Thursday Reads: News with Portraits of Stress

Picasso: Weeping Woman

Picasso: Weeping Woman

Good Afternoon!!

So . . . another chapter in my life crisis: My mother twisted her ankle a couple of days ago. She went to the doctor, but he sent her home with no treatment to speak of. She spent the night with a friend because she couldn’t really walk. Yesterday morning she was unable to put any weight on it. Now she is staying with my niece, but I’ve been having to deal with my many siblings while trying to figure out what to do when she comes home. Luckily, she is going to my brother’s house over Xmas. Of course this is on top of my current mountain of stress over my living situation. Not to mention the coming apocalypse on January 20.

Anyway, I feel–and probably look like–the Picasso painting above; so please forgive me if this post is incoherent.

It looks like we’ll have to put up with Kellyanne Conway for the foreseeable future. The Guardian reports: Kellyanne Conway chosen as Donald Trump’s counselor.

Donald Trump has named his former campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, to serve as counselor to the president, making her the most influential woman in the White House….

Conway, a pollster and political strategist, has been serving as a key member of Trump’s transition team since his victory on 8 November. She came on board as campaign manager in August shortly after Trump had secured the Republican nomination, and after two others – Corey Lewandowski and Paul Manafort – had been fired from the position….

Trump has touted Conway as an example of his support and promotion of women. The president-elect’s victory on 8 November “also shattered the glass ceiling for women”, Trump’s statement announcing her appointment read. Conway was the first female campaign manager for either major party to win a presidential general election….

The role of counselor to the president is not a position all presidents appoint. It is usually an influential adviser role with a focus on communications. The last person to hold that title was John Podesta, who served under Barack Obama before leaving to run Hillary Clinton’s campaign in February 2015.

Yeah, whatever. If you want to read a bunch more bullshit about Kellyanne, you can click on the link above.

A Fork in the Road, Michael Tolleson

A Fork in the Road, Michael Tolleson

The New Republic’s Jeet Heer: Trump’s Tweets Are a Threat to Our National Security.

TheWashington Post has created a nifty tool designed to address one of the novel problems of our political era: a president-elect who persistently uses Twitter to spread lies. A web-browser extension for Chrome and Firefox, RealDonaldContext annotates some of Trump’s tweets with fact-checking from the Post. For instance, last month Trump tweeted, “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” Below that, if you use the extension, is a note saying, “This is incorrect or false,” with this explication: “Trump didn’t win in a landslide in any sense—but more importantly there is absolutely no evidence that there were a significant number of votes cast illegally, much less ‘millions’ of them.”

RealDonaldContext meets a genuine need, given the importance tweeting plays in Trump’s media strategy and the frequency with which he lies. Trump’s authoritarianism is manifest in his attempt to impose a false reality on the world, which will become all the more dangerous when he assumes power. Thus, fact-checking his tweets is not only essential journalism, but an act of resistance—a reminder that Trump can’t make a lie come true by fiat alone.

Yet fact-checking, while necessary, is also only a partial solution. Trump’s core supporters, and the Republican Party that has decided to appease them, have proven willing to swallow his lies wholesale; they are immune to fact-checkers. Moreover, the problem with Trump’s tweets isn’t just that they often contain falsehoods, but that they are deliberate provocations with the potential to cause real conflict….

Trump will soon be president, and every tweet and other utterance will matter greatly. “The president’s words, as uttered in speeches and other official statements, literally shape American foreign policy,” Shamila N. Chaudhary, a senior fellow at New America, wrote at Politico. “In turn, State Department bureaucrats rely on the commander in chief to articulate clear, thoughtful and consistent views, based on facts and a knowledge of history. Only then can the entire weight of the large State Department bureaucracy follow seamlessly behind him—and carry out his goals.” In other words, the problem with Trump’s tweets isn’t just that they contain lies and speculation; it’s that a steady, sober foreign policy is made impossible by those tweets. If other nations take Trump’s tweets literally, as China did, there is a real possibility of military conflict.

Read the rest at the link. I think this is a very serious problem, but Trump will probably be just as belligerent in speeches and in person. It’s a fucking nightmare.

PTSD, Marcel Flisiuk

PTSD, Marcel Flisiuk

Philip Rucker and Karen Tumulty at the WaPo: Donald Trump is holding a government casting call. He’s seeking ‘the look.’

Donald Trump believes that those who aspire to the most visible spots in his administration should not just be able to do the job, but also look the part.

Given Trump’s own background as a master brander and showman who ran beauty pageants as a sideline, it was probably inevitable that he would be looking beyond their résumés for a certain aesthetic in his supporting players.

“Presentation is very important because you’re representing America not only on the national stage but also the international stage, depending on the position,” said Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller.

To lead the Pentagon, Trump chose a rugged combat general, whom he compares to a historic one. At the United Nations, his ambassador will be a poised and elegant Indian American with a compelling immigrant backstory. As secretary of state, Trump tapped a neophyte to international diplomacy, but one whose silvery hair and boardroom bearing project authority.

What the fucking fuck?!
“He likes people who present themselves very well, and he’s very impressed when somebody has a background of being good on television because he thinks it’s a very important medium for public policy,” said Chris Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media and a longtime friend of Trump. “Don’t forget, he’s a showbiz guy. He was at the pinnacle of showbiz, and he thinks about showbiz. He sees this as a business that relates to the public.”

“The look might not necessarily be somebody who should be on the cover of GQ magazine or Vanity Fair,” Ruddy said. “It’s more about the look and the demeanor and the swagger.”

For example:

As Trump formally announced his vice presidential pick in July, he said that Mike Pence’s economic record as Indiana governor was “the primary reason I wanted Mike, other than he looks very good, other than he’s got an incredible family, incredible wife and family.”

And in picking retired Marine Gen. James Mattis as his nominee for defense, Trump lauded him as “the closest thing to General George Patton that we have.”

Mattis has a passing physical resemblance to the legendary World War II commander, as well as to the late actor George C. Scott, who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Patton in the 1970 biopic. Trump also seems particularly enamored with a nickname that Mattis is said to privately dislike.

“You know he’s known as ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, right? ‘Mad Dog’ for a reason,” Trump said in a recent interview with the New York Times.

I’m sorry, but isn’t there anyone in a position (and willing) to prevent this insane monster from destroying our country?

Rage, Christine Hamilton

Rage, Christine Hamilton

Oh wait, James Comey (with help from Loretta Lynch) already made sure tRump could turn the US into a reality TV show except with real nuclear weapons.

Sari Horwitz at the WaPo: The attorney general could have ordered FBI Director James Comey not to send his bombshell letter on Clinton emails. Here’s why she didn’t.

Twelve days before the presidential election, FBI Director James B. Comey dispatched a senior aide to deliver a startling message to the Justice Department. Comey wanted to send a letter to Congress alerting them that his agents had discovered more emails potentially relevant to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

The official in Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates’s office who received the FBI call immediately understood the explosive potential of Comey’s message, coming so close to the presidential election. Federal attorneys scrambled into offices on the fourth and fifth floors of Justice Department headquarters, where they huddled to figure out how to stop what they viewed as a ticking time bomb.

“It was DEFCON 1,” said an official familiar with the deliberations. “We were in­cred­ibly concerned this could have an impact on the election.”

Aides at Justice and the FBI — located in offices directly across the street from each other on Pennsylvania Avenue — began exchanging increasingly tense and heated phone calls, nearly a half-dozen throughout the afternoon and evening of Oct. 27 and into the next morning.

Justice officials laid out a number of arguments against releasing the letter. It violated two long-standing policies. Never publicly discuss an ongoing investigation. And never take an action affecting a candidate for office close to Election Day. Besides, they said, the FBI did not know yet what was in the emails or if they had anything to do with the Clinton case.

Remarkably, the country’s two top law enforcement officials never spoke. As Comey’s boss, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch could have given the FBI director an order to not send the letter. But Lynch and her advisers feared that Comey would not listen. He seemed to feel strongly about updating Congress on his sworn testimony about the Clinton investigation. Instead, they tried to relay their concerns through the Justice official whom the FBI had called.

Their efforts failed. Within 24 hours of the first FBI call, Comey’s letter was out.

Read the rest at the link. Why does James Comey still have a job?

What stories are you following today?


28 Comments on “Thursday Reads: News with Portraits of Stress”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Media Matters via The National Memo:

    Breitbart Openly Admits Role As Bullies For Trump

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Linda Greehouse at the NYT:

    Invasion of the Agency Snatchers

  3. bostonboomer says:

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Now he’s really pushing for war with China!

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    Would someone please turn off Boston Boomer’s “shit show machine”! What a way to end a bad year.

    I am off to Reading for the weekend. Wishing all Sky Dancers a warm and peaceful holiday and a much better New Year.

    Anything is better than the last 12 months. (I say this with fingers crossed.)

  6. Good news is that it is raining in my very dry little desert town. All the rest is not good news, for the most part. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to listen to Kellyanne Conway or Trump. The way they speak even as much as what they say just sets me on edge. I liked this tweet from Paul Krugman, if like is the right word: https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/811560862259392512

    • Enheduanna says:

      I know right? tRump and Conway just send my BP up 20 pts automatically when I see them on teevee. It was my worst fear I’d have to endure Conway after the election and now that nightmare has come true times eleventy.

      I’m soooo close to scaling my cable subscription back. Comcast just bumped me up $30 a month. What I watch on cable isn’t worth that much less that plus what I’m paying.

  7. I should have just copied Paul Krugman’s tweet: Paul Krugman ‏@paulkrugman Dec 21
    The emerging white nationalist alliance between European neo-Nazis, Russia, and Trump officials needs a name. Hmm: Axis of evil?

  8. Enheduanna says:

    BB – sorry about your Mom. They should have at least given her a bootie – those aren’t expensive. I hate orthopedists – haven’t found a good one here yet.

  9. William says:

    Watching cable news will be akin to watching Big Brother’s telescreen. Right now, it’s not mandatory, so let’s not watch any of it. And again, I think that the popular majority voters have more economic clout than they realize, if they somehow are ablet to figure out how to use it en masse.

    We’ve got our equivalent of Nazi Germany, down to Conway, the serial liar, as senior propagandist. “He didn’t say that.” “I don’t know what you are talking about.” “He won by 3 million votes if you don’t count CA and NY.” The best we can do, is ignore the propaganda; make sure to try to convince everyone wihin earshot to vote next time; and don’t knowingly contribute economically to any entity which is part of this consortium of evil.

    As to Lynch, she was a bad appointment, someone Obama was determined to install, because of her combined gender and race. Lynch was so cowed by the reaction she got to chatting with Bill Clinton, that she gave up doing anything to stop the FBI coup. Obama never was interested in doing anything about any of it, apparently. When good people do nothing, evil people just run all over them. The story of this country right now.

    • NW Luna says:

      Well, a fair number of good people are going to speak up and call out and support and shelter each other at the very least.

  10. NW Luna says:

    BB, so sorry to hear about your mother’s injury. If her ankle is so bad she can’t put weight on it, perhaps it should be assessed again by someone else. A bad ankle sprain can take quite a while to heal up. The older we are the longer things take to heal, but they can heal up just as well as in younger people. I hope all goes as well as possible, and gentle hugs for you.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks. She is able to walk now with a walker. She has seen two doctors and had x-rays. We are trying to get her into some kind of rehab program for a couple of weeks.

      • NW Luna says:

        Good that she can ambulate with the walker. It makes all the difference being able to get around by yourself using an adaptive device! And rehab will be very helpful.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I wish both you and your mother all the best. I struggled with a high ankle sprain for almost a year. It was one of the slowest recuperations from an injury I’ve ever had and I’ve had some bad ones. Much worse than any broken bone I’ve ever had. If she can keep the swelling down it will help a lot.