Friday Shock and Awe Reads: Tilt-Shifting the Trumpist RegimePosted: September 27, 2019
Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
I do not know about you but I’m seeing and feeling a shift in the Force. This is the first time–in what has been the wave of Trumpist corruption and chaos–that I’ve sensed brakes. I know this is not likely to be the end of this at all but it most certainly feels like a beginning. The media narrative has changed, The momentum for reaching towards Articles of Impeachment in the House has surpassed the magic number. The less crazy Republicans look noticeably shaken. The picture of the US from this weekend to last has been tilt-shifted. The focus has changed. A different lens has been applied.
If you are new to these photo manipulations, “tilt-shift” is an effect that gives a real-world scene an illusion of being a miniature model. It can be achieved in two ways: optically (with a special lens) or simulated in Photoshop, by adjusting a photograph’s contrast, color saturation, and depth of focus.
“It works quite well with regular photographs, so we decided to try it using classical paintings by famous artists to see what would happen…” Serena Malyon, a 3rd-year student at art school, took some of Van Gogh’s most beautiful paintings and turned them into photoshopped images to achieve this amazing tilt-shift effect.
You can find an interview with Serena at My Modern Met.
You may learn more about Tilt Shift Photography here.
And Tilt Shifting as it applies to Paintings here.
The first difference I sense is that Republicans are meekly showing concern. This is still feckless and gutless but it’s more than we’ve seen in nearly three years.
The public release of the whistle-blower complaint also revealed cracks in the edifice of loyalty Trump has attempted to construct around himself, both in the West Wing and on Capitol Hill.
In addition to Collins’s criticism, Representative Mike Turner, an Ohio Republican, said in a public hearing on the complaint Thursday that Trump’s call was “not okay.”
While some of the president’s closest allies on Capitol Hill rushed to his defense, the vast majority of Senate Republicans were silent on the complaint. Many claimed they hadn’t had a chance to read it. Senator Todd Young, an Indiana Republican, said that because he might be a juror in Trump’s impeachment trial, he shouldn’t comment.
Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, said some Republicans privately told him they’re concerned about the latest development. But he said he doesn’t expect them to break with Trump “yet.”
White House officials have expressed concern that the impeachment investigation — focused on the president’s foreign policy — comes at a time of vulnerability for Trump. Several high-profile national security officials who could have direct knowledge of his actions toward Ukraine have recently departed.
They include the former director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, who announced his resignation three days after Trump’s call with Zelenskiy, and his deputy, Sue Gordon, who was forced out of her position in August. Trump’s former National Security Adviser John Bolton left earlier this month after a dramatic split between the two men.
These are the most obvious officials to call to the committee investigations which are now going to be ongoing in the House and in the Senate under the auspices of the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican.
Today, Politico shows a vote with a handful of Republican defections on rerouting pentagon funding to the Border Wall in this story: “Congress forces a Trump veto with rebuke on border wall funding.” How will military families and the usual assortment of Defense-oriented Republicans respond to this?
The House on Friday voted to once again overturn President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration to build a border wall, sending the legislation to Trump who is sure to veto it.
Eleven Republicans and one Republican-turned-independent sided with every Democrat to block Trump’s maneuver to circumvent Congress and divert billions in Pentagon funding to his wall.
The GOP defections were one less than the 13 Republicans who voted with Democrats on the same measure in February, when Congress first attempted to block Trump’s largely unprecedented use of emergency powers.
Since that vote, the White House has disclosed precisely which lawmakers’ districts would lose military construction funding, including in seats held by more than a dozen Republicans.
“The president’s decision to cancel $3.6 billion for military construction to pay for his wasteful wall makes America less safe,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a rare floor speech Friday, adding that the Trump administration is “stooping so low as to steal from a middle school in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.”
The Senate approved the measure earlier this week after 11 Republicans joined Democrats, underscoring the somewhat bipartisan nature of the rebuke.
Congress voted to terminate Trump’s national emergency earlier this spring but failed to win enough support to override the president’s veto. When Trump vetoes the measure again, it will mark the sixth veto of his presidency.
Under the law governing national emergencies, Congress can bring up a vote on Trump’s declaration every six months — and Democrats intend to do it in a bid to squeeze Republicans.
Even better, I’ve noticed a new tendency for the media to begin to speak of the Orange Snot Blob in past tense and plans for the post Trumpist Crime Family syndicate regime.
Most of his here know and have discussed that Speaker Pelosi knows strategy, the house, and how to count. Discover more about Pelosi at The New Yorker. This lede is by David Remenick: “Nancy Pelosi: An Extremely Stable Genius. When asked if it was possible that impeachment might backfire, the Speaker of the House insisted that politics has nothing to do with it. “It doesn’t matter,” she said. “He has given us no choice.”
From the start, Pelosi has confronted Trump with a wry fearlessness. When, in a moment of rare self-aggrandizement, Trump referred to himself as an “extremely stable genius,” she replied, “When the ‘extremely stable genius’ starts acting more Presidential, I’ll be happy to work with him on infrastructure, trade, and other issues.” In an Oval Office confrontation last year, she brooked no disrespect from Trump and asked that he please not underestimate “the strength that I bring to this meeting as the leader of the House Democrats.” When, on another occasion, Trump referred to Pelosi as a “mess,” the Speaker thoughtfully suggested that the President might benefit from an “intervention for the good of the country.”
For months, however, Pelosi avoided the ultimate intervention. She frustrated many members of the Democratic caucus who believed—for myriad reasons, some contained in the Mueller report, some not—that they should pursue an impeachment inquiry against the President. Pelosi was reluctant, worried that there was not enough evidence to prevent a backfire scenario, in which Trump would emerge from impeachment still safely in office, emboldened, unchallenged by his own party, a martyr with an enhanced prospect at reëlection.
“Remember this,” Pelosi told me, in an interview on Thursday afternoon, as she recalled the Watergate era. “I saw, as a young person, that the Republicans didn’t come around until the tapes. It wasn’t like they were saying, ‘This behavior is not acceptable to us.’ The tapes were dispositive of the issue. There was no vote to impeach, because it was so clear that he had to go. But even Nixon knew of his responsibility to the country. I’m not sure this person does.”
HuffPo’s Matt Fuller says that while Democrats are unifying, Republicans are fracturing. Is this progress? Is this the best we can hope for now? What about the near future; say around Thanksgiving?
It’s been one week since most of Capitol Hill heard the first reports of a whistleblower, and with new developments almost every day since, Republicans and Democrats are still wrapping their heads around how much the impeachment dynamics have flipped.
In a week, House Democrats have moved from a drawn-out investigative approach to near-unanimity on impeachment proceedings. For them, it’s no longer a matter of whether they’ll impeach President Donald Trump; it’s when and by what charges.
Meanwhile, on the Republican side, members are all over the place.
Some say they haven’t read the whistleblower complaint released Thursday (or, worse, still haven’t read the summary of the call between Trump and the Ukrainian president that was released Wednesday). Some Republicans said there is absolutely nothing wrong with anything the president did, that Democrats owe Trump an apology or even ought to be thanking the president. Other Republicans step on that narrative by admitting that, no, actually, maybe there is something to these charges ― splitting the difference by expressing some unease with the situation but arguing it doesn’t rise to the level of impeachment.
Still, the loudest voices are from the Republicans who insist Trump has done nothing wrong.
Republicans are seizing on one line in the complaint to undermine the whistleblower’s credibility: “I was not a direct witness to most of the events described.”
The whistleblower said he had more than a half dozen White House sources whose accounts matched each other, plus publicly available information. But Republicans have already left the room.
According to a Politico/Morning Consult poll that was conducted between September 24 and 26, support for impeachment across party lines now stands at 43 percent, an uptick from 36 percent just last week. Similarly, a HuffPost/YouGov poll, also fielded between September 24 and 26, found that the margin between those backing impeachment and those who oppose it was expanding. In this week’s survey, 47 percent supported impeachment, while 39 percent opposed it, compared to 43 percent and 41 percent that felt the same way in a previous September poll. An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll that was held on September 25 also found that 49 percent of voters favor impeachment proceedings.
These polls, while broadly conducted before the release of the whistleblower complaint on Thursday, show a shift in public sentiment since Pelosi’s impeachment inquiry announcement earlier this week. While it’s still very early to know whether such shifts in the public mood will stick, the polls do suggest that House Democrats’ decision to move forward with the inquiry along with the new information that’s come out about the Trump-Zelensky phone call on July 25 could be altering how voters view impeachment.
In both the Politico/Morning Consult and HuffPost/YouGov polls, the increases in support for impeachment were largely fueled by Democratic voters. The Morning Consult poll saw an increase from 66 percent to 79 percent among Democratic voters, 33 percent to 39 percent among Independent voters, and 5 percent to 10 percent among Republican voters. The HuffPost/YouGov poll, too, saw an uptick of 74 percent to 81 percent among Democratic voters, 35 percent to 37 percent among Independents and a dip among Republicans from 16 percent to 11 percent.
This is not a huge leap either but it’s a signal of a shift. And we almost have a weird confirmation from the Russians that The Hair Furor makes some weird, unAmerican phone calls in this headline from NBC News: “Kremlin says it hopes U.S. would not release Trump-Putin calls, like it did with Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “we would like to hope that it wouldn’t come to that.”
Asked Friday if Moscow is worried that the White House could similarly publish transcripts of Trump’s calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “we would like to hope that it wouldn’t come to that in our relations, which are already troubled by a lot of problems.”
None of this can come soon enough for most of us.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?