Friday Reads: Tales from a Tsundoku

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

I don’t know how I’m going to fare if we have to endure more televised rallies all the way to election day on TV.  I truly believe that the media should issue trigger warnings before clips are shown and that none should be shown live.  There have been suggestions that the major news outlets join in supporting an AP pool reporter and only broadcast material that’s ‘newsworthy’.  Since each of these events are basically a roll out his most bigoted and autocratic inner voices, he rarely makes news or discusses actual policy.  Why make journalists props to propaganda?

UN experts condemn Trump’s attacks on the media which are central to whipping up the crowd and central to authoritarian drumbeats.

President Donald Trump’s media attacks raise the risk of violence against journalists, UN experts have warned.

In a statement, David Kaye and Edison Lanza of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called the attacks “strategic” and said they undermined press freedom and “verifiable facts”.

The comments follow hours after Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka distanced herself from her father’s attacks.

Mr Trump has repeatedly criticised the media before and during his presidency.

He has declared journalists to be “enemies of the people”, drawing condemnation from across the political spectrum.

CNN’s Jim Acosta asked the Huckabeast if she personally believed that the media was the enemy of the people.  The question was repeated several times and was dodged an equal number.

That set the stage for Thursday, when Mr. Acosta, breaking from the usual sober style of White House reporters, framed his question to Ms. Sanders as a moral choice.

“It would be a good thing if you were to state right here, at this briefing, that the press — the people who are gathered in this room right now, doing their jobs every day, asking questions of officials like the ones you brought forward earlier — are not the enemy of the people,” Mr. Acosta said in his newscaster’s baritone. “I think we deserve that.”

Ms. Sanders deflected — and then mirrored Mr. Acosta’s tone.

“It’s ironic, Jim,” she said, “that not only you and the media attack the president for his rhetoric, when they frequently lower the level of conversation in this country.”

Ms. Sanders, without much evidence, went on to accuse the news media of using “personal attacks without any content other than to incite anger.” She also cited her experience at this year’s White House Correspondents Association dinner, during which the comedian Michelle Wolf mocked Ms. Sanders’s “smokey eye” makeup and compared her to “an Uncle Tom” for “white women.”

“You brought up a comedian to attack my appearance and call me a traitor to my own gender,” Ms. Sanders said. “As far as I know, I’m the first press secretary in the history of the United States that’s required Secret Service protection.”

Her answer did not directly address the question, so Mr. Acosta tried again, with more oomph.

“This democracy, this country, all the people around the world watching what you are saying, Sarah, and the White House for the United States of America — the president of the United States should not refer to us as ‘the enemy of the people,’” he said. “His own daughter acknowledges that, and all I’m asking you to do, Sarah, is to acknowledge that right now and right here.”

Ms. Sanders replied: “I appreciate your passion. I share it. I’ve addressed this question.”

At that, Mr. Acosta promptly walked out.


He repeated his performance in a corner of Pennsylvania.  We will undoubtedly hear it endlessly unless the media spares us and themselves from this abuse.  Amie Parnes writes this for the Hill.

Trump has been a president like no other, bending the truth as he sees fit and talking to supporters and bypassing the media with his Twitter account.

Still, he’s been a boon to the media, raising ratings for cable networks that are both supportive and critical of his actions.

Coverage of Trump has become a 24-hour affair with no precedent, as the White House constantly stirs up stories that can both feed outrage about Trump, and fuel anger among the president’s supporters over how he is treated by the press.

Trump, while sometimes offering evident frustration with the media, also has used this dynamic to his benefit, constantly complaining about “fake news” and picking fights with perceived enemies in the press.

Trump has shown no sign of pulling back or urging his supporters to lessen the hostility. And some say it’s been an effective political strategy.

“If you would have asked me two years ago, I would say it’s a bad strategy and he’s not going to win because in previous times it wouldn’t work,” Robert Thompson, the founding director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, said of Trump’s media strategy. “But we’re consistently seeing more and more people for whom that message is working.”

The rising anger has fed worries in some quarters about the possibility of attacks on the press or violence between Trump critics and supporters.

“We can’t shrug off Trump’s attacks on the press. Ever,” Dan Rather, the former CBS News anchor, wrote Thursday on Twitter. “They’re undemocratic and invite, even incite, violence. This bears repeating. It demands repeating.”

Things are likely to just get more heated with the midterm elections approaching. And after that, the nation can look forward to a divisive presidential campaign as Trump seeks reelection against a large cast of Democrats who hope to unseat him.

Meanwhile the looting and grift continues.

The Interior Department’s inspector general is investigating whether Zinke colluded to have Halliburton’s chairman build him the microbrewery he’s always wanted in his hometown of Whitefish, Montana.

And, we still have children separated from their parents in inhumane and dangerous conditions.  It appears the administration has handed them to the ACLU for help. From  WAPO we get this headline: ‘Trump administration puts burden on ACLU to find deported parents separated from children’

Justice Department lawyers wrote in a court filing Thursday that the ACLU should use its “considerable resources,” its network of advocacy groups, and information from the government to locate parents removed to foreign countries. The Trump administration added, however, that the State Department has made contact with foreign governments to assist in facilitating family reunions.

In Thursday’s court filing, a joint status report requested by Judge Dana M. Sabraw of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, both the Trump administration and the ACLU laid out their plans for the continued reunification of families. The report gives a sense of the complex challenges ahead for both U.S. officials and immigration lawyers in locating the parents who are no longer in the United States.

In the six weeks before President Trump reversed his “zero-tolerance” policy at the border, immigration officials removed more than 2,500 children from their parents and sent them to government shelters. Sabraw, a Republican appointee, ordered the government to return the children as quickly as possible, setting a deadline of late last month.

The administration has since reunited more than 1,800 children with their parents, but hundreds of children remain in government shelters because their parents have criminal records, their cases remain under review or their parents are outside the country. More than 450 mothers and fathers have been deported without their children.

If you’re into dancing on graves, we could jam on top of the possible death of the NRA.  Between this and the Kochs bailing on Republicans, we could possibly see some candidates go begging for funds again.  Oh wait, they’d probably just ask Mother Russia.

The National Rifle Association warns that it is in grave financial jeopardy, according to a recent court filing obtained by Rolling Stone, and that it could soon “be unable to exist… or pursue its advocacy mission.” (Read the NRA’s legal complaint at the bottom of this story.)

The reason, according to the NRA filing, is not its deep entanglement with alleged Russian agents like Maria Butina. Instead, the gun group has been suing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state’s financial regulators since May, claiming the NRA has been subject to a state-led “blacklisting campaign” that has inflicted “tens of millions of dollars in damages.”

In the new document — an amended complaint filed in U.S. District Court in late July — the NRA says it cannot access financial services essential to its operations and is facing “irrecoverable loss and irreparable harm.”

Specifically, the NRA warns that it has lost insurance coverage — endangering day-to-day operations. “Insurance coverage is necessary for the NRA to continue its existence,” the complaint reads. Without general liability coverage, it adds, the “NRA cannot maintain its physical premises, convene off-site meetings and events, operate educational programs … or hold rallies, conventions and assemblies.”

The complaint says the NRA’s video streaming service and magazines may soon shut down.

“The NRA’s inability to obtain insurance in connection with media liability raises risks that are especially acute; if insurers remain afraid to transact with the NRA, there is a substantial risk that NRATV will be forced to cease operating.” The group also warns it “could be forced to cease circulation of various print publications and magazines.”

In addition to its insurance troubles, the NRA court filing also claims that “abuses” by Cuomo and the New York State Department of Financial Services “will imminently deprive the NRA of basic bank-depository services … and other financial services essential to the NRA’s corporate existence.”

Bye Bye you miserable POS murder enablers!

If you want me you can find me hiding among the towers of books in my little kathouse by the Mississippi. I practice Tsundoku.  I need to thin the herd before showing my house.

The Japanese word describes piling up books to save for later … even if you’ll never actually read them.

“Even when reading is impossible, the presence of books acquired produces such an ecstasy that the buying of more books than one can read is nothing less than the soul reaching towards infinity.” – A. Edward Newton, author, publisher, and collector of 10,000 books.

Are you one of us? A master of tsundoku? Mine takes the shape of the aspirational stack by my bedside table – because I am going to read every night before bed, of course, and upon waking on the weekends. Hahaha. My tsundoku also takes shape in cookbooks … even though I rarely cook from recipes. And I think I most fervently practice tsundoku when I buy three or four novels to pile in my suitcase for a five-day vacation. Sometimes not even one sees its spine cracked.

Thank heavens the Japanese have a word to describe people like us: tsundoku. Doku comes from a verb that can be used for “reading,” while tsun “to pile up.” The ol’ piling up of reading things.

“The phrase ‘tsundoku sensei’ appears in text from 1879 according to the writer Mori Senzo,” Professor Andrew Gerstle, a teacher of pre-modern Japanese texts at the University of London, explains to BBC. “Which is likely to be satirical, about a teacher who has lots of books but doesn’t read them.” Even so, says Gerstle, the term is not currently used in a mocking way.

Or it’s possible I trip out to hear a few of these people just for fun.  Corey Booker, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren are all giving speeches.

While Democratic leaders in Washington push forward with a midterm campaign agenda focused on health care and the economy, activists are embracing sanctuary cities, gay rights and other social issues igniting the Democratic base.

The conference opened with a panel calling explicitly for a “litmus test” on Democrats supporting abortion rights — a direct rebuke of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján’s comments last year that the party would impose no such test.

Decrying Trump’s immigration policies, Angelica Rubio, a Democratic state representative from New Mexico, described herself to a small crowd Thursday as “someone who feels incredibly saddened at times, with even my own political party, when it comes to issues of militarization of the border.”

And, invoking former first lady Michelle Obama’s 2016 campaign message, “when they go low, we go high,” Monica Roberts, a transgender rights advocate from Texas, told fellow progressives, “The Democratic Party needs to get some balls … There are some times in political life that you have to go World Wrestling Federation on people.”

There’s also a big insider fundraising party at Carville’s uptown house tonight I may attend if I can. However,  one of my cousins is in town for a convention of independent record store owners and I really want to spend some time with him and his wife.

Choices choices … and all involve turning that damned TV off.   Please enjoy the photoshopping talents of .

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

26 Comments on “Friday Reads: Tales from a Tsundoku”

  1. dakinikat says:

    and from my buddy Stephanie Grace at The Advocate:

    Grace Notes: Now a DC lobbyist, former U.S. Sen. David Vitter is fighting sanctions on Russian firm

  2. dakinikat says:

    Whether it’s confidence or delusion, Trump has dropped any pretense of patience with Robert Mueller and is taking his legal defense into his own hands. West Wing advisers fear he is careening toward disaster.

  3. dakinikat says:


    Fearing Trump’s Slipperiness, Associates Saved Evidence Against Him

    Creating memos of any “meaningful, substantive conversation” is also just standard practice at the Justice Department and FBI, former federal prosecutor Elie Honig told TPM.

    “There’s a deep culture in DOJ of recording anything that’s significant and keeping those notes,” Honig said, which can be used to refresh witnesses’ memories, keep dates in order, and push back on inaccurate claims by defense lawyers.

    It wasn’t just trained intelligence professionals who created records that could create trouble for the President. Trump’s own White House counsel reportedly did so too.

    The New York Review of Books reported this week that the special counsel is in possession of a Feb. 15, 2017 memo created by White House Counsel Don McGahn outlining the set of events that led up to Flynn’s firing. That timeline “explicitly states that when Trump pressured Comey he had just been told by two of his top aides — his then chief of staff Reince Priebus and his White House counsel Don McGahn — that Flynn was under criminal investigation,” according to the report.

    This document, compiled by McGahn and two of his deputies, contradicts Trump’s personal attorneys’ explanation for his Feb. 14 request that Comey drop the Flynn probe. They have said that the president could not have obstructed justice because it was the “White House’s understanding” that there was no active FBI investigation into Flynn.

  4. dakinikat says:

    Queen Elizabeth II, waiting for Donald | Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

    Trump claims Queen Elizabeth kept him waiting
    The president’s visit to Britain was broadcast live, including footage of the queen waiting for him for 12 minutes.

    • NW Luna says:

      Just one of the many reasons Trump is despised around the world (except in Russia, of course).

      • bostonboomer says:

        In Russia they mock him as a clown on live TV.

      • quixote says:

        Don’t kid yourself. He’s deeply despised in Russia. That doesn’t stop them from using him, of course. The fact that he can’t seem to wait to be used just makes him even more despicable to them.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    I love the images–hilarious!

  6. Enheduanna says:

    The studio portraits are hysterical. The group family picture at the bottom makes tRump look too good though.

    Speaking of that family – did ya’ll see Laurence O’Donnell last night? Me either, but guess what?

    Turns out Ivana got here pretty much illegally when she married tRump making Eric, Jr. and Ivanka “anchor babies” by definition.

  7. NW Luna says:

    My Senator!

  8. NW Luna says:

  9. dakinikat says:

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  12. Peg says:

    Here’s an update on the ICE raids in Ohio June 4th from the FB page of HOLA Ohio: I think we can say with some certainty that all the women farmworkers from Corso’s who were detained in the Calhoun County Jail, in Battle Creek, Michigan, are now out–one way or another, either bonds, deportation or “voluntary departure.”

    Thus far, we’ve helped 21 workers with $36,500 in support from the HOLA Bond Fund. We have an additional four for next week, and we are pivoting now to the Fresh Mark raid workers.

    Just as an FYI, the total bond amount of the people we’ve helped was $114,500. We are happy to be able to reduce their debt by 32% with the portion we provided. All this money being extracted from our community is putting Ohio’s Latino immigrant worker community into a new level of extreme poverty, impacting hundreds of children.

    One of the detained women was a single mom of three young US citizen children. Her kids were being bounced from place to place and suffering a lot. She had been seen by at least six volunteer attorneys while she was in detention. But with the information they were given, her situation was bleak and she was going to be deported…Sidia found key information that was not previously shared because the woman erroneously thought it would get her into more trouble. Court records were found that showed she was trafficked into the US at the age of 12, and was discovered and rescued by authorities in another state. She is only 22-years-old, and with three children, she was still suffering the trauma.

    We quickly got this information to her lawyers and they presented it in court. The judge granted her bond and she was reunited with her children Monday after nearly two months in detention.

    On more case to share: the young woman lost her brother shortly after the raid. He had stopped eating in protest, and passed away. ICE denied permission for her to be released, even on an ankle monitor, for his funeral. Due to the court in Detroit being shut down “for building problems” on the day of her hearing, she had to wait several more weeks for it to be rescheduled. She finally got in front of the judge last week. Her bond was set at $12,000 and HOLA was able to help. She is now home to help her grieving mom.

    • dakinikat says:

      They are EVIL. The only way any one could do this to another human being is to be so stone cold you can deny their humanity.

      • NW Luna says:


        Peg, you and your community are doing wonderful work.

        • Peg says:

          I just donated money; I’m so glad they are there, too. The ACLU gave them $25,000 and donations from people in the area matched it.

  13. Minkoff Minx says:

    the green elf and the unicorn images….omfg….