Tuesday Reads: Civil Rights Legend vs. Shameless Racist Demagogue? No Contest.

John Lewis marching from Selma to Montgomery with Dr. Martin Luther King and other Civil Rights leaders.

John Lewis (right) marching from Selma to Montgomery with Dr. Martin Luther King and other Civil Rights leaders.

Good Morning!!

As we approach the dark day when tRump will take the oath of office, my feeling of living in an apocalyptic scifi novel grows ever stronger. How can this be happening?

This morning marks day 4 of tRump’s attacks on civil rights hero and member of Congress John Lewis; and over in Russia, Vladimir Putin went on state TV to defend his puppet from American criticism

Bloomberg: Putin Says Doesn’t Believe Trump Met Prostitutes in Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he doesn’t believe that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump met with prostitutes in Russia, calling the accusations part of a campaign to undermine the election result.

Unsubstantiated allegations made against Trump are “obvious fabrications,” Putin told reporters in the Kremlin on Tuesday. “People who order fakes of the type now circulating against the U.S. president-elect, who concoct them and use them in a political battle, are worse than prostitutes because they don’t have any moral boundaries at all,” he said.

Putin said that Trump wasn’t a politician when he visited Moscow in the past and Russian officials weren’t aware that he held any political ambitions. It’s “complete nonsense” to believe that Russian security services “chase after every American billionaire,” he said.

The Kremlin has denied that it holds any compromising material on Trump after U.S. intelligence officials informed the president-elect about unsubstantiated reports that Russia had compiled potentially damaging personal information on him….

Trump is “a grown man, and secondly he’s someone who has been involved with beauty contests for many years and has met the most beautiful women in the world,” Putin said. “I find it hard to believe that he rushed to some hotel to meet girls of loose morals, although ours are undoubtedly the best in the world.”c

Well I guess that settle that then . . . not. Does Putin actually think he’s helping tRump or is he trying to undermine his chosen POTUS? Who knows? Can anyone recall a foreign dictator defending an U.S. president-elect before?

20 May 1961, Montgomery, AL, wo battered Freedom Riders, John Lewis (left) and James Zwerg (right) stand together after being attacked and beaten by pro-segregationists in Montgomery, Alabama. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

20 May 1961, Montgomery, AL, two battered Freedom Riders, John Lewis (left) and James Zwerg (right) stand together after being attacked and beaten by pro-segregationists in Montgomery, Alabama. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Putin may be defending tRump, but he has already rejected the president-elect’s offer to remove sanctions on Russia in return for reductions in their nuclear arsenal.  Radio Free Europe reports:

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters at the United Nations in New York on January 16 that Moscow was willing to talk to the United States about nuclear disarmament, but it was not going to discuss arms control as part of a deal to lift sanctions.

“Sanctions are not a subject for dialogue,” Ryabkov said. “We have never discussed any criteria for the listing of sanctions and are not doing it now. All these sanctions were introduced under contrived and illegitimate pretexts.”

Ryabkov said Russia was open to discussion on the subject of curbing nuclear arms, but stressed that Moscow would not make concessions on arms in exchange for the United States lifting sanctions.

“Without dialogue nothing will happen at all, but it would be too naive to think Moscow would change its [defense posture] for that or other reasons,” Ryabkov said.

Meanwhile back in the USA, tRump appears to be the least popular president-elect in history, according to two new polls.

CNN: CNN/ORC Poll: Confidence drops in Trump transition.

Donald Trump will become president Friday with an approval rating of just 40%, according to a new CNN/ORC Poll, the lowest of any recent president and 44 points below that of President Barack Obama, the 44th president.

Following a tumultuous transition period, approval ratings for Trump’s handling of the transition are more than 20 points below those for any of his three most recent predecessors. Obama took the oath in 2009 with an 84% approval rating, 67% approved of Clinton’s transition as of late December 1992 and 61% approved of George W. Bush’s transition just before he took office in January 2001.

Trump’s wobbly handling of the presidential transition has left most Americans with growing doubts that the President-elect will be able to handle the job. About 53% say Trump’s statements and actions since Election Day have made them less confident in his ability to handle the presidency, and the public is split evenly on whether Trump will be a good or poor president (48% on each side).

The President-elect dismissed the poll findings on Twitter: “The same people who did the phony election polls, and were so wrong, are now doing approval rating polls. They are rigged just like before.”

John Lewis, beaten during Selma to Montgomery march.

John Lewis, beaten during Selma to Montgomery march.

The Washington Post: Here’s just how brutal Donald Trump’s pre-inauguration poll numbers are, in context.

Donald Trump will take the oath of office as the most unpopular president in at least four decades, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Just 40 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Trump right now. A majority — 54 percent — have an unfavorable one.

And that probably undersells just how historically unpopular our new president is right now. The only reason we can’t go back further than four decades is because we simply don’t have the data; polls weren’t as plentiful back then.

The data we do have suggest most every non-Trump president experienced an outpouring of goodwill in the two months between their election and their swearing in. Trump just hasn’t gotten it.

The pre-inauguration favorable numbers for the six presidents to come before him, in fact, were all significantly higher than their share of the popular vote. For Obama, it was 26 points higher (79 percent favorable versus 53 percent of the vote). Every other recent president except Ronald Reagan was at least double-digits higher — as much as 28 points for Jimmy Carter. (Reagan’s was 7 points higher.)

The favorable rating for Trump, meanwhile, is actually six points below his vote share (46 percent).

More results from the poll at the WaPo link above.

Another shot of John Lewis during the Selma to Montgomery march.

Another shot of John Lewis during the Selma to Montgomery march.

The New York Daily News reports that scalpers are losing money on Inauguration tickets.

Donald Trump will take office as one of the most unpopular President-elects in recent history — and even scalpers may feel the pain.

Some flippers, who acquired tickets to Trump’s inauguration with the intent of reselling them on the secondary market, are striking out in their efforts to peddle them and are now looking at some relatively “yuge” losses.

Yossi Rosenberg, 36, of upper Manhattan, told the Daily News he bought a pair of tickets to Friday’s Washington, D.C. event from a woman in Westchester County for $700, thinking he could flip them for at least twice as much.

“Nobody wants to buy them,” Rosenberg told The News. “It looks like I’m stuck with them, I might even have to go.”

As tRump would say, “Sad.”

It’s difficult to see how tRump’s attacks on John Lewis could be helping him. Petula Dvorak at The Washington Post: Where was Donald Trump when John Lewis was fighting for civil rights? Let’s compare.

We can start in 1960, when Trump was 14 and Lewis was 20. They both clearly showed their leadership potential early.

At New York Military Academy in Cornwall, N.Y., Donald Trump won a “neatness and order medal.”

That same year, John Lewis became one of the original 13 Freedom Riders, defying laws that prohibited blacks and whites from sitting next to each other on public transportation, some people then started to use other ways as cars or a scooter to travel different places.

Three years later in 1963, man-of-action Trump led his private school’s white-gloved drill team in the Columbus Day parade in New York. But he was also removed from that drill team command, classmates said, because he hazed younger students.

That same year, Lewis helped organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and spoke alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

In 1965, Trump got his second Vietnam draft deferment as a Fordham University student.

In 1965, on a day that became known as Bloody Sunday, Lewis helped lead 600 marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. When the marchers stopped to pray, they were tear-gassed and beaten by troopers. Lewis’s skull was fractured.

In 1973, Trump’s actions got him sued by the Department of Justice. He was managing his dad’s properties and wouldn’t rent apartments to African Americans. The Trumps eventually settled the lawsuit without any admission of wrongdoing.

That same year, John Lewis was running the Voter Education Project, which pushed to register minority voters across the country.

John Lewis, with bandaged head sits next to MLK during press briefing.

John Lewis, with bandaged head sits next to MLK during press briefing.

Trump owned the ’80s, right? His actions that decade?

In 1981, Trump bought a 14-story building facing New York City’s Central Park and began a campaign to drive out the rent-stabilized tenants so he could begin gutting and renovating the building. According to lawsuits, Trump cut heat and water to the remaining tenants.

In 1981, John Lewis was elected to the Atlanta City Council.

In 1987, Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal,” became a bestseller. Action? He didn’t even write it; talk about talk talk talk. And his ghostwriter, Tony Schwartz, now regrets the picture he painted of Trump in that book.

In 1987, Lewis was elected to Congress.

The truth is that tRump likely had no idea who John Lewis was; and after someone told him he still didn’t feel any shame. Psychopaths don’t feel shame like normal people do.

At The National Memo, Froma Harrop has some good advice for the media: treat him like a toddler. Too bad they probably won’t listen.

Dog trainers have long advised owners against reacting to their pets’ attention-seeking antics — the barking, jumping and pushiness.

“Dog owners often inadvertently reinforce (reward) these behaviors by interacting with the dog,” writes veterinary behaviorist Lisa Radosta. “Any attention can be regarded as a reward, even yelling.”

Similar advice is doled to parents of whining, tantrum-throwing toddlers. Many in the media could use it, as well. All that sputtering over Donald Trump’s personal taunts and stupid tweets is exactly what the president-elect seeks. Turn away. Turn away.

If Trump won’t take questions from serious journalists at a news conference, it’s not a news conference. Reporters are merely playing “straight man” on a reality TV show — complete with paid hecklers and promotions for Trump properties. They don’t have to be there.

Their job is to cover what Trump does, which includes his appointments and ties to foreign adversaries. If Trump publicly insults U.S. or foreign leaders, that’s still news. If he insults newspeople, so what?

Unfortunately, most in the “thin skinned” media will probably be more upset by his attacks on them than by his policies.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread, and have a great Tuesday!

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71 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Civil Rights Legend vs. Shameless Racist Demagogue? No Contest.”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Dana Millbank at the WaPo:

    Trump gets no respect. That’s because he hasn’t earned it.

    To Trump’s many self-assigned superlatives, he can now add another: the sorest winner. With charity for none and with malice toward all but his supporters, he has in the past two months set a new standard for gracelessness in victory.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    John King at CNN:

    Sources: Trump labor pick Andrew Puzder has voiced second thoughts about nomination.

    President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to be labor secretary has voiced second thoughts in recent days, because of a relentless barrage of criticism from Democrats, labor unions and other liberal groups, a business ally and GOP sources tell CNN.

    Andy Puzder is the CEO of the company that owns the Hardees and Carl’s Jr. fast food chains.

    “He may be bailing,” said a Republican source plugged into the Trump transition effort. “He is not into the pounding he is taking, and the paperwork.”

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    I am surprised at the 40% approval. That is way too high for this idiot.

    The man is nuts! Seriously disturbed. Stupid, arrogant, and incapable of forming a coherent thought.

    What have we come to when 40% see nothing out of whack in this genius?

    • dakinikat says:

      There’s a whole bunch of Trump voters in denial and bargaining phase still. They’re just beginning to realize they helped Russia stage a coup.

    • Enheduanna says:

      Yes it’s hard to understand even that level.

      I wonder if it’s similar to the Electoral College problem – because liberal/progressives live on the coasts and in cities, the polls tend to over-sample the much larger rural fly-over country inhabited by the pod people.

    • roofingbird says:

      I’m still seeing white women plead to give him a chance, the poor baby.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        He offered “cures” with no specifics.
        He demonstrated his lack of knowledge on the issues during the debates.
        He laughed about “grabbing their pussies”.
        He refused to release his tax forms.
        He lied repeatedly during his rallies.
        He mocked a disabled reporter.
        He changed positions on an hourly basis.
        Hia juvenile and petty side was evident in his daily tweets.
        His narcissism was on full display,
        He denigrated John McCain’s captive status.
        He challenged a Gold Star family.
        His cabinet picks come with some questionable baggage and inexperience.
        He is surrounded by members of the alt-right.
        His “friendship” with Putin is troubling.

        Yet these morons disregarded the obvious and voted for him just the same.

        I have no “understanding” for these idiots as they knew as well as we that he was a blowhard with no principles,integrity or moral standing. A pox on them!

        • roofingbird says:

          Agreed, Pat. I think it has to do with not being able to see outside the abusive boundary, and lack of self will. Most of the ones I am hearing this from are also entrenched in fundamentalist religious patriarchy.

          • Pat Johnson says:

            They voted for him because he was male.
            They voted for him because he had an “R” after his name.
            They voted for him because they identified with the race whistle.
            They voted for him due to his celebrity.
            They voted for him because they hated Hillary more.
            They voted for him because history means nothing to them.
            They voted for him because in many ways they saw themselves.
            They voted for him because critical thinking is beyond them.
            They voted for him because deep down they recognized a “friend”.
            They voted for him because they are ignorant, backward, hypocritical and fearful of anything or anyone who goes against their fundamental beliefs.

            They are the segment of the population that can be aptly described as “the other”.

        • jackyt says:

          I see the Trump vote as a giant F-USA. That particular X on the ballot precludes love of country.

  4. Pilgrim says:

    The feeling of living in apocalypse describes quite well the present general mood.

    As one of my friends (here in Canada) said, it’s like watching a horror movie through one’s fingers covering one’s eyes. The real horror is that it’s not a movie.

    The bottom right-hand pic in your post — shows a press interview with John Lewis in office of Rev. M.L. King. At the open window near the desk appears the helmeted head of what seems to be a police person. Close in, looking in. Gives the photo an odd feel.

    • dakinikat says:

      I still can’t believe this country has that huge of a corps of evil stupid ugly Americans. I’m avoiding white people I don’t know. Don’t want to be caught in the cross fire.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I’m avoiding white people I do know, except for those in the LGBT community. I’m on Donald tRump’s hit list in several categories. Lesbian/Woman, Bleeding heart liberal, Agnostic, OLD on Medicare/SS, that I actually need to survive. But I’m not afraid of that orange mango, short fingered, ferret wearing shitgibbon. I’d pull the ferret off his head if I could get close enough.

      • joanelle says:

        I don’t think they are all evil or stupid- I do believe they most likely have no knowledge of how bad he is, because they live relatively sheltered lives. That have been victims of a pretty darn good marketing scheme that has gone on for years to totally denigrate and undermine Hillary, and many of those folks have truly believed the decades of slander. AND, the DNC has done little to help tell the truth about the good she’s done. The boys most often turned thier backs on her but accepted the good she did.
        Trump’s camp and his allies have hammered their message over and over again to the point that people believed it just as they do that commercial about detergent, tissues, or soda, while no one was saying, “hey, hold on there THAT’s a lie, this is the truth.” No they left her out there alone with a few weak voices whispering to help.
        Ok, I’ll agree that many aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer, and just allowed themselves to be lead. People can be just downright lazy and not do the reading or research, and lazy and not bright is dangerous. But many were just mean and wanted to punish the ‘girl,’ they just didn’t want a woman in the Oval Office.
        Now what is the DNC doing to help those folks to suffer a bit of “buyers remorse” by helping them understand that he lied, lied and lied again about Hillary. They need to know we’re living in a weird tale on another plain so it doesn’t happen again.

        • gregoryp says:

          I think Dakinikat is correct. They are evil bigots who know exactly what they are doing. They just believe that they are morally superior and are irate that they currently aren’t allowed to discriminate against others. Hillary represented equality. Hillary represented taking this country into a new direction and religious bigots would lose influence and status and they’d rather the whole country implode than to lose those things. I’ve always wondered how so called Christians could continue to vote for such cynical and disreputable people as W. and Trump while supporting a form of capitalism that is completely counter to the teachings of the Christian faith.

        • contrask says:

          Joanelle, they live sheltered lives because they are so intellectually lazy and/or the religious community they blindly follow has led them totally astray. And yes, that is evil. They are part of it whether they realize it or not. I have no compassion for anyone that voted for this. None. I live in a red state and I’ve attended some of the churches that I’m sure have promoted him. I saw their falseness in other ways and left. They are evil and they are stupid. I wish I could feel different but I know that religious bunch has put it in the minds of their followers that you can’t possibly be Christian if you are Democrat and therefore Hillary is akin to the devil.

    • NW Luna says:

      It’s like a slow-motion horror scene playing out, one that cannot be turned off. I keep having bad dreams. The other night we had a few minutes to grab what we needed and could carry and get out — we were living undercover and the secret police were coming.

      • palhart says:

        At least you’re sleeping. My sleeping pills can’t penetrate my dread and horror.

        • joanelle says:

          200-300 mgs of magnesium, is natural and helps one to sleep like a baby!

          • NW Luna says:

            Glad it works for you.

            A pill is a pill. I want to know how a substance works, and what all the possible effects are, “side” or otherwise. Lots of pharmaceuticals are derived from plants or even fungi (penicillin from a mold, digitalis from foxglove, aspirin from willow bark), and synthesized so to be standardized strength. Willow bark and foxglove and magnesium can be toxic in the wrong doses. We need more research into most “natural” remedies.

            Urgh, I just reminded myself there’s fat chance of more research now, especially if not funded by for-profit companies.

        • dakinikat says:

          I’m back on antidepressants and antianxiety meds. I’m really frightened that what I’m depending on in my old age will be yanked from me.

    • bostonboomer says:

      You’re right Pilgrim. It looks like a National Guard troop. How creepy!

  5. Delphyne49 says:

    And here is the marvelous Maxine Water – do not miss the videos at the link!!

    http://shareblue.com/rep-maxine-waters-unleashes-epic-rant-on-trump-i-believe-trump-is-a-danger/

  6. roofingbird says:

    I really don’t think anymore that the repugnants care what happens to drumf. If he is impeached or even killed, they have in place what they really want. If they have their ugly bills in place ready for Pence, or even Ryan, to sign they will be happy. As long as they can keep their hands under the table, and actually get the inauguration done, they are gold. We have to take Ryan down.

    • gregoryp says:

      I’ve thought since Day 1 after the election results that their goal was to push through the most horrible crap they can and dupe Trump into signing them into law. Then when things go wrong and they certainly will or if there is tremendous backlash they’ll throw Trump under the bus by impeaching and convicting his sorry butt. Either that or he’ll resign citing “health” problems or something. But really, who is going to call these guys on anything. Democrats have been conciliatory and spineless for decades. The media is owned by billionaires and they jettisoned all the honest blokes out years ago. Hell, Putin could move in at the White House, seize control and start giving orders and our Republican Congress would handily go along. There isn’t an ounce of character or ethics in any of those vermin.

  7. dakinikat says:

    • Enheduanna says:

      I’ve got to clean under my refrigerator so I guess I’ll miss it on the electric teevee (as Charlie Pierce would say) lol

      • NW Luna says:

        I hear the trick to ratings is to turn your TV on to anything else but the inauguration Friday, so the broadcasters can pick up the negative %s. Let’s hear it for bigly negative %s!

        • Enheduanna says:

          Oh that’s excellent – I actually do put my teevee on one of the classical music channels and play it all day long. I heard animals respond well to soothing music so I play if for my cat herd.

        • janicen says:

          Someone posted a Snopes report on all of that. According to Snopes, it only counts if you are a Neilson household. I’m leaving my television off and listening to music or going to a movie. By the way, just saw “Hidden Figures” the other day. I highly recommend it. Really great movie.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I’m too busy to watch tRump pretend to be POTUS, I’m cleaning out my underwear drawer on Friday. I’ll tune in to TCM so they’ll get the ratings.

  8. dakinikat says:

    To find women’s marches in a location near you that are sister marchers to the one in DC:

    https://www.womensmarch.com/sisters/

    i will be marching with the krewe of Hillary on Saturday afternoon from a park close to me to the front of city hall … hoping to bring Temple with me

    I’m also going to be marching all day friday ….

    My krewe is going to be wearing Edwardian/Victorian mourning clothing but with sequins!! We’ve got tons of other krewes like the krewe of pussy power and all kinds of fun stuff. hopefully I can send some pix to here…

    http://m.bestofneworleans.com/gambit/we-are-on-the-move-inauguration-day-protests-in-new-orleans/Content?oid=3092229

  9. dakinikat says:

    http://m.sfgate.com/nation/article/Republican-says-with-Trump-impeachment-needs-10861130.php

    Northwestern University Law Professor Steven Calabresi served in two Republican administrations, was an adviser to Attorney General Edwin Meese under Ronald Reagan and wrote speeches for Vice President Dan Quayle. He is co-founder and board chairman of the conservative Federalist Society.

    So it raised a few eyebrows when Calabresi told a law school audience in San Francisco that when it comes to Donald Trump, “impeachment needs to be on the table.”

    Even though both houses of Congress will be controlled by his fellow Republicans, Trump, a party outsider, will be “on a short leash. There could be a spectacular end,” Calabresi said in a recent panel at the annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools.

    Calabresi was a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and another prominent conservative, Appeals Court Judge Robert Bork, and served in the Justice Department under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. </blockquote

  10. NW Luna says:

    More racist and anti-environmental violence in this proposed bill:

    New North Dakota Bill Would Legalize Running Down Protesters With Your Car

    “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a driver of a motor vehicle who unintentionally causes injury or death to an individual obstructing vehicular traffic on a public road, street, or highway is not guilty of an offense.”

    [North Daka Republican] Kempenich told the Bismarck Tribune that the legislation was aimed squarely at the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters, and that “It’s shifting the burden of proof from the motor vehicle driver to the pedestrian.”

    Flatly ignoring the requirements of the United States Constitution and the First Amendment, this Republican claims public highways are “not there for the protesters.” As for those who exercise their legal right to protest, “They’re intentionally putting themselves in danger.”

    Apparently so in Kempenich’s North Dakota. At least, if he has his way. He says of the protests, “It puts people on edge. People who live out there are feeling terrorized.” Apparently, he wants to spread that terror around to include people exercising their constitutional right to protest.

    http://www.politicususa.com/2017/01/17/north-dakota-bill-legalize-running-protesters-car.html

  11. ANonOMouse says:

    Great post BB, Thank you!

  12. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Well, how conveeenient that contrary to usual policy, Tillerson wasn’t sworn to oath before testifying. Now he isn’t legally guilty of lying to Congress.

  13. bostonboomer says:

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  14. NW Luna says:

    Hmmmmm.

  15. NW Luna says:

    Rethuglican progress: Ripping apart and skinning the Earth:

  16. NW Luna says:

    FF’S! Republican white men whining, from their position of privilege:

    “It’s easier being a woman today than it is a man,” he said in an interview. “The white man is a low person on the totem pole. Everybody else is above the white man.”

    • ANonOMouse says:

      This man is so S-T-U-P-I-D. The average sacrifices their body to child birth, holds down a full time job, takes care of the home, cooks, cleans, does laundry, helps children with homework and other needs, does the grocery shopping and most major shopping for the family while doing the lions share of childcare including taking care of their children when they are sick and taking kids to doctors appointments. In what world do women have it better than men? We work harder, take care of everyone in our family, including our parents in their declining years and sacrifice more. I can’t even read the entire article because the article is, on it’s face, absurd.

      • Enheduanna says:

        I haven’t read it either. Wonder if this guy has ever once swished out a toilet bowl or changed a diaper.

        You also forgot to add all the above is unpaid except for the full-time job – at which she is underpaid.

  17. palhart says:

    I passed a Catholic Church today with a slew of white crosses planted along side a poster of a baby with this sentence, “Take my hand, not my life.”

    Whether or not I watch a few minutes of the inauguration, I’m in mourning these 2 days leading up to it for the death of all the progressive legislation that has, and would have, made children’s lives happier and more productive. “Take my hopes and dreams and make them come true.”

  18. David Walden says:

    John Lewis sacrificed his own body, and was prepared to sacrifice his life in order to do what he felt was right. What was Donald Trump sacrificed? Not a damn thing.