Well, they did it. For the first time in history, the government has shut down while one party controls both the executive and legislative branches. NBC News:
The federal government entered a partial shutdown Saturday as a key vote fell far short of the support needed to pass the Senate and the midnight deadline came and went without a deal.
One year to the day since President Donald Trump took office flanked by a Republican Congress, Washington waited for word of where it goes from here as both parties sought a way out of the impasse.
The proposal that failed was the one passed by the House on Thursday. It would have funded the government until Feb. 16, extended the low-income children’s health insurance program, or CHIP, for six years and suspended some Obamacare taxes for two years.
Senate Democrats, demanding progress on the fate of the young immigrants covered by the DACA program, withheld their support for the bill after the prospect of an agreement with Republicans and the White House fell apart.
But Republicans failed to assemble a simple majority for the measure as some within their own ranks, frustrated with the spate of month-long spending bills, also opposed the short-term solution.
After the vote failed, Democrats offered a measure to make sure that military salaries would be paid, but Senate Leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow a vote.
Democrats also wanted to pass short term agreements to keep the government open until today or Monday. McConnell blocked those efforts.
McConnell wants to blame the shutdown on Democrats, but it’s not going to work. Overnight, #TrumpShutdown was trending on Twitter worldwide.
Meanwhile, Louisiana Senator John Kennedy “blasted Congress on Friday as a government funding deadline approached, slamming the government as being “run by idiots.”
“Our country was founded by geniuses, but it’s being run by idiots,” Kennedy told reporters hours before the government was set to enter a shutdown.
Read more at The Hill.
What’s next? The Washington Post: Congress returns to work as lawmakers press to keep shutdown short-lived.
Republican and Democratic leaders both said they would continue to talk, raising the possibility of a solution over the weekend. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said Friday that the conflict has a “really good chance” of being resolved before government offices open Monday, suggesting that a shutdown’s impacts could be limited.
But when the House reconvened Saturday morning, the partisan finger-pointing began immediately.
“Democrats in the United States Senate are holding government funding hostage. The people protecting this country will continue to work, but won’t get a paycheck,” Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) said in a floor speech.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) shot back from across the aisle: “It is the Trump confrontation and chaos that continues. That is why this government is shut down.” [….]
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is home in Arizona battling brain cancer, blasted both parties early Saturday, saying the shutdown “is a direct result of the breakdown of cooperation in Congress.”
“As Republicans and Democrats run to cable news to point fingers and assign blame, the hard reality is that all of us share responsibility for this failure,” McCain said in a statement.
The Trump gang announced that they would refuse to negotiate on immigration, but Trump is pretty irrelevant at this point after showing zero leadership and changing his mind multiple times over the past couple of weeks.
“We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators. When Democrats start paying our armed forces and first responders we will reopen negotiations on immigration reform.”
Of course Trump himself was only worried about how the shutdown would affect his weekend plans. The Daily Beast: Trump Whines: Shutdown Fight Could Make Me Miss ‘My Party.’
Before the federal government shutdown at midnight Saturday, President Donald Trump privately vented frustrations that the political impasse would possibly keep him from attending a glitzy inauguration anniversary bash and fundraiser set for Saturday at his Florida getaway Mar-a-Lago.
Two sources close to the president, one a White House official and the other a longtime confidant, told The Daily Beast how excited he was for the event and relayed his growing concern that the potential failure to strike a deal to keep the federal government open could keep him from “my party,” as the president has said….
The White House officially cancelled Trump’s trip to Florida that was scheduled for Friday afternoon, and he spent the day attempting to help congressional leaders reach a deal to forestall a shutdown.
Administration officials who briefed reporters on the logistics of the impending shutdown on Friday said the expiration of government funding would not necessarily impede the president’s travel plans to Mar-a-Lago or elsewhere. In particular, one official said, Trump will still be free to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos next week, though the White House did not say whether the shutdown would affect Trump’s plans to attend the glamorous gathering of globalists.
I expect Trump will end up going, although he’s not supposed to use Air Force One.
There will be women’s marches around the country today to promote voter registration and voting in November. CNN: Everything you need to know about women’s marches this weekend.
This weekend is the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s swearing-in. But hundreds of thousands of activists across the US also are marking the anniversary of last January’s Women’s March, and the movement it sparked in 2017.
The organizers of the movement hope to keep up the momentum from last year with a weekend of events and rallies across the country. Here’s what you need to know about Women’s March and related events this weekend.
Read more at CNN or check out the Women’s March web page for events scheduled around the country.
Politico published a must-read article on Thursday by Jennifer Mendelsohn: How Would Trump’s Immigration Crackdown Have Affected His Own Team?
After President Donald Trump called it a “total disaster, which threatens our security and our economy and provides a gateway for terrorism” at a White House meeting in early January, “chain migration” quickly became the buzzword du jour for anti-immigration voices. But chain migration, a process also known as “family reunification” that allows a legal immigrant to bring his family members to the United States—spouses and minor children when he has a green card, and parents and siblings after he becomes a citizen—is nothing new. In fact, it’s how the families of some of the most prominent anti-immigration voices in Trump’s circle—and the president himself—came to the United States.
These ahistorical warnings about the evils of chain migration are part of a longstanding American tradition described by immigration historian Tyler Anbinder in a 2016 Chicago Sun-Timeseditorial: “From the days of the Puritans to the present, every generation of Americans has believed that the latest wave of immigrants is completely different from—and inferior to—their own immigrant ancestors and could never become true Americans.” From White House adviser Stephen Miller to Fox News commentator Tomi Lahren, many prominent anti-immigration voices advocate for immigration policies like merit-based systems and language-based preferences that would have barred their own families from coming to the United States.
But while our favorite immigration opponents may have forgotten their immigrant roots, lucky for them, I have an Ancestry.com account, and I know how to use it. In a project I call #resistancegenealogy, I’ve traced their family trees and found, not surprisingly, their own family’s stories are markedly similar to those of the immigrants they now would like to prevent from becoming Americans. (Except, of course, that today’s immigrants are less commonly white Europeans.)
Mendelsohn traced the immigrant roots of Dan Scavino of WH social media director Dan Scavino, Iowa Rep. Steve King, campaign spokeswoman Tomi Lahren, and Tucker Carlson, and found that their families had each used so-called “chain migration.” Read all the details at Politico.
I’ll end with three new articles on Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s troubles.
The New Yorker: Jared Kushner Is China’s Trump Card.
In early 2017, shortly after Jared Kushner moved into his new office in the West Wing of the White House, he began receiving guests. One visitor who came more than once was Cui Tiankai, the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, a veteran diplomat with a postgraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University. When, during previous Administrations, Cui had visited the White House, his hosts received him with a retinue of China specialists and note-takers. Kushner, President Trump’s thirty-seven-year-old son-in-law and one of his senior advisers, preferred smaller gatherings….
In Kushner, Cui found a confident, attentive, and inexperienced counterpart. The former head of his family’s real-estate empire, which is worth more than a billion dollars, Kushner was intent on bringing a businessman’s sensibility to matters of state. He believed that fresh, confidential relationships could overcome the frustrations of traditional diplomatic bureaucracy. Henry Kissinger, who, in his role as a high-priced international consultant, maintains close relationships in the Chinese hierarchy, had introduced Kushner to Cui during the campaign, and the two met three more times during the transition. In the months after Trump was sworn in, they met more often than Kushner could recall. “Jared became Mr. China,” Michael Pillsbury, a former Pentagon aide on Trump’s transition team, said.
But Cui’s frequent encounters with Kushner made some people in the U.S. government uncomfortable. On at least one occasion, they met alone, which counterintelligence officials considered risky. “There’s nobody else there in the room to verify what was said and what wasn’t, so the Chinese can go back and claim anything,” a former senior U.S. official who was briefed on the meetings said. “I’m sorry, Jared—do you think your background is going to allow you to be able to outsmart the Chinese Ambassador?” Kushner, the official added, “is actually pretty smart. He just has limited life experiences. He was acting with naïveté.”
By now, Americans are accustomed to reports of Russia’s efforts to influence American politics, but, in the intelligence community, China’s influence operations are a source of equal concern. In recent years, the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. have dedicated increased resources to tracking efforts by the Chinese government to spy on or to enlist Western officials in pursuit of their policy goals. (The F.B.I. and the C.I.A. declined to comment on this.) “The Chinese influence operations are more long-term, broader in scope, and are generally designed to achieve a more diffuse goal than the Russians’ are,” Christopher Johnson, a former C.I.A. analyst who specializes in China, said. “To be unkind to the Russians, you’d say they are more crass.”
Read the rest at The New Yorker.
A German business magazine is reporting that Deutsche Bank, the German financial giant which is a major lender to both President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, identified “suspicious transactions” related to Kushner family accounts, and has reported them to German banking regulators. The bank is reportedly willing to provide the information to special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s team of investigators.
Manager Magazin, a respected German business magazine, reported in its latest print edition, which hit German newsstands on Friday, that Paul Achleitner, chairman of Deutsche Bank’s board, had the bank conduct an internal investigation and the results were troubling. Those results have been turned over to the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority—Germany’s bank regulatory agency, which is commonly known as BaFin.
“Achleitner’s internal detectives were embarrassed to deliver their interim report regarding real estate tycoon [Jared] Kushner to the financial regulator BaFin,” the Manager Magazin article, translated from German, reports. “Their finding: There are indications that Donald Trump’s son-in-law or persons or companies close to him could have channeled suspicious monies through Deutsche Bank as part of their business dealings.”
Read more at Mother Jones.
In a six-floor retail space near Times Square, the Guy Fieri restaurant has closed and construction hasn’t begun on celebrity chef Todd English’s food hall. A tourist attraction featuring a 1/87th scale model of New York City was behind on rent for two months as of December, according to loan documents.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
When Kushner Cos. bought the property for $296 million in 2015, then-Chief Executive Officer Jared Kushner had big plans to capitalize on the tens of millions of tourists who visit the area every year. Deutsche Bank AG financed the endeavor before selling most of the debt to investors across Wall Street a year ago. Those investors were shown disclosures describing the retail space as 100 percent occupied and estimating it would throw off $24 million of rent annually.
But Fieri, English and Gulliver’s Gate, the operator of the miniature Manhattan, account for $9.9 million of that rent estimate, which underpinned a market-defying appraisal boost and helped justify $370 million of loans, the disclosures show. Problems with these spaces could make the economics challenging.
Poor Jared. Click the Bloomberg link to read the rest.
What stories are you following today?
The status quo is beginning to regroup after the initial onslaught of the #MeToo movement. Of course, it’s more effective to have women to make its case. Keeps everything polite. It’s just a bunch of women with different opinions, right?
Recently, for instance, Catherine Deneuve, who has been a movie star since the 1960s, and her co-signatories lamented the loss of sexual fun if men had to start paying attention to what women want. As Laura Kipnis points out at the end of her excellent article:
It’s the historical amnesia of the Deneuve document that’s so objectionable. To the extent that women’s bodies are still treated as public property by men, whether that means groping us or deciding what we can do with our uteruses, women do not have civic equality. To miss that point is to miss the political importance and the political lineage of #MeToo: the latest step in a centuries long political struggle for women to simply control our own bodies. …
The political requirement of the post-#MeToo moment is insisting that control of our bodies is the beginning of freedom. Not its terminus, but a starting point. Freedom needs to be more than notional, it also needs to be embodied.
Autonomy, freedom, civil rights are the substance of #MeToo.
But I wanted to address the silly end of the spectrum: the concept that somehow sex will become a robotic interaction requiring permission slips signed in triplicate.
The problem is that we (humans) don’t have a reality-based concept of what sex is.
No, really. Hear me out.
One school of thought imagines that it’s anything to do with sex organs. So, if sex organs are involved, rape and torture are somehow about sex. As if anyone spends their days dreaming about how to be brutalized. To paraphrase Kipnis a bit, “It sounds like an especially Catholic form of [sex], involving much mortification of the flesh.”
The intense stupidity of that definition has led to the recent refinement centering consent. Sex is still about using sex organs, but it has to be preceded by the people involved saying, “Oh, awright already.”
That means out-and-out crimes can’t hide behind sex, but it doesn’t solve the problem of jerks or of the social power they hold. Jill Filipovic wrote an insightful article pointing out that “sex in a misogynist world” has thousands of ways of giving women colorless unsatisfying experiences at best. They may not be assault, but they have the same philosophy: women don’t count.
#MeToo exploded at that attitude. The movement wants the end of the entire steaming pile of crap, and that’s what has some people so worried. They may not really see why sex crimes are crimes and not sex, but they’re learning to shut up about it. They’ve heard of the concept that the woman should be getting something she wants out of sex and they’re so broadminded they’re fine with that if it doesn’t require anything from them.
But the #MeToo movement is also objecting to, well, what can you call it but plain old rudeness? That lack of consideration you dump on worthless people because there’s not a damn thing they can do about it. Where will it all end? (Yes, of course those same men are quite capable of being polite to bosses and policemen, but women are so weird and mysterious, you know? They don’t understand jokes. They take offense at mistakes.) Nobody will be able to do anything and you’ll never get any sex again.
(In one limited respect it is a valid concern. We’re dealing with a scale that goes from criminal to socially unacceptable to rude. At the nether ends of the scale, the sorts of situations where exposure or job loss or jail are good consequences, due process is a real concern. Margaret Atwood was jumped on by the twitverse for having the temerity to point that out. Due process may not always entail the full nine legal yards. It might be less formal ways of verifying the truth of complaints. But whatever its precise form, the point is to avoid lumping the innocent in with the guilty. How can anybody, whose whole complaint is an inability to find justice for themselves, insist on depriving others of justice?)
So, to return to the worry that sex as we know it will vanish and nobody will ever get any again, that would be true. If sex is something to get, there’s no part of that spectrum that’s any use to the thing being got. Not the relatively less harmful end of intravaginal masturbation, and growing worse all the way down till it disappears into criminal types of getting. That’s why Rebecca Traister in her excellent article points out that consensual sex can still be bad and quotes Dusenbery saying that what’s needed is to “promote a specific vision of what sexual equality could entail.”
Well, here’s my version of that vision.
Have you ever been with a group of good friends, sharing jokes that just get funnier and funnier until you’re all helpless with laughter? Possibly the individual jokes aren’t even all that hilarious, but the mood catches everyone and gets stronger in the sharing. If you told yourself the same joke in an empty room, it might be funny but you’d barely smile.
You see where that analogy is headed. That’s how to view sex. It’s a feeling of play, and fun, and delight, and pleasure that’s gets stronger in the sharing. And it’s definitely not the same by yourself in an empty room. Sex organs help trigger the feeling, but the feeling is the point, not the organs. Just as breath and vocal cords enable laughter. The feeling of fun is the point, not vocal exercise.
Another way the analogy is useful is to demonstrate that sex is not and cannot be on any spectrum where sharing is impossible. If the boss tells a joke and everybody has to dutifully laugh, it’s not fun at all. And that’s analogous to the relatively benign, masturbatory end of the scale of unshared sex. There’s no equivalent for the tortured end because nobody ever terrorizes someone into immobility and chokes puffs of air out of them and tries to call that laughter.
Power differentials preclude sharing, and the bigger the difference the less sharing is possible.
But wait, I hear objections at the back. Men get off. They don’t care about the rest of these fancy sex feelings.
That would be like saying sneezing is the same as laughter. It is not. Laughter happens when you’re having fun. Sneezing, like orgasm without feelings, is just a reflex. It’s a release, but it’s not exactly fun. The two are not the same. One doesn’t feel like happiness. The other does.
Besides, if getting off was the only requirement, everybody would simply masturbate. Much simpler, if the result was the same. It’s not. Instead, women turn themselves inside out and their lives upside down in the hope of sharing good time with men. And men bend the whole society into making sure women need them and will be there for them. If men didn’t care about loving feelings, they wouldn’t need to try to turn women into some kind of domestic pets trained to provide them.
Trying to keep humans as sex pets requires crosslinkage between dominance and sex. That may work to justify keeping human pets, but it doesn’t change the fundamental incompatibility between sharing fun and forcing submission. You can crosslink the use of sex organs and dominance all you want, it’ll never bring happiness. It’s like crosslinking a bicycle and a sledgehammer and expecting the combination to bake a cake. None of those things work together or achieve any result. It’s a fundamental error about what sex is.
The result is an irony floating on top of the cosmic waste that is patriarchy: you’ll only get the highs it promises when you ditch it.
The thing is, love and life and laughter will always pull people like the sun pulls the earth. People will always stream toward sex that feels good and away from pain and humiliation. Sex is in no danger. The patriarchy is.
Crossposted from Acid Test
I’ve been struggling with a chest cold and now my sinuses are acting up. This seems to be the story of my wintertime life now. Anyway, I’m not sure how coherent this post will be.
Here are the big stories I’m seeing this morning.
Trump is doing everything he can to sabotage any bipartisan agreements in Congress that would keep the government from shutting down. He’s also hitting back at John Kelly for his remarks to Democrats and Fox News yesterday. Read a brief summary of Kelly’s crimes at Axios: John Kelly risks a Steve Bannon moment.
Late last night, a few hours after Fox News aired Bret Baier’s interview with John Kelly, a source close to the president told me Trump would explode when he saw what his chief of staff said. The source — who has spent a lot of time with Trump — predicted the president would hate the interview because Kelly came off as the mature professional who patiently educated an uninformed Trump, and helped him see the light and evolve on “The Wall.” [….]
What Kelly said that crossed Trump:
“As we talked about things — where this president is and how much he wants to deal with this DACA issue and take it away — I told them that, you know, there’s been an evolutionary process that this president has gone through as a campaign [sic]. And I pointed out to all of the members that were in the room that they all say things during the course of campaigns that may or may not be fully informed. But this president, if you’ve seen what he’s done, he has changed the way that he’s looked at a number of things. … So he has evolved in the way he’s looked at things. Campaign to governing are two different things, and this president is very, very flexible in terms of what is within the realm of the possible.”
The moron’s Thursday morning tweets:
And finally, Trump doesn’t want children’s health care to be included in a continuing resolution.
Putting CHIP in the mix was the only way Republicans could hope to get any Democratic votes for the CR. It looks like the moron really wants a government shut down.
The Washington Post: Trump Upsets Republican Strategy to Avoid Shutdown.
President Trump blew up Republican strategies to keep the government open past Friday when on Thursday morning he said a long-term extension of the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program should not be part of a stopgap spending bill pending before the House….
With a possible government shutdown looming this weekend, the House had planned to vote late Thursday on a stopgap spending bill that would keep government funding flowing to Feb. 16 as delicate negotiations continue to protect young, undocumented immigrants brought illegally as children from deportation.
Republican leaders have spent the week pressuring Democrats to vote for the spending bill, arguing that opposing it would effectively block a six-year extension of the children’s health program, attached to the spending bill as a sweetener for lawmakers in both parties.
Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin said on Wednesday that it would be “unconscionable” for Democrats to oppose funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program with a “no” vote on the short-term spending bill.
But Mr. Trump’s tweet appeared to give Democrats a ready excuse to oppose the measure: the president wants the health program severed from the spending bill.
Blaming a shutdown on the Democrats won’t work. Republicans control the government, and the “president” can make exceptions to pay the military and other essential services.
Doctors who don’t work for Trump are pushing back on Ronny Jackson’s characterization of the moron’s health as “excellent.”
The New York Times: Trump’s Physical Revealed Serious Heart Concerns, Outside Experts Say.
Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, a rear admiral and the White House physician, said Tuesday in his report on the president’s medical condition that Mr. Trump was in “excellent” cardiac health despite having an LDL cholesterol level of 143, well above the desired level of 100 or less.
Dr. David Maron, the director of preventive cardiology at Stanford University’s medical school, said Wednesday that it was alarming that the president’s LDL levels remain above 140 even though he is taking 10 milligrams of Crestor, a powerful drug that is used to lower cholesterol levels to well below 100.
Dr. Maron said he would “definitely” be worried about Mr. Trump’s risk for having a heart attack if the president were one of his patients. Asked if Mr. Trump is in perfect health, Dr. Maron offered a blunt reply: “God, no.”
Other cardiologists also disputed Dr. Jackson’s rosy assessment of the president’s heart health. Several said Mr. Trump’s goal should be to get his LDL below 100, or even under 70. He has a real risk of having a heart attack or stroke, especially considering his weight and lack of exercise, they said.
Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist at the Scripps Research Institute, said that it is impossible to ignore the dangers of the president’s elevated cholesterol levels when providing an overall assessment of Mr. Trump’s health.
“That’s a really high LDL,” Dr. Topol said. “We’re talking about a 70-plus-year-old man who is obese and doesn’t exercise. Just looking at the lab value, you would raise a big red flag.”
He added: “I would never use the words ‘excellent health.’ How you could take these indices and say excellent health? That is completely contradicted.”
Read more expert opinions at the NYT link.
Dana Millbank at The Washington Post: Is Trump’s doctor okay?
Examining the White House physician’s briefing on President Trump’s physical, I was alarmed — not about the president’s health, but the doctor’s.
Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson was so effusive in extolling the totally amazing, surpassingly marvelous, superbly stupendous and extremely awesome health of the president that the doctor sounded almost Trumpian. “The president’s overall health is excellent,” he said, repeating “excellent” eight times: “Hands down, there’s no question that he is in the excellent range. . . . I put out in the statement that the president’s health is excellent, because his overall health is excellent. . . . Overall, he has very, very good health. Excellent health.”
And just how excellent is His Excellency’s excellent health, doctor? “Incredible cardiac fitness,” was Dr. Jackson’s professional opinion. “He has incredible genes. . . . He has incredibly good genes, and it’s just the way God made him.”
Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN, making a rare house call to the White House briefing room, offered a second opinion. “He is taking a cholesterol-lowering medication, he has evidence of heart disease, and he’s borderline obese,” Gupta pointed out, citing Jackson’s own findings. “Can you characterize that as excellent health?”
Dr. Ronny must have gotten a pretty good brow-beating before he went out to face the White House press corps.
That’s probably not coming from a legit “WH senior advisor,” but it sure sounds like the moron in chief.
Here’s some interesting news on the Russia story.
The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency, two sources familiar with the matter have told McClatchy.
FBI counterintelligence investigators have focused on the activities of Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA, the sources said.
It is illegal to use foreign money to influence federal elections.
It’s unclear how long the Torshin inquiry has been ongoing, but the news comes as Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sweeping investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including whether the Kremlin colluded with Trump’s campaign, has been heating up.
Read the rest at the link. This might be a good time to reread that big scoop by Ruth May at the Dallas Morning News in December: How Putin’s proxies helped funnel millions into GOP campaigns. Also check out this Twitter thread:
Read the rest of the thread on Twitter.
That’s all I have the strength for right now. What stories are you following today?
Okay, hope you can see the video below, entitled…Bring on the Asteroid: (see link if not)
I thought the video was cute…
Meanwhile in Michigan, a real earthbound hunk of space rock did make an appearance:
The National Weather Service Detroit said the the United States Geological Survey confirmed that the meteor occurred around 8:10 p.m. It caused a 2.0 earthquake.
I imagine that must have been some big chunk of meteor to cause an earthquake.
If you go to the link you will see some video clips and tweets from local area viewers who saw, and felt, the big orange boom.
And now the cartoons:
That will do…this is an open thread.
Yesterday we celebrated the birthday of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. But in our new reality, the day highlighted the fact that in 2016, Americans elected a man who symbolizes “white backlash.” His career in real estate reflected the survival of American racism 50 years after King’s assassination; and his presidency has been about erasing the accomplishments of America’s first black president as well as making America white again by curbing immigration.
Vann R. Newkirk III at The Atlantic: Five Decades of White Backlash.
On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. In response, a week later President Lyndon B. Johnson scrambled to sign into law the Fair Housing Act, a final major civil-rights bill that had languished for years under the strain of white backlash to the civil-rights movement.
Five years later a New York developer and his son—then only a few years out of college—became two of the first targets of a massive Department of Justice probefor an alleged violation of that landmark act. After a protracted, bitter lawsuit, facing a mountain of allegations that the two had engaged in segregating units and denying applications of black and Puerto Rican applicants, in 1975 Trump Management settled with the federal government and accepted the terms of a consent decree prohibiting discrimination. So entered Donald Trump onto the American stage.
The country has changed since those turbulent days. Many of the major policies created to end the era of de jure white supremacy and address King’s campaigns against segregation and for voting rights have become entrenched in law, bureaucracy, and the courts. Overt racism and bigotry have acquired the stink of faux pas, integrated spaces persist in some places, and there’s even been a black president. But in this Pax Americana, the seed of resistance to those ideas and policies that King championed also germinated across generations. Now that the man who made his name flouting the spirit of King is president, the tree has borne its most ripe fruit….
As Trump’s own career indicates, the roots of this pushback reach much further than the topsoil of the Obama era. Indeed, King helped popularize the phrase and idea of “white backlash” during the civil-rights era, after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed, and after which Democrats, including President Johnson, feared a strong mobilization of white voters against the reform. “A section of the white population, perceiving Negro pressure for change, misconstrues it as a demand for privileges rather than as a desperate quest for existence,” King wrote in the Saturday Evening Post in November 1964. “The ensuing white backlash intimidates government officials who are already too timorous, and, when the crisis demands vigorous measures, a paralysis ensues.”
Through the later years of his life, King was acutely aware of and intensely concerned with white backlash, which he perceived as a rebounding force that could over time reduce the gains of integration and equal protection to mere tokens. He also suffered from that rebounding force in his own lifetime, with declining approval ratings and increasingly militant white-supremacist opponents. And then he was killed.
That Trump dared to speak about Dr. King in his “proclamation” on yesterday’s holiday was a sick joke. Then he rubbed our faces in his racism by spending the holiday golfing instead of the public service he recommended for the rest of us.
Last Thursday Trump ensured that this year’s MLK birthday holiday would be marked with discussions of Trump’s own racism. As everyone in the world knows by now, Trump met with lawmakers on that day to discuss an immigration deal on DACA. During the meeting Trump made it clear that he opposes allowing people of color to immigrate to the U.S., calling Haiti, El Salvador, and every African country “shitholes.”
The Washington Post has the background on that infamous meeting: Inside the tense, profane White House meeting on immigration.
When President Trump spoke by phone with Sen. Richard J. Durbin around 10:15 a.m. last Thursday, he expressed pleasure with Durbin’s outline of a bipartisan immigration pact and praised the high-ranking Illinois Democrat’s efforts, according to White House officials and congressional aides.
The president then asked if Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), his onetime foe turned ally, was on board, which Durbin affirmed. Trump invited the lawmakers to visit with him at noon, the people familiar with the call said.
But when they arrived at the Oval Office, the two senators were surprised to find that Trump was far from ready to finalize the agreement. He was “fired up” and surrounded by hard-line conservatives such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who seemed confident that the president was now aligned with them, according to one person with knowledge of the meeting.
Trump told the group he wasn’t interested in the terms of the bipartisan deal that Durbin and Graham had been putting together. And as he shrugged off suggestions from Durbin and others, the president called nations from Africa “shithole countries,” denigrated Haiti and grew angry. The meeting was short, tense and often dominated by loud cross-talk and swearing, according to Republicans and Democrats familiar with the meeting.
It appears that “empty barrel” John Kelly was the one who got Trump “fired up.”
Attendees who were alarmed by the racial undertones of Trump’s remarks were further disturbed when the topic of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) came up, these people said.
At one point, Durbin told the president that members of that caucus — an influential House group — would be more likely to agree to a deal if certain countries were included in the proposed protections, according to people familiar with the meeting.
Trump was curt and dismissive, saying he was not making immigration policy to cater to the CBC and did not particularly care about that bloc’s demands, according to people briefed on the meeting. “You’ve got to be joking,” one adviser said, describing Trump’s reaction.
White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly was in the room and was largely stone-faced, not giving any visible reaction when Trump said “shithole countries” or when he said Haitians should not be part of any deal, White House advisers said….
In the late morning, before Durbin and Graham arrived, Kelly — who had already been briefed on the deal — talked to Trump to tell him that the proposal would probably not be good for his agenda, White House officials said. Kelly, a former secretary of homeland security, has taken an increasingly aggressive and influential role in the immigration negotiations, calling lawmakers and meeting with White House aides daily — more than he has on other topics. He has “very strong feelings,” in the words of one official.
Yes, we learned of Kelly’s “very strong feelings” when he publicly attacked and lied about Rep. Fredrika Wilson and refused to apologize.
At CNN, Ron Brownstein explains Why Trump voters need the immigrants they want to turn away.
The irony in President Donald Trump’s hostility to immigration, expressed again in reports of his vulgar comments about Africa and Haiti last week, is that in appealing to the racial and cultural resentments of his political base he is directly threatening their economic interests.The equation is unmistakable: as America ages, the older and blue-collar whites at the core of Trump’s electoral coalition in 2016 need more working-age immigrants to pay the taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare.
Without robust immigration, each American worker will need to support substantially more retirees in the future than workers do today. And that will greatly increase the pressure for either unsustainable tax increases or biting benefit reductions in the federal retirement programs that the older and blue-collar whites central to Trump’s support rely upon so heavily.
Trump’s hostility to immigration ignores one of the central dynamics of 21st century American life: an increasingly non-white workforce will pay the taxes that support Social Security and Medicare for a rapidly growing and preponderantly white senior population.
“As every baby boomer retires over the next 15 years, we are going to need many more of these (diverse) young people to take their place,” says William Frey, a demographer at the center-left Brookings Institution.
Because the US largely shut off immigration between 1924 and 1965, today’s senior population is preponderantly white. Frey has calculated that three-fourths of all Americans 55 and older are white. Those older whites were the cornerstone of Trump’s coalition in the 2016 election: whites over 45 gave Trump over three-fifths of their votes, and provided a majority of all the votes he received, according to exit polls.
A few more stories of possible interest:
The Washington Post: The Senate’s push to overrule the FCC on net neutrality now has 50 votes, Democrats say.
Fifty senators have endorsed a legislative measure to override the Federal Communications Commission’s recent decision to deregulate the broadband industry, top Democrats said Monday.
The tally leaves supporters just one Republican vote shy of the 51 required to pass a Senate resolution of disapproval, in a legislative gambit aimed at restoring the agency’s net neutrality rules.
Those rules, which banned Internet providers from blocking or slowing down websites, were swept away in a December vote led by Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Republicans had argued that the rules were too restrictive for industry, while Democrats said they provided a vital consumer protection.
The resolution aims to overturn the FCC’s decision and prohibit the agency from passing similar measures in the future. It has the support of all 49 Democratic senators as well as one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.
Natasha Bertrand at Business Insider: Devin Nunes is under mounting pressure to release the transcript of a House Intel interview with Fusion GPS.
The House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat is calling on the panel’s Republican majority to release the transcript of the panel’s November interview with Glenn Simpson, the cofounder of the opposition research firm Fusion GPS.
“In light of the selective leaks of Mr. Simpson’s testimony and the misleading manner in which Fusion GPS’ role has been characterized, I support releasing the transcript,” Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the panel’s ranking member, said in a statement through his office on Monday.
“The Majority has released transcripts of Dr. Page and Mr. Prince when it suited their interests, and likewise should make an exception here,” Schiff added, referring to Carter Page, an early Trump campaign aide, and Erik Prince, an informal adviser to Trump’s transition team.
A spokeswoman for Fusion GPS, the Washington, D.C.-based opposition research firm that hired the former British spy Christopher Steele to research then-candidate Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, said on Monday that Fusion supports the release of the transcript. The firm had even sent a letter to the committee to that effect, she said, but it has not yet been publicly released.
A year after the discovery of foods that could sicken people at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, his Winter White House was just cited by inspectors for poor maintenance.
Never mind that it costs $200,000 in initiation fees to join the exclusive club, which has two restaurants and a bed-and-breakfast.
Fresh state records show the B&B needed emergency repairs in order to pass the latest inspection in November.
Trump’s club, located on a beachfront property where the historic main house was built in the 1920s for cereals heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, was cited Nov. 8 for two violations deemed high priority: the lack of smoke detectors capable of alerting the hearing impaired through flashing bright lights; and slabs of concrete missing from a staircase, exposing steel rebar that could cause someone to fall.
“High priority lodging violations are those which could pose a direct or significant threat to the public health, safety, or welfare,” the inspection code reads.
The club was re-checked Nov. 17, a week before Trump’s return for his Thanksgiving vacation, and this time “met inspection standards,” according to the state inspection report.
What stories are you following today?
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
Today’s the day we celebrate the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King and the inspiration of his life, sacrifice, and commitment to civil rights.
I woke up today thinking about the country and neighborhood that I was born into and grew up in. My father was a Ford Dealer in small town Iowa and I spent my first nursery and grade school years there. Eisenhower was president when I was born. JFK was the first president I remember. I was in second grade when he was assassinated. My second grade teacher came into our classroom with tears to announce it. The first election I remember was between LBJ and Goldwater.
I remember watching two things on the nightly news that was a ritual for our family. The struggle for civil rights unfolding in the south and the reports of the Vietnam war occupied much black and white air time. Both were horrifying. I ended my pre-college years in Omaha across the river spending the last years of high school watching the Watergate hearings. I graduated and shortly thereafter, the president resigned. This is the time line of a baby-boomer born right in the middle times.
The most clear thing that stood out to me as I was growing up and into adulthood where I took my place in the women’s movement and then in the fight against AIDS and discrimination against GLBT was that at the very heart of everything was our creed that all were ‘created equal’ and endowed with ‘inalienable’ rights. No one’s life was lived with that creed more in mind than the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King. I also remember the day he was assassinated and trying to get to my grandfather’s place in Kansas City the long way around the riots. Some time it takes more sacrifice and anger than we should have to muster to realize those rights. That was 50 years ago.
Looking back at the Obama presidency and the hope I had that Hillary would also be a first, I remember those days as a kid when the holiday we celebrated was President’s day. We celebrated Lincoln who saved the Union and freed the slaves. We celebrated George Washington who could not tell a lie. Through all of this, my young heart got the message that Presidents could be flawed but the great ones did not lie. They sought the freedom and dignity that all of us deserved. They fought in the war against NAZIS and fascism to preserve and establish freedom and dignity for others. They sent Federal Troops to places in America where black men were murdered and black people were denied their basic rights as US citizens because that’s what moved the fight for freedom and dignity along in this country.
The Presidents we celebrated as children were honest and true to our values. They were celebrated for their humble beginnings, their military service, and–in many cases–their great minds. They established national parks to protect our nation’s lands and created the EPA. Nixon went to China. Reagan sought out the Soviets to decrease the threat of annihilation by nuclear weapons. Barack Obama stands in many ways as a monument to the work of King but will most likely be seen as a bright and moral man who led us out of dark economic times with a level head while seeking the establishment of health care for all.
We most often associate Dr King with his “I have a dream” speech and his letters from the Birmingham jail. But, this was also a man who fought for the dignity of garbage collectors to have a living wage for an honest day’s work. Our patriotic days celebrate traits of Presidents and heroes fighting for and establishing our shared values. We celebrate their establishment and furtherance as much as we celebrate the men themselves. (This is also why we need a few more patriotic holidays that enfranchise our women heroes and our indigenous peoples. Hint: NO MORE COLUMBUS DAYS)
The deal is this, I always thought that when they told us those stories of “anyone can become” president that it didn’t mean that it was an anyone that “lied”, avoided military service, ruined relations with allies, praised fascists, and gave speeches vilifying those among us that couldn’t join the Klan and recognizing goods on sides for which good does not exist in the American framework.
My children are grown and I no longer have to pass along the country’s folklore. I’m glad because what we see in the placeholder in the oval office today is anathema to all those lessons I learned during the celebration of President’s day in my grade schools and that both my daughters learned in their grade school classrooms during the celebration of MLK day. Kremlin KKKaligula chops down cherry trees every day and lies about it. Kremlin KKKaligula seeks to send our minorities back into servitude. His speeches are of Dreams of White Supremacy. He is way beyond a flawed man. He daily violates our shared values and looks towards their destruction.
He has to go. One way or another. Many people sacrificed so we could vote and this is the year that we show Martin Luther King that his fight to get voting rights and that his sacrifices were not in vain. I usually think of my grandmothers when I vote because I know they could not vote until well into their middle age. This November, I will hold up the promise of Dr Martin Luther King’s Dream and vote for everything that he lived and died for. Join me and get others to do so too. We need not just a blue wave. We need a rainbow wave. We need a colors of the earth wave.
Here are some reads that you might like.
From Electric Literature: “11 Incredible Books by Writers from ‘Shithole’ Countries. Let’s celebrate just a few of the amazing authors the president says he wouldn’t want in the U.S.”
But it’s a good reminder to celebrate the work of writers from Africa, and from Haiti, El Salvador, and other protected-status countries. As writers, readers, and human beings, we would all be intellectually impoverished by the lack of these voices. Here are some of our favorite novels, memoirs, and poetry by authors from the countries Trump disdains, many of whom celebrate their complicated homelands in their work.
And, from a patron of the Seattle Public Library: “Sh**hole Countries”: a Reading List.”
Our sh*t-for-brains 45th President doesn’t read, but you do! Explore some of the places and cultures he’s maligned, learn history he’s ignorant of, and see the world through the eyes of people whose lives he regards as worthless. Resist hate-mongering and race-baiting, and experience the world and your fellow human beings in ways that only someone not wholly devoid of curiosity, empathy, and functional literacy truly can! *Note: This list is not a publication of the Seattle Public Library, nor intended to be presented on its behalf. It was created on a patron account, outside the library, in the same manner that any library patron can do. (I encourage library patrons everywhere to create and share their own lists!) The Bibliocommons software tags all such lists with its creator’s home library. I apologize for any confusion: it was never my intention to present this list on the Library’s behalf.
From New York Magazine and the Jonathan Chait: “Why Republicans Love Dumb Presidents”.
Rather than segregate questions about Trump’s brain away from the broader partisan debate, they dissolve the former into the latter. They believe that Trump’s being called dumb by the intellectual elite is intimately connected to his political identity. This belief is largely correct. As it has moved farther and farther right, the Republican Party has grown increasingly anti-intellectual. Trump’s base adores him, not despite his obvious mental limitations, but because of them.
Two caveats are in order. First, many intelligent people have conservative values, and rationally support the Republican Party. Second, while Trump’s lack of mental aptitude may be similar to that of previous Republican leaders in kind, it is very different in degree. That said, Trump’s flamboyant ignorance and disdain for intellectual standards are very much in keeping with modern conservative politics.
From the SF Chronicle: “Airbnb loses thousands of hosts in SF as registration rules kick in.”
Thousands of San Francisco hosts on Airbnb and rival home-stay sites have stopped renting their homes and rooms to tourists. Many others are scrambling to register their vacation rentals with the city as a Tuesday deadline looms for Airbnb and HomeAway to kick off unregistered hosts.
From the NYT:
The media often falls back on euphemisms when describing Trump’s comments about race: racially loaded, racially charged, racially tinged, racially sensitive. And Trump himself has claimed that he is “the least racist person.” But here’s the truth: Donald Trump is a racist. He talks about and treats people differently based on their race. He has done so for years, and he is still doing so.
Trump is a Racist, PERIOD. (CHARLES M.BLOW)
Racism is simply the belief that race is an inherent and determining factor in a person’s or a people’s character and capabilities, rendering some inferior and others superior. These beliefs are racial prejudices.
The history of America is one in which white people used racism and white supremacy to develop a racial caste system that advantaged them and disadvantaged others.
Understanding this, it is not a stretch to understand that Donald Trump’s words and deeds over the course of his life have demonstrated a pattern of expressing racial prejudices that demean people who are black and brown and that play to the racial hostilities of other white people.
The Heartbeat of Racism Is Denial (IBRAM X. KENDI)
Mental health experts routinely say that denial is among the most common defense mechanisms. Denial is how the person defends his superior sense of self, her racially unequal society.
Denial is how America defends itself as superior to “shithole countries” in Africa and elsewhere, as President Trump reportedly described them in a White House meeting last week, although he has since, well, denied that. It’s also how America defends itself as superior to those “developing countries” in Africa, to quote how liberal opponents of Mr. Trump might often describe them.
Mr. Trump appears to be unifying America — unifying Americans in their denial. The more racist Mr. Trump sounds, the more Trump country denies his racism, and the more his opponents look away from their own racism to brand Trump country as racist. Through it all, America remains a unified country of denial.
The reckoning of Mr. Trump’s racism must become the reckoning of American racism. Because the American creed of denial — “I’m not a racist” — knows no political parties, no ideologies, no colors, no regions.
So, what do we tell our American children? What does the world tell theirs about US?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
When talking about the racist president in the White House… (and I still can’t believe a year later that turd of a man is the president.) Whether, it be Asshole or Shithole, both words describe both his personality and outlook on and to humanity. Well, I should place a caveat there and state *humanity that does not look or have the same qualities as he does…mainly white and wealthy. Aryan white and like, yugely wealthy.
It has been a few days since he called the Continent of Africa…a shithole nation. And don’t tell me he did not also mean that extended to Haiti and El Salvador and other Black or Brown populous countries.
Whatever any of his people may say or lie to protect their “Dear Leader” or (for what I tend to believe more myself…) to protect their own ass from whatever Kompromat the said “Dear Leader” may have on them. Uh…I am talking about the performance from Tom Collins and Perdue et al.
I guess Cotton and Perdue got the message? Check out the time on this…JAN 12, 2018, 2:58 PM…that is the time that post was published over at Think Progress.
Read those links if you want to…it should come as no surprise. Especially after the other attempts to wag the dog have gone amiss. (Now that is my own opinion, and what is that saying? About assholes?) But after becoming so jaded over the past few years, you cannot tell me that certain news items were not leaked to get the news cycle off the Shithole comment. Especially after it was apparent that the victory lap which was previously taken the night before, was premature to say the least.
But you see:
I think the orange shithole let the porn star leak…and if you really want to know…I think there is something strangely tRumpian about this “Mistake” over in Hawaii.
Hey, maybe he knew it was coming?
It did take the Shithole news off the TVs for a little bit, however before long we were back to the obvious.
It seems like a point that I keep driving home on my threads. Hey, let us look at what this GOP has come to:
That comment above notwithstanding…who are the ones with most of the college loan debt?
Meanwhile, in Kentucky:
I think we are at the point where, it really doesn’t matter. The people will be screwed anyway:
This is a serious issue, and from the comments on that twitter thread, it looks like it could be something that will explode in our faces!
Hurricane Maria crippled a key maker of fluid bags, and as ‘wellness’ clinics pay a 600% markup, hospitals unable to afford them scramble to make do without
And who, just who can pay for those markups?
Here are just a few links to make a point, from Toledo to Shreveport and Anchorage to Fisherville, Virginia:
A crisis is at hand. Only I do not think this Administration, or much of this nation for that matter, will really give a shit when people start to die.
I know we have mentioned this woman already on the blog…but I wanted to post it again for emphasis. You know, to bring home the point. Who the fuck could do this? Where is the humanity?
I guess there is none when you have to put food on the table? Or was there something darker involved? That word is used on purpose mind you.
But, then how do you explain this shit:
That protest was over this:
This is what “humanity” has come to…here:
While these white supremacists and hate groups gather momentum…and tRump makes racist statements about black and brown continents and countries…here in our own country…predominantly areas populated by people of color are still subjected to environmental racism and outright negligence. It just makes me physically ill. Which brings me to my final point to all this…noise over the Shithole racist remarks, I wanted to save this little tidbit for last:
Sen. Durbin on Pres. Trump’s use of the term “chain migration”:
“I said to the president, ‘Do you realize how painful that term is to so many people? African-Americans believe that they migrated to America in chains. When you speak about [it], it hurts them personally. And he said, ‘Oh, that’s a good line.'”
I am glad Durbin mentioned this…glad that he made this point…even if it went totally over the head of the racist in chief. So much of what is devastating about the direction this nation is going is the lack of humanity in a racist view of the world. tRump has made this the “ideal” to strive for…don’t tell me differently. The GOP is his accomplice. (I truly believe that Russia (whatever way possible) got him in that White House to begin with…but that is another post all together. ) Sure Shithole is a bigger slap in the face…but the nuance of the phrase chain migration, has just as much importance. They both are significant of the same disease that is being brought forward into our everyday lives.
Racism…Corruption and Racism. It is bringing down our democracy. Soon the only humanity left will be those who are marginalized and left with feelings of disgust and despair. You can’t expect humanity from a #shitholepresident.