Monday Reads: Shocking Times

gettyimages-6329290101Good Afternoon!

It’s difficult to try to make sense of the last 10 days using any normal construct. Just the fact we’ve seen enormous international protests come together across the world nearly spontaneously with more in the works tells me these are not normal times. We’re two Mondays into the Drumpfocracy and this is my second Monday writing about massive protests. Chaos and division are resplendent throughout the Drumpfdom.

A friend and Dharma sister sent me a quote from historian and Boston College Professor Heather Cox Richardson today describing the Muslim Executive Order as a planned “shock event” staged by Steve Bannon.   The purpose of this event is to basically “create confusion and chaos so that the administration can present itself as the only entity capable of restoring order” as paraphrased by blogger JohnFEA. Cox Richardson writes:

What Bannon is doing, most dramatically with last night’s ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries– is creating what is known as a “shock event.” Such an event is unexpected and confusing and throws a society into chaos. People scramble to react to the event, usually along some fault line that those responsible for the event can widen by claiming that they alone know how to restore order. When opponents speak out, the authors of the shock event call them enemies. As society reels and tempers run high, those responsible for the shock event perform a sleight of hand to achieve their real goal, a goal they know to be hugely unpopular, but from which everyone has been distracted as they fight over the initial event. There is no longer concerted opposition to the real goal; opposition divides along the partisan lines established by the shock event.

She’s already landed herself on the Fifth Column style website called “The Professor Watchlist”.donald-trump-airport-3

Heather Cox Richardson, a history professor at Boston College, has also found herself in the database. In an article on Bill Moyers’s website she objected to the crudeness of the Professor Watchlist project. She said she does not publicly identify with any political party and believes “American democracy is the form of government that comes closest to bringing that principle to reality.”

She’s written a recent book “To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party”.  She was interviewed by WBUR in the fall on the party and its rank and file.  There’s a podcast of that interview here.  I particularly like her description of the purge of the party in the party that was a direct result of right wing christianists and so-called “movement conservatives”.

…When [Movement conservatives] took over the Republican Party and got rid of the traditional Rockefeller Republicans, if you will, Lincoln Republicans. When they read them out of the party, what they did is they wedded the party’s machinery to this quite extremist idea that most Americans don’t really believe. The moment we’re in now, that movement conservative ideology has led to the Ted Cruzes and the Paul Ryans, yes, but what it’s done is it created the demographic that feeds the white-nationalists — the hatred that most Americans don’t really embrace.”

643xnxd78eaca58c08b4c63082d05d9b2f54a4-protest-jpg-pagespeed-ic-9pscitf6-zOne of my friends noted that she was called a “Muslim-loving whore” this weekend.  The entire debacle is certainly dividing us and creating massive chaos. I pity any one who has got a flight to take. The airports are alive with protests.  Town and City Squares are alive with protest.  We can’t seem to protest enough these days.

An executive order referred to widely among protesters as a “Muslim ban” on immigration travel has led to thousands of people protesting all over the country. The protests began on Saturday and are continuing today. At the source of the controversy is President Donald Trump’s latest executive order, which temporarily blocks 130 million people from entering the United States. The order itself never explicitly uses the word “Muslim.” What it does is temporarily ban citizens of Iraq and six other Muslim-major countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen) from entering the United States. (Syrian immigration was indefinitely suspended.) Comments from Trump to media about expediting immigration for Christians sparked additional controversy, but those comments weren’t actually in his executive order. Federal judge Ann Donnelly granted an emergency stay of the executive order. Meanwhile, Trump said the ban was put in place to review the vetting process and protect the United States from radical Islamic terrorists. But protesters are disagreeing vehemently with the ban. Some of the people who were were originally detained have since been released.

Merkel took upon herself as the evident new leader of the Free World to explain that the US is a signatory to the Geneva Convention.  She also had to tell him about the document and its purpose.  What kind of idiot did these people elect?  What have these bigoted crazy people done to us?

Donald Trump’s executive order to halt travel from seven Muslim-majority countries – Iraq, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia – has provoked a wave of concern and condemnation from international leaders and politicians.

A spokesman for Angela Merkel said the German chancellor regretted Trump’s decision to ban citizens of certain countries from entering the US, adding that she had “explained” the obligations of the refugee convention to the new president in a phone call on Saturday.

“The chancellor regrets the US government’s entry ban against refugees and the citizens of certain countries,” Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.

“She is convinced that the necessary, decisive battle against terrorism does not justify a general suspicion against people of a certain origin or a certain religion.

“The … refugee convention requires the international community to take in war refugees on humanitarian grounds. All signatory states are obligated to do. The German government explained this policy in their call yesterday.”

We’re an international pariah state like never before.  I don’t think it was even worse during the Nixon years when I traveled during the height of the Vietnam War and did everything I could while in Europe to convince people I was not an American.

What appears to be most disturbing is that the Executive Branch has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to enforce the ban regardless of the stays by four separate judges. Many airport security personal have blocked lawyers and congressman from seeing detainees. This has seriously breached rule of law here.

Demonstrators shout slogans during anti-Donald Trump immigration ban protests outside Terminal 4 at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, California, U.S., January 28, 2017. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Demonstrators shout slogans during anti-Donald Trump immigration ban protests outside Terminal 4 at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, California, U.S., January 28, 2017. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Here’s Trump’s latest Executive Order: “Trump signs executive order requiring that for every one new regulation, two must be revoked”.  How the fuck does that work?

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday morning requiring that for every new federal regulation implemented, two must be rescinded.

“This will be the biggest such act that our country has ever seen,” Trump declared moments before signing it inside the Oval Office. “There will be regulation, there will be control, but it will be a normalized control where you can open your business and expand your business very easily. And that’s what our country has been all about.”

The executive order signing, which fills a campaign pledge, comes after the president held a listening session with small-business leaders.

“If you have a regulation you want, number one, we’re not gonna approve it because it’s already been approved probably in 17 different forms,” Trump said. “But if we do, the only way you have a chance is we have to knock out two regulations for every new regulation. So if there’s a new regulation, they have to knock out two.”

The White House has yet to release text of the executive order, but the president added that “it goes far beyond that.”

“We’re cutting regulations massively for small business — and for large business,” he said. “But they’re different. But for small business, and that’s what this is about today.”

The word “shock” is used a lot in both economic and finance models.  It’s best described by Taleb Nassem as a “black swan”.  It suddenly disrupts normal market behavior–and depending on how severe it is–can cause problems for some time. It’s like a variety of rocks thrown into water that create ripples.  This is like a hail storm of rocks falling on everything around us.

Here’s another ripple that amazes me: “US Diplomats Consider Filing Dissent Over Immigration Ban”.  The White House considers the move to be highly successful.

Dozens of foreign service officers and other career diplomats stationed around the world are so concerned about President Donald Trump‘s new executive order restricting Syrian refugees and other immigrants from entering the United States that they are contemplating taking the rare step of sending a formal objection to senior State Department officials in Washington.

In recent days, drafts of a dissent memo have been circulating among diplomats and associates abroad expressing concern that the new restrictions — which Trump said would help “keep America safe” — are un-American and will actually paralyze efforts to stop terrorist attacks inside the U.S. homeland.

“This ban … will not achieve its stated aim to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States,” warned one early draft reviewed by ABC News.

Instead, the executive order will expand anti-American sentiment and “immediately sour relations” with key allies in the fight against terrorism, particularly many of the countries whose citizens are now blocked from traveling to the United States, according to the early draft.

My friend David Ferguson is writing about the other shocking news that’s disturbing both Republicans and Democrats on the Hill. “Democrats and Republicans can’t believe Trump put ‘Nazi’ Steve Bannon on National Security Council”.  The Muslim ban nearly seems a sideshow to this one which could be the purpose of it all.

On Saturday, Pres. Donald Trump announced that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the national director of intelligence will no longer be included in all meetings of the National Security Council (NSC)’s principals committee. However, the president’s order said, former CEO Stephen K. Bannon will be attending every meeting alongside the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense and some of the highest ranking officers in the nation’s security and intelligence services.

“Chairman of Joint Chiefs and DNI treated as afterthoughts in Cabinet level principals meetings. And where is CIA?? Cut out of everything?” wrote former United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice on Sunday, according to the New York Daily News.

“This is stone cold crazy,” Rice continued. “After a week of crazy. Who needs military advice or intel to make policy on ISIL, Syria, Afghanistan, DPRK?”

“Trump loves and trusts the military so much he just kicked them out of the National Security Council and put a Nazi in their place,” she said.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer responded by complaining about Rice’s tone, which he said was “clearly inappropriate language from a former ambassador.”

nintchdbpict000297903397-e1485729690124These are dangerous, chaotic times and it’s all been brought on by people that are “stone cold crazy.”  Democrats on the Hill are planning a rally in front of the SCOTUS building.

Democratic lawmakers will host a rally on Monday evening at the Supreme Court to protest President Donald Trump’s recent executive order imposing a temporary ban on nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries entering the United States.

“Tomorrow at 6:00 p.m., House and Senate Democrats will gather for a press event in front of the steps of the Supreme Court to demand the President withdraw his disreputable executive order. All Members are urged to come to express our solidarity,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a letter to her Democratic colleagues in the House.

Trump on Friday signed an order that imposed a 90-day ban on nationals from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen entering the United States. The order also included a 120-day ban on admitting refugees and an indefinite halt on admitting refugees from Syria, which has been embattled in a civil war since 2011.

“We are witnessing an historic injustice unfold, and we must keep the pressure on,” Pelosi said in the letter.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday saidDemocrats are considering legislation to overturn Trump’s order, but will need Republicans to be on board.

“If we get a few more Republicans, I think we might be able to pass legislation to overturn it,” Schumer said Sunday at press conference in his home state. “It will be up to getting more Republicans.”

Pelosi, in the letter, echoes several of her colleagues by saying the order constitutes “a Muslim ban.”

“As Members of Congress, we take a solemn oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Democrats intend to honor that oath by fighting the unconstitutional injustice of the President’s Muslim ban.”

Now let’s hear how they are going to stop this mess.  They better get a few republicans besides Lindsay Graham and John McCain to go rogue and stick with the Constitution over the mad king too.

What would Mary Richards do? Given that most of the lawyers do pro bono work at the airports are women, I say she’d take to the air waves and stand up for what’s right!!!  The Boston Judge who issued the first stay is a woman too!  

What’s on your reading and blogging list?


76 Comments on “Monday Reads: Shocking Times”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Just a thought: what if someone who saw the destruction of the Nazis intent had put a stop to it before it became a reality?

    Just asking as it appears to becoming a similar event, only this time with nuclear weapons on the table.

    Would preventative justice be served? Steve Bannon has become our shadow president with an eye on worldwide domination whose agenda is just that.

    This administration has driven me to these dark thoughts. They are up to no good and we know it.

    • dakinikat says:

      I know. They’re doing things and creating all these distractions. It’s seriously warped.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Bannon may have meant to create a shock event, but the Trumpists have been so ham-handed in enforcing the ban that it hasn’t really distracted from the coup at the NSC. There has been plenty of coverage.

        But apparently, the “shock and awe” idea originated with Jeff Sessions, and Sessions’ protege Stephen Miller has been put in a position of power while Moscow Mike Flynn has been somewhat sidelined. Apparently Flynn has been getting on Trump’s nerves. What will be really interesting is what Flynn does if Trump tries to dump him. That could get very nasty.

  2. dakinikat says:

    U.S. will change course on climate policy, says former EPA transition head

    The United States will switch course on climate change and pull out of a global pact to cut emissions, said Myron Ebell, who headed U.S. President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team until his inauguration.

    Ebell is the director of global warming and international environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a U.S. conservative think tank, and helped to guide the EPA’s transition after Trump was elected in November until he was sworn in on Jan. 20.

    Trump, a climate skeptic, campaigned on a pledge to boost the U.S. oil and gas drilling and coal mining industries by reducing regulation.

    He alarmed nations that backed the 2015 Paris agreement to cut greenhouse gases by pledging to pull the United States out of the global deal agreed by nearly 200 countries. However, Trump told the New York Times in November that he had an “open mind” on the agreement.

    Trump’s administration has asked the EPA to halt all contracts, grants and interagency agreements pending a review, sources said.

    “The U.S. will clearly change its course on climate policy. Trump has made it clear he will withdraw from the Paris Agreement. He could do it by executive order tomorrow or he could do it as part of a larger package,” Ebell told reporters in London on Monday

    He’s going to kill us all for short term greed.

    • William says:

      We Americans have to stop using coal and gas and oil except for absolute necessity, such as heating oil in the winter in the East, or driving to work or to the doctor or for food. And there should be a list put out of all products which cause emissions which increase the dangers of global warming, and people have to just stop using them. If the products are not used, the companies which produce or drill for them make far less profits, and less damage is done for now. We are not wholly prisoners, but must act in concert and in immense numbers.

    • Earlynerd says:

      Someone published a tweet on an earlier post, to the effect that the Stein voters in this election have had exactly the same effect as the “green” Nader voters in 2000: to cause the U.S. to immediately pull out of a hard-fought, extremely critical climate change agreement. Kyoto then, Paris now. Bears repeating.

  3. dakinikat says:

    African Union criticises US for ‘taking many of our people as slaves’ and not taking refugees
    Trump has suspended all US refugee programmes and banned immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, three of which are AU members

  4. dakinikat says:

  5. dakinikat says:

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Those little details just keep popping up! tRump, the progeny of a white nationalist, Shumer, the progeny of a holocaust survivor. THE STAGE IS SET.

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. NW Luna says:

    Follow the money! This part of Yonatan Zunger’s Trial Balloon for a Coup? article is especially chilling.

    (6) Finally, I want to highlight a story that many people haven’t noticed. On Wednesday, Reuters reported (in great detail) how 19.5% of Rosneft, Russia’s state oil company, has been sold to parties unknown. This was done through a dizzying array of shell companies, so that the most that can be said with certainty now is that the money “paying” for it was originally loaned out to the shell layers by VTB (the government’s official bank), even though it’s highly unclear who, if anyone, would be paying that loan back; and the recipients have been traced as far as some Cayman Islands shell companies.

    Why is this interesting? Because the much-maligned Steele Dossier (the one with the golden showers in it) included the statement that Putin had offered Trump 19% of Rosneft if he became president and removed sanctions. The reason this is so interesting is that the dossier said this in July, and the sale didn’t happen until early December. And 19.5% sounds an awful lot like “19% plus a brokerage commission.”

    Conclusive? No. But it raises some very interesting questions for journalists to investigate.

    View at

  8. jackyt says:

    “No Trump, No KKK,
    No more fascist USA!”

    “No hate, no fear,
    refugees are welcome here!”

    … two of the chants heard in the major demonstration that has shut down the US Consulate in Toronto today.

  9. dakinikat says:

    There’s an ALTDOJ on twitter now

    • Enheduanna says:

      They sure do like to harass little old ladies.

      It’s so dispiriting to know there are legions of goons who will do this on his orders. That type of person has to have very deep issues and it would not surprise me a lot of their problems are with women.

  10. dakinikat says:

    and more from Bizarro White House

  11. dakinikat says:

    The White House Just Charted a Dangerous Course With NSC Machinations
    Trump’s national security coup cuts military and spies out of big decisions

  12. dakinikat says:
    From Goldwater and Reagan and now Trump. But Americans will fight this latest brand of cartoon conservatism The war against the liberal consensus began as a backlash against Roosevelt’s New Deal. Trump has simply stripped away its genteel veneer

    by Prof. Cox Richardson

  13. NW Luna says:

    My Senator:

  14. NW Luna says:

    …and my other Senator. Their spines are strengthening!

  15. ANonOMouse says:

    Rumor: Trump to issue Executive Order. Spicer asked about the rumor today in Press Conference and responded “I don’t want to get ahead of the president”

    The GOP Congress to offer bill for the next session called “First Amendment Defense Act” targeting the LGBT community.

  16. I have been mourning for a dear, dear friend/ex-partner who died while I was at the Women’s March on WA and I’ve been missing him. But my small town’s Facebook page has blown up with Trump supporters’ anger at the anti-Trump EO on immigration demonstration at the Portland Airport resulting in a pro-Trump person getting injured and I’m seeing all kinds of right wing memes about leftists put out there on our local FB page. If anyone has an inside story about why this happened, I would really like to know. I’m not finding much except it was at the end of a second day of peaceful protests and many had left. The video/s online are unpleasant to view. So far I’ve just asked us all to remember it is in all of our interests to be proud of our constitutional democracy and to not get sidetracked when some people can’t be peaceful even though almost all people are demonstrating peacefully–and we really don’t have a full story about what happened yet. We are all wondering when the incident will occur that enables Trump to call for martial law. It is all so sad.

    • palhart says:

      While I don’t believe that incident, if true, will provoke martial law. I do believe, and I’m bracing myself, that trump will be quick to call in the police and national guard before allowing the community to handle the situation itself. I live in a city which had a black man killed by the police last year and protests were made for days. We live in dangerous times.

    • NW Luna says:

      Gunshots were fired in a neo-Nazi v anti-racism protest in my city the week before last. At first it was supposedly the neo-Nazi who was shot. Then it turned out that when all evidence was in, the shooting victim was an anti-racist who trying to be a peacekeeper and deter violence. Given how Trump and his people operate — and their favorite technique is gaslighting — anything they say is a lie unless proved otherwise.

    • Fannie says:

      Sorry to hear about the lost of your friend.

  17. dakinikat says:

  18. NW Luna says:

    Finally saw Hidden Figures today — incredibly good movie. Was furious through much of it. Living in the northern US I’d read about but hadn’t seen the overt discrimination of the separate schools (even after Brown v Board of Education), or the bathrooms or the coffeepots. Had tears in my eyes too. Still so far to go. And now to have this hideous and discriminatory E.O. block doors to more bright minds. They have no shame, no hearts.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      I saw it last week and it was superb. That was the world I grew up in and it lives as vividly in my memory as anything from my youth. I tried to join a lunch counter sit-in while in HS and was stopped by my uncle who was a police officer. The sit-in was at the Woolworth I worked in, ironing clothes for the women’s dept. I ironed 2 sets of clothes in every size. One set for the white women that was put out on the racks, another set for the black women. Black women weren’t even allowed to try on clothes from the rack or to use the dressing rooms to try on clothes, they had to try clothes on in the storeroom. That story didn’t even begin to tell the mistreatment, humiliation, disrespect that blacks suffered in the South. I applauded when the movie ended because I enjoyed it so much. I heard applause from one other area and when the lights came up it was a black woman about my age who was clapping. We talked for a few moments and I gave her a big hug. My heart hurt for her because I knew that while that memory was vivid and disgusting to me, it was REAL and PERSONAL to her.

      • NW Luna says:

        while that memory was vivid and disgusting to me, it was REAL and PERSONAL to her.

        Yes. No one is free when others are oppressed.

    • palhart says:

      I also lived in the Jim Crow south, in a small town (8,500 pop.), and remember the separate schools, movie theaters, restrooms, and restaurants. We were not a family to cross the line, but were fair and close to black help. Social Security was always paid. My mother helped one who was especially close to us build a small house.

      • palhart says:

        I just remember our neighbor, who owned a very nice dress shop, telling me about the black doctor’s wife asking if she could come by after hours to shop. She said yes.

  19. Fannie says:

    Acting Attorney General, Sally Yates fired by Pres. Trump………….replaced by Dana Bonte. This is the same damn thing that Nixon did and was impeached.

    It’s time for all LOYAL democrats to walk out with Sally Yates.

  20. NW Luna says:

    On that Rogue POTUS account that doesn’t sound quite right:

  21. NW Luna says:

  22. William says:

    I am very afraid that very shortly we will see Trump’s militia shooting hundreds of protesters in the streets. Kent State ten times over. That is what fascist dictators do to quell dissent and frighten everyone into submission. The question is whether Trump would have the military on his side if it came to that, as it well might. If the military supports the dictator, he keeps power for a very long time. If the military does not, there is a military takeover of the government and then usually civilian rule follows.

  23. NW Luna says:

    • NW Luna says:

      That was RT by Andrea Chalupa, so something is up in addition to all the shit that’s going on now.

  24. NW Luna says:

    54m54 minutes ago

    🗽 Retweeted Maddow Blog

    Formerly with “Enforcement and Removal Operations”

    Yes, that’s really what it’s called.

    🗽 added,
    Maddow Blog @MaddowBlog
    Statement from Secretary Kelly on the President’s Appointment of Thomas D. Homan as Acting ICE Director
    4 replies 57 retweets 42 likes

  25. NW Luna says:

  26. NW Luna says:


    Though Trumpotemkim witll doubtless keep him around anyway.

  27. Earlynerd says:

    I don’t want to alarm anyone, but…

    Those who can must try to block Trump and now Bannon from nuclear weapons access. Trump declared desire to use them. Bannon likely shares it— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) January 31, 2017


  28. Jslat says:

    Protests work. Already signs of tempering hopefully courts will knock the whole EO down.
    Waivers for already vetted refugees in the works.

  29. Fannie says:

    Five different courts have so far ruled against Trump on this ban. ……………they are Seattle, Brooklyn, Boston, Los Angeles, and N. Virginia