continue reading the only way out is through #22

the only way out is through #18

February 3, 2017…. Day 15

One of the lawsuits against the immigration and refugee executive order said anyone with a valid visa could come into the country. So we found out today that visas were simply REVOKED. According to government lawyers, it was 100,000 visas. State department said 60,000 (NY Times). Sounds like they weren’t just suspended, they were canceled completely. 

Doing this but more comprehensively and less personally: Really good site called What the Fuck Just Happened Today — recommend it to everyone, either to supplement this or to avoid reading about my emotions altogether.

Girlpower: Elle joins TeenVogue in the ranks, as the magazine joins a ProPublica project on hate-crime reporting. I think Elle is also the first place I saw the “Dress Like a Woman” story yesterday (or one of the first places to pick it up — it suddenly seemed to come from everywhere).

#Dresslikeawoman hashtag — like the movies Moana and Hidden Figures, I wondered where this hashtag was in my youth. It could have counteracted some of the “you go in space, you get immediately killed” imprint I felt from seeing Christa McAuliffe’s picture and then watching the Challenger explode in real time in my small-town grade school classroom. This isn’t really an excuse. The truth is, I grew up in a town with a lot of tough women doing tough things with chutzpah. I was just personally wimpy.

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I blew up at someone today who sauntered over to my cubicle and interrupted my concentration to say things like “boy, Trump had a great line-up at his meeting this morning! Jamie Dimon… yeah… rather have them taking care of things than a bunch of politicians.” After I started looking daggers at him and having steam coming out of my ears he uttered these deadly words: “Checks and balances” and that’s when I exploded and told him to “get the fuck away from me with that sanguine bullshit.” I don’t think he knows what sanguine means. We were fine soon after, when he said “I’m sorry I caused you so much rage in your heart” and I said “My heart is a sealed room full of flammable gas” and then we both laughed. Gotta get by (and we do like each other).

From the White House Press Briefing: The transcript is more innocuous than the reality. Here’s the transcript.

REPORTER: THE SECOND QUESTION. C.B.E. WHAT’S ON THE TABLE FOR THAT?

MR. SPICER: WE’RE NOT GETTING — I HAVE NOTHING TO ANNOUNCE ON THAT.

REPORTER: THE PEOPLE ARE CONCERNED –

MR. SPICER: I’VE UNDERSTOOD WE HEARD A LOT OF RUMORS. WHEN WE HAVE SOMETHING TO ANNOUNCE ON THAT, WE WILL DO IT. I DON’T THINK IT SHOULD BE ANY SURPRISE THAT THE PRESIDENT, WHEN IT COMES TO ROOTING OUT RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM, WHICH IS WHAT THAT INITIALLY WAS SUPPOSED TO BE FOCUSED ON, HE’S GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT THAT IS A MAJOR FOCUS OF HIS KEEPING THIS COUNTRY SAFE. SO I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING FURTHER FOR YOU ON THAT.

REPORTER: WHAT ABOUT EXCLUDING — THERE ARE REPORTS –

MR. SPICER: THERE ARE REPORTS. I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING FOR YOU. I JUST SAID I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING FOR YOU. I WILL BE VERY CLEAR THIS PRESIDENT’S COMMITMENT TO ROOTING OUT RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM IS SOMETHING THAT’S AT THE FOREFRONT OF HIS AGENDA AND I KNOW THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF REPORTS ABOUT WHERE THAT PROGRAM OR THAT EFFORT IS GOING TO LIE.

REPORTER: [INAUDIBLE]

MR. SPICER: I HAVE NOTHING ELSE. THANK YOU.

What I want to note from having watched this, is the following:

  1. Refresher: The CBE is an anti-extremism program that includes radical Islamic terrorism, but also includes things like white supremacist hate groups. A leaked memo said the White House wanted it to ONLY focus on radical Islamic terrorism and may even change the name to reflect that, making it feel like white supremacists and people who bomb abortion clinics have a big thumbs-up now.
  2. The reporter was April Ryan of the American Urban Radio Networks. She is a veteran black journalist. 
  3. I don’t know if C-Span did this with its transcript intentionally, but in the three bolded parts where she tried to ask a question and was shut down by Spicer, she actually said the phrase “White supremacists” very VERY clearly and audibly. And each time he said the words “Radical Islamic Terrorism” with the same emphasis back. So it felt like a weird mismatched call and response. The effect was chilling and is lost in the transcript.
  4. No words can compare to the look of withering disgust and displeasure on her face when he shut her down the last time. Thank you for being in that awful place, April. We appreciate you.

LGBT rally rescheduled because of the Super Bowl, after complaints on the FB invite. So much for sticking it to the man. As one friend said on FB, the Super Bowl on Fox is a great opportunity to boycott. She said “there is no normal while things are not normal.” It seems to me that for those of us who have lost our normal — we aren’t choosing our lack of normal. Our lack of normal chose us.

Joining the No Fucks To Give club: Chelsea Clinton has suddenly tweeting politically and very sardonically. She’s like in a contest with herself to say something as dry as she can in six words or less. It’s refreshingly undiplomatic.

GREAT END TO THE DAY: Networks go into breaking news mode as Bob Ferguson, attorney general of Washington has press conference, announces federal judge in Seattle granted temporary injunction against executive order. Broadest challenge to the executive order yet. CNN said the White House would probably try to get it overturned via an emergency ruling tonight.

White House press briefing without Sean Spicer:

Continue reading the only way out is through #18

the only way out is through #14

January 30, 2017…. Day 11

Sally Yates, acting Attorney General, ordered the Department of Justice not to defend Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees.

Sally Yates was fired.

Joe Manchin, most conservative Democrat as far as the eye can see, spoke out against the executive order.

Politico says Congressional staffers worked secretly with White House staff to draft the executive order, without their bosses on the Hill knowing.

Rex Tillerson reportedly baffled that he was not consulted about the executive order.

Over one thousand Democratic protesters outside Chuck Schumer’s apartment building in Park Slope today, demanding that he fight back harder, with more conviction, and stop voting for Trump’s cabinet nominees.

Someone says that Trump’s Supreme Court nominee will be filibustered, but I can’t remember who said that.

Sean Spicer said a bunch of shitty stuff in his White House press briefing. He compared the experience of the people stopped at airports, to the ordinary inconvenience of travelers having to pass through security on an ordinary day. He also said over and over that it was commons sense measures, and he said over and over that all Trump cares about is the safety of the American people.

Sean Spicer was huffy about criticism regarding  leaving any reference to Jews out of Trump’s Holocaust statement (which Priebus said yesterday was an intentional decision). Spicer suggested that Jews ought to be grateful that Trump went out of his way to mention the Holocaust at all. This is recognizable soft Holocaust denial.

No one in my workplace is talking about Trump. There are not even mumblings and grumblings. The markets fell today.

I overheard the women talking about protesters and traffic. They did not say, as they did right after the election, that the protesters were “a bunch of crybabies.”

A lot more happened. It’s getting hard to remember in one day what happened. Every day feels like ten days. That is today as well as I can remember it. Today is still happening. Waves of horror crashing in via Twitter as we go to press. The only way out of this situation might be to dose myself with NyQuil for the night.

P.S. Oh yeah, the State of Washington is suing Trump over the Muslim ban (I’m just going to go ahead and call it that).

 

the only way out is through #5

January 21, 2017… Day 2. We march.

A Facebook friend said it best when he wrote “I woke up feeling like a pile of broken dishes, but I got myself up and moving in the direction of the march.”

I woke up with that feeling like I just remembered a good friend died. But after rolling myself over and looking at my phone, there was this text from a friend: “I’m getting my whole family to the march. This is too important.”

She lives way out in the suburbs, she has really little kids, she’s historically apolitical, she’s never even heard terms like “neoliberal” or “intersectional.” She didn’t know that there was a vacant Supreme Court seat. Her husband until recently considered himself a Republican but was also mostly apolitical. She was upset about Trump, but 24 hours earlier she’d bailed on marching with me–she apologized, said too many logistics, just can’t do it. A whole day and evening of inaugural pomp later, she was galvanized to go after all.

Her text energized me. So did the flood of photos from around the country and the world. The D.C. march was already underway. I had to force myself to settle down and eat breakfast, in the midst of worldwide protest tidbits, last minute preparations, logistics, and communications.

Met a bunch of people at the bus stop. We all had to start talking to each other when we realized no bus was going to stop. They just kept passing by, packed. This is like the seed crystal of organizing. People had various ideas, knowledge, needs, and preferences. We split up in groups and dispersed to find our ways to the march. When my group finally got on a bus that was going in the right general direction, we immediately started talking to everyone else who was already on the bus about their plans to make it to the march since the bus could only get us a couple miles away from the starting point.

I bus-befriended a couple about my age (Late 30s? 40-ish?) named Derek and Corinne. They were married, had kids at home. They didn’t have bus cards and seemed unfamiliar with the transit system. They seemed very squeaky clean and square. They were wearing matching official sweatshirts from the march website. They had painfully clean and unfashionable blue jeans in exactly the same shade. They had bright new sneakers. They didn’t seem like activists. Later as we were walking up Jackson with streams of crowds to meet the march, Corinne said “We’re teachers. This is our fourth protest this week.”

The huge marches have been well-covered everywhere that attempts to report news honestly. It took me so long to get home, and I was so cold and stiff and tired, that I’m writing this the next morning, a little removed now from the glow that the marches generated. But it felt good to see tidings pouring in from all over the world–some of them through the conduit of my mom: “They’re marching in Bergen, Norway!!!” she texted me. Everyone everywhere was marching and basking in a new feeling of empowerment. And I think we knew it was a temporary feeling–but any relief from the horror of watching Trumpism take over was so welcome. And there was the hope that we could revive and use the feeling we found together marching.

Well, not everyone was feeling the glow. Near the end of the march, after a couple friends had splintered off, I sat down on a curb to rest and look at the news of other marches. I saw a Facebook post from Ijeoma Oluo that made me sad. She said she was crying because all these white women weren’t there for Black Lives Matter. Several hundred people emphatically agreed with her and expressed their own raw feelings in the comments. After several minutes I had to distance myself from the pain, had to tell myself we’d look forward and try to do better in the future. Because I can’t help anyone by falling down a shame spiral. Self-reflection is my best subject in school, so you know, I’ve BEEN feeling bad already. I had only this one afternoon to feel this togetherness and possibility, and that was what I wanted to feel.

Met up with the writer Ma’Chell Duma outside Key Arena and we sat cross-legged on the wide steps and had a laughing, sometimes gruesome conversation about our personal lives, writing, goals, feminism in Seattle, hope for the future, what Hillary’s up to — it was an unexpected meeting of the minds separate from the march, even as tired marchers still floated past  us with their signs. This too felt subversive. It reminded me that every time two women even have coffee and talk for half an hour, there’s a spark of resistance. Like they say, God is in the space between two people.

Getting home was even harder than getting to the march. On the bus home, I saw the news of Sean Spicer’s press conference — the first press conference — used to harangue the press about their reporting on crowd size. He lied. And he was obviously sent up there to lie. And then he took no questions from the press. It was absurd but also chilling. I was reminded of a sign I’d seen earlier in the day: “If they can get us to BELIEVE ABSURDITIES, they can get us to COMMIT ATROCITIES.” 

And when I got home, and staggered into bed, I just sleepily looked at pink-hued aerial crowd photos and nodded off knowing that I’d fight like hell in the morning and drag as many of my sisters along with me as I could.