Thursday Reads: We Have Entered The Twilight Zone.


Good Morning!!

Yesterday JJ posted a link to this brief post by Melissa McEwan:

I was managing to keep a lid on the bitterness about Hillary Clinton not being our president until I saw Donald Trump start to govern.

It’s going precisely the way I thought it would, so it’s not like I’m surprised.

It’s just that seeing it actually begin to unfold is triggering a deep well of resentment, and a profound grief, that I was only able to keep at bay until he was sworn in.

And now I cannot contain it. I am angry and resentful and grief-stricken in a way I have never felt before.

That’s exactly how I feel. The time from the election to the inauguration was bad enough, but now everything feels unreal and frightening. Last night on Rachel Maddow’s show, Dan Rather called it a “Twilight Zone feeling.” I think it’s likely that a majority of Americans feel this way. A man with the temperament and personality of a 6-year-old–sometimes a 3-year-old–is sitting in the White House watching Fox News and plotting the destruction of our country. And even more horrifying, he has the power to blow up the entire world if he so chooses.

I recall feeling desperate and enraged after the Supreme Court handed the presidency to George W. Bush, but this is so much worse. I feel anxious and on-edge all the time. I’m afraid to get too far from my news sources for fear that he will do something drastic; and even if I try to escape into a book or TV show or video game I just can’t shake this feeling of everything being out-of-kilter. The only difference I can see between tRump and a dictator like Kim Jong Un is that we have a few checks and balances in place–for now–to keep our child-leader from killing or jailing his critics.

Did the photographer put that shadow "mustache" in deliberately?

Did the photographer put that shadow “mustache” in deliberately?

Apparently the DC police feel empowered to arrest and charge journalists now. The New York Times reports: Felony Charges for Journalists Arrested at Inauguration Protests Raise Fears for Press Freedom.

At least six journalists were charged with felony rioting after they were arrested while covering the violent protests that took place just blocks from President Trump’s inauguration parade in Washington on Friday, according to police reports and court documents.

The journalists were among 230 people detained in the anti-Trump demonstrations, during which protesters smashed the glass of commercial buildings and lit a limousine on fire.

The charges against the jouMexirnalists — Evan Engel, Alexander Rubinstein, Jack Keller, Matthew Hopard, Shay Horse and Aaron Cantu — have been denounced by organizations dedicated to press freedom. All of those arrested have denied participating in the violence.

“These felony charges are bizarre and essentially unheard of when it comes to journalists here in America who were simply doing their job,” said Suzanne Nossel, the executive director of Pen America. “They weren’t even in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were in the right place.”

Carlos Lauria, a spokesman and senior program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, called the charges “completely inappropriate and excessive,” and the organization has asked that they be dropped immediately.

“Our concern is that these arrests could send a chilling message to journalists that cover future protests,” Mr. Lauria added.

Witnesses reported that sweeping arrests during the parade targeted rioters, protesters and journalists indiscriminately. A lawyer representing dozens of people arrested, Mark Goldstone, told The Associated Press that the police had “basically identified a location that had problems and arrested everyone in that location.”


Yesterday, tRump began pressing forward with his promised Muslim ban, his fantasy border wall, and his threat to “defund” sanctuary cities by issuing a series of executive orders. He also threatened to reopen CIA “black sites” and reinstate Bush-era torture techniques. On Twitter, he even threatened to send Federal troops into Chicago to crack down on crime!

This isn’t creeping fascism; it’s galloping fascism.

The good news is that the White House and government agencies are leaking like crazy. Vox obtained leaked copies of draft executive orders: Read leaked drafts of 4 White House executive orders on Muslim ban, end to DREAMer program, and more. Yesterday the White House released two of the orders that were exactly like the drafts; therefore Vox decided to report on the others.

The two orders released today by the Trump administration, and delivered yesterday by our source, start the process of building President Trump’s famous “wall,” and make it easier for immigration agents to arrest, detain, and deport unauthorized immigrants at the border and in the US. Those policies are explained in detail here.

The four remaining draft orders obtained by Vox focus on immigration, terrorism, and refugee policy. They wouldn’t ban all Muslim immigration to the US, breaking a Trump promise from early in his campaign, but they would temporarily ban entries from seven majority-Muslim countries and bar all refugees from coming to the US for several months. They would make it harder for immigrants to come to the US to work, make it easier to deport them if they use public services, and put an end to the Obama administration program that protected young “DREAMer” immigrants from deportation.

 In all, the combined documents would represent one of the harshest crackdowns on immigrants — both those here and those who want to come here — in memory.

Read the rest at Vox.


Last night, ABC News ran an interview with tRump conducted by David Muir. I haven’t watched the whole thing yet, but the clips I’ve seen are terrifying. The interview confirmed what we already know–that tRump is a childish, ignorant buffoon who is clearly incompetent to hold any public office, much less be POTUS.

The Washington Post has published the entire interview with annotations by Aaron Blake. I can’t bring myself to post excerpts, but please read the whole thing at the Post. You watch the video there too if you can stand it.

tRump is running around saying dangerous things, apparently without even consulting the Cabinet members who would be charged with carrying out his orders.

Politico: Mattis, Pompeo stunned by CIA ‘black sites’ report.

Two of the officials who will be in charge of carrying out President Donald Trump’s terrorism detainee policies, Defense Secretary James Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, were “blindsided” by reports of a draft executive order that would require the CIA to reconsider using interrogation techniques that some consider torture, according to sources with knowledge of their thinking.

Lawmakers in both parties denounced the draft order on Wednesday even as White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he had “no idea where it came from” and that it is “not a White House document.”

It’s unclear who wrote the draft order or whether Trump will sign it, though members of Congress in both parties were taking that prospect seriously on Wednesday.

Some members of Congress said the document raised the specter of Trump following through on campaign vows to bring back waterboarding and other George W. Bush-era torture practices, which many lawmakers consider a shameful chapter of U.S. history.

The document, obtained and published by The New York Times and Washington Post, calls for the director of national intelligence to review whether to bring back the CIA’s infamous black-site prisons. Those were secret overseas facilities where the CIA carried out brutal interrogations of terrorism suspects from 2001 to 2006, as documented in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 2014 investigation into the issue.

The draft order says terrorism suspects in U.S. custody will not be subject to “torture” or “degrading treatment.” But it characterizes a 2016 law barring torture as “a significant statutory barrier” and would revoke an executive order signed by President Barack Obama stating that suspects must be treated in compliance with international law.


Ku Klux Klan on a Ferris Wheel--a metaphor for tRump World?

Ku Klux Klan on a Ferris Wheel–a metaphor for tRump World?

I’m going to give you the rest of the news in a link dump, because I’m just too traumatized to do more.

Vox: The best theory for why Trump tells such obvious lies.Tru

WaPo: People were taking Trump seriously. Now they’re starting to take him literally.

WaPo: Maybe Trump isn’t ‘lying’. Jennifer Rubin suggests that Trump may not be able to tell truth from fantasy.

WaPo: In his first major TV interview as president, Trump is endlessly obsessed with his popularity.

NYT: Clinics for World’s Vulnerable Brace for Trump’s Anti-Abortion Cuts.

New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman asks “Is Donald Trump’s War With CNN Personal?”

Nina Burleigh at Newsweek: Trump White House Senior Staff Have Private RNC Email Accounts.

NYT: As Trump Orders Wall, Mexico’s President Considers Canceling U.S. Trip.

CNN: Trump to Mexican president: Better to cancel our meeting.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and try to stay calm just for today. I love you all.

79 Comments on “Thursday Reads: We Have Entered The Twilight Zone.”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    New York Times:

    Mary Tyler Moore, Who Incarnated the Modern Woman on TV, Dies at 80.

    Mary Tyler Moore, whose witty and graceful performances on two top-rated television shows in the 1960s and ’70s helped define a new vision of American womanhood, died on Wednesday in Greenwich, Conn. She was 80.

    Her family said her death, at Greenwich Hospital, was caused by cardiopulmonary arrest after she had contracted pneumonia.

    Ms. Moore faced more than her share of private sorrow, and she went on to more serious fare, including an Oscar-nominated role in the 1980 film “Ordinary People” as a frosty, resentful mother whose son has died. But she was most indelibly known as the incomparably spunky Mary Richards on the CBS hit sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Broadcast from 1970 to 1977, it was produced by both Ms. Moore and her second husband, Grant Tinker, who later ran NBC and who died on Nov. 28.

    At least a decade before the twin figures of the harried working woman and the neurotic, unwed 30-something became media preoccupations, Ms. Moore’s portrayal — for which she won four of her seven Emmy Awards — expressed both the exuberance and the melancholy of the single career woman who could plot her own course without reference to cultural archetypes.

    The show, and her portrayal of Mary as a sisterly presence in the office, as well as a source of ingenuity and humor, was a balm to widespread anxieties about women in the work force.

    • roofingbird says:

      I didn’t realize Grant Tinker had died. I’m sorry to hear about MTM. I always thought she was a remarkable example of staying healthy with diabetes.

  2. bostonboomer says:


  3. teele says:

    Conman Tweety seems to be obsessed with Chicago, and I think I know why. Remember the rally he was going to hold at the University of Chicago, where a massive number of protesters showed up, and he backed out at the last minute, claiming the police officials told him it would be better if he didn’t appear, only they called BS on that? This is the kind of maniac he is, that the police denial of his face-saving lie (meant to cover his fear), is still festering in his fevered brain, to the point that he is ready to send in federal troops to displace the entire police department.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      I think his obsession with Chicago is based on his hatred of Obama.

      • roofingbird says:

        Agreed, but Clinton came from around there too. And for good measure he could get rid of that mayor, and lets not forget he might be triangulating for a senator as well. Illinois suddenly looks surrounded, and there is a lot that is rural and conservative.

    • RonStill4Hills says:

      The whole Alt Right obsession with Chicago is based on their Obsmophobia.

  4. joanelle says:

    I read the full interview. I’m not a psychologist, but you are bb, in my opinion he has some kind of real mental impairment, aside from his ego-maniacle approach to life. It seems that he cannot have a conversation, about anything without bringing it back to Mr Wonderful.
    I was wondering if you would give us your opinion, clearly we know you haven’t met with him and that it would purely be an opinion, not a diagnosis.
    He is scaring me as well, it’s as though he knows he has limited time in that position and he’s trying to get as much of his agenda handled before they put the jacket on him and take him away.

  5. Delphyne49 says:

    This is an excellent Pdf from Martin Mycielski (@mycielski on Twitter) about what to expect the 1st year of an authoritarian regime. He signs it “with love from your Eastern European friends.”

    Click to access with_love.pdf

  6. dakinikat says:

    A large number of senior staff at the State Department resigned en masse.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Wow. Add to that his unpresidented act of firing all the ambassadors… wtf is going to happen to us.

    • NW Luna says:

      Can’t help remembering that Hillary received a standing ovation from State Department employees when she first showed up there as S.O.S.

    • Jslat says:

      And tRump has already stepped into a diplomatic brouhaha with Mexico, our friendly neighbor. Wonder what is ahead?!!!

    • roofingbird says:

      Really its the only thing they can do without being enablers.

    • roofingbird says:

      I was thinking about how well he corraled Nikki Halley. He doesn’t like for her stands, so he talks her into giving up her governorship and places her in the UN, where he wants to disengage. Mustache or no, he left Bolton in place, I think cause there was a better power base to return to. If Halley presides over the disengagement with the UN she will be toast after.

  7. dakinikat says:

    • Enheduanna says:

      I actually watched Maddow last night (she is very annoying IMO) – but did learn also that tRump has fired the board that runs Voice of America – and replaced it with two twenty-something white male nerd supporters of his. VoA has an $800 million budget AND has been cleared to broadcast not only overseas but in the US for the first time.

      Gosh – wonder what we’ll hear…

  8. Delphyne49 says:

    Guess who bought and where you’re directed when you click on it.

  9. Minkoff Minx says:

    This is important:

    The order reads:

    To better inform the public regarding the public safety threats associated with sanctuary jurisdictions, the Secretary shall utilize the Declined Detainer Outcome Report or its equivalent and, on a weekly basis, make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens.”

    It does not specify that only crimes committed by illegal immigrants should be included – raising the prospect of offences committed by any immigrant being published even if the person is living in the US legally.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I wonder if that is constitutional.

    • roofingbird says:

      Agreed, I wonder too. I also wonder how he would actually accomplish except on a very narrow exploitive “for show” basis, since most crimes are committed in local jurisdictions with a wide array of reporting methods, just like the problem with guns.

  10. contrask says:

    Someone told me that those state department people are very likely CIA, even if their title says otherwise.

    • NW Luna says:


      But I hope their next jobs are as volunteers on the team that brings down Trump* for treason.

    • bostonboomer says:

      That’s ridiculous. They were the management team in charge of the department and most had been there for years.

      • contrask says:

        Thank you – learning how reliable my source is 🙂

        • Earlynerd says:

          But some are. Granted those high ranking officers maybe weren’t, but the official employment for many CIA is officially the State Department.

          A close relative finally ‘fessed up after retiring to what my family were all but certain of anyway: those exotic addresses he’d had all over the world for over a decade really were CIA.

          • contrask says:

            We won’t ever know for sure. But I noticed how the reporting of the story went from “they resigned’ to “drumpf let them go”

      • roofingbird says:

        Lets not forget the reinstitution of the Holman rule. Any one of those could be called out by Congress and reduced to a one dollar salary, if they stay.

  11. dakinikat says:


  12. dakinikat says:

  13. contrask says:

    This same person told me to watch the South China Sea islands that Cheetolini & Tillerson are posturing over. Why are they doing that while trying to get us out of UN and NATO. So who would come to our aid? Vlad . I’m seeing that picture – tell me that’s a wrong conclusion.

    • NW Luna says:

      IIRC, Adam Khan, among others, put out info on the S China islands and Tillerson connection. Not good.

  14. RonStill4Hills says:

    Wake me up when they burn the Reichstag.

    They elected an authoritarian white supremacist wanna be fascist.

    What the fuck did hey think would happen.

    • contrask says:

      They still refuse to see it or admit it. I’m working with people who are still not alarmed – except 3 other teachers. Oklahoma is very scary

  15. Pat Johnson says:

    I think of the millions all over the world marching against Trump on Saturday protesting sexism, xenophobia, science denial and all the rest of this warmongering admitstration and then I read that Sens Warren and Brown are voting to push forward the nomination of Ben Carson and I want to throw.

    These Dems are no different then the GOP when it comes to “grandstanding” for the camera then turning their backs on the rest of us until they need our vote.

    I hope Warren gets “primaried” by a real liberal/Progressive that agrees with me and the public at large as I have no longer any interest in listening to her hollow babbling as she approves this simpleton to head an agency he is wholly unqualified to lead.\\

    So,so demorlizing.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I agree – Carson was going to get nominated anyway.

      Warren and any other Dem that votes for these imbeciles are why people don’t think the party can lead. And they’re right.

    • Jslat says:

      What possible rationale can be used to vote for Carson’s nomination???????

      • Pat Johnson says:

        None. But they will all be confirmed since the GOP has the majority. But since most are unqualified or dragging a great deal baggage with them including conflicts of interest the Dems owe it to the nation to “resist”.

        As it stands now, I have no faith in anyone of my own party to do the right thing. A bunch of wimps and grandstanders willing to sell their principles in order to be elected.

        While millions marched these idiots caved.

  16. janicen says:

    Check it out, the TV is blaring in the background on AF1.

  17. janicen says:

    Geez, did you ever see a tweet in the middle of the night and then forget to re-tweet it? I did and I can’t for the life of me find it but it was a tweet from a Dem Congressman, some white guy, (or maybe it was a tweet about an article) who said that if the U.S. were any other country, and it became known what Congress knows about the election, we would hold another election. He said, that’s what John Lewis has been so pissed off about and why he didn’t go to the inauguration. It appears to me that the people in power know that there was something really wrong with the election and Hillary Clinton is the rightful POTUS and there seems to be nothing that can be done about it.

  18. dakinikat says:

  19. NW Luna says:

  20. NW Luna says:

    That’s my Senator!

  21. NW Luna says:

  22. NW Luna says: