Totally Tuesday Reads: Mounting Trump Troubles

Saturday Night Clementine Hunter (1886/87–1988) Melrose Plantation, Natchitoches, Louisiana c. 1968

Good Day, Sky Dancers!

I’m still trying to recover and finish up with the usual end-of-term things. I took some time last night to catch up with some of the headlines. I thought I’d share the work of Black American Folk Artist Clementine Hunter with you since the Juneteenth holiday is approaching. It’s always a good time to remind Republicans that Black Americans have made unique contributions to our country.

The Stolen Documents Case is heating up for Donald Trump. We learned last night that “Prosecutors Sought Records on Trump’s Foreign Business Deals Since 2017. The special counsel scrutinizing the former president’s handling of classified documents issued a subpoena to the Trump Organization seeking records related to seven countries.” Is that the sounds of chickens coming home to roost I hear? It’s just the feral roosters wandering the canal behind my house crowing their little beaks off, but it seems like an appropriate sound effect. This is reported by the New York Times.

Federal prosecutors overseeing the investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s handling of classified documents have issued a subpoena for information about Mr. Trump’s business dealings in foreign countries since he took office, according to two people familiar with the matter.

It remains unclear precisely what the prosecutors were hoping to find by sending the subpoena to Mr. Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, or when it was issued. But the subpoena suggests that investigators have cast a wider net than previously understood as they scrutinize whether he broke the law in taking sensitive government materials with him upon leaving the White House and then not fully complying with demands for their return.

The subpoena — drafted by the office of the special counsel, Jack Smith — sought details on the Trump Organization’s real estate licensing and development dealings in seven countries: China, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, according to the people familiar with the matter. The subpoena sought the records for deals reached since 2017, when Mr. Trump was sworn in as president.

The Trump Organization swore off any foreign deals while he was in the White House, and the only such deal Mr. Trump is known to have made since then was with a Saudi-based real estate company to license its name to a housing, hotel and golf complex that will be built in Oman. He struck that deal last fall just before announcing his third presidential campaign.

The push by Mr. Smith’s prosecutors to gain insight into the former president’s foreign business was part of a subpoena — previously reported by The New York Times — that was sent to the Trump Organization and sought records related to Mr. Trump’s dealings with a Saudi-backed golf venture known as LIV Golf, which is holding tournaments at some of his golf clubs. (Mr. Trump’s arrangement with LIV Golf was reached well after he removed documents from the White House.)

Clementine Hunter Mural. In 1955, at the age of 68, Hunter painted the top floor of the African House (an outbuilding of Melrose Plantation) during a three-month period. The painting consisted of nine large panels and several small connecting panels which encircled the room and depicted the story of the Cane River country.

Yes. Indeed! That’s the sound of Donald’s Karma ripening. Here’s more. This is from CNBC. “Trump faces $10 million defamation claim by E. Jean Carroll after CNN town hall remarks.” The power of narcissism compels him!

E. Jean Carroll filed court papers Monday seeking “very substantial” monetary damages from Donald Trump for making scathing remarks about her at a CNN town hall a day after the former president lost a $5 million lawsuit to the writer.

Carroll now is seeking no less than $10 million from Trump in damages in her original lawsuit in light of what he said May 10 on CNN.

The move came as her lawyers asked a Manhattan federal court judge for permission to amend that first defamation lawsuit, which she lodged against Trump in 2019, to reflect his new statements on CNN about her, which they say also are defamatory.

“Trump’s defamatory statements post-verdict show the depth of his malice toward Carroll since it is hard to imagine defamatory conduct that could possibly be more motivated by hatred, ill will, or spite,” the proposed amended complaint said.

“This conduct supports a very substantial punitive damages award in Carroll’s favor both to punish Trump, to deter him from engaging in further defamation, and to deter others from doing the same,” the complaint said.

Carroll’s second lawsuit, filed in late 2022 and alleging rape and defamation, ended with a jury in that court after less than three hours of deliberations finding Trump liable for sexually abusing her and for defaming her last fall when he denied her allegations.

Trump’s lawyer Joseph Tacopina, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday, filed a notice of appeal of that verdict.

While we’re on the topic of that CNN “town hall” and Karma, let’s look at this headline! This is from Justin Baragona, writing for The Daily Beast: “Here’s How Bad CNN’s Post-Trump Town Hall Ratings Have Been.”

More than a week after CNN’s disastrous town hall with former President Donald Trump, the negative impact the fiasco had on the network’s ratings is coming into clearer focus. Last week, the cable news pioneer suffered its lowest-rated week since June 2015, averaging just 429,000 total daily viewers from Monday-Friday. CNN was also down double digits compared to the same week last year in both total viewership and in the key advertising demographic of viewers ages 25-54. MSNBC more than doubled CNN’s daily audience, drawing 976,000 total viewers, while Fox News averaged 1.4 million. Fox News was down 41 percent in the key demo year-to-year and 24 percent in total viewers, having seen its ratings plummet as angry right-wingers flee after Tucker Carlson’s shock firing. In fact, Fox’s post-Tucker weekday demo audience is the lowest its been since the first week of September 2001. Ratings data shows that primetime is where both Fox and CNN are suffering the most. Since the town hall, CNN has seen several of its weeknight hours—including Anderson Cooper—fall behind Newsmax, the fringe-right channel that has surged since Carlson’s ouster. And on Friday night, the channel’s much-hyped interview show hosted by Chris Wallace averaged only 224,000 total viewers at 10 p.m., drawing 60,000 fewer viewers than Newsmax’s offering. While Fox News still led in both total and demo viewership in weeknight primetime last week, the conservative cable giant’s overall audience was down 38 percent and the demo viewership dropped an eye-popping 60 percent. MSNBC, on the other hand, saw its demo audience shoot up 44 percent.

Clementine Hunter “Playing Cards, circa 1970.

Way to divide the country even more, you idiots! The fallout from the overturn of Roe v. Wade continues. This is from NPR. It’s written by Julie Rovner. “Abortion bans drive off doctors and close clinics, putting other health care at risk.” This doesn’t sound “pro-life” at all to me.

The rush in conservative states to ban abortion after the overturn of Roe v. Wade is resulting in a startling consequence that abortion opponents may not have considered: fewer medical services available for all women living in those states.

Doctors are showing — through their words and actions — that they are reluctant to practice in places where making the best decision for a patient could result in huge fines or even a prison sentence. And when clinics that provide abortions close their doors, all the other services offered there also shut down, including regular exams, breast cancer screenings, and contraception.

The concern about repercussions for women’s health is being raised not just by abortion rights advocates. One recent warning comes from Jerome Adams, who served as surgeon general in the Trump administration and is now working on health equity issues at Purdue University in Indiana.

In a recent tweet thread, Adams wrote that “the tradeoff of a restricted access (and criminalizing doctors) only approach to decreasing abortions could end up being that you actually make pregnancy less safe for everyone, and increase infant and maternal mortality.”

Untitled (Miss Cammie with Ducks) by Clementine Hunter, ca. 1965

Thank goodness my daughter’s practice in Seattle, Washington, is safe from this nonsense. Still, it is certainly creating horrid problems in my state and the surrounding states where Republicans have hurried to end access to reproductive care. Michelle Goldberg writes this Op-Ed for the New York Times today about the lives of 13 women in Texas. “You Cannot Hear These 13 Women’s Stories and Believe the Anti-Abortion Narrative.”

It’s increasingly clear that it’s not safe to be pregnant in states with total abortion bans. Since the end of Roe v. Wade, there have been a barrage of gutting stories about women in prohibition states denied care for miscarriages or forced to continue nonviable pregnancies. Though some in the anti-abortion movement publicly justify this sort of treatment, others have responded with a combination of denial, deflection and conspiracy theorizing.

Some activists have blamed the pro-choice movement for spooking doctors into not intervening when pregnancies go horribly wrong. “Abortion advocates are spreading the dangerous lie that lifesaving care is not or may not be permitted in these states, leading to provider confusion and poor outcomes for women,” said a report by the anti-abortion Charlotte Lozier Institute.

Others have suggested that doctors are deliberately refusing miscarriage treatment, apparently to make anti-abortion laws look bad. “What we’re seeing, I fear, is doctors with an agenda saying, ‘Well, I don’t know what to do’ when, in fact, they do,” the president of Ohio Right to Life said last year.

A new filing in a Texas lawsuit demolishes these arguments. In March, five women represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights sued Texas after enduring medical nightmares when they were refused abortions for pregnancies that had gone awry. Since then, the Center for Reproductive Rights says it has heard from dozens of women in Texas with similar accounts. And this week, eight more women, each with her own harrowing story, joined the suit, which asks a state district court to clarify the scope of emergency medical exceptions to Texas’ abortion ban.

Other Republican Culture War Craziness continues throughout the country. Texas and Florida continue to lead the insanity. “Miami-Dade K-8 bars elementary students from 4 library titles following parent complaint.”

A K-8 school in Miami-Dade County last month issued restrictions for elementary-aged students on three books and one poem after a parent objected to five titles, claiming they included topics that were inappropriate for students and should be removed “from the total environment.” The move — which allows for middle school students at the school to access the titles — is the latest example of districts and schools across the state restricting or removing books from libraries in recent months. For Stephana Ferrell, the director of research and insight at Florida Freedom to Read Project, it underscores a growing trend to redefine what is considered age appropriate, “especially regarding books that address ethnicities, marginalized communities, racism or our history of racism.”

“Books written for students grades K-5 are being pushed to middle school [libraries and] out of reach for the students they were intended for,” she said. The books aren’t being banned from the district, she argued, “but they’re banned for the students they were intended for.” In March, Daily Salinas, a parent of two students at at Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes, challenged The ABCs of Black History, Cuban Kids, Countries in the News Cuba, the poem The Hills We Climb, which was recited by poet Amanda Gorman at the inauguration of President Joe Biden, and Love to Langston for what she said included references of critical race theory, “indirect hate messages,” gender ideology and indoctrination, according to records obtained by the Florida Freedom to Read Project and shared with the Miami Herald. In an interview with the Herald on Monday, Salinas said she “is not for eliminating or censoring any books.” Instead, she wants materials to be appropriate and for students “to know the truth” about Cuba, she said in Spanish. Get unlimited digital access.

This brings questions. How illiterate do they want our children to be? How disenfranchised do they want them to feel? Can they actually read?

As recently as 2020, “To Kill a Mockingbird” was one of the most frequently challenged books nationwide, largely because of its use of racial slurs, according to the American Library Association.

Today, members of the same political coalition that once mocked progressives for demanding “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” wish to shield children from the potential trauma of reading “Heather Has Two Mommies.” Those who once admonished students for being snowflakes now apparently believe children are too fragile to mount a musical with a gay character — or access reference books on puberty.

Butamid debates about how children will process texts invoking racism or sexual identity, a much more basic question plagues our educational system: whether children can process texts, period.

Parents around the country generally think their children have recovered from disruptions to schooling during the pandemic, surveys show. They haven’t. As of last spring, students were on average half a year behind in math and one-third of a year behind in reading, according to research from a team at Harvard, Stanford, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins and the testing company NWEA.

Not that the U.S. educational system was so impressive relative to thosein our peer countries pre-covid, either.

In Oklahoma, which ranks 49th in education nationwide, the state’s top school official is devoting energy to banning use of the word “diverse” in computer science curriculums because it is too “woke.” In a telling Florida incident, a science teacher was investigated this month for showing her students a Disney film. Her transgression, apparently, was featuring a movie with a gay character — not, as you might imagine, screening a fictional film as an ecology lesson. (I speak as a product of the Florida school system, where my seventh-grade physics unit revolved around a screening of “Flubber.”)

It is dishearteningthat the culture wars have come for not just lesson plans but librarians, too. Librarians are instrumental in promoting literacy. They guide students toward texts that will absorb and engage them. They nudge kids toward books, films, periodicals and online resources that will answer burning, sometimes embarrassing questions.

Window Shade by Clementine Hunter, 1950s

So, what motivates a 19-year-old Asian-American from Missouri to do this? “19-year-old arrested on multiple charges after crashing into barriers near the White House. The suspect, identified as Sai Varshith Kandula, made threatening statements about the White House at the scene of Monday night’s incident, a law enforcement official told NBC News. A Nazi flag was seized by authorities at the scene.”

A 19-year-old Missouri man, accused of driving a truck into barriers near the White House, made incriminating statements that have led investigators to believe he was seeking to harm the president, officials said Tuesday.

The driver was Sai Varshith Kandula of Chesterfield, U.S. Park Police said Tuesday morning.

The charges against Kandula for allegedly “threatening to kill, kidnap, inflict harm on a president, vice president, or family member,” stem from statements he made to multiple law enforcement agencies, according to a Secret Service representative.

The suspect was interviewed by Secret Service investigators Monday night, the agency representative said, during the ongoing probe that also involves United States Park Police, the FBI and U.S. Capitol Police.

Kandula was further charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless operation of a motor vehicle and trespassing.

My next question is, why this guy identifies with NAZIs? That’s an Indian surname. This hate stuff is just freaking confusing.

I think I need a nap and food or both. Have a great week!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

24 Comments on “Totally Tuesday Reads: Mounting Trump Troubles”

  1. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Yeah, the ringwingers are intolerant and unreasonable. But “queer” is a slur on LGB people, though the TQA+ seem fine with it. And the problem isn’t with homeschooling but what’s taught during the schooling. Plenty of non-home schools, and of course private schools, have slanted curricula. Many public schools are reinforcing gender stereotypes — if you like pink and swirly skirts and ballet you must be a girl; if you like taking things apart and climbing trees you must be a boy.

      Hmmm, apparently the arranged marriages part is a parody.

  2. dakinikat says:

    Not New Orleans, and scary as fuck.

  3. Ron DickSantis is launching his prez campaign with Elon Musk… per MSNBC.


  4. Here’s a couple links on Florida and it’s DeathSantis new laws:

    I’m glad Hamburger Marys is suing…if you have actually been to a show there, you know it is not “sexual” in nature at all.

    These anti-trans laws are hurting people.
    They create crimes against people that are unconstitutional. I think they are laws that are unconstitutional…and I hope that all the lawsuits come to fruition.

    And that also goes for the anti-abortion shit too.

    It all deals with Bodily Autonomy people!

    Bodily Autonomy for all.

    • NW Luna says:

      It’s not all either/or. Mixed-sex bathrooms and changing rooms hurt girls’ and women’s safety and privacy. “Anti-trans” laws mandating single-sex bathrooms and changing rooms help girls’ and women’s safety and privacy. IMO the Equality Act in the UK has it mostly right — no discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender recognition, religion, however there are allowable exceptions in certain cases for those with protected characteristics to ensure they can have, for example, single-sex spaces.

      Never been to Hamburger Mary’s so I can’t judge that, but what I’ve seen of contemporary drag sure looks sexual in behavior and presentation. It’s not appropriate for kids. If adults get off on drag, well, they’re adults and so it’s a different matter. Of course, making fun of and stereotyping a class of people — either by blackface or womanface — isn’t liberal or progressive.

      • roofingbird says:

        The folks in drag shows spend oodles of money on clothing to get the proper fit and style for their performance. They are nothing if not fashion conscious and have a variety of clothes appropriate for many occasions. This is analogous with the folks not in drag shows who have a range of clothing appropriate to different occasions.

        • NW Luna says:

          I have no problem with what you describe. I do have problems with sexualized behavior and dress in front of kids. Drag is for adults. The stereotypes of women as ditzy bimbos remain objectionable.

          • roofingbird says:

            I take your point, but I don’t know, Luna, I have difficulty calling out the parody of drag as a particular problem, when people like Kim Kardashian, Cardi B, and the Housewives of Beverly Hills, whatever their other attributes, expect us to take them seriously and have much bigger influence. To me, it’s an ancient tradition that draws from many cultures. If it represents a parody on today’s culture, it’s a truth.

      • roofingbird says:

        I see no evidence of problems with mixed sex bathrooms here, but I haven’t been anywhere but to clinics in a while. Alcohol and drugs are always going to mix it up. Women’s bathrooms don’t make it any safer. My daughter can attest to fending off a guy who was attacking another girl, in such, in high school. I want to say though, that bathrooms are both a financial and code related issue. Small business here has long fought against public bathrooms because they have to be ADA compliant, and plumbing for more rooms can cost a lot. especially in older buildings where it’s older. So, while maybe we should distinguish between “mixed” and “either sex”, better statistics and passing the ERA, would help end this cud of an argument.

    • quixote says:

      Definitely. Bodily autonomy is an absolute right for all. One of the most basic there is.

      A lot of the TRA demands don’t have anything to do with that, though. And that’s where the conflict with feminists comes in.

      The conflicts with Repubs are something else entirely. They’re all about using everybody, women, trans, everybody, as doormats for ammosexuals. I hope I live long enough to see Repubs become nothing but a bad memory.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    This is unreal.

    • NW Luna says:

      The disparity between top execs’ pay and workers’ pay has been getting worse and worse since the 70s. Used to be about 50:1, then 200:1, now it’s astronomical:1 and for what? Do they actually do anything important? My (unpopular) test to determine if an employee is important is do you need to have a replacement if they go on vacation? Nurses, cooks, bus drivers, janitors, teachers — yes. The CEO? Hah, no one would notice. I’m such a utopian.

  6. bostonboomer says:

  7. roofingbird says:

    Whether he launches from Canaveral or somewhere else, Musk is throughly embedded with NASA. As an exploitive meme, it’s probably better than Disney. The two are made for each other. Burning Tesla’s, broken twitter, Neuralink, Starlink, and even the stuff Musk used to control, Paypal, Zipit, investing in green houses on Mars and big investments in Bitcoin and A,I could all be the stuff of FL “magic”. Any primary home Musk might own on Fl would be protected from bankruptcy should that arise again.