Friday Reads: Saying Goodbye to Donny’s Dank Dystopia

Self-Portrait: The Inn of the Dawn Horse (1937 – 1938), LEONORA CARRINGTON

Good Day Sky Dancers!

It was quite the contrast between the coverage of what what was happening a year ago with the pandemic and massive shutdowns of schools and businesses last night right before Biden’s speech and then seeing the coverage of the speech after.  Here’s how The New Yorker‘s Susan B. Glasser characterized it: “It’s Morning (and Mourning) in Biden’s America.

Fifty-one days into his Presidency, on the first anniversary of our collective quarantine, Joe Biden pivoted to optimism. He spoke of “finding light in the darkness,” vaccines for everyone by the end of May, and a country open for barbecues by the Fourth of July. That certainly counts as an upbeat message in the midst of the pandemic, although it was appropriately accompanied by the expressions of concern and communal grief at which this new President so excels. Good news is a lot easier than bad to deliver.

For much of his short time in office, Biden has stuck to the sober facts of the covid-19 crisis that he inherited. He has been the perpetual un-Trump, wielding science and seriousness against the pandemic and the political toxicity that has accompanied it. Even in his twenty-four-minute address to the nation from the East Room of the White House, on Thursday night, Biden did not abandon that approach. How could he? Everything that he does and says to address the pandemic, which has killed more Americans than all combat deaths in the last century’s wars combined, is a rebuke to his predecessor. Trump’s failed stewardship of the nation during the coronavirus outbreak is both the signal fact of his Presidency and the inescapable emergency of Biden’s nascent one. Yet Biden did more than lament or lecture on Thursday. He offered, for the first time since he took office, the gauzy optimism that predecessors from Roosevelt to Reagan have embraced at times of national trouble, speaking of “real progress” and getting the job done, of setting goals and beating them, of “hope and light and better days ahead.”

The clichés did not really bother me. That is because I spent the few minutes right before Biden’s speech listening to Trump’s nine-minute address to the nation from the same night a year earlier. In the awful hindsight created by the deaths of more than five hundred thousand Americans, it’s a true horror to again hear Trump promising the country that “the virus will not have a chance against us,” and insisting, “I will never hesitate to take the necessary steps to protect the lives, health, and safety of the American people.” Watching this risible B.S. a year later, it seemed to me that even Trump had had a hard time believing his own bluster. When he read off the teleprompter that he was “confident” of victory over the pandemic, he appeared to be gasping for air.

Autoportrait (Self-Portrait in a Green Bugatti) (1929),TAMARA DE LEMPICKA

The partisan response to the speech which just obvious in the right wing media.  It’s just that the character of the two men couldn’t be more opposite. Here’s some good news from Axios on the Trump Chidren in Cages Travesty: “Biden to end Trump-era agreement between ICE and agency housing migrant children.”  Remember children being scurried around in the darkness too?  My hope is there is a full blown 911 commission on reforming ICE.

The Biden administration will prevent the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from sharing any information about families who accept migrant children with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), according to administration officials.

Why it matters: By terminating a 2018 legal agreement between HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement and ICE, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, the Biden administration hopes to encourage more sponsors to work with the government to accept unaccompanied minors apprehended at the border.

  • Moving those children out of HHS shelters and into sponsors’ homes helps free up space, which is needed to process the surge of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • HHS has some 8,500 minors in custody, with an additional 3,500 still being held at border patrol stations, according to the Washington Post.
  • To alleviate strain on HHS shelters, CBP has eased COVID-19 protocols that were limiting the number of minors in a given facility, allowing them to fill up to full capacity. “We are aggressively adding hundreds of beds by the week,” said an administration official.

Self portrait, Rosa Bonheur

New York Magazine published a harrowing story of sexual harassment written by reporter Jessica Bakemen: “Cuomo Never Let Me Forget I Was a Woman” .  Calling him a cad doesn’t even begin to capture his lewd and loutish behavior.

I walked up to the governor, who was in the middle of a conversation with another reporter, and waited for a moment when I could interject. He took my hand, as if to shake it, then refused to let go. He put his other arm around my back, his hand on my waist, and held me firmly in place while indicating to a photographer he wanted us to pose for a picture.

My job was to analyze and scrutinize him. I didn’t want a photo of him with his hands on my body and a smile on my face. But I made the reflexive assessment that most women and marginalized people know instinctively, the calculation about risk and power and self-preservation. I knew it would be far easier to smile for the brief moment it takes to snap a picture than to challenge one of the most powerful men in the country.

But my calculation was a bit off. I was wrong to believe this experience would last for just a moment. Keeping his grip on me as I practically squirmed to get away from him, the governor turned my body to face a different direction for yet another picture. He never let go of my hand.

Then he turned to me with a mischievous smile on his face, in front of all of my colleagues, and said: “I’m sorry. Am I making you uncomfortable? I thought we were going steady.”

I stood there in stunned silence, shocked and humiliated. But, of course, that was the point.

I never thought the governor wanted to have sex with me. It wasn’t about sex. It was about power. He wanted me to know that I was powerless, that I was small and weak, that I did not deserve what relative power I had: a platform to hold him accountable for his words and actions. He wanted me to know that he could take my dignity away at any moment with an inappropriate comment or a hand on my waist. (The Cuomo administration has declined to comment.)

It’s not that Cuomo spares men in his orbit from his trademark bullying and demeaning behavior. But the way he bullies and demeans women is different. He uses touching and sexual innuendo to stoke fear in us. That is the textbook definition of sexual harassment.

And then some great young black female atheletes endured this last night.

Self Portrait, Anna Bilinska

Self Portrait. Anna Bilinska

The Bulwark‘s Amanda Carpenter writes it like it is: ““Election Integrity” Means Restriction. You can’t have a reasonable debate about voting rights with people who wanted to cancel votes.

If you value more voter participation, then you want more Americans to have access to the voting options that worked so successfully in 2020. If you prefer lower voter participation, then you want those options either rescinded or restricted. This isn’t rocket science.

Also not rocket science: It’s clear that one of our country’s two political parties overtly prefers less voter participation and so, as a consequence, is now actively pursuing avenues designed to reduce—or suppress, or depress, or whatever perfectly non-judgmental verb you’d like to use—the number of votes cast in future elections.

Republican lawmakers, still testifying to lies about a “stolen” election from 2020 loser Donald Trump, are currently advancing hundreds of bills on the state level to restrict voting rights in the name of restoring “election integrity.” Go ahead and take a look at some of these “integrity-filled” proposals.

Former Vice President Mike Pence, having avoided a lynching by Trump supporters on January 6, has decided to use the fight for “election integrity” as his way back to the warm embrace of MAGA. He emerged from his new post at the Heritage Foundation to announce that “Voter Integrity Is a National Imperative” at the same moment that Heritage Action plans to spend $10 million to tighten election laws in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Texas, and Wisconsin.

But what exactly does “election integrity” mean to Mike Pence and those pushing restrictionist laws? For the MAGA crowd, it’s code for eliminating “fraud.” No matter that Trump’s Attorney General Bill Barr said, “There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud.” Or that officials at Trump’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said, “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was in any way compromised,” and the election was “the most secure in American history.”

Pence’s piece is a work of art, designed to simultaneously appease both his lawyers and the QAnon chat boards. He writes, “Many of the most troubling voting irregularities took place in states that set aside laws enacted by state legislatures in favor of sweeping changes ordered by governors, secretaries of state, and courts.” He doesn’t say what these “irregularities” were exactly. Or mention that the “sweeping changes” were made to ensure the election would go smoothly during the pandemic. Which it did.

The only thing that was “irregular,” as Pence puts it, was the exceptionally high number of Americans who voted. Against him.

The plain fact is that more Americans voted against Trump and Pence—both singularly in 2020 and cumulatively in combination with 2016—than any other ticket in the long history of our nation. That’s the real problem Republicans have with the 2020 election.

So, I think I’ll stop here and let you take over.  Again, celebrate Women’s History Month by discovering Women in all kinds of places !!!  And again, discover the misogynyist patriarchal bastards who want to keep them down too!  Tucker Carlson thinks mocking pregant service members is cool.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

9 Comments on “Friday Reads: Saying Goodbye to Donny’s Dank Dystopia”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    I just read the two Cuomo takedowns at N.Y. Mag. Be sure to read the one by Rebecca Traister.

  2. dakinikat says:

  3. NW Luna says:

    Love the self-portraits!

  4. NW Luna says:

  5. dakinikat says: