May 18, 2017… Day 119
Oh hey, everybody. It was kind of a quiet day.
May 18, 2017… Day 119
Oh hey, everybody. It was kind of a quiet day.
May 16, 2017… Day 117
Holy. Moly. When is a bombshell THE bombshell? I’m so tired and confused.
When I was still in bed this morning, I saw Trump’s tweets about his absolute right to share information with Russia. That made me want to throw up. The President getting comfortable with being an autocrat.
Still windmilling, still don’t know which way things are going. Because they’re consolidating power even as they are imploding. And the Republicans just let them do it. What the hell is happening.
H.R. McMaster barks at reporters on camera. It is sad to see H.R. McMaster debase himself so utterly. Later in the day, Sean Spicer sounds wan and haggard off camera. No more bids for chuckles.
Then we find out that James Comey has memos about all his interactions with Trump, including the time Trump suggested the FBI just let the Flynn thing go, and the time that Trump suggested that the FBI lock up reporters.
“This is it,” said my friend at work, who was once a Republican. I said I hoped so but I was too jaded. Also, all this damage and severe Republican fuckery doesn’t get undone just by getting rid of Trump. Could just be part of our merry tumble into autocracy or theocracy?
It came out that it was Israel. And that the Russian reporter who “tricked” his way into the oval office reported it in Russia, and that now a spy’s life is in danger in Isis-held territory.
And then it felt like the wheels were starting to come off, at least according to congressional twitter.
So I don’t know. But I hear it’s nothing but shouting, screaming, and cursing all over the West Wing tonight.
May 11, 2017… Day 112
I’m so snowed under by the news this week. I’ve been too mesmerized and overwhelmed to start trying to put a blog post. So I’m just going to put up the usual mishmash of headlines, tweets, and the reporters’ questions at the briefing and not try to get deep or clever or comprehensive.
But first, this iPhone screen cap found on FB:
I just realized the baby has her curlers in — even better.
Ok, anyway, back to windmilling frantically on a precipice with a slide into impeachment on one side and a slide into authoritarianism on the other. Is it the beginning of the end for Trump, or for the rest of us? Because I’m pretty sure that’s what we’re looking at.
Jeez, the news is breaking every couple minutes. I am going BONKERS. I am trying to stem the flow of new news in order to pin down the old news from 45 minutes ago but the new news is too tantalizing and bizarre to ignore.
So, I mean. My blog post, like the Trump administration, is just going to be a shit show.
Just to stay in vaguely chronological order, the acting Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe testified in front of a Senate committee about Global Threats. The Democrats on the committee asked questions about the Russia investigation and Comey’s firing, and how things stood. Andrew McCabe contradicted the White House by saying a) the Russia investigation was a huge deal, and b) that the rank and file of the FBI were firmly in Comey’s corner.
Then there was also a wild, rambly interview Trump had with Lester Holt, in which TRUMP contradicted the White House and just flat out said the firing was his idea and related to the Russia investigation.
Then came the White House Press Briefing with Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Her answers were even more pathetic lies than Sean Spicer’s. She just says her answers with more of a smug, calm smile. Yesterday I was really irritated at the reporters who laughed at her stupid jokes. And I liked the ones who snort-laughed when she was being serious. There were only a few sycophantic chuckles yesterday though, and almost none today.
April 12, 2017… Day 83
Oh yeah, last night it was in the papers that there was a FISA warrant for Carter Page. I thought it was just the drip drip drip of Russia-Trump and didn’t realize it was a big deal until today. Today they’re also talking about Paul Manafort setting up a shell company on the day he left the Trump campaign and then something like $13 million of Trump-related moneys went in it.
Tillerson ditched the press pool in Moscow and met with Putin (which was up in the air). Maxine Waters pointed out on Twitter that yesterday Tillerson said “Why should the U.S. taxpayers care about Ukraine?” Rachel Maddow pointed out that he said this right after the G7 meeting, which is called the G7 because Russia got kicked out of the G8 because of Ukraine.
Tillerson and his counterpart, Lavrov, had a press briefing afterward. Tillerson didn’t mention Russian meddling in the U.S. election. Lavrov interrupted Andrea Mitchell mid-question, essentially to ask her if she was born in a barn.
Trump said today that after talking to Chinese President Xi for 10 minutes, he found out that North Korea is actually a complicated situation. Also, NATO is *NOT* obsolete now. And China’s not a currency manipulator after all. Leading to this screen capture.
Trump also said some non-committal, not-very-loyal stuff about Steve Bannon last night.
And I just found this comment on Facebook to be poetic.
I thought a lot today about what I said yesterday about Sean Spicer being a bumbling, bad talker–and I don’t want anyone to think I was making an excuse for him. It’s just that in the particular case of “holocaust centers” I can really imagine that he meant to say concentration camps, wanted to say concentration camps, but his brain just couldn’t fight its way there to the correct term, so a weird and inappropriate facsimile came out. He is just toweringly bad at his job all around. That said, there’s just way too much damning evidence about this White House and anti-Semitism. If they cared at all after the first several hints they dropped, if any of that was actual innocent errors, then they would have got their acts together and buttoned up shit like what we saw yesterday. OK, enough about that.
March 30, 2017… Day 70
Trump attacked the Freedom Caucus in a tweet this morning. I only look at his tweet-missives over on Facebook, where there are whole, thoughtful paragraphs in the comment threads and not just memes, bots, and snark-bundles. Skimming the first few dozen replies with the most likes, every single one of them was a concerned Trump supporter who felt he was going down a very bad path. They assigned different levels of culpability to Trump. But most seemed to be picking their words carefully, as though they just might have a chance to influence him before all hope was gone.
Mike Flynn offered to testify in exchange for immunity. I don’t know if that’s going to happen. It sounds like that might be his way of pleading the fifth, meaning he won’t testify before the Senate Intelligence committee. Twitter is getting excited though, the way it does.
A panel of Russia experts testified in front of the Senate intelligence committee in the first day of hearings. There was a lot of context and history given, to try to anchor the Russia intervention as a large bipartisan national security issue that is ongoing. All of which is true. The Burr & Warren show is a sober affair while the Nunes & Schiff show still skitters around all willy nilly. Yesterday at a press conference, Burr & Warren basically said, “don’t even ask us about the House committee.” Anyway, the Russia experts casually said some chilling things like “Follow the trail of dead Russians,” and “Trump used Russia’s active measures.”
So… the White House DID give Devin Nunes information, which he then vague-booked to the press before making a display of briefing the White House on the information the it had briefed him about the night before. Also, Nunes has never been certain what, like literally what, he was ever talking about. The New York Times found out and published the identities of the two men who gave the information to Nunes. Adam Schiff suggested it was a case of “laundering information through the House intelligence committee.” Also, Sean Spicer’s press briefing is worth looking into for some strange non-denials. I’ll post the reporter questions below as always.
Stuff reporters asked Sean Spicer today:
March 22, 2017… Day #62
In case anyone is keeping track at home, today was actually 2 weeks long.
Also, Sean Spicer still hasn’t learned that he shouldn’t ask rhetorical questions:
The day was silo-ed into three main things, all of which were HUGE all by themselves. I’ve made you a visual aid.
I got really disheartened in the interlude between #4 and #5, also known as my commute home with menstrual cramps. I summoned courage by remembering the words of Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Weeks ago she flatly told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that 1) She knows that Trump is impeachable, 2) She does not trust the Republicans in the House to do anything about it, and 3) We can trust John McCain and Lindsay Graham in the Senate because they are patriots.
I’m not going to get into the sources, or when it arrived, but I wanted to brief the Speaker, which is what I did this morning, and obviously I briefed, I put in calls to the directors, I’ve spoken to the CIA Director and the NSA Director, and I’m waiting to talk to Director Comey, and I’m going to head to the White House after the votes.
—Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence committee today.
Adam Schiff, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, is not even on his list of people to talk to — and found about this at the same time the rest of us did.
More to follow on that, but first I want to give this NYT story some attention:
They should call that an act of terror.
There was also a terrorist attack in London today, near the parliament building.
AFTER THE JUMP: Questions reporters asked today to SEAN SPICER… DEVIN NUNES… and ADAM SCHIFF !!!! Lots of good questions in here about the healthcare bill too.
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:
March 7, 2017… Day 47
Only 7% of the Marine Corps are women. And some of the men have been sharing nude photos of female recruits. Everything is terrible.
I am still wending my way through the long New Yorker article on the new Cold War. I’ve only been reading a few paragraphs a day, but I’ll get there.
While I was waiting for Jayapal’s town hall to start, I saw a Masha Gessen article online, saying that the Russia-Trump story is just a web of delusional thinking by Democrats. It sort of crushed me. Glenn Greenwald says the same thing all the time, but I stopped trusting him quite a while ago. Gessen, I’ve had more respect for. It’s not specific to the Trump-Russia issues, necessarily. It’s not that I thought everything was going to be magically cleared up if the investigation went through. I’d been halfway assuming that the whole thing would be successfully buried and would blow over, and Trump would go on to make it through his term just fine. But after all the shit we’re going through psychologically, to have someone I trust tell me now, at this point, that I’m delusional for thinking Russia is worth investigating–I don’t know, this is just more cruel shit.
Anyway, I’m a Russophile, not a Russophobe. I grew up loving Russian novelists, and the idea of Russian soul. My grandparents went to the Soviet Union in the mid-1980s as tourists and brought us back Russian books and toys. I grew up in what used to be Russian-America, on an island named after a Russian. I nerded out in middle school on the history of the fur trade and the eastward adventuring of the promyshlenniki. My friend’s aunt ran off to Vladivostok with a Russian sea captain. I took Russian language classes in my 20s just utterly for the hell of it.
On a separate but related note, I saw this sandwich board outside of a Russian bakery today, and it seemed extra touching to me.
Wikileaks — CIA — hacking tools. I don’t know, man. I don’t know. I suppose I’ll care less about privacy violations when climate change really starts closing in.
Rosenstein & Brand hearings for deputy and associate (assistant?) attorney general. Freighted with importance because of Jeff Sessions. Brand won’t answer on climate change — she repeatedly and pointedly wouldn’t say that there is a public interest in combating climate change. Franken and Grassley back and forth on Jeff Sessions, which took on a life of its own. Franken was really upset and kept saying that Sessions needs to come back to the Senate and explain himself.
Jason Chaffetz iPhone gaffe. That people might just have to prioritize health care over personal electronics. Republicans to poor people, essentially “hurry up and die already.” WTF.
At Sean Spicer’s press briefing, he showed that he has figured out how to sound consistently regretful about hate crimes. At least against Jews. All 100 Senators calling for Trump to take some kind of action against anti-Semitism.
Questions for Sean Spicer at his first on-camera press briefing in 8 days: