Thursday Reads: Trump’s Terrible DayPosted: September 22, 2022 Filed under: Afternoon Reads, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, SCOTUS | Tags: 11th Circuit appeals court, Clarence Thomas, declassification of documents, Ginni Thomas, Judge Aileen Cannon, Letitia James, New York Attorney Genral 27 Comments
Whew! Yesterday was quite a day! It began with New York Attorney General Tish James announcing a 250 million lawsuit against Trump, three of his children, the Trump Organization and two of its top employees; it ended with the 11th Circuit appeals court thoroughly rebuking Judge Loose Cannon and restoring the DOJ’s access to the classified documents needed for their criminal investigation of Trump and for the intelligence assessment of the damage caused by Trump’s thievery. Meanwhile Trump went on Fox News and incriminated himself in an insane interview with Sean Hannity. Here’s a sample from that hour-long clusterfuck:
Since I’m not a lawyer, it’s difficult for me to write about all this legal stuff, but I’ll do my best to post stories that explain what all this means.
First up, this piece by University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck at CNN: Opinion: How Trump’s terrible day went from bad to worse.
For most people, having the Attorney General of the nation’s fourth most populous state file a sweeping new lawsuit accusing you and your family of “staggering” fraud would be a terribly ominous development.
For former President Donald Trump, it wasn’t even the worst legal news he received on Wednesday. That came later in the evening, when a unanimous three-judge panel of the Atlanta-based US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit lifted a district court ruling that had partially blocked the Justice Department’s ongoing criminal investigation into whether Trump unlawfully retained at Mar-a-Lago (and refused to return) a large tranche of government documents.
The immediate effect of the panel ruling is to clear the way for the Justice Department to continue its work. But the broader significance of Wednesday night’s ruling — significance that, at least for now, clearly transcends the possibility of what might come of the civil suit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James — is the fact that a panel that included two Trump appointees poured very cold water on the only arguments he had left to defend against the Mar-a-Lago search.
The issue before the Eleventh Circuit was whether to freeze part of the injunction that US District Court Judge Aileen Cannon had entered on September 5 — an injunction that purported to block the Justice Department from using most of the materials it recovered from its August 8 search of Mar-a-Lago until and unless they could be reviewed by a court-appointed special master. (The special master, Judge Raymond Dearie, expressed a fair amount of skepticism toward Trump’s claims at his first hearing on Tuesday).
What the three-judge panel–including two judges appointed by Trump–said:
Across 29 pages, the three-judge Eleventh Circuit panel made quick work of Cannon’s ruling — holding that the Justice Department was almost certain to succeed in having that ruling thrown out, and so should have the ruling frozen, at least as it applied to classified materials, while the appeals process runs its course.
Among other things, the panel, which included Judges Robin Rosenbaum (appointed by President Barack Obama) and Judges Britt Grant and Andrew Brasher (appointed by Trump), highlighted the absence of any evidence that Trump had declassified any of the classified information discovered at Mar-a-Lago, and also the extent to which that entire issue is a “red herring” for the broader debate over whether those documents belong to Trump or the government….
But it was in a more subtle section of the opinion that the panel handed Trump his most significant defeat. Across two pages and a footnote that non-legal-readers could be forgiven for skipping past, the three judges rejected, in unequivocal terms, claims made by Trump and his supporters (including the State of Texas, which had filed a highly unusual friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of 10 other red states) that the investigation into the former President and search of Mar-a-Lago were all just bad faith harassment from the Biden administration….
In other words, the three-judge panel on one of the more conservative federal appeals courts in the country looked at the Mar-a-Lago search and the broader criminal and national security investigation into the former President of the United States and could not “see any evidence in the record” to support the claim that the Biden administration was using its law enforcement authorities to harass Trump — as opposed to conducting a genuine, above-the-board investigation into serious potential violations of federal criminal statutes.
You might also check out this straight news piece by Charlie Savage, et al. at The New York Times:
In a strongly worded 29-page decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit set aside key parts of an order by a Florida federal judge that has kept the department from using about 100 files with classification markings in its inquiry into whether Mr. Trump illegally retained national defense documents and obstructed repeated efforts to recover them.
The appeals court also agreed with the Justice Department that Mr. Trump’s lawyers — and an independent arbiter recently appointed to review the seized materials — need not look at the classified documents that the F.B.I. carted away from Mr. Trump’s estate, Mar-a-Lago, on Aug. 8.
The Justice Department “argues that the district court likely erred in exercising its jurisdiction to enjoin the United States’ use of the classified records in its criminal investigation and to require the United States to submit the marked classified documents to a special master for review,” a three-judge panel of the appeals court wrote. “We agree.”
The decision by the Atlanta-based court was a repudiation of the decision by Judge Aileen M. Cannon, whom Mr. Trump appointed to the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, to broadly intervene in the Justice Department’s investigation. The appellate ruling will permit the arbiter, known as a special master, to review most of the more than 11,000 files seized from Mar-a-Lago, but allow prosecutors unfettered access to the smaller batch of classified records.
Charlie Savage also reposted on Twitter an earlier article on how the declassification process works.
This piece at Just Security is a good explainer on the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit against the Trump family and businesses: Has a Trump Tipping Point Been Reached? Analyzing The NY Attorney General’s Case Against Trump.
In the last month, the array of investigations involving Donald J. Trump and many of Trump’s associates and family members has reached an intense pitch. Today another bombshell detonated—one that may prove to be the most devastating.
New York Attorney General Letitia James has announced the filing of a monumental civil enforcement action against Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, the Trump Organization and many other Trump affiliates.
The sanctions sought by the New York Office of the Attorney General (the “OAG”) are sweeping and potentially devastating: disgorgement of $250 million in profits; the cancellation of business certificates for Trump’s corporate entities; appointment of an independent monitor at the Trump Organization; a 5-year ban on Trump and the Trump Organization entering into any New York commercial real estate transactions or from applying for any loans from any New York entity; permanently banning Trump and his adult children from serving as an officer or director of a New York corporation. In addition to the potential civil penalties associated with today’s complaint, AG James also announced criminal referrals to the Southern District of New York and to the IRS. Penalties resulting from those referrals could result in substantial fines, and potentially even imprisonment.
With today’s filing of this enforcement action, it is important to consider the factual and legal bases for the claims, and how it could serve as a tipping point in cases against Trump, especially in light of the many other existing federal and state investigations.
Read the rest at Just Security. Here’s John Buss’s commentary:
What about the January 6 Committee? What are they up to? Yes, more bad news for Trump–and Mark Meadows too.
From the article:
The House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, has come to an agreement with Ginni Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to be interviewed by the panel in the coming weeks, according to a source close to the committee.
Ginni Thomas’ attorney, Mark Paoletta, confirmed the voluntary interview in a statement, saying, “As she has said from the outset, Mrs. Thomas is eager to answer the Committee’s questions to clear up any misconceptions about her work relating to the 2020 election. She looks forward to that opportunity.”
Members of the panel have long said they are interested in speaking with Thomas, particularly after CNN first reported text messages she exchanged with then-Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows prior to January 6 about overturning the election.
But in the months since those messages emerged, there has been little indication that compelling her to testify was a top priority for the panel despite subsequent evidence that Thomas also encouraged state lawmakers in Arizona and Wisconsin to overturn Joe Biden’s legitimate electoral win.
Thomas attended the rally that preceded the attack on the US Capitol, as she said in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon, where she stressed that her and her husband’s professional lives are kept separate. She also said that she had left the gathering before the protesters turned violent.
She has also been publicly critical of the House January 6 investigation, calling on House GOP leaders to boot from their conference the two Republicans serving on the select committee.
It’s not yet clear what changed for Thomas and her attorney to now agree to this interview. The 64 thousand dollar question is how will this affect her husband Clarence? Will John Roberts finally decide to deal with him? Probably not, but you never can tell.
More news, links only:
Analysis by Stephen Collinson at CNN: Biden’s new mission: Heading off any possibility of a nuclear crisis with Russia.
The Washington Post: Over 1,300 arrests reported as Russians protest military mobilization.
CNN: Russia’s military divided as Putin struggles to deal with Ukraine’s counteroffensive, US sources say.
Analysis by Brad Lendon at CNN: Putin can call up all the troops he wants, but Russia can’t train or support them.
AP News: At least 9 killed as Iran protests spread over woman’s death.
NBC News: Enthusiasm for upcoming midterms is at all-time high, NBC News poll shows.
The New York Times: Trump Support Remains Unmoved by Investigations, Poll Finds.
Miami Herald: Operatives linked to DeSantis promised to fly migrants to Delaware — but left them stranded.
NBC News: House passes bill to prevent stolen elections, despite strong GOP opposition.
Ashton Pittman at the Mississippi Free Press on the Brett Favre scandal: Ex-Mississippi Welfare Leader Pleads Guilty To Federal, State Crimes In Exchange For Cooperation.
NBC News: Hurricane Fiona intensifies to Category 4 as Puerto Rico contends with aftermath.
Have a tremendous Thursday, Sky Dancers!!
Wednesday ReadsPosted: March 16, 2022 Filed under: China, COVID19, Foreign Affairs, Fox News, Hillary Clinton, morning reads, Political and Editorial Cartoons 32 Comments
Cartoons via Cagle website:
Here’s a laugh, I’ve blocked Robert on twitter…but this caught my eye:
What a maroon!
And, not the onion:
I love Hillary:
Did you all see this?
I don’t know what to make of it…I’m just numb from everything.
This is an exceptionally long thread, but it is very interesting:
This is an open thread.
Friday ReadsPosted: February 18, 2022 Filed under: Foreign Affairs, Hillary Clinton, morning reads | Tags: Donald Trump, Fox News, Joe Biden, John Durham, Ken Starr, libel laws, Right wing media, Russia, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin 9 Comments
In my Tuesday post, I wrote about the right wing media attacks on Hillary Clinton after Bill Barr’s handpicked special counsel (aka attack dog) John Durham made public a court filing that implied that the Clinton campaign had somehow spied on Donald Trump in 2016. I posted a NYT piece by Charlie Savage that explained why the charges were nonsensical.
This insanity has continued all this week, and yesterday even Durham pointed out that the wingers were wrong. Charlie Savage at The New York Times: Durham Distances Himself From Furor in Right-Wing Media Over Filing.
John H. Durham, the Trump-era special counsel scrutinizing the investigation into Russia’s 2016 election interference, distanced himself on Thursday from false reports by right-wing news outlets that a motion he recently filed said Hillary Clinton’s campaign had paid to spy on Trump White House servers.
Citing a barrage of such reports on Fox News and elsewhere based on the prosecutor’s Feb. 11 filing, defense lawyers for a Democratic-linked cybersecurity lawyer, Michael Sussmann, have accused the special counsel of including unnecessary and misleading information in filings “plainly intended to politicize this case, inflame media coverage and taint the jury pool.”
In a filing on Thursday, Mr. Durham defended himself, saying those accusations about his intentions were “simply not true.” He said he had “valid and straightforward reasons” for including the information in the Feb. 11 filing that set off the firestorm, while disavowing responsibility for how certain news outlets had interpreted and portrayed it.
“If third parties or members of the media have overstated, understated or otherwise misinterpreted facts contained in the government’s motion, that does not in any way undermine the valid reasons for the government’s inclusion of this information,” he wrote.
But even as he did not acknowledge any problem with how he couched his filing last week, Mr. Durham said he would make future filings under seal if they contained “information that legitimately gives rise to privacy issues or other concerns that might overcome the presumption of public access to judicial documents.”
Former President Donald J. Trump has seized on the inaccurate reporting to declare that there is now “indisputable evidence” of a Clinton campaign conspiracy against him — and to suggest that there ought to be executions. Mr. Trump, Fox News hosts and others have also criticized mainstream journalists for not covering the purported revelation.
Yesterday, Clinton herself spoke out in an aside in a speech at the New York Democratic Convention.
That was a clear warning that the nonsense is approaching libel territory. Ted Johnson at Deadline: Hillary Clinton On Fox News’ Amplification Of “Spying” Claims: “They’re Getting Awfully Close To Actual Malice In Their Attacks.”
Hillary Clinton went on offense against a fusillade of attacks from Donald Trump and his defenders among rightward talk hosts and media outlets, as she took aim specifically at Fox News.
“Fox leads the charge in their accusations against me, counting on their audience to fall for it again,” Clinton said in a speech before New York state Democrats. “And as an aside, they are getting awfully close to actual malice in their attacks.”
Last week, John Durham, the special counsel who has been investigating the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, raised some new allegations in a court filing. Conservative talk hosts seized on it as a bombshell that showed that Clinton’s campaign spied on Trump. The New York Post had a cover on Tuesday with the headline “Hillary the Spy,” and a Fox News chyron read “Hillary Is The Real Insurrection” during Jesse Watters’ show.
In fact, according to multiple fact checking stories from outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN, Durham’s allegations, which involve an internet security expert working for the U.S. government and a law firm that did work for Clinton’s campaign, were old news, not as significant as they seem, or potentially misleading. Yet media on the right ran with it, characterizing it as a Watergate-level scandal, or even greater.
A FoxNews.com story claimed that Durham alleged that lawyers from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016 had paid to “infiltrate” servers belonging to Trump Tower and later the White House, in order to establish an ‘inference’ and ‘narrative’ to bring to federal government agencies linking Donald Trump to Russia. The word “infiltrate,” however, comes not from Durham’s filing but from commentary from an ally to Trump, Kash Patel.
Read more on the Hillary hate story:
Gregory Krieg at CNN: Hillary Clinton sidesteps Cuomo, hits out at Fox News and GOP lies in New York speech.
Oliver Darcy at CNN: Sean Hannity dares Hillary Clinton to sue as she warns network’s dishonest coverage gets ‘close to actual malice.’
Factchecker Glenn Kessler at The Washington Post: How the right embraced the false claim that Hillary Clinton ‘spied’ on President Donald Trump.
Erick Boelert writes that John Durham is “Ken Starr II”: The media and Durham’s corrupt “spying” investigation.
In other news, the situation in Ukraine is getting more and more dangerous. Here are the latest stories this morning:
Interesting analysis of Putin from Anton Troianovski at The New York Times: Vladimir Putin: Crafty Strategist or Aggrieved and Reckless Leader?
MOSCOW — At this moment of crescendo for the Ukraine crisis, it all comes down to what kind of leader President Vladimir V. Putin is.
In Moscow, many analysts remain convinced that the Russian president is essentially rational, and that the risks of invading Ukraine would be so great that his huge troop buildup makes sense only as a very convincing bluff. But some also leave the door open to the idea that he has fundamentally changed amid the pandemic, a shift that may have left him more paranoid, more aggrieved and more reckless.
The 20-foot-long table that Mr. Putin has used to socially distance himself this month from European leaders flying in for crisis talks symbolizes, to some longtime observers, his detachment from the rest of the world. For almost two years, Mr. Putin has ensconced himself in a virus-free cocoon unlike that of any Western leader, with state television showing him holding most key meetings by teleconference alone in a room and keeping even his own ministers at a distance on the rare occasions that he summons them in person.
Speculation over a leader’s mental state is always fraught, but as Mr. Putin’s momentous decision approaches, Moscow commentators puzzling over what he might do next in Ukraine are finding some degree of armchair psychology hard to avoid.
“There’s this impression of irritation, of a lack of interest, of an unwillingness to delve into anything new,” Ekaterina Schulmann, a political scientist and former member of Mr. Putin’s human rights council, said of the president’s recent public appearances. “The public is being shown that he has been in practical isolation, with ever fewer breaks, since the spring of 2020.”
Could Putin be nearly as crazy as Trump?
A large-scale invasion of Ukraine, many analysts point out, would be an enormous escalation compared with any of the actions that Mr. Putin has taken before. In 2014, the Kremlin’s subterfuge allowed Russian forces stripped of identifying markings to capture Crimea without firing a single shot. The proxy war that Mr. Putin fomented in Ukraine’s east allowed him to deny being a party to the conflict.
“Starting a full-scale war is completely not in Putin’s interest,” said Anastasia Likhacheva, the dean of world economy and international affairs at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. “It is very difficult for me to find any rational explanation for a desire to carry out such a campaign.”
Even if Mr. Putin were able to take control of Ukraine, she noted, such a war would accomplish the opposite of what the president says he wants: rolling back the NATO presence in Eastern Europe. In the case of a war, the NATO allies would be “more unified than ever,” Ms. Likhacheva said, and they would be likely to deploy powerful new weaponry along Russia’s western frontiers.
CNBC: Russia now has over 150,000 troops near Ukraine, U.S. official says, amid reports of more attacks.
The Ukrainian government and Russian state-controlled media on Friday exchanged fresh accusations of cease-fire violations near the country’s eastern border.
In a statement on Facebook, the Ukrainian Joint Forces Operation said 45 cease-fire violations had been recorded in eastern Ukraine on Friday as of 2 p.m. local time. The JFO alleged that 34 of those violations included the use of weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements, which Russia, Ukraine and pro-Moscow separatists signed in 2014 and 2015 to prevent a war in eastern Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Russian state-controlled media agency RIA claimed on Friday that Ukrainian government forces had launched three shelling strikes against Russian-backed separatists.
CNBC was unable to verify either report.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on Thursday said its mission in Ukraine had reported almost 600 cease-fire violations in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, substantially higher than the 153 violations reported during the previous period.
There’s much more at the link.
CBS News: Shelling intensifies in eastern Ukraine amid concern Russia’s creating a pretext for an invasion.
Kyiv — Ukrainian forces and the pro-Russian separatists they’re fighting in the country’s east reported a second day of increased shelling on Friday, as the leaders of the rebels’ self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics accused the Ukrainian government of planning an imminent attack. The rebel administrations in the two breakaway regions announced plans to evacuate thousands of civilians into neighboring Russia.
Western leaders say an escalation in the fighting in Ukraine‘s Donbas region — which has simmered for almost eight years — could be part of Russian efforts to create a “false-flag” pretext to invade.
“Ukraine is not your enemy, but those who want to defend you against Ukraine are. Do not heed rumours about some offensive operation,” Ukraine’s defense minister said in a speech Friday. “We have no intentions to conduct any force actions towards the ORDLO (Donbas) or the Crimea. At all. We will move by the political and diplomatic way. Because there are our citizens and we will not put them in danger.”
The Ukrainian government’s reassurance didn’t appear to be calming nerves in the rebel-held region, however, with social media photos purporting to show people lining up to take money out of banks.
Read more at CBS News.
Reuters: Rebels announce evacuation from east Ukraine.
MOSCOW/KYIV, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine said on Friday they planned to evacuate their breakaway region’s residents to Russia, a shock turn in a conflict the West believes Moscow plans to use to justify an all-out invasion of its neighbour.
Announcing the move on social media, Denis Pushilin, head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, said Russia had agreed to provide accommodation for those who leave. Women, children and the elderly should be evacuated first. The other self-proclaimed region, Luhansk, made a similar announcement.
Millions of civilians are believed to live in the two rebel-held regions of eastern Ukraine; most are Russian speakers and many have already been granted Russian citizenship.
The eastern Ukraine conflict zone saw the most intense artillery bombardment for years on Friday, with the Kyiv government and the separatists trading blame. Western countries have said they think the shelling, which began on Thursday and intensified in its second day, is part of a pretext to invade.
Washington said Russia – which says it started drawing down troops near Ukraine this week – had instead done the opposite: ramping up the force menacing its neighbour to between 169,000 and 190,000 troops, from 100,000 at the end of January.
“This is the most significant military mobilisation in Europe since the Second World War,” U.S. ambassador Michael Carpenter told a meeting at the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
One more from Foreign Policy: Russia Planning Post-Invasion Arrest and Assassination Campaign in Ukraine, U.S. Officials Say.
The United States has obtained intelligence that Russia may target prominent political opponents, anti-corruption activists, and Belarusian and Russian dissidents living in exile should it move forward with plans to invade Ukraine, as U.S. President Joe Biden warned on Thursday that the threat of a renewed Russian invasion of the country remains “very high” and could take place within the next several days.
Four people familiar with U.S. intelligence said that Russia has drafted lists of Ukrainian political figures and other prominent individuals to be targeted for either arrest or assassination in the event of a Russian assault on Ukraine.
A fifth person, a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the United States has been downgrading its intelligence classification regarding threats to specific groups within Ukraine to share this information with Ukrainian government officials and other partners in the region positioned to help….
“As we’ve seen in the past, we expect Russia will try to force cooperation through intimidation and repression,” said a U.S. official who spoke on background on condition of anonymity.
“These acts, which in past Russian operations have included targeted killings, kidnappings/forced disappearances, detentions, and the use of torture, would likely target those who oppose Russian actions, including Russian and Belarusian dissidents in exile in Ukraine, journalists and anti-corruption activists, and vulnerable populations such as religious and ethnic minorities and LGBTQI+ persons,” the official said.
The Biden administration has also been startled by how formalized the lists are, which appear to target anyone who could challenge the Russian agenda. Five Eyes intelligence partners have also tracked Russian intelligence agencies, such as the FSB and GRU, building up target and kill lists. One congressional aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the moves were typical of Russian doctrine, using armed forces to seize military objectives, while special operators shape the conflict and intelligence operators come into the country to get rid of opposition elements.
I expect there will be more developments in the Ukraine story today and over the weekend.
What are your thoughts? What other stories are you following?
Sunday’s ChoicePosted: February 2, 2020 Filed under: Happiness, Hillary Clinton, impeach trump, morning reads, open thread, Psychopaths in charge, SOTU 14 Comments
Well, I’ve gotten suspended again on the Twitbox, can’t even say a few fuck yous to a couple of dipshits these days:
I’m so sick of all this…so let’s just see a few tweets and call it a day.
Hell yes to that! So click that link and check out the good things people are saying about our Hillary.
In other news:
On a personal note, I have become an Initiate in The Temple of Mary.
The mysteries of the Temple of Mary focus on the spiritual transformation of body, mind and soul. Through the study and understanding of symbol, metaphor and myth, we discover that human consciousness has been evolving through the ages, but the message of Love has always been a part of our sacred stories and even more importantly, that all stories contain the same archetypes, the same challenges and are in many ways, the same story – just with different names and cultures.
I came across Hettienne Ma, during the Walking with Mary month of contemplation. After this time, I started to study with her about the Black Madonna…Divine Femine, Carl Jung, Hindu and Buddhist spiritual stories, tarot, teachings of Anandamayi Ma…and so many others. It is ongoing, and fascinating. Here is some more information about Hettienne and the Order of the Dove:
I have reached a point where Hettienne has given me a spiritual name…Niranjana Maria Devi…and yesterday was my Namadiksha.
If you are on Instagram and would like to follow this next 30 days of #walkingwithmary it starts on Monday:
Have a wonderful day.
This is an open thread.
Monday in my Bubble ReadPosted: October 28, 2019 Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton: Her Campaign for All of Us | Tags: Chelsea Clinton, Melba's, New Orleans, Octavia books, The Book of Gutsy Women 26 Comments
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
I went to the other timeline for a very brief moment on Saturday and I’m trying to stay in the good timeline for awhile. Today, we can stay in our bubble. I’m giving myself permission to believe that most of us that live in this country have just about had enough of the last few years. I personally have endured enough. Join me in a bubble with “Gutsy Women” and the book tour that came to New Orleans with its authors Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsean Clinton. It’s a delightful book and I had a delightful time including getting to sing happy birthday to Hillary and handing her my Krewe of Hillary Campaign button while telling her that all her New Orleans Volunteers wore them proudly. I will always be with her. Fellow Hillary Volunteer Sharon Normand caught the moment on the photo at the top here. Yup, that’s my hand!
But Clinton received a rapturous response Saturday when she and her daughter Chelsea spoke at a sold-out event at St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans about “The Book of Gutsy Women — Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience.”
The 450-page book by both mother and daughter profiles more than 100 women, in politics (Shirley Chisholm and Ann Richards), athletics (Abby Wambach and Venus and Serena Williams), medicine (Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton) and other fields, including Ruby Bridges, who integrated an all-white elementary school in New Orleans in 1960.
The 900 people who filled the Uptown church heard stories about famous and little-known women for $45, which included a copy of the book from Octavia Books, which sponsored the event.
“I’ve been a fan of hers for my entire life,” said Jennifer Greene, a New Orleans attorney originally from Little Rock. “I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.”
Neither Clinton mentioned President Donald Trump by name.
The closest came when Chelsea answered a question about the rise of bullying in the United States.
“The bullies are often quoting the president, particularly when girls are being bullied,” Chelsea said. “It’s just so painful to me that his demeaning treatment of women broadly but specifically with my mom and Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi and others is clearly being watched by kids across the country and often has given further motivation to the meanness already there.”
It really was just a conversation about how Chelsea and Hillary had picked the women for the book. Chelsea told us that that it had been significantly downsized given the original number of essays they had written. Some of the women were historical and some still lived or had lived recently so there some quite personal stories too. It was nice to be around nice people talking primarily about nice things. I long for the days when we could discuss things more politely and civilly.
Here is an excerpt of the Book from CBS “Sunday Morning”. It’s Hillary’s essay on Margaret Chase Smith.
When I was a little girl, my family subscribed to Life magazine, which came to our house every week on Friday. When I came home from school, I’d eagerly grab it and lie down on the floor in our living room to read it before I had to set the table for dinner. It was in those pages that I first encountered Senator Margaret Chase Smith, who was the first example I ever remember seeing of a woman elected official. Following her career—from the campaigns that led to her becoming the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress to her history-making candidacy for president of the United States in 1964—shaped my understanding of politics and public service. She embodied the thrill of breaking barriers—and the challenges that come with being “the first.”
Born and raised in Maine, Margaret discovered a passion for politics when her husband, Clyde Harold Smith, was elected to Congress. She campaigned for him and, after he was elected, joined him in Washington. During his first term, he became gravely ill, and Margaret stepped in to fill as many of his obligations as she could. She traveled back and forth between Washington and Maine, appearing at events on behalf of her husband. With Margaret’s help, Clyde was reelected in 1938. His health, however, declined quickly. In the spring of 1940, he put out a statement urging his friends and supporters to stand behind Margaret if he could not run in the upcoming election. “I know of no one who has the full knowledge of my ideas and plans or is as well qualified as she is, to carry on these ideas and my unfinished work for my district.” He died the next day.
Margaret easily won the special election to serve out her husband’s unexpired term. At the time, most of the few women who served in office had been elected or appointed to fill a seat vacated by a husband or father. It was so common it even had a name: “the widow’s mandate.” Though she had never planned on it, Margaret was now the state’s first woman member of Congress. (“Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington,” read one headline.)
Oh, and the Clintons stopped by Melba’s which is probably the most unique restaurant/literacy center/laundromat you’d ever want to see! And, did I mention the food? MMMMMMmmm …
On Saturday morning the Creole gumbo was simmering, the daiquiri machines were churning and the dryers were spinning at Melba’s and Wash World, the connected po-boy shop and laundry at Elysian Fields Avenue in New Orleans.
Then the sleek black SUVs pulled up and out stepped former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, former president Bill Clinton and their daughter Chelsea Clinton.
The political power family was not here to talk politics.
Instead, they were visiting the unique literacy program and family learning initiative that has taken root at Melba’s and Wash World with the support of their foundation. It’s a program they plan to bring nationwide in the months ahead.
Melba’s and Wash World together present a kaleidoscope of local art and New Orleans emblems around the business of doing some laundry and grabbing a quick bite.
Earlier this year, it also debuted its latest feature, the Family Read & Play Space. A colorful niche by the washers and dryers has kid-sized furniture, toys, coloring materials and a collection of books for a wide range of young readers. The aim is to turn the time families spend together on a laundry errand into an investment in a child’s future, strengthening early literacy and engaging their curiosity.
“We’re thrilled with what they’ve done here,” said Hillary Rodham Clinton.
But back to to the book event! They took two questions from the audience. Both were from little girls. One of the little girls just wrote you are my president. The other asked about bullying. Chelsea had some great stories and advice. She’s really a most articulate and impressive young woman.
The event’s most personal moment happened when a 9-year-old child in the audience asked the Clintons how they stand up to mean comments. Chelsea said she has gotten used to getting hate all her life because of who her parents were. People told her when she was 8 years old that they wished she had been aborted. When Bill Clinton was in the White House, everyone from Rush Limbaugh to Saturday Night Live made fun of teenage Chelsea’s appearance.
As painful as that experience was, she’s grateful because it’s left her better able to handle the abuse that many famous women have to deal with in the social media age. Today, she said, the most hateful comments come anti-abortion commenters, because of her pro-choice stance, and anti-vaccination activists, because she’s a professor of public health.
“I’m really thankful that that happened at a young age, because I think that has served me well, particularly in this moment we’re living through when there’s lots, sadly, of ugliness,” Chelsea Clinton said.
Hillary Clinton praised her daughter for always responding with politeness and “cheerful shade.” She said there will always be hate in society; what’s important is that “leaders in a democracy like ours are supposed to be trying to bring people together. They’re certainly not supposed to be fomenting bullying and hatred.”
She quoted what her husband Bill Clinton said in his recent eulogy for U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings: “Freedom cannot last if half of us are supposed to hate the other half about everything.”
Secretary Clinton never explicitly mentioned Donald Trump, the man she lost the 2016 election to, but he lingered as the elephant in the room.
At one point the moderator, Susan Larson, asked her to talk about “the role of anger as a motivating force for women.” Clinton gave a sighing, drawn-out, “OK …” and the entire room burst into laughter and applause.
“I think what’s important here is that the anger that you’re talking about is anger at injustice,” Clinton continued. “It’s anger at inequality… It’s that kind of anger that can motivate the movement into courage and into taking action.”
So, for me, today is a day where I just may continue to leave the TV off. Between watching the service for Elijah Cummings and listening to our last president’s words and then spending Saturday awash with tales of Gutsy Women by Gutsy Women I really want to stay in the bubble today and maybe for awhile longer.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?