Lazy Saturday Reads: America Held Hostage by Madman

Two Sisters on the Terrace, 1881, Pierre Auguste Renoir

Good Afternoon!!

I’m starting to feel as if we normal Americans are being held hostage. Maybe that’s not the right word for our situation; I’m not sure what to call it, but something awful is happening to us. A minority of deplorable or just plain stupid people elected an ignorant, incompetent, narcissistic wanna-be tyrant to the presidency; and we are being forced to bear witness as he burns our democracy down. The people who could take action–the Republicans refuse to do anything to protect the country. All we can do is hope that Bob Mueller is able to make something happen–and that he does it in time to prevent World War III.

After what Trump did yesterday and the night before, I’m really struggling to write a post this morning. I’ve been feeling increasingly depressed. For months I’ve been waking up every morning fearful of what Trump may have done, and recently I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night and checking Twitter to see if anything horrible has happened. I know this isn’t normal or healthy, but what can I do? I can’t zone out and pretend nothing is happening. Besides, I know I’m not alone. I’ve seen a number of people here and on Twitter who say they are going through the same anxiety. What can we do about the madman in the White House?

Late Thursday night, Trump announced that he will end subsidies that help lower income people purchase health insurance in the ACA exchanges, a move that threatens 1/6th of the U.S. economy. Then yesterday he announced that he will refuse to certify that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal we agreed to with numerous other countries under Obama. Dakinikat covered both of these stories in her Friday post, so I won’t go into any more detail about these nightmarish “presidential” decisions.

Now what? The consequences of both of these destructive actions by Trump could be extremely serious, and we’re still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, as well as the wildfires in California. Will this administration be able (or willing) to handle these Trump-made and natural catastrophes? I fear the answer is no.

Maybe I’m overreacting. If so, I hope someone here can talk me off the ledge.

Meanwhile Trump is very pleased with himself.

When is the last time a POTUS celebrated tanking stocks? Has that ever happened before?

Young girl reading, Renoir

Buzzfeed reports on the Democratic response to the cancellation of the subsidies: Democrats Are Launching A Legal Fight To Save Obamacare’s Subsidy Payments.

A coalition of 19 attorneys general — representing 18 states and the District of Columbia — filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Northern District of California that accuses the Trump administration of violating the sections of the Affordable Care Act that require the subsidies, as well as other federal law.

“It’s well past time that President Trump learns that he doesn’t just get to pick and choose which laws he’ll follow or which bills he’ll pay,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said on a call with reporters. “Just because he’s in the White House doesn’t mean he can make those decisions.” ….

A coalition of 19 attorneys general — representing 18 states and the District of Columbia — filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Northern District of California that accuses the Trump administration of violating the sections of the Affordable Care Act that require the subsidies, as well as other federal law.

“It’s well past time that President Trump learns that he doesn’t just get to pick and choose which laws he’ll follow or which bills he’ll pay,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said on a call with reporters. “Just because he’s in the White House doesn’t mean he can make those decisions.

”The lawsuit was filed by attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

Other stories to check out

Newsweek: Trump Just Made War With Iran and North Korea More Likely Than Ever, Retired Army General Says.

The U.S. and Iran have both taken defensive measures to prepare for a potential conflict following President Donald Trump’s controversial decision Friday to not certify a landmark nuclear treaty between both countries and four other leading powers….

In response to Trump’s decision to add the IRGC to the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations, Iranian lawmaker Alireza Rahimi, a member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told the Iranian Students’ News Agency that Iran would put the U.S. military on its “list of groups that undermine international security and stability.” The IRGC is an official branch of Iran’s armed forces but also maintains external operations and operates under direct orders from an appointee of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Renoir, Two girls reading

“Given that the army and [other] armed forces of a country are guarantors of its security, the [possible] move [by the U.S. to designate IRGC forces as terrorists] is tantamount to a declaration of war,” Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s atomic agency, told British analysts and media figures Thursday during a meeting in London, according to the semiofficial Tasnim News Agency….

Retired Army Major General Paul Eaton, who played a key role in rebuilding and training the Iraqi military in the wake of the 2003 U.S. invasion, on Friday warned that Trump’s decision may not only bring about a new crisis in the Middle East, but further escalate an already tense nuclear standoff with North Korea and further complicate the U.S.’s 16-year military campaign in Afghanistan. He appealed to Congress to not destroy the deal by adding more sanctions during the 60-day window lawmakers now have to take action.

“Donald Trump has moved us closer to a war with Iran, while he has also moved us closer to a nuclear war with North Korea. All while we’re in a war in Afghanistan,” Eaton said in a statement.

Those are the highlights; you might want to read the whole story.

The Boston Globe has an explainer story on Trump’s health care moves: Key questions and answers about Trump’s health care move.

President Donald Trump’s move to stop paying a major “Obamacare” subsidy will raise costs for many consumers who buy their own health insurance, and make an already complicated system more challenging for just about everybody.

Experts say the consequences will vary depending on how much money you earn, the state you live in, and other factors.

Overall, Trump’s decision will make coverage under the Affordable Care Act less secure, because more insurers may head for the exits as their financial losses mount.

I can’t really excerpt this very well, but the story isn’t long and has some helpful information. Basically, poor, working class, and middle class Americans will all be negatively affected.

This piece by ex-Republican conservative George Will is worth reading. It’s directed at the white supremacists like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller who have Trump’s ear, but I was most interested in what Will had to say about two Republicans who have enabled Trump in his destructive behavior, Mike Pence and Bob Corker:

Renoir, Woman reading

With eyes wide open, Mike Pence eagerly auditioned for the role as Donald Trump’s poodle. Now comfortably leashed, he deserves the degradations that he seems too sycophantic to recognize as such. He did Trump’s adolescent bidding with last Sunday’s preplanned virtue pageant of scripted indignation — his flight from the predictable sight of players kneeling during the national anthem at a football game. No unblinkered observer can still cling to the hope that Pence has the inclination, never mind the capacity, to restrain, never mind educate, the man who elevated him to his current glory. Pence is a reminder that no one can have sustained transactions with Trump without becoming too soiled for subsequent scrubbing.

A man who interviewed for the position Pence captured, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), is making amends for saying supportive things about Trump. In 2016, for example, he said he was “repulsed” by people trying to transform the Republican National Convention from a merely ratifying body into a deliberative body for the purpose of preventing what has come to pass. Until recently, Corker, an admirable man and talented legislator, has been, like many other people, prevented by his normality from fathoming Trump’s abnormality. Now Corker says what could have been said two years ago about Trump’s unfitness.

The axiom that “Hell is truth seen too late” is mistaken; damnation deservedly comes to those who tardily speak truth that has long been patent. Perhaps there shall be a bedraggled parade of repentant Republicans resembling those supine American communists who, after Stalin imposed totalitarianism, spawned the gulag, engineered the Ukraine famine, launched the Great Terror and orchestrated the show trials, were theatrically disillusioned by his collaboration with Hitler: You, sir, have gone too far.

Wow. Read the rest at the WaPo.

More fallout from Trump’s disastrous policies at Newsweek: After Trump Travel Ban, Chad Pulls Troops from Boko Haram fight in Niger.

President Donald Trump’s decision to place Chad on his revised travel ban shocked experts and former U.S. officials who warned it could have major consequences for the fight against terrorism in Africa.

And it appears Trump’s controversial decision may have already damaged alliances on the continent—which is threatened by a range of militants, including affiliates of Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State militant group.

Chad has pulled hundreds of troops from neighboring Niger, where they had been stationed to assist in a regional fight against Boko Haram, the Nigerian militant Islamist group, Reuters reported.

I’m going to end with an odd Trump story from Vanity Fair: Donald Trump’s Face Renoir: The Untold Story.

A girl reading, 1891, Renoir

Years ago, while reporting a book about a real-estate developer and reality-TV star named Donald Trump,Tim O’Brienaccompanied his subject on a private jet ride to Los Angeles. The plane, as you can imagine, was overly ornate; hanging on one wall, for instance, was a painting of two young girls—one in an orange hat, the other wearing a floral bonnet—in the impressionistic style of Renoir.

Curious, O’Brien asked Trump about the painting: was it an original Renoir? Trump replied in the affirmative. It was, he said. “No, it’s not Donald,” O’Brien responded. But, once again, Trump protested that it was.

“Donald, it’s not,” O’Brien said adamantly. “I grew up in Chicago, that Renoir is called Two Sisters on the Terrace, and it’s hanging on a wall at the Art Institute of Chicago.” He concluded emphatically: “That’s not an original.”

Trump, of course, did not agree, but O’Brien dropped the conversation topic and moved on with his interview. He thought that he had heard the last of the Renoir conversation. But the next day, when they boarded the plane to head back to New York City, Trump again pointed to the painting, and as if the conversation had never happened, he pointed to the fake and proclaimed, “You know, that’s an original Renoir.” O’Brien, chose not to engage, and dropped the conversation….

Then, in 2016, the unimaginable happened: Trump was elected president of the United States. A few days afterward, Trump sat down with 60 Minutes for one of his first interviews as president-elect. O’Brien was watching the interview, which took place in Trump Tower. It was highly choreographed, with cameras set up precisely where Trump wanted them. O’Brien watched Trump seated in an ugly mini-throne—“the kind of furniture Trump loves,” O’Brien notes—and sure enough, in the background, hanging on the a wall, was that fake Renoir.

It’s not just dementia; Trump has always been insane. I’ve illustrated the post with Renoir paintings in honor of his lunacy.

What stories are you following today?


37 Comments on “Lazy Saturday Reads: America Held Hostage by Madman”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Sorry this is so late. Have a nice weekend, Sky Dancers.

    • NW Luna says:

      No problem. Thanks for putting a post up. I know we all want to stay away from Drumpf news once in a while but he’s doing insane and hateful things daily. You have company in your foreboding and anxiety!

  2. bostonboomer says:


  3. contrask says:

    Yes absolutely held hostage – I’m depressed and also look at my twitter feed in horror throughout the night. I have since Nov. And then, to pour salt in the wounds – the womens march signs Bernie up to speak!! Arghh! Here is a link to the petition to get them to change speakers. I signed it

  4. quixote says:

    I just saw on Reuters that Dump is going to reduce funding for halfway houses to help former prisoners.

    Also, Manafort had an extra $60,000,000 from Deripaska, billionaire conduit to Putin. I gather NBC noticed it in some paperwork? Manafort apparently forgot all about it. I know how it is. I forget to include tens of millions of dollars all the time on my income tax. Could happen to anyone.

    Notice how quiet Javanka have been of late? But they still have security clearances. Why is that?

    Etc., etc., etc.

    By the way, love the pictures, as always!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Yes, the Manafort story gives me hope that there will be indictments. I just didn’t have the strength to write about Russia today.

  5. Fannie says:

    Our so called president………is now denying access to millions and millions Americans. I have never in my life hated someone the way I do this man. I try not to hate those that voted for them, because I get a nasty taste knowing they did. I guess since Bernie Sanders can bare children, we don’t have to worry about abortion laws anymore!

    Of course, he’ll cut money to halfway houses………..the man doesn’t want any person of color, or poor to have a second chance! Makes me sick.

    Keep you energy up Sky Dancers!

    • bostonboomer says:

      I hate the people who voted for him, and I’m not sorry.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Not one tiny little bit.

      • NW Luna says:

        I’m with you. And the 3rd party “purists.” Hey, idiots, how’s that “They’re both bad” workin’ out for ya now? Kiss your healthcare goodbye!

      • Sweet Sue says:

        I understand.

      • Fannie says:

        I hear you, and I am to the point that I no longer make those annual trips to be around family and friends, can’t do it. Trying to live on, and can’t seem to open the lines of communications, though I have tried to relax around them, I can’t. Not much left to be done in that arena.

  6. Sweet Sue says:

    BB, today I told my husband how weepy I am over sweet commercials and it’s because “every thing that’s true, light, kind and beautiful is now in retreat.”
    Sometimes, resisting means calming yourself, meditating (sitting quietly) and being kind when and where one can? Love to you, Sue.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    NY Daily News:

    Hillary Clinton in talks with Columbia University to take on professor role

    The former U.S. Secretary of State and presidential nominee is in talks with Columbia University to take on a formal role at the Ivy League — and potentially house her archives there, multiple sources told the Daily News.

    One option under discussion is an esteemed “University Professor” role that would allow Clinton to lecture across a range of schools and departments without the requirement of a strict course load, one source said.

    A former law professor, Clinton could maintain the vaunted but vague role indefinitely or decide at a later date she wants to settle at Columbia’s celebrated law school or maybe the School of International and Public Affairs, the source said.

    • Sweet Sue says:

      Wonderful. What lucky students.

    • NW Luna says:

      She would be brilliant in that role. Lucky students indeed.

      • Catscatscats says:

        Did anyone see this yet? Voting Hillary posted it at Uppity Woman awhile back. It doesn’t appear that she is using a teleprompter, just spoke to the audience about recent events and their relevance for an hour or so. While she looked tired,I can see why being a professor would be a good fit for her, another effective vehicle for her activism. A super hero to battle the orange and red super villains who plague our universe…

        • Jslat says:

          Goddess, I admire that woman! I am thankful to hear her voice.

        • joanelle says:

          Well, that was a wonderful treat, catscatscat, thank you. I’d like to share it with friends (some of whom are sorry now that they didn’t vote for her, and some are republicans who will watch) but I can’t seem to copy it. Can you include the link for us?

          • catscatscats says:

            joanelle, you are asking a tech idiot (me) for a link but this is how I got it: click on that arrow in the upper right hand corner. It will have the you tube link which you should be able to copy and then paste into an email or a post. If that doesn’t work, one of the tech savants here can help! I was working from my iPad and it took me 15 minutes to finally copy and paste it here. I tried to copy the URL below now that I am in windows but if don’t know if it will post the video so I added a space after https.

            https ://

          • catscatscats says:

            Drat! Here is the rest of it. Apologize to all for the mess I just made!


          • catscatscats says:

            That didn’t work, I give up!

          • bostonboomer says:

            If you want to post a Youtube video, all you need to do is copy the link from the address bar and paste in the comment. Nothing fancy needed.

          • joanelle says:

            Thanks, B.B.!

          • joanelle says:

            Another question, my Skydancing shortcut ‘disappeared’ from my front page. How can I get it back?

          • joanelle says:

            I found the link B.B.

        • Pilgrim says:

          Thanks for posting that. I enjoyed it, and also sent it along to a friend. We are Canadian, so couldn’t vote for her, but mourned for weeks, months after Nov. 8th.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I’m so happy she’ll be speaking to young college-age audiences. They need to learn the truth about what kind of person she is and hopefully make the connection between what happened to her and systemic misogyny.

  8. Earlynerd says:

    BB, love the Renoir paintings. It’s nice to know those lovely paintings weren’t just lent to the Chicago Art museum, they’re part of the permanent collection.

    Years ago, I had a short contract in downtown Chicago right across the street from the museum and took full advantage of their free Tuesdays (do they still do that? What a lovely democratic idea!).

    Seeing the actual paintings is like seeing natural wonders like the Grand Canyon in person. Replicas like Dump’s fake just don’t do it. That he either believes or knowingly tried multiple times to pass off a fake as real is one more cause for alarm and one more reason a responsible media would have ensured a thoroughly vetted tRump would never have been made president.

    • Enheduanna says:

      tRump collects obvious fakes because he doesn’t have a clue how or what to collect. He has no interest in art other than to aggrandize himself through his tacky residences and clubs. The only tasteful house he has – he considers a “dump”.