Friday Reads: The Great Pretenders

183856_600Good Afternoon!

It’s just another day in upside down world. Among the strange things going on today are a bizarre terror attack made up from whole cloth by White House Mommy who seems to be losing grip on reality. Conway has been telling serious whoppers for some time.  Is the pressure to create a narrative that fits the insanity finally getting to her already slim grasp on reality?

Senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway made a statement during a TV interview Thursday that pricked the ears of fact-checkers everywhere.

She told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews:”I bet it’s brand new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre. It didn’t get covered.”

First of all, Obama didn’t ban the Iraqi refugee program.

Second, there’s no such thing as the Bowling Green massacre.

Conway later clarified that she was referencing the case of two Iraqis — Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi — who lived in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Both were granted refugee status and entered the United States in 2009.

“On @hardball@NBCNews@MSNBC I meant to say ‘Bowling Green terrorists’ as reported here,” she said, before linking to an ABC news story on the case.

They were arrested in May 2011 on a series of terrorism charges and were sentenced two years later after pleading guilty.

The two men were never planning on committing an act of terrorism on US soil. Instead, they were trying to help get weapons to al Qaeda in Iraq. They were terrorists who should not have been allowed in the country, but they weren’t planning an attack in the United States. And they didn’t kill anyone in Bowling Green (or anywhere else in the US).

danzigerconwaydogtrainer_1000_590_378It’s amazing to me that we basically have an administration that says anything and everything and does anything it wants to without any shame. I’m not even sure any of them know how to feel shame or when it’s appropriate!

The most disturbing thing the narrative that ignores the role that young white ‘radicalized’ –and Christian–men play in acts of terrorism in this country. Abi Wilkinson–writing for the UK Guardian–explains the role of the “manosphere” and its horrible connection to misogyny, racism, and Fascist elements in the US.  It’s a straight line from this cesspool of angry white men to Bannon and his ilk.

For several years now, I’ve had a dark and fairly unusual hobby. When I’m alone and bored and the mood strikes me, I’ll open up my laptop and head for a particularly unsavoury corner of the internet.

No, not the bit you’re thinking of. Somewhere far worse. That loose network of blogs, forums, subreddits and alternative media publications colloquially known as the “manosphere”. An online subculture centred around hatred, anger and resentment of feminism specifically, and women more broadly. It’s grimly fascinating and now troubling relevant.

In modern parlance, this is part of the phenomenon known as the “alt-right”. More sympathetic commentators portray it as “a backlash to PC culture” and critics call it out as neofascism. Over the past year, it has been strange to see the disturbing internet subculture I’ve followed for so long enter the mainstream. The executive chairman of one of its most popular media outlets, Breitbart, has just been appointed Donald Trump’s chief of strategy, and their UK bureau chief was among the first Brits to have a meeting with the president-elect. Their figurehead – Milo Yiannopoulos – toured the country stumping for him during the campaign on his “Dangerous Faggot” tour. These people are now part of the political landscape.

On their forums I’ve read long, furious manifestos claiming that women are all sluts who “ride the cock carousel” and sleep with a series of “alpha males” until they reach the end of their sexual prime, at which point they seek out a “beta cuck” to settle down with for financial security. I’ve lurked silently on blogs dedicated to “pick-up artistry” as men argue that uppity, opinionated, feminist women – women like myself – need to be put in their place through “corrective rape”.

crowej20170123_lowThis hateful movement is so in with the White House at the moment that Milo Yiannopoulos is attending White House Press Briefings.  Just a few days ago he was the source of a series of protests that turned violent at Berkley.

Milo Yiannopoulos, the conservative provocateur and Breitbart News columnist, claims he is going to attend the White House press briefing on Friday.

“I’ll be there,” Yiannopoulos said in an email to Yahoo News.Yiannopoulos said he didn’t know whether he would get to ask White House press secretary Sean Spicer a question at the briefing. He previously attended a briefing last March.

Yiannopoulos asked former White House press secretary Josh Earnest about his belief that Facebook and Twitter are “punishing conservative and libertarian points of view.”The briefing comes at the end of a week when a speech Yiannopoulos planned to deliver at University of California, Berkeley was canceled amid violent protests. President Trump responded to the demonstrations with a tweet on Thursday morning that seemed to suggest he might pull federal funds from the university.

189221_600There have been rumors that Trump’s administration is trying to redefine law enforcement efforts to stop mass attacks in this country to just ones perpetrated by those professing faith in Islam.  This has not be confirmed yet but the Snopes site has outlined some sources where speculation as to what is meant by “News reports in February 2017 suggested that President Trump may revamp the Countering Violent Extremism program so that it focuses solely on Islamic terror threats.”  Follow this link to several articles that are worth reading including the original Reuters piece.

What we do know is that we’re discussing completely made up Terror Threats and the latest which is a knife attack by a solo actor at the Louvre in Paris rather than the White Supremicist Trump Supporter than killed 6 people at a Canadian Mosque.  We have yet to hear the White House show any sympathy for those victims.

Meanwhile, we’ve learned that the attack that killed an 8 year old girl, many women, and a US soldier was rejected by the Obama administration as a no go because there wasn’t adequate intelligence.  We’re finding out more and the details aren’t pretty at all.  The Trump Team owns this mess and as BB reported yesterday, Bannon and Kushner were part of the decision. There’s also been no apology on the death of so many noncombatants. As my friend Joshua Holland put it: “Imagine a Dem launching a raid w/ inadequate prep and not even monitoring it as it went to Hell, killing a seal and women and children.”

Meanwhile, the one shock of the day is that Hair Furor has told the Israelis to knock off the settlements which is sure to make waves with Bibi, et al.  Bibi was about the only leader Trump had yet to tick off other than Vladimir Putin. That has changed with this announcement.

The White House warned Israel on Thursday to cease settlement announcements that are “unilateral” and “undermining” of President Donald Trump’s effort to forge Middle East peace, a senior administration official told The Jerusalem Post.

For the first time, the administration confirmed that Trump is committed to a comprehensive two-state solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict negotiated between the parties.

cb011617daprI’m still trying to figure this one out.  But, I’m not relying on the Media. Only The New Yorker and Vanity Fair have pulled out of The White House Correspondents dinner.  I would hope for a rather large boycott of Nerd Prom but I’m not counting on it this year.

This year, though, the decision of whether to host a soiree pinned to the April 29 dinner is just a touch more… complicated than in the past. Although the dinner is put on by the White House Correspondents Association and is ostensibly about raising money for scholarships, some media types worry about the appearance of yukking it up with a president who has been openly hostile to the press (make that “failing piles of garbage”) and are thinking harder about their party plans.

“I can understand how the media, which host the dinner — that serves a philanthropic purpose — are struggling,” said one person at a news organization that typically hosts a WHCD-related event.

Vanity Fair and the New Yorker have pulled out of their traditional parties this year, the New York Times reported on Friday. The soirees hosted by those publications are among the most glittery celebrity draws of the weekend — the kind of confabs where you might spot Robert DeNiro chatting with John Kerry or run into Emma Watson at the bar — some dinner observers think their decision to cancel was at least in part influenced by the fact that a WHCD under a Trump administration will attract few Hollywood types. (Bloomberg News, which had co-hosted with Vanity Fair, will reportedly continue to host its afterparty.)

I’m horrified that Dodd Frank is about to be taken apart. This is the worst news to me this week. Hold on to your wallets.

I’m not sure what to even say about that but expected it given how many billionaires and Goldman Sachs execs are way up there in the West Wing chain of command.  Maybe this covers it.

The last bit of sad news I have to report is this.   Feisty and wonderful Ruline Steininger the Clinton supporter from Iowa died yesterday at 103 never having seen her dream of a Hillary and Woman president.

On a cold February night last year, 102-year-old Ruline Steininger caucused for Hillary Clinton in Iowa, determined to witness history and help elect the country’s first female president.

“I’ve got a big job ahead of me … I’ve got to live,” she said at the time. “After that, OK, I can die if I want to, but I’m going to live until she’s elected.”

At this point, I just want the country to survive. I want us to survive.  I’m not sure that’s going to happen.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

53 Comments on “Friday Reads: The Great Pretenders”

  1. Hysterical! Great cartoons and quite accurate too. Learning to laugh is important to reduce stress regarding what is happening.

  2. Mary Brown says:

    I’m not surprised that there hasn’t been more outrage on the Yemen raid. During the campaign, Trump said he would kill women and children if it would keep us safe from terrorists. At the time I was horrified that supposedly Christian women commented on my cousin-in-laws Facebook page that they were ok with this to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. These are middle aged women in rural Illinois who post pics of their grandchildren and recipes and cats. It’s chilling, but they look at it as “he’s doing what he said he would do”

    • dakinikat says:

      It’s unbelievable! The Republicans would be all over this if it was on Obama’s watch and yet, no hearing yet! He wasn’t even the sit room when it went down. He was off watching a TV program!

  3. Deborah Moore says:

    Thanks for a great read, Katherine. Ditto to everything you said, and love, love, love the cartoon. Actually, Mr. T isn’t looking all that hot his own self.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    What is happening is not Trump’s “vision”. He does’t have one, he never did. He only cares about Trump and when this is over he returns to Trump Tower where none of this travesty will ever effect his way of living. It’s the rest of us who pay the price.

    The “vision” is all GOP. Ryan.McConnell and the rest of the enablers who are ramming through their agenda with no one capable of putting on the brakes .It seems to be happening at warp speed.

    War with someone is on the horizon. Attacks against minorities is on the rise. Deregulations are about to go into effect very shortly where our air, water and food supplies will be compromised.The financial industry is back in business after 8 years of regulations and laws. Women’s right to choose is about to disappear. God knows what they will do to healthcare. People will die.

    Our “president” is watching t.v. He is busily tweeting his virtual nonsense. Russia is gaining ground in our everyday existence yet few seem to give more than a passing glance.

    The WH has been taken over by some very dark characters, some with mental issues, and we can only stand by and watch the lies that are forthcoming without interruption. The cabinet is staffed with unqualified and corrupt officials yet the majority has placed all their support on their behalf. The same will happen to the SCOTUS nominee who will merely act as a rubber-stamp for this party.

    Trump does not care. He never did. This is a game to him and he won. He is stupid,incurious,a man without a core. As long as he can hear “Hail to the Chief” at his entrance he will be content while his minions strip the Treasury, our resources, and the Constitution let the band play on.

    • dakinikat says:

      I hear “Nearer my god to thee” and see the deck of the Titanic.

    • palhart says:

      Pat, he actually does have a vision which is to turn everything backwards like it used to be. Also an extreme right turn to christofascism, Biblical rule rather than the rule of law.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        I think you are giving him too much credit. It would require him to “think” and we can all agree that is something this man is incapable of doing.. Unless it pertains solely to himself he doesn’t’ give a rat’s butt.

        The agenda has been put together by others. He just signs whatever is placed in front of him. Another example was over the weekend when he was off watching tv while the military went into Yemen. He could not have cared less and I bet it was Flynn who was itching to go.

        Trump is the right wing placeholder figurehead. The “vision” lies,with others.

        • Enheduanna says:

          Sounds about right. He seems to have zero control over himself – he cannot help but go after the grafting opportunities – that’s why he admires Vlad I think. Putin is the richest man in Europe and possibly the world. Add narcissistic ego and ADHD.

        • palhart says:

          He said he wanted to turn things back to what they used to be, back to white male supremacy.

          • palhart says:

            He wants to rule the U.S. and the world, it would seem now that he’s threatening and bullying other countries. Taking “vision” out of the discussion, he has chosen to accomplish his goal of trump first to be admired, praised, and, yes, loved by those he can easily persuade; e.g., the rabid extreme republicans desperate for power, the white male supremists, the jobless, misogynists and racists, and the Washington establishment haters.

            He has no guiding governing principles, is not well-educated, well-read, or disciplined. He is rushing through EO signings to quickly seal and thrill his base. As they praise him, he will continue haphazardly because we’ve already noted his wobbles, especially where he’ll land with the Russian sanctions — talking out of both sides of his mouth and delaying tactics. As much as I worry about domestic disastrous changes, he’s proven to be dangerously inept and unconcerned about foreign interactions and diplomacy.

            I can’t envision how this Constitutional republic can survive his presidency and it’s not clear if we can stop him.

  5. dakinikat says:

  6. Sewer Rat Barbie lies again! Feel free to use my nickname for Ms. Conway anytime. As always, I thank you for helping to keep me sane.

  7. dakinikat says:

    U.S. coal miners applaud Republican axing of stream protections

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-congress-coal-idUSKBN15H2RK

    This is so said. They’re jobs aren’t coming back. They’ve probably got black lung. Their water will be poison and they’re losing their health care. What sad, delusional people!

  8. NW Luna says:

    Don’t know how tRump picked Dr. Shulkin to head the VA, but he still works in the trenches for part of his time as a physician and has been clear about VA strengths in polytrauma and neuro/MSK rehab which the private sector lacks.

    BTW the CVA veteran’s org mentioned in the WaPo article is badly outnumbered by the 10-12 official vets’ orgs which want to keep privatization out of the VA.

    VA ‘will not be privatized under my watch,’ Cabinet nominee says in clash with Trump team

    “… You will be fighting a war on multiple fronts. While trying to carry out the Department’s mission, you’ll have to deal with a Congress that has not proven itself to be the most productive or cooperative partner,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), the committee’s top Democrat, told Shulkin as the hearing started. “And you’ll have to deal with a new president who has taken some public positions — on everything from privatization to his personal opinion of the VA workforce — that are in stark contrast to positions you have taken.”

    …Shulkin said the program [care outside VA] was in “disarray” largely because VA contracts with a third party to administer it, “an additional layer of complexity we need to take out.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/02/01/va-will-not-be-privatized-under-my-watch-cabinet-nominee-says-in-clash-with-trump-team/?hpid=hp_hp-cards_hp-card-fedgov%3Ahomepage%2Fcard&utm_term=.01a4528b2045

    Watch it there, that 3rd-party comment sounds like he favors single payer! /s

  9. bostonboomer says:

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  10. NW Luna says:

    Mental Health Must-Do: Follow @IfHillaryHad

  11. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Incompetence at the Pentagon. Not good. Makes ya wonder what else they’re incompetent at.

      • palhart says:

        I also wonder why the rush to invade. I’m missing President Obama’s carefully thought out foreign policy and compassionate regard for sparing American military and foreign civilian lives.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I hope NPR grows a pair. GPBA -Georgia Public Broadcasting – aired a full night of documentaries about slavery in America last night. Very informative – including their documentary “Slavery by Another Name” which talked about the practice of convict leasing in the South – legal up through the beginning of the 20th century. I knew it was bad but had no idea.

      I’d like to believe their programming reflected a slap at tRump.

      • Enheduanna says:

        Grows a pair of ovaries I mean.

      • Enheduanna says:

        Forgive me for all the replies to my own replies – another good one on GPB right now – The Girls in the Band! Early days for women musicians. It airs again later tonight as well.

  12. ANonOMouse says:

    Nothing she says should be taken seriously. AS BAD AS tRUMP

  13. NW Luna says:

    Re: Russian hacking

    But was that a sufficiently strong response from Obama? Wyden paused for a moment—he often paused to carefully consider his replies—and then he said, “Let’s put it this way. There is a big gap between what the public had a right to know and what came out. And that continues to be true to this day.”

    He hadn’t quite answered the question. I tried again: Was the Obama administration’s response—that statement and a remark from Press Secretary Josh Earnest promising some form of undefined retribution—enough? “No,” Wyden said. “It was not enough.” Did Wyden or other Democrats on the intelligence committee request a more vigorous response from Obama? Wyden answered, “I have to say, because these are all private conversations in classified settings—I don’t think I can say.”

    But what did Wyden want Obama to do? There must be a nonclassified answer to that, I maintained. Once again, he paused: “More…I think the way the public is brought in to these positions and the way materials are classified is totally out of whack. People normally think things are classified and buttoned up for national reasons. I find it’s far more likely to be political security than national security.” He added, “There should have been more information released before the election.”

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/02/ron-wyden-intelligence-committee-russia-trump-investigation

  14. NW Luna says:
  15. NW Luna says:

    Don’t know if this is legit. Found one article on it but it’s on a Berniebot site.

  16. Earlynerd says:

    Something I’ve been trying to say for decades, but she says it best:

  17. […] Sky Dancing examines more of the lies of the lying liars. […]

  18. John Taylor says:

    Trump’s people have trampled on every conceivable norm of decent human behavior, so what’s one more?

    • dakinikat says:

      At some point, you’d think some one in the party of mass destruction would do something about it but I guess they’ve not gotten to that point yet.