Tuesday Reads

Girl reading on a rainy day, Dominique Amendola

Girl reading on a rainy day, Dominique Amendola

Good Morning!!

Sorry I’m so late this morning. I have no excuse other than my mental block against reading about the tRump horror show. Every day I wake up expecting to find that this narcissistic, unstable man has blown something up. One interesting thing is that the White House is leaking like a sieve every time tRump has one of his tantrums. The Washington Post got some doozies yesterday.

The first days inside Trump’s White House: Fury, tumult and a reboot.

President Trump had just returned to the White House on Saturday from his final inauguration event, a tranquil interfaith prayer service, when the flashes of anger began to build.

Trump turned on the television to see a jarring juxtaposition — massive demonstrations around the globe protesting his day-old presidency and footage of the sparser crowd at his inauguration, with large patches of white empty space on the Mall….Trump grew increasingly and visibly enraged.

Pundits were dissing his turnout. The National Park Service had retweeted a photo unfavorably comparing the size of his inauguration crowd with the one that attended Barack Obama’s swearing-in ceremony in 2009. A journalist had misreported that Trump had removed the bust of Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oval Office. And celebrities at the protests were denouncing the new commander in chief — Madonna even referenced “blowing up the White House.”

A Student of Art History, Ivanov Sakachev

A Student of Art History, Ivanov Sakachev

So he sent Sean Spicer out to claim that his inauguration was the most attended and watched in American history–an easily refuted lie.

Trump has been resentful, even furious, at what he views as the media’s failure to reflect the magnitude of his achievements, and he feels demoralized that the public’s perception of his presidency so far does not necessarily align with his own sense of accomplishment.

On Monday, Spicer returned to the lectern, crisply dressed and appearing more comfortable as he parried questions from the press corps.

“There is this constant theme to undercut the enormous support that he has,” he told reporters. “And I think that it’s just unbelievably frustrating when you’re continually told it’s not big enough, it’s not good enough, you can’t win.”

Be sure to read the whole thing. It’s hilarious. The whining from tRump and his people is getting really old. I hope these folks will get their act together pretty soon, but I’m not holding my breath.

The New York Times finally worked up the courage to call a tRump statement a lie in a headline last night: Trump Repeats Lie About Popular Vote in Meeting With Lawmakers.

President Trump used his first official meeting with congressional leaders on Monday to falsely claim that millions of unauthorized immigrants had robbed him of a popular vote majority, a return to his obsession with the election’s results even as he seeks support for his legislative agenda.

The claim, which he has made before on Twitter, has been judged untrue by numerous fact-checkers. The new president’s willingness to bring it up at a White House reception in the State Dining Room is an indication that he continues to dwell on the implications of his popular vote loss even after assuming power….

As part of that conversation, Mr. Trump asserted that between three million and five million unauthorized immigrants voted for Mrs. Clinton. That is similar to a Twitter message he posted in late November that said he would have won the popular vote “if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”

Voting officials across the country have said there is virtually no evidence of people voting illegally, and certainly not millions of them.

One thing we can be sure of: tRump will never get enough affirmation to satisfy his narcissistic needs. He is so psychologically damaged that he very likely can’t find enjoyment in anything other than finding ways to hurt other people–and now he’s in a position to hurt millions of people around the world.

Girl Reading, Coles Phillips

Girl Reading, Coles Phillips

It seems clear that tRump is a control freak, and here’s a creepy story at politico that demonstrates it: Trump assembles a shadow Cabinet.

The White House is installing senior aides atop major federal agencies to shadow the administration’s Cabinet secretaries, creating a direct line with loyalists who can monitor and shape White House goals across the federal bureaucracy.

The aides chosen by the White House — given the title of senior adviser in each agency — have already been responsible for hiring at some departments and crafting the blueprint of Trump policy before the Cabinet members win Senate confirmation to take office. They have worked with congressional aides, lobbyists and others seeking influence in the new administration.

The arrangement, described by four people involved in the transition planning, appears designed to help the White House maintain control over its priorities despite pledging to give Cabinet secretaries unusual autonomy. Having senior advisers reporting to both the agency chiefs and the White House could spur early tensions and create conflicts with that pledge of autonomy.

This morning tRump signed executive orders to resume building the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, along with five other orders related to the environment. NBC reports:

Trump signed a total of five orders regarding environmental issues in the Oval Office, including a pair addressing the pipeline projects as well as actions to expedite environmental reviews for high priority projects.

“The regulatory process in this country has become a tangled up mess,” Trump said.

Trump added that his actions on the Keystone and Dakota Access projects would be subject to terms and conditions being negotiated by the United States.

He also told reporters gathered in the Oval Office that if a pipeline is built in the United States, the pipe material should also be built domestically.

The decision has angered environmental advocates who say that the projects would have severe negative impacts on the areas where they are built and would encourage more reliance on fossil fuels. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its allies have vigorously protested the Dakota Access project, saying it would damage cultural sites.

Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II told NBC News that the tribe would take immediate legal action to fight the executive order.

“The Trump administration’s politically motivated decision violates the law and the Tribe will take legal action to fight it,” said Archambault. “We are not opposed to energy independence. We are opposed to reckless and politically motivated development projects, like DAPL, that ignore our treaty rights and risk our water. Creating a second Flint does not make America great again.”

Greenpeace also announced that it would continue to fight the pipeline projects.

Woman Reading, Wil Barnet

Woman Reading, Wil Barnet

A couple of recommended long reads you should check out:

Michio Kakutani at Vanity Fair: Donald Trump’s Chilling Language and the Fearsome Power of Words.

The New Yorker: Philip Roth Emails on Trump (Roth wrote the alternate history novel The Plot Against America).

Please read them both if you have the time to spare.

I’ll wrap this up with some gossipy stories, because I just can’t write anymore about tRump’s “American catastrophe.”

Grayden Carter at Vanity Fair:

Trump’s messy birdcage of a mind careens from one random thought to the next. He likes to strut and talk big-league. One of his ongoing observations—in tweets and elsewhere—is that “many people” have been calling him “the Ernest Hemingway of Twitter!” These are presumably people who have never read one of Hemingway’s books. In manner and execution, and in his almost touching desire to be liked, Trump comes across not as larger than life but as one of the smaller people on the world stage. He always had a sort of oafish charisma: as we used to say at Spy, a hustler on his best behavior. In small groups, as many can attest, he has mastered the salesman’s trick of creating faux sincerity and intimacy when answering a question by including the first name of the person who asked it. But no amount of grifter charm can conceal his alarming disregard for facts and truth. It’s this combination of utter ignorance and complete certitude that his detractors find most terrifying. Trump not only doesn’t know the unknowns but appears to have no interest in even knowing the knowns. Fact-checkers can’t keep up. How often does Obama play golf? Who cares—let’s inflate the number by 50 percent. What’s the murder rate in a major American city? What the hell—let’s multiply it by 10. The writer Michael O’Donoghue used to say that the definition of insanity is the length of time it takes for a lie to be uncovered. The shorter the period, the crazier you are. By this standard, our president will be setting a new threshold for that definition.

In temperament, we now have an unbridled man-boy in the highest office in the land, one who will lash out at the most reasoned criticism. The brusque childishness of his response to Meryl Streep’s measured comments at the Golden Globes—about Trump’s mocking gestures in reference to disabled New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski—was enough to be worried about. Then he hurled insults at Georgia Congressman John Lewis, a living icon of the civil-rights movement. Really? John Lewis? If he feels that he can so blithely attack two of the most respected people in the country, who is off limits? Trump was always a bad loser. But in the weeks since his disputed victory in the election we’ve discovered that this preening narcissist is also a very bad winner.

Read the rest at Vanity Fair.

Bridget Reading, Peter Samuelson

Bridget Reading, Peter Samuelson

Jezabel: Melania Hates Donald: A Theory, by Gabrielle Bluestone.

Donald Trump and his wife, Melania Trump, are now our president and first lady. But for how long?

Donald Trump has made no secret of his admiration for Ronald Reagan, an actor-turned-president who governed our country even in the face of his rumored deteriorating mental state. He even borrowed, and then copyrighted, Reagan’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

But there’s more—until Trump, Reagan was the only divorcée to ascend to the presidency. But Trump has never been content to merely follow in someone’s footsteps. Could he be the first president to actually get divorced while in the White House?

Either way, the Trumps certainly don’t mind spending time away from each other. In fact, Melania won’t be joining him in the White House until at least the summer, when Baron’s school term and her most convenient excuse for remaining in New York both expire. What will happen then? Only time—and their body language—will tell.

Click on the link to watch the telltale videos and read the commentary.

The New York Daily News: Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway allegedly punched a man in the face at President Trump’s inaugural ball.

Top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway allegedly punched a tuxedo-clad man at an exclusive inauguration ball just hours after the new commander-in-chief was sworn in, according to a witness.

Conway, who serves as President Trump’s senior counselor, apparently stepped between two men after they got into a scuffle at the invite-only Liberty Ball on Friday evening, an attendee told the Daily News.

But the two men wouldn’t break up the fight and Conway apparently punched one of them in the face with closed fists at least three times, according to the stunned onlooker.

More details at the link.

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

 


48 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Here’s one for Beata and your mom BB:

    http://occupydemocrats.com/2017/01/23/republican-senator-fire-facebook-post-insulting-michelle-obama-women-marchers/

    Jack E. Sandlin, Republican member of the Indiana State Senate, shared a disgusting Facebook meme intended to dismiss the Saturday Women’s Marches, tarnish Michelle Obama’s legacy, and make demeaning comments about women’s’ bodies. (Note that his profile picture includes VP Mike Pence, former Indiana governor.) Sandlin has since denied sharing the meme, saying that he is, “Not sure how that ended up on my Facebook wall but that certainly does not reflect my opinion of women.” More likely, Sandlin didn’t realize that the internet would get ahold of what he posts on his personal, private Facebook account.

  2. dakinikat says:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/environmental-protection-grants-staff_us_5886825be4b0e3a7356b575f

    USDA scientists just got their funds and grants taken out.

    EPA staff has been instructed to freeze all its grants ― an extensive program that includes funding for research, redevelopment of former industrial sites, air quality monitoring and education, among other things ― and told not to discuss this order with anyone outside the agency, according to a Hill source with knowledge of the situation.

    An EPA staffer provided the information to the congressional office anonymously, fearing retaliation.

    • Enheduanna says:

      He’s out to piss off every civil servant in the country apparently. One way or another.

      And after what he’s done to the National Park Service with his horrible nomination of Zinke – the least they could do was post those inauguration crowd pictures.

    • Fannie says:

      Trump should be gone, not the EPA.

  3. dakinikat says:

    Trump hangs portrait of inauguration crowd in WH press hall

    http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/315856-trump-hands-portrait-of-inauguration-crowd-in-white-house-press-hall

    Next up: Alternative rulers for dick size measurement

  4. bostonboomer says:

    I just watched the WH briefing, and Spicer doubled down on tRump’s claim that 3-5 million people voted illegally!

    • dakinikat says:

      Steven King was out there saying similar thing with his napkin analysis.

    • Enheduanna says:

      They really believe this. I had a Republican friend (who is deceased now) but he actually bought the GOPer “voter fraud” propaganda. He really believed thousands of blacks ran around on election day voting in multiple precincts. Nevermind how hard it is to find time to vote at all on a work day in winter.

      The fact that tRump believes it is Mexican immigrants – who if undocumented would never in a million years risk exposing themselves at a voting booth – is just the worst kind of white privileged racist thinking.

    • Earlynerd says:

      Speaking of Spicer:

      This is actually the actual press secretary of the actual fucking White House. Who is, apparently, a 12 year old child. https://t.co/k3ULVur3rK— Scott Matthewman (@scottm) January 23, 2017

      //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  5. dakinikat says:

    Officials Beg Trump to Send Help After Storms Kill 20 Across South

    http://www.nbcnews.com/news/weather/officials-beg-trump-send-help-after-storms-kill-20-across-n711071

    Still no Federal Disaster Declarations signed for these states. Guess if there’s no Trump Trailer Parks involved, meh …

    • gregoryp says:

      I have NO sympathy for these folks anymore. My fellow Southerners love to bash Obama, bash liberals, bash the Federal Government, etc. Don’t want to pay taxes. Don’t want an effective Federal government. So here it is, live in a tornado prone area you better get a storm cellar and stock up on supplies in the storm cellar and expect in the future to pitch a tent and live out of the storm cellar. Republicans have told you for years and years what they are for. You vote for them so live the life you advocate. The life you want. No more clean air. No more clean water. No more making an honest wage to provide for your family. No more Social Security.

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. Enheduanna says:

    Another total and complete bummer:

    http://www.shakesville.com/2017/01/take-action-now-to-save-net-neutrality.html

    His pick for FCC is against net neutrality.

  8. Pat Johnson says:

    Even more demoralizing, many Dems are voting to install these incompetent Trump choices that are climate deniers as well as bringing their corrupt backgrounds into the process.

    So much for “standing tall”and beating back those who will cripple and tear down the government as they all “make nice” with the lunatic and his picks.

    Apparently the Saturday march meant nothing to those who were elected to serve the public.

    The Dems are as craven and as hypocritical as the GOP.

  9. dakinikat says:

    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-boot-trump-reorients-us-foreign-policy-20170122-story.html

    Will Trump be the end of the Pax Americana?

    With the “America First” emphasis in his truculent inaugural address, Donald Trump has signaled that a radical reorientation of American foreign policy may be in the offing. For more than 70 years, the United States has been the world’s leading champion of free trade, democracy, and international institutions, particularly in Europe and East Asia. But for how much longer?

    In his interview last week with the Times of London and the German newspaper Bild, Trump called NATO “obsolete,” promoted the breakup of the European Union and suggested that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, leader of one of America’s most important allies, is no more trustworthy than Russia’s anti-American dictator, Vladimir Putin. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump sent the dollar tumbling after he said he favored a weaker dollar so as to reduce the trade deficit, abandoning our traditional policy.

  10. dakinikat says:

    This is the most radical thing I’ve seen for awhile:

    A Rogue National Park Is Tweeting Out Climate Change Facts in Defiance of Donald Trump

    http://time.com/4645927/badlands-national-park-climate-change-tweets/

  11. ANonOMouse says:

  12. ANonOMouse says:

    Ever notice how tRump always walks ahead of Melania? He shows no concern for her, even when they’re in circumstances where she’s clearly uncomfortable
    https://metrouk2.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/ad_232187866.jpg?quality=80&strip=all&strip=all

  13. janicen says:

    Sorry I missed all the fun. I went to see La La Land. I enjoyed the move so much and now I’ve come back to read about more of the dismantling of my country. I want to go back to La La Land.

  14. NW Luna says:

    • janicen says:

      That was a brilliant thread. I read through it twice. One of her points that struck me that so many overlook is about the claim that Hillary lost in places that Obama won. Albright reminds us that Obama would have lost in many of those places that he won in ’08 and ’12 because so many voters were lost as a result of GOP voter suppression efforts.

  15. NW Luna says:

  16. NW Luna says:

  17. dakinikat says:

    Posted by a friend:

    I don’t care who you voted for, or what party you’re in. I hope you’re ready to fight for this republic.
    Those who study authoritarian regimes suggest keeping a list of abnormal events after a demagogue is elected, as a way to remind yourself that this isn’t normal and to keep from being overwhelmed into acceptance by the onslaught of attacks on our rights.
    Here is a list below. We are 4 days in.
    As the author says, “when you see all of this in one list, it is easy to get overwhelmed, at first– it is also easy to see a pattern and to finally, finally recognize that none of this is normal, nor is it ok.”
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the DOJ’s Violence Against Women programs.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Minority Business Development Agency.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Economic Development Administration.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the International Trade Administration.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Legal Services Corporation.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the DOJ.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Electricity Deliverability and Energy Reliability.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Fossil Energy.
    * On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered all regulatory powers of all federal agencies frozen.
    * On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered the National Parks Service to stop using social media after RTing factual, side by side photos of the crowds for the 2009 and 2017 inaugurations.
    * On January 20th, 2017, roughly 230 protestors were arrested in DC and face unprecedented felony riot charges. Among them were legal observers, journalists, and medics.
    * On January 20th, 2017, a member of the International Workers of the World was shot in the stomach at an anti-fascist protest in Seattle. He remains in critical condition.
    * On January 21st, 2017, DT brought a group of 40 cheerleaders to a meeting with the CIA to cheer for him during a speech that consisted almost entirely of framing himself as the victim of dishonest press.
    * On January 21st, 2017, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press conference largely to attack the press for accurately reporting the size of attendance at the inaugural festivities, saying that the inauguration had the largest audience of any in history, “period.”
    * On January 22nd, 2017, White House advisor Kellyann Conway defended Spicer’s lies as “alternative facts” on national television news.
    * On January 22nd, 2017, DT appeared to blow a kiss to director James Comey during a meeting with the FBI, and then opened his arms in a gesture of strange, paternal affection, before hugging him with a pat on the back.
    * On January 23rd, 2017, DT reinstated the global gag order, which defunds international organizations that even mention abortion as a medical option.
    * On January 23rd, 2017, Spicer said that the US will not tolerate China’s expansion onto islands in the South China Sea, essentially threatening war with China.
    * On January 23rd, 2017, DT repeated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing him the popular vote.
    * On January 23rd, 2017, it was announced that the man who shot the anti-fascist protester in Seattle was released without charges, despite turning himself in.
    * On January 24th, 2017, Spicer reiterated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing DT the popular vote.
    * On January 24th, 2017, DT tweeted a picture from his personal Twitter account of a photo he says depicts the crowd at his inauguration and will hang in the White House press room. The photo is of the 2009 inauguration of 44th President Barack Obama, and is curiously dated January 21st, 2017, the day AFTER the inauguration and the day of the Women’s March, the largest inauguration related protest in history.
    * On January 24th, 2017, the EPA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to freeze all grants and contracts.
    * On January 24th, 2017, the USDA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to stop publishing any papers or research. All communication with the press would also have to be authorized and vetted by the White House.
    * On January 24th, 2017, HR7, a bill that would prohibit federal funding not only to abortion service providers, but to any insurance coverage, including Medicaid, that provides abortion coverage, went to the floor of the House for a vote.
    * On January 24th, 2017, Director of the Department of Health and Human Service nominee Tom Price characterized federal guidelines on transgender equality as “absurd.”
    * On January 24th, 2017, DT ordered the resumption of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, while the North Dakota state congress considers a bill that would legalize hitting and killing protestors with cars if they are on roadways.
    * On January 24th, 2017, it was discovered that police officers had used confiscated cell phones to search the emails and messages of the 230 demonstrators now facing felony riot charges for protesting on January 20th, including lawyers and journalists whose email accounts contain privileged information of clients and sources.