Lazy Saturday Reads: This Is Our Reality Now

What might have been.

Good Morning!!

The news is ugly today. The “president” calls other countries “shitholes” as he works to turn the United States into a “shithole” full of ignorant white people who live in fear of anyone who doesn’t look and think exactly as they do. On top of the “president’s” classless vulgarity and racism, it looks like next we’re going to be subjected to examinations of the “president’s” degrading sexual history.

This nightmare reality we are living in might have been prevented if only the media weren’t populated by numerous misogynist men who prey on naive young women and at the same time enjoy mocking strong, competent women like Hillary Clinton when they dare to pursue their ambitious dreams.

In the wake of the *shitstorm* over the “president’s” vile and ignorant comments in a meeting about immigration, it looks as if one of the worst media misogynist could finally get his comeuppance.

The Cut: Exclusive: Watch Chris Matthews Joke About His ‘Bill Cosby Pill’ Before Interviewing Hillary Clinton.

On January 5, 2016, MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews interviewed Hillary Clinton in an Iowa fire station during the Democratic primary season. Network footage obtained by the Cut shows Matthews, during the interview setup, making a couple of “jokes” about Clinton. He asks, “Can I have some of the queen’s waters? Precious waters?” And then, as he waits for the water, he adds, “Where’s that Bill Cosby pill I brought with me?” Matthews then laughs, delighted with the line, for an extended moment, as the staffers around him react with disbelief, clearly uncomfortable. (Cosby has been accused of sexual impropriety by dozens of women, some of whom allege that they were drugged and raped by the comedian, some of them got addicted to drugs so they went to a rehab center from firststepbh.com.) They consulted xarelto lawsuit after the incident.

“This was a terrible comment I made in poor taste during the height of the Bill Cosby headlines,” Matthews said to the Cut. “I realize that’s no excuse. I deeply regret it and I’m sorry.”

Really? Fuck you Tweety. It’s time for you to retire.

Back to The Cut:

Matthews has a long history of talking disparagingly about Hillary Clinton, whom he once called “witchy,”and often seems to channel what a hypothetical sexist Republican might say about a woman candidate: “she-devil,” “Madame Defarge.” In 2005, he wondered whether the troops would “take the orders” from a (female) President Clinton. “Is she hemmed in by the fact that she’s a woman and can’t admit a mistake,” he asked in 2006, “or else the Republicans will say, ‘Oh, that’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind,’ or ‘another fickle woman’? Is her gender a problem in her ability to change her mind?” He once pinched her cheekfollowing an interview, and, though he later apologized, on another occasion suggested that she only got as far as she did on the political stage because her husband had “messed around.”

We’re all familiar with Tweety’s garbage talk. To paraphrase Trump: “Take him out!”

Also worth reading, tweets by Matthew Gertz of Media Matters. A couple of examples:

That’s part of a long thread about Matthews ugly sexist remarks about Clinton you can read on Twitter.

And now let’s check out some of the latest stories about the “president” Chris Matthews and his kind helped put in the White House.

Trump’s racism

The New York Times Editorial Board on the “president’s” “shithole” shitstorm: Donald Trump Flushes Away America’s Reputation.

Where to begin? How about with a simple observation: The president of the United States is a racist. And another: The United States has a long and ugly history of excluding immigrants based on race or national origin. Mr. Trump seems determined to undo efforts taken by presidents of both parties in recent decades to overcome that history.

Mr. Trump denied making the remarks on Friday, but Senator Richard Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, who attended the meeting, said the president did in fact say these “hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly.”

Of course he did. Remember, Mr. Trump is not just racist, ignorant, incompetent and undignified. He’s also a liar.

Even the president’s most sycophantic defenders didn’t bother denying the reports. Instead they justified them. Places like Haiti really are terrible, they reminded us. Never mind that many native-born Americans are descended from immigrants who fled countries (including Norway in the second half of the 19th century) that were considered hellholes at the time.

Read the rest at the NYT link. How appropriate that the headline contains the word “flushes.”

Adam Serwer at The Atlantic: Trump Puts the Purpose of His Presidency Into Words.

Francis Amasa Walker had fought to preserve the Union in the Grand Army of the Republic, but by 1896 he saw its doom in the huddled masses coming from Eastern Europe. The “immigrants from southern Italy, Hungary, Austria, and Russia,” Walker lamented in The Atlantic, were “beaten men from beaten races; representing the worst failures in the struggle for existence,” people who had “none of the ideas and aptitudes which fit men to take up readily and easily the problem of self-care and self-government, such as belong to those who are descended from the tribes that met under the oak-trees of old Germany to make laws and choose chieftains.”

More than a century later President Donald Trump would put it differently, as he considered immigration from Africa, wondering, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” instead suggesting that America take in more immigrants from places like Norway.

These remarks reflect scorn not only for those who wish to come here, but those who already have. It is a president of the United States expressing his contempt for the tens of millions of descendants of Africans, most of whose forefathers had no choice in crossing the Atlantic, American citizens whom any president is bound to serve. And it is a public admission of sorts that he is incapable of being a president for all Americans, the logic of his argument elevating not just white immigrants over brown ones, but white citizens over the people of color they share this country with.

Please go read the whole thing.

Philip Kennicott at The Washington Post: What did the men with Donald Trump do when he spoke of ‘shithole countries’?

Over the past year, as our political culture has grown more coarse and corrupt, I’ve felt different things: sometimes, anger; often, bitter resignation; and occasionally, a bemused sense of pure absurdity. But the past two nights I have actually wept. Why now? Why in response to these particular prompts? A confused and ailing woman in a thin medical gown was tossed to the roadside in freezing weather by security guards from the University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus in Baltimore. Who orders such a thing, and why would anyone carry out that order? Then, the president of the United States calls Haiti, El Salvador and African nations “shithole” countries. Who says that kind of thing? Who thinks it? Who listens to it without reflexive outrage?

Back to the Post article:

According to a few of the president’s defenders, this is what we all really think. “This is how the forgotten men and women of America talk at the bar,” said a Fox News host, imputing to ordinary Americans sentiments they wouldn’t suffer to be said at their own dinner tables. There was the usual talk about “tough” language instead of talking about this course which helps improve language, as if using racist language was merely candor or an admirable impatience with euphemism.

His defenders seemed to say that if the president says things that we would be ashamed even to think, he is somehow speaking a kind of truth. But while there may be countries that are poor and suffer from civil discord, there are no “shithole” countries, not one, anywhere on Earth. The very idea of “shithole” countries is designed to short-circuit our capacity for empathy on a global scale.

These two incidents, in Baltimore and in the Oval Office, seem related — inhumane indifference from a hospital and blatant bigotry from the president — which is even more troubling. They are about who is on what side of the door, or the wall, or any other barrier that defines the primal “us and them” that governs so much of the worst of our human-made world. When Trump called disfavored countries “shitholes,” he was indulging the most lethal and persistent tribalism of all: pure, unabashed racism. After a candidacy and now a presidency marked by implications of racism, the president has grown more comfortable with speaking in overtly racist terms, condemning whole countries and their people for not being more like “Norway,” one of the whitest countries on Earth….

Remarks like these from the president are still shocking but hardly surprising, given the frequency with which they occur. What I want to know is how the men in the room with him reacted. This is the dinner table test: When you are sitting and socializing with a bigot, what do you do when he reveals his bigotry? I’ve seen it happen, once, when I was a young man, and I learned an invaluable lesson. An older guest at a formal dinner said something blatantly anti-Semitic. I was shocked and laughed nervously. Another friend stared at his plate silently. Another excused himself and fled to the bathroom. And then there was the professor, an accomplished and erudite man, who paused for a moment, then slammed his fist on the table and said, “I will never listen to that kind of language, so either you will leave, or I will leave.” The offender looked around the table, found no allies and left the gathering. I don’t know if he felt any shame upon expulsion.

Again, please go read the rest.

On the Trump scandal front:

Raw Story: Haitian government claims ousted dictator ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier laundered stolen money through Trump Tower.

Trump and Baby Doc

More than a fifth of Trump’s condominiums in the U.S. have been purchased since the 1980s in secretive cash transactions that fit a Treasury Department definition of suspicious transactions, reported Buzzfeed News.

Records show more than 1,300 Trump condos were purchased through shell companies, which allow buyers to shield their finances and identities, and without a mortgage, which protects buyers from lender inquiries.

Those two characteristics raise alarms about possible money laundering, according to statements issued in recent months by the Department of Treasury, which has investigated transactions just like those all over the country….

According to the Buzzfeed News report, the Haitian government complained in the 1980s that former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier laundered money stolen from the Caribbean nation’s treasury by purchasing an apartment in Trump Tower.

Duvalier, nicknamed “Baby Doc,” was overthrown in 1986, but three years earlier used a Panamanian shell company called Lasa Trade and Finance to buy apartment 54-K in Trump’s Manhattan tower for $446,875 cash.

Trump, the future U.S. president, signed the deed of sale.

I tried to read the Buzzfeed story yesterday, but it got to be too much to deal with. Now I plan to go read it carefully.

CNN: James O’Keefe says Trump asked him to go on birther-linked mission.

James O’Keefe

Donald Trump in 2013 asked James O’Keefe, the controversial conservative filmmaker, if he could “get inside” Columbia University and obtain President Obama’s sealed college records, according to a passage in O’Keefe’s forthcoming book, a copy of which was reviewed by CNN.

O’Keefe, a guerrilla filmmaker whom critics have decried for his tactics and who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for entering federal property in 2010 under false pretenses, writes in “American Pravda: My Fight for Truth in the Era of Fake News” that during a meeting in New York City Trump complimented his ACORN sting videos (“That pimp and hooker thing you did, wow!”). But, O’Keefe writes, Trump “was a man with a plan” and “did not agree to this meeting to sing my praises.” [….]

According to O’Keefe, Trump “suspected Obama had presented himself as a foreign student on application materials to ease his way into New York’s Columbia University, maybe even Harvard too, and perhaps picked up a few scholarships along the way.”

O’Keefe wrote that during the 2013 meeting Trump suggested O’Keefe infiltrate Columbia and obtain the sealed records: “‘Nobody else can get this information,'” O’Keefe quoted Trump as saying. “‘Do you think you could get inside Columbia?'”

Read more at CNN.

The Washington Post: After drubbing by media, Trump’s ambassador to the Netherlands apologizes for anti-Muslim remarks.

Pete Hoekstra and Trump

The embattled U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands Peter Hoekstra apologized Friday for making unsubstantiated anti-Muslim claims at a conference in 2015, after his first week in the post was clouded by questions about the incendiary statements.

Hoekstra, a former Republican congressman from Michigan and recent political appointee, made the apology during an interview Friday with De Telegraaf, one of the largest Dutch newspapers, at the end of a particularly rough introduction for the new ambassador.

“Looking back, I am shocked I said that,” he told the newspaper. “It was a wrong statement. It was wrong.”

Hoekstra made the remarks in question during a conference on terrorism hosted by the right-wing David Horowitz Freedom Center. He talked about the supposed “chaos” brought to Europe by immigrants from Islamic countries and repeated a baseless theory about so-called “no-go zones” that is popular in right-wing media.

“Chaos in the Netherlands. There are cars being burned. There are politicians that are being burned,” Hoekstra said at the time. “With the influx of the Islamic community — and yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands. All right? There are no-go zones in France.”

Considering the quality of people Trump is appointing to diplomatic posts, I’m sure we can expect more embarrassing episodes like this.

So . . . I could go on and on. I deliberately left out the story of Trump and the two porn stars. It’s still difficult for me to believe this horrible man is POTUS. He has to go before he completely wrecks this country and destroys any hope of our regaining respect around the world.

What stories are you following?

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50 Comments on “Lazy Saturday Reads: This Is Our Reality Now”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Newsweek: TRUMP THINKS ONLY BLACK PEOPLE ARE ON WELFARE, BUT, REALLY, WHITE AMERICANS RECEIVE MOST BENEFITS

    President Donald Trump was apparently unaware that not all—in fact, the vast majority—of welfare beneficiaries are not black as recently as last March, according to a new report.

    In the spring of 2017, the newly elected president met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus. During that meeting, one of the members mentioned to Trump that welfare reform would be detrimental to her constituents— adding, “Not all of whom are black,” according to NBC News.

    The president was incredulous. “Really? Then what are they?”

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Another Trump is stupid story:

    NPR: Spy Bosses Helped Trump Draft Tweet Backing Surveillance Program

    The nation’s top spy bosses scrambled to the White House early Thursday to urge President Trump to restate his support for a controversial surveillance law after he spent the morning trashing it on Twitter.

    CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, White House chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser H.R. McMaster all convened in the Oval Office with the president to urge him to row back his criticism. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., also joined in by telephone.

    The men helped coach the president in wording the conclusion of a thread that began with a condemnation of the law that the president’s administration supports.

    The emergency meeting of the top national security officials and the House speaker was described by people familiar with the hasty conference.

  3. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Not to mention that any official medical communication would have the name in the format on the top of that photo clip — Ronny Jackson, MD, XXXX (whatever the other initials were, probably Fellow of the American something or other; it’s usually a board certification).

  4. bostonboomer says:

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  5. bostonboomer says:

    This indictment on the DOJ website could have something to do with Michael Flynn and his plans to build nuclear plants around the Middle East. Right wing nuts are claiming it’s about Uranium One, but the dates don’t fit.

    Former President of Maryland-Based Transportation Company Indicted on 11 Counts Related to Foreign Bribery, Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme

    Executive Allegedly Paid Bribes to a Russian Official So His Company Could Win Highly Sensitive Nuclear Fuel Transportation Contracts

    https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-president-maryland-based-transportation-company-indicted-11-counts-related-foreign

  6. Pat Johnson says:

    The “resume” of the 45th POTUS:

    – traitor
    – money launderer
    – bankrupt
    – adulterer
    – sexual assaulter
    – ignorant
    – liar
    – cheater
    – braggart
    – racist
    – bigoted
    – misogynist
    – germaphobe
    – illiterate
    – vengeful
    – vindictive
    – narcissistic
    – immoral
    – amoral
    – disloyal

    We have had our share of flawed leaders before. But none capture all of these flaws in one person as does Trump. He is a man without any redeeming qualities.

    He has no sense of humor. No compassion. He lacks any sense of charity. He is profoundly ignorant for a man in this vaunted position. No inner core. No vision. His life revolves around him and him only. His childishness is disturbing. He has not one visible trait that is worth emulating.

    He surrounds himself, and is attracted to evil people. So lazy, he let’s others do the work while he takes credit for whatever they tell him to do. I am mystified by those who still cling to the myth that he knows what he is doing when it is clear that he hasn’t a clue.

    He is making a mockery of the office. He is turning his back on our allies. Our place in the world is being destroyed by his idiotic antics. His hatred of his predecessor is his one mission in life and that is to tarnish and destroy that man’s legacy.

    This is where we are. At the mercy of this fool and a compliant GOP congress who sits back and watches him play with matches. This must end soon. We are hanging on by a thread.

  7. Enheduanna says:

    Maxine Waters rips tRump a new one:

    https://waters.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/rep-waters-statement-donald-trump-s-racist-slurs-about-immigrants

    It’s comforting that so many people are as outraged as I am at the moment. I’m sorry we all have to feel this way but it helps to know I’m not overreacting.

  8. NW Luna says:

    Take a good look at that emoji.

    • NW Luna says:

      2nd tweet didn’t show — it’s Trump’s tweet claiming he’s not going to London because of something he blamed on Obama (but was actually done by Bush).

  9. NW Luna says:

    Ooooops!

    Hawaii officials say ‘NO missile threat’ amid emergency alerts

    Emergency alerts sent to the cellphones of Hawaii residents Saturday warning of a “ballistic missile threat” were a false alarm, officials said. Nevertheless, the messages, reportedly sent by mistake, alarmed those in a state where fears of an attack by North Korea have been heightened in recent months.

    Shortly after 8 a.m. local time Saturday, several Hawaii residents began posting screenshots of alerts they had received, reading: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

    At least 10 minutes went by with no official word or follow-up. At 8:20 a.m. local time, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweeted there was no missile threat to the state.

    • NW Luna says:

  10. NW Luna says:

    No policymaking experience. Picks “an overwhelming favorite” to run against. We don’t need this.

    Chelsea Manning to run for U.S. Senate in MarylandChelsea E. Manning, the transgender former Army private who was convicted of passing sensitive government documents to Wikileaks, has filed to run for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, according to federal election filings.

    Manning, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, would be challenging Democrat Ben Cardin, who has served two terms in the Senate and is up for re-election in November. Cardin is Maryland’s senior senator and is considered an overwhelming favorite to win a third term.

  11. RonStill4Hills says:

    The Baby Doc Duvalier article is not surprising but soooo illustrative of what Adolph Twitler is all about.

    Steal from people then demonize them for being broke.

    Where is Septa Eunella when you need her?

    SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

  12. NW Luna says:

  13. bostonboomer says:

    Please go read this thread.

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    • Catscatscats says:

      Bb, that thread was horrifying. This presidency could well end in chaos and bloodshed. His hateful base is emboldened by the hour and they are everywhere. I feel like clocks are spinning wildly backward, like decades of progress are silently slipping away.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I read a book on lynching. It was harrowing, but the story of Ida B. Wells fight to end it is inspiring.

        At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America

        • Fannie says:

          Rev. Edgar Ray Killen 7 Jan 1925 Philadelphia, Neshoba Co Ms. died 11 Jan 2018, Parchman Prison, Sunflower Co. Ms. He was the KKK Wizard of Mississippi Burning, who ordered the death of the three civil rights murders in Neshoba Co. Ms. (James Chaney, Andrew Goldman, and Michael Schwerner). He was one of many White Knights that created the biggest damn shitholes in Mississippi. I am sorry to say that I have family members who married into the shithole families. I will not be surprised to see the confederate flag flying at his funeral, in the cemetery, maybe Trump will send his condolences. I just can’t see a religious funeral, but you know they were affiliated with several southern churches, and Rev. Killen was full of hate, just like Trump, and he PREACHED like no other. Jackson Mississippi opened their civil rights museum, and on that day, I received a photo of the cemeteries of my ancestors, flying the CSA flag. I am no longer welcomed, because I spit all over them for doing that, and shared that photo so that the world knows. They thrive with hate.

  14. quixote says:

    (Apropos of nothing, I’m not sure I’m a fan of the cursive-type header font. I’m not sure why but every time it jumps into sight it feels like someone slid off-key.)

  15. jackyt says:

    Skin colour … luck of the draw! Genitalia … luck of the draw! Born in privileged circumstances … luck of the draw! Not one of these things is an “accomplishment”, yet they are what confer power in our culture, and most cultures worldwide.
    Many of those who tick all of the above boxes believe they are “deserving” and being discriminated against whenever the playing field is leveled, even a little bit.
    Trump embodies a “me-first, I win/you lose” posture. He’s a cartoon/computer game villain. He’s the boil on the nose of human nature.
    We won’t detoxify until we embed a firm commitment to the common good around the country and around the world.

  16. bostonboomer says:

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  17. bostonboomer says:

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  18. NW Luna says: