Monday Reads: World Press Freedom Day

Ker-Xavier Roussel Reading the Newspaper, 1893, Private Collection Édouard Vuillard

Happy World Press Freedom Day Sky Dancers!

A Free Press is enshrined in our Constitution here in the United States. It’s always been a hallmark of open, democratic societies.  So, how is the press doing in this day of increasing right-wing authoritarianism?

Here’s the 2020 World Press Freedom Index from Reporters without Borders.  Notice who is missing from the top ten? Notice where most of the world’s oldest Democracies land.  One of our NATO allies is one of the most frequent jailers of journalists.

A Press–independent of government oppression and manipulation–is a cornerstone of a democratic society.  EuroNews reports the concerns the UN has for a media free of government interference..

The world of journalism faces “drastic losses”, the UN has warned, as it highlights the importance of ‘information as a public good’ on World Press Freedom day.

The intergovernmental organisation says the current coronavirus crisis has forced closures and job cuts within the industry, while other media outlets are facing “political capture”.

The result is more “creeping news deserts” in countries where journalists are unable to get accurate information out to the public.

You may read country descriptions based on the Press Freedom Index on the challenges faced by journalists.

Elaine de Kooning, self portrait, 1946

We may be going back towards normalcy with the White House recognizing the role of a free press today. You may remember that we spent the last four years hearing how the press was the enemy of the people unless it presented stories that flattered and backed-up the delusional rantings of the previous guy.  It is also high time the Saudis pay for killing one of our journalists.  This is just one of the atrocities the previous guy ignored.

Will Biden stand up to the Saudis for the Prince’s murder of Jamal Khashoggi?   This is from NBC.

The Biden administration earlier this year released a U.S. intelligence report implicating the crown prince in the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi but spared him any direct punishment. The prince denies any involvement.

Burns, Peter; Old Man Reading a Newspaper; 

There is perhaps no greater difference in our press than the split between the media  using traditional journalism and the lie pushing, agenda based narrative for something other than reality just for ratings, outrage, and political gain.  Our right-wing propaganda outlets have influenced nearly all of our institutions recently. They do not provide checks and balances to corruption but enable it.  No one is the clear these days. Even the U.S. Supreme Court Justices–a majority group of religious zealots with know records of hostility to democracy–are eager to cash in.   This is from Bloomberg: “Supreme Court’s Ethics Problems Are Bigger Than Coney Barrett. As conflicts of interest accumulate, the justices need to embrace more stringent standards of conduct.”  

We have impeached judges before.  Is this the decade of taking out the trash dumped in our justice system?  Perhaps we could at least develop and enforce standards of ethical behavior for judges?

A lot of hand-wringing has accompanied Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s $2 million book deal (including from those of us who wish we had a $2 million book deal). While there’s always reason to worry when big piles of money land on the court, and Coney Barrett has wasted little time monetizing her new job, some larger points are getting lost in all of this.

After all, Coney Barrett isn’t the first justice to reel in a big book deal. Justice Sonia Sotomayor collected an advance of more than $3 million for her memoir, and Justice Clarence Thomas got $1.5 million for his. Justice Neil Gorsuch was paid $225,000 for a book about the Constitution. Here’s the rub: Federal ethics guidelines mandate that justices can’t accept more than about $30,000 annually in outside pay. However, book income — which can reliably bring in much larger sums than the relatively modest pay justices receive for teaching gigs — is exempt from the guidelines.

When these deals arise, concerns are often voiced about justices being compromised by pocketing money from publishers who might have free speech and other issues affecting them before the court. But books are only a small part of a bigger problem: The Supreme Court’s conflicts of interest and financial disclosure rules remain ragged and outdated.

Unlike every other member of state and federal judiciaries, the court’s nine justices aren’t subject to an ethical code of conduct. That mirrors the latitude given the presidency, which also isn’t beholden to most guidelines circumscribing financial and professional practices of people in lower-ranking government jobs. Former President Donald Trump’s tenure, marked by flagrant financial conflicts of interest, is a reminder of how ineffective self-regulating ethics are when someone isn’t really interested in self-regulation.

Woman with a newspaper, Richard Diebenkorn

The danger of right-wing propaganda to our Democracy has been an ongoing issue in the last several centuries. It has always skirted the First Amendment in terms of substance and motivation. We depend on an educated populace to search out the truth among many sources.  The role it has played in putting public health issues into the realm of political cosplay is beyond the pale.  Derek Thomas writes this for The Atlantic: “Millions Are Saying No to the Vaccines. What Are They Thinking?  Feelings about the vaccine are intertwined with feelings about the pandemic.”  It’s also intertwined with politics and right-wing news media falsehoods.

What are they thinking, these vaccine-hesitant, vaccine-resistant, and COVID-apathetic? I wanted to know. So I posted an invitation on Twitter for anybody who wasn’t planning to get vaccinated to email me and explain why. In the past few days, I spoke or corresponded with more than a dozen such people. I told them that I was staunchly pro-vaccine, but this wouldn’t be a takedown piece. I wanted to produce an ethnography of a position I didn’t really understand.

The people I spoke with were all under 50. A few of them self-identified as Republican, and none of them claimed the modern Democratic Party as their political home. Most said they weren’t against all vaccines; they were just a “no” on this vaccine. They were COVID-19 no-vaxxers, not overall anti-vaxxers.

Many people I spoke with said they trusted their immune system to protect them. “Nobody ever looks at it from the perspective of a guy who’s like me,” Bradley Baca, a 39-year-old truck driver in Colorado, told me. “As an essential worker, my life was never going to change in the pandemic, and I knew I was going to get COVID no matter what. Now I think I’ve got the antibodies, so why would I take a risk on the vaccine?”

Some had already recovered from COVID-19 and considered the vaccine unnecessary. “In December 2020 I tested positive and experienced many symptoms,” said Derek Perrin, a 31-year-old service technician in Connecticut. “Since I have already survived one recorded bout with this virus, I see no reason to take a vaccine that has only been approved for emergency use. I trust my immune system more than this current experiment.”

Others were worried that the vaccines might have long-term side effects. “As a Black American descendant of slavery, I am bottom caste, in terms of finances,” Georgette Russell, a 40-year-old resident of New Jersey, told me. “The fact that there is no way to sue the government or the pharmaceutical company if I have any adverse reactions is highly problematic to me.”

Many people said they had read up on the risk of COVID-19 to people under 50 and felt that the pandemic didn’t pose a particularly grave threat. “The chances of me dying from a car accident are higher than my dying of COVID,” said Michael Searle, a 36-year-old who owns a consulting firm in Austin, Texas. “But it’s not like I don’t get in my car.”

And many others said that perceived liberal overreach had pushed them to the right. “Before March 2020, I was a solid progressive Democrat,” Jenin Younes, a 37-year-old attorney, said. “I am so disturbed by the Democrats’ failure to recognize the importance of civil liberties. I’ll vote for anyone who takes a strong stand for civil liberties and doesn’t permit the erosion of our fundamental rights that we are seeing now.” Baca, the Colorado truck driver, also told me he didn’t vote much before the pandemic, but the perception of liberal overreach had a strong politicizing effect. “When COVID hit, I saw rights being taken away. So in 2020, I voted for the first time in my life, and I voted all the way Republican down the ballot.”

974 Expressionist Oil Painting Woman Reading Newspaper

We’re fucked at this rate.  And, here’s FiveThirtyEight explaining where we see the big divides in American Voters.

In many ways, the 2020 election was basically like every recent American presidential election: The Republican candidate won the white vote (54 percent to 44 percent, per CES), and the Democratic candidate won the overwhelming majority of the Black (90 percent to 8 percent), Asian American (66 percent to 31 percent) and Hispanic (64 percent to 33 percent) vote. Like in 2016, there was a huge difference among non-Hispanic white voters by education, as those with at least a four-year college degree favored Biden (55 percent to 42 percent), while those without degrees (63 to 35) favored Trump. (There wasn’t a huge education split among voters of color.)1

Other surveys tell the same general story: Trump won white voters overall by a margin in the double digits and won whites without four-year degrees by even more; Trump lost among whites with at least a four-year college degree, lost by a big margin with Asian American and Latino voters and lost by an enormous margin among African Americans.

So the main reason that Trump nearly won a second term was not his increased support among Latinos, who are only about 10 percent of American voters and are a group he lost by more than 20 points. Trump’s main strength was his huge advantage among non-Hispanic white voters without college degrees, who are about 45 percent of American voters. His second biggest bloc of support was among non-Hispanic white Americans with degrees, who are about 30 percent of all voters. According to the CES, over 80 percent of Trump’s voters were non-Hispanic white voters, with or without a college degree. In contrast, around 70 percent of nonwhite voters supported Biden, and they made up close to 40 percent of his supporters. So it is very much still the case that the Republicans are an overwhelmingly white party and that the Democratic coalition is much more racially diverse.

Here’s the President of Orleans Republican Women to prove a point: President of Women’s Republican Club of New Orleans Touts Biblical Positives of Slavery.   That scream you hear from way down on the Mississipi River is mine.  Yeah, for small, local,  independent media like The Big Easy Magazine!

The story began when Chalmette State Representative Raymond Garofalo proposed a bill where-in he wanted to ban “critical race theory” from being taught, a complex subject that conservatives have been using as a talking point recently to score political points. He said that he, in fact, wanted to “teach the good, the bad, and the ugly” about slavery. To which Hilferty replied, “There’s nothing good about slavery” to laughter.

Garofalo corrected himself, saying that, “You’re right. I didn’t mean to imply that. I don’t believe that, and I know that’s the case. But I’m using the term, ‘the good, bad, and ugly as a generic way of saying that you can teach any facts, factually based on anything.”

Both Hilferty and Garofalo have spoken directly to the media about the incident. Garofalo has tried to clarify his words, explain the terminology “good, bad, and ugly” was meant “generically,” and Hilferty claimed he was, “…talking about the good in slavery.”

Whether Garofalo meant that there were good aspects to slavery or whether he was speaking “generically,” Huckaby repeatedly came to his defense, and to the defense of slavery itself. The above was not her only post related to slavery and Garofalo. She also wrote in another post, “Slavery goes all they [sic] way back to biblical times, and if you’ve read your Bible, you would know that many of the slaves loved their masters, and their masters loved them, and took very good care of them, and their families.”

In addition, she indicated that, “Stephanie (Hilferty) has been indoctrinated by leftis [sic] marxisum [sic] education.”

So, hmm, I’m a communist troll in her eyes.  So bet it!  At this point, I’ll take any moniker that doesn’t include what she’s all about.

Anyway, you’ll have a good week!  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Monday Reads: Plumage and Bloomage

Good Day Sky Dancers!

My body went back to normal time this morning and stole that hour plus another back!  I’m just not adjusting well to this at all but I did enjoy time walking the dog last night under the Full Worm Moon. I’m not sure all the spring breakers holding the neighborhood hostage were gone but they seemed to be holed up somewhere inside because Temple and I had the neutral ground and all our heron buddies to ourselves.

The full Moon names used by The Old Farmer’s Almanac come from a number of places, including Native American, Colonial American, and European sources. Traditionally, each full Moon name was applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred, not only to the full Moon.

The Worm Moon

March’s full Moon goes by the name Worm Moon, which was originally thought to refer to the earthworms that appear as the soil warms in spring. This invites robins and other birds to feed—a true sign of spring!

An alternative explanation for this name comes from Captain Jonathan Carver, an 18th-century explorer, who wrote that this Moon name refers to a different sort of “worm”—beetle larvae—which begin to emerge from the thawing bark of trees and other winter hideouts at this time.

This is Rob and Laura who live in the Live Oak closest to the River. On the next block there are two pairs. I’ve named them Lucy and Ricky and Ethel and Fred. They live in adjacent trees.

I’ve taken some photos of spring arriving to my street.  I hope you enjoy them!  I’m also highlighting some of the Haute Couture from the New Yorker’s article on Ann Lowe by Judith Thurman.Ann Lowe’s Barrier-Breaking Mid-Century Couture How a Black designer made her way among the white élite.”  Enjoy all the plumage and bloomage!

The issue in most dire need of elucidation is undoubtedly the onslaught of voter suppression measures in state legislatures across Republican States.  It is also the Voting Rights Act headed for the desk of the Senate.  If you read anything today please read Jane Mayer’s article at The New Yorker. Here’s the headline: Inside the Koch-Backed Effort to Block the Largest Election-Reform Bill in Half a Century , On a leaked conference call, leaders of dark-money groups and an aide to Mitch McConnell expressed frustration with the popularity of the legislation—even among Republican voters.”

A recording obtained by The New Yorker of a private conference call on January 8th, between a policy adviser to Senator Mitch McConnell and the leaders of several prominent conservative groups—including one run by the Koch brothers’ network—reveals the participants’ worry that the proposed election reforms garner wide support not just from liberals but from conservative voters, too. The speakers on the call expressed alarm at the broad popularity of the bill’s provision calling for more public disclosure about secret political donors. The participants conceded that the bill, which would stem the flow of dark money from such political donors as the billionaire oil magnate Charles Koch, was so popular that it wasn’t worth trying to mount a public-advocacy campaign to shift opinion. Instead, a senior Koch operative said that opponents would be better off ignoring the will of American voters and trying to kill the bill in Congress.

Kyle McKenzie, the research director for the Koch-run advocacy group Stand Together, told fellow-conservatives and Republican congressional staffers on the call that he had a “spoiler.” “When presented with a very neutral description” of the bill, “people were generally supportive,” McKenzie said, adding that “the most worrisome part . . . is that conservatives were actually as supportive as the general public was when they read the neutral description.” In fact, he warned, “there’s a large, very large, chunk of conservatives who are supportive of these types of efforts.”

As a result, McKenzie conceded, the legislation’s opponents would likely have to rely on Republicans in the Senate, where the bill is now under debate, to use “under-the-dome-type strategies”—meaning legislative maneuvers beneath Congress’s roof, such as the filibuster—to stop the bill, because turning public opinion against it would be “incredibly difficult.” He warned that the worst thing conservatives could do would be to try to “engage with the other side” on the argument that the legislation “stops billionaires from buying elections.” McKenzie admitted, “Unfortunately, we’ve found that that is a winning message, for both the general public and also conservatives.” He said that when his group tested “tons of other” arguments in support of the bill, the one condemning billionaires buying elections was the most persuasive—people “found that to be most convincing, and it riled them up the most.”

McKenzie explained that the Koch-founded group had invested substantial resources “to see if we could find any message that would activate and persuade conservatives on this issue.” He related that “an A.O.C. message we tested”—one claiming that the bill might help Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez achieve her goal of holding “people in the Trump Administration accountable” by identifying big donors—helped somewhat with conservatives. But McKenzie admitted that the link was tenuous, since “what she means by this is unclear.” “Sadly,” he added, not even attaching the phrase “cancel culture” to the bill, by portraying it as silencing conservative voices, had worked. “It really ranked at the bottom,” McKenzie said to the group. “That was definitely a little concerning for us.”

Gretchen Reiter, the senior vice-president of communications for Stand Together, declined to respond to questions about the conference call or the Koch group’s research showing the robust popularity of the proposed election reforms. In an e-mailed statement, she said, “Defending civil liberties requires more than a sound bite,” and added that the group opposes the bill because “a third of it restricts First Amendment rights.” She included a link to an op-ed written by a member of Americans for Prosperity, another Koch-affiliated advocacy group, which argues that the legislation violates donors’ freedom of expression by requiring the disclosure of the names of those who contribute ten thousand dollars or more to nonprofit groups involved in election spending. Such transparency, the op-ed suggests, could subject donors who prefer to remain anonymous to retaliation or harassment.

This evening shift, circa 1924, is the earliest confirmed example of Lowe’s couture. Every bead was attached individually.Dress from collection of the Henry B. Plant Museum / Tampa, Florida

You certainly cannot boycott a Hedge or Capital Venture Fund but we know from Fair Fight that many Georgia Voters are putting pressure  on corporations–like Delta Airlines, Coca-Cola, and Home Depot– to throw their weight behind getting Voting Rights passed and Voter Suppression Tactics stopped.  The effort is called Black Dollars Matter.

Georgia has some of the most organized and mobilized groups of Black voters, thanks to Stacey Abrams, who may be the shrewdest and most tenacious voting rights advocate in the nation.

Many of these Black voters remember when Abrams lost a close race for Georgia governor in 2018, a contest tainted by allegations of voter suppression. Kemp, Abrams’ opponent, ran for governor while also holding onto his position as the state’s chief elections officer — a position many viewed as a conflict of interest.

The perception that the GOP is trying to suppress the Black vote will only make Black voters in Georgia more determined to vote in 2022, when Abrams is widely expected to run against Kemp again, says the Rev. Jamal Byrant, senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia.

“Georgia is frankly becoming browner and more progressive, and the Republicans are having anxiety about the upcoming gubernatorial election and they’re trying to do everything in their power to stop the wave,” Bryant says.

“You’re going to see a whole lot of first-time voters, younger voters and disillusioned and disenfranchised voters heading back to the polls because they realize what’s at stake,” Bryant says.

There is evidence to back up Bryant’s prediction. A growing body of research suggests that the passage of voter ID laws may in some cases motivate Black voters and spark voter organizing efforts.

One study examining the impact of the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby decision, which gutted the Voting Rights Act, suggested that voting restrictions may actually increase Black turnout in elections.

The Shelby decision made it easier for states to pass voter restriction laws after the high court removed the “preclearance” provision from the Voting Rights Act. Under preclearance, a state with a history of racial discrimination in elections had to get permission from the federal government for instituting any changes to how they run elections.

The study, which was cited in the New York Times, said the Shelby decision may have actually increased Black turnout in the 2016 presidential election in some states where preclearance was removed.

“Overall, the removal of preclearance did not decrease Black turnout,” says Kyle Raze, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Oregon, who authored the study. “If anything, the removal of preclearance increased Black turnout in some states during the 2016 election.”

Political scientists have found laws that make voting more difficult don’t always succeed in changing election outcomes, because voters and parties take steps to counteract what’s happening.

I suppose the one great thing we’ve got going for us is that the country’s voters outnumber the country’s wicked rich. But then I read things like this poll from the Pew Research Center. “A partisan chasm in views of Trump’s legacy”.  It still seems many rank and file republicans get their information from alternative reality sites. Democracies don’t work so well when a slice of the electorate likes being deliberately and willfully ignorant.

Two months after President Donald Trump left office, 38% of Americans say he made progress toward solving major problems facing the country during his administration – while a nearly identical share (37%) say he made these problems worse. Another 15% say Trump tried but failed to solve the nation’s problems, while 10% say he did not address them.

Looking back at Trump’s term, just over half of Americans (53%) rate Trump’s presidency as below average – including 41% who say he was a “terrible” president. About a third (35%) rate his presidency as above average, including 17% who say he was a “great” president. Republicans and Democrats offer starkly different assessments of Trump’s presidential legacy, according to a Pew Research Center survey of 12,055 U.S. adults conducted March 1-7, 2021.

Graphic statement: A stately evening ensemble of black lace over aqua silk, for A. F. Chantilly, circa 1966.

I’d really like to know which problems exactly they think he solved.  He certainly created a lot more chaos and shameful policies than anything else he did.  Maybe they like the idea of child separation and children in cages? The huge budget busting and no growth creating tax cuts?  The love letters to Putin and Kim?  Who knows and I’m not about to ask any of them.  Phillip Bump of WAPO writes that “Trump is losing the war over his legacy”  How could someone who led a band of violent white supremacists to insurrection against our country have anything but a rotten legacy?  Added to his mishandling and manipulation of the COVID-19 response–discussed below–and I’d say he’s going down in history as a murderer, a seditionist, and a thief.

On Sunday evening, CNN aired a special featuring interviews with the senior officials involved in the early coronavirus pandemic response under president Donald Trump. No longer operating under the Trump political umbrella, they offered assessments of the past year that lacked any soothing veneer.

Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House response under Trump, expressed her belief that the deaths that occurred after the first wave of infections last spring were largely preventable. It’s a sentiment that matches recent research but was at odds with the sanitization practices of the Trump White House to which Birx had so often adhered. Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s top epidemiologist, suggested it was government experts, not Trump, who had decided to push forward quickly on a vaccine to combat the virus in January 2020. That was months before the administration rolled out Operation Warp Speed, its push for vaccine development..

Well, that’s the one thing he was taking credit for that might’ve stuck.  I guess we should’ve known that somebody else’s idea all along.  Also, in the news is the Solar Winds Hack which probably was partially due to the deconstruction all over the National Security front by the Trumpist Regime.  This is breaking  from the AP: “from Alan Suderman.

Suspected Russian hackers gained access to email accounts belonging to the Trump administration’s head of the Department of Homeland Security and members of the department’s cybersecurity staff whose jobs included hunting threats from foreign countries, The Associated Press has learned.

The intelligence value of the hacking of then-acting Secretary Chad Wolf and his staff is not publicly known, but the symbolism is stark. Their accounts were accessed as part of what’s known as the SolarWinds intrusion, and it throws into question how the U.S. government can protect individuals, companies and institutions across the country if it can’t protect itself.

The short answer for many security experts and federal officials is that it can’t — at least not without some significant changes.

“The SolarWinds hack was a victory for our foreign adversaries, and a failure for DHS,” said Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, top Republican on the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “We are talking about DHS’s crown jewels.”

The Biden administration has tried to keep a tight lid on the scope of the SolarWinds attack as it weighs retaliatory measures against Russia. But an inquiry by the AP found new details about the breach at DHS and other agencies, including the Energy Department, where hackers accessed top officials’ schedules.

Blush pink was a favorite color of Lowe’s. Here she uses it in silk and nylon for an evening dress, from 1962, festooned with trompe-l’oeil flowers.

Well, that’s a little this and that about the previous guy as well as what we’re experiencing now still because of the previous guy.  The Biden/Harris administration sure have their work cut out for them.

Since I now have the Blues I will put this up by Memphis Minnie (Lizzy Douglas) who recorded this song sometime during the peak of the great depression.  Douglas was born in New Orleans in the Algiers neighborhood in 1897 but moved to Tennessee to record.  She was billed as the Queen of the Country Blues. You can learn more about her at the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.

But there were plenty of men who wanted to play guitar like Memphis Minnie. She once even beat the great Big Bill Broonzy in a picking contest. Her title “Queen of the Country Blues” was no hype. Minnie did everything the boys could do, and she did it in a fancy gown with full hair and makeup. She had it all: stellar guitar chops, a powerful voice, a huge repertoire including many original, signature songs and a stage presence simultaneously glamorous, bawdy and tough.

She transcended both gender and genre. Her recording career reached from the 1920s heyday of country blues to cutting electric sides in 1950s Chicago studios for the Chess subsidiary Checker. Minnie helped form the roots of electric Chicago blues, as well as R&B and rock ‘n’ roll, long before she plugged in. Her unique storytelling style of songwriting drew such surprising fans as Country Music Hall of Famer Bob Wills, the King of Western Swing, who covered her song about a favorite horse, “Frankie Jean,” right down to copying Minnie’s whistling. Though she inspired as many men as women, her influence was particularly strong on female musicians, her disciples including her niece Lavern Baker, a rock and R&B pioneer in her own right, as well as Maria Muldaur (who released a 2012 tribute CD) Bonnie Raitt (who paid for her headstone), Rory Block, Tracy Nelson, Saffire and virtually every other guitar-slinging woman since.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday Reads: Atlas

Good morning…

Some tweets to think about:

So proud to say…these are my senators:

This looks like it could be one hell of a story:

I had lunch with one of my old friends yesterday who told me this word for word:

She and I fully understand that we don’t agree on things like tRump…and the pro-choice rights of women…we love each other. She is like my family. It is so hard for me to hear some of the things she says. I spent the last year away from this family and we reconnected lately. I love her… and want her in my life.

Family and friends in the time of tRumpism. Even though he is out of office…his disruptive wake is still rocking boats that are moored in the bay.

This is an open thread.

Be careful, and take care of yourself.


Wednesday Reads: Lies Lies Lies

 

About that ridiculous shit show from tRump yesterday:

 

‘Did the dog eat his homework too?’ CNN’s Erin Burnett slams Trump – Business Insider

In a scathing opening monologue on Tuesday, CNN anchor Erin Burnett slammed President Donald Trump’s explanation that he misspoke during a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Damage control, the president claims he misspoke once in his disastrous summit with Putin,” Burnett said on CNN. “Did the dog eat his homework too?”

During his press conference with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, Trump initially said he did not “see any reason why” Russia would be responsible for meddling in the 2016 US Presidential election. When asked if he would condemn Russia for its election interference, Trump refused to back the US intelligence community’s assessment, and instead, railed against the FBI and his political opponents.

“My people came to me … They said they think it’s Russia,” Trump said at the summit on Monday. “I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia.”

“I will say this,” Trump added. “I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

After a wave of critics from both parties criticized his remarks, Trump backtracked his comments and said in a tweet that he had “GREAT confidence” in the US intelligence community.

“How stupid does Trump think we Americans are?,” Burnett said in her monologue. “The president’s excuse for his embarrassing press conference where he sided with Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence chiefs does not add up.”

 

Trump’s handwritten notes spotted on Russia statement – YouTube

Trump Adds Notes in Margins of Written Statement on Russian Meddling: ‘THERE WAS NO COLUSION’ | Mediaite

President Donald Trump couldn’t help but add one of his favorite phrases to staff-prepared remarks today.

When trying to convince the world that he actually meant to say he saw no reason it “wouldn’t” be Russia who interfered in the 2016 elections rather than “would,” the notes written in the margins of his prepared remarks – in all caps and in big, black Sharpie – read “THERE WAS NO COLUSION.”

Now, given how many times the president has seen and spat the word “collusion,” you’d think he’d know how to spell it at this point. Even more than the flimsy-at-best explanation of his remarks, perhaps this ought to alarm us, as it indicates beyond a doubt that no matter how familiar Trump appears to be with something, he refuses to absorb correct information about it.

One more thing about the statement tRump made yesterday:

Gloria Borger: Trump looked like he was in a hostage tape – YouTube

She is not the only one to bring up that point, that tRump looked like a hostage reading off a prepared document…I thought the same thing when I saw the tape.

And just a couple more tweets:

Yeah, curlygramma is right…Maddow’s show was awesome last night.

So simple and very true, why not hold hearings on all those questions that we ask daily here on the blog?

Then there was this horror news breaking on The Last Word:

Read the alert at the bottom of the screen on the picture in this tweet:

Fucking hell…let me say that again…fucking hell!

 

 

 

Cartoons, if you please:

07/17/2018 Cartoon by Nate Beeler

Cartoon by Nate Beeler -

CONSISTENT PRES: 07/17/2018 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - CONSISTENT PRES

07/17/2018 Cartoon by Bob Gorrell

Cartoon by Bob Gorrell -

Helsinki Summit: 07/17/2018 Cartoon by Mike Keefe

Cartoon by Mike Keefe - Helsinki Summit

Clay Bennett editorial cartoon: 07/17/2018 Cartoon by Clay Bennett

Cartoon by Clay Bennett - Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

Helsinki Summit: 07/17/2018 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Helsinki Summit

07/17/2018 Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies

Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies -

07/17/2018 Cartoon by J.D. Crowe

Cartoon by J.D. Crowe -

07/17/2018 Cartoon by Joel Pett

Cartoon by Joel Pett -

07/13/2018 Cartoon by Joel Pett

Cartoon by Joel Pett -

07/14/2018 Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Joe Heller -

Check out the date on that one.

Trump meeting with Vladimir Putin ventriloquist: 07/17/2018 Cartoon by David G. Brown

Cartoon by David G. Brown - Trump meeting with Vladimir Putin ventriloquist

Summit Gift: 07/17/2018 Cartoon by Paul Fell

Cartoon by Paul Fell - Summit Gift

07/16/2018 Cartoon by Matt Wuerker

Cartoon by Matt Wuerker -

HELSINKI “SUMMIT”: 07/16/2018 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - HELSINKI "SUMMIT"

07/15 Mike Luckovich: Cozy time.

 

07/17 Mike Luckovich: Advanced puppetry

 

07/18 Mike Luckovich: What I really meant.

 

 

 

 

Bashing our Allies: 07/16/2018 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Bashing our Allies

 

 

 

Those lies are gonna get ya!

This is an open thread.


Sunday Reads: London….This is London 


The above tweet found this morning….

I’m not in the mindset to come up with the words today. In fact, I doubt that my brain can wrap itself around any type of news that poured out of London late last night.

When I heard the sirens on the television, my parents were watching live coverage, I did not have to see the screen to know that some attack had taken place…and that the target was somewhere in Great Britain. You can tell by the sound of those sirens, distinctive bitches aren’t they?

Reactions vary as expected:

(Incarcerate Deport Repeat? I think that phrase was already used on Veep already you fuckwad. )

Anyway, here’s some more reactions:

And then there is tRump:


** edited to add the screenshot of tRump latest tweets. 

I used to think that I hated certain politicians. Yeah, we all hate Ted Cruz and Santorum. Geez…remember the good old days of Bush 1 and 2?

But…the hate I feel for tRump is so deep, it almost disturbs me. Maybe my defenses are so worn down from what I’ve been dealing with…my mom and the rest. I don’t know…it has become a struggle to look at a news feed or read anything that connects to the outside world.

Every day there is a new onslaught of bad shit. Like a blitz of bad news that keeps proving tRump and all his merry men need to go…but still nothing is happening. I thought the despondent feeling I suffered from during the campaign was something I would not feel again.

Foolishly I thought:  Hey, once the stories started to break…people would finally snap out of it.

I can’t understand how folks who used to be so anti-Russian and all “fuck the commies” has turned into the kind of Putin loving population they are today. (I’m not talking the GOP politicians who obviously have been blackmailed or are otherwise indebted to Russian interests. ) I’m taking about the kind of people in towns like Banjoville who put tRump in office.  These are the people who still think that fluoridation is a conspiracy.

Can someone explain it to me?

Is it as simple as the repurposed neo-Nazi slogan tRump uses…Make America Great Again?

aka

Make America White Again?

Take a look at twitter now, after this latest attack, and see how the people around the world are reacting to tRump’s first Tweet when the news about #LondonBridge broke.  That asshole’s words reflects on our country no matter what anyone says. People around the world are disgusted with tRump. They are disgusted with us too.

Putin is succeeding, the people who want to see the United States fail are also succeeding. Our standing in the world is falling dramatically.

I know this post is about London and I have managed to turn it around into a rant about tRump and how he has brought our nation down.  But there is a point to all this.

Last night, when I heard those sirens on the TV, and knew something “terroristic” had happened in England…it no longer surprised me. I did not feel anything. Not even a hint of concern. I have become desensitized to the violence.

This realization, while staring onto a screen with bright lights from ambulances and cop cars which caused the living room to dance in colors of red and blue, I felt nothing. So what…I felt nothing. And, what’s more…that I was indifferent, meant nothing at all.

This is an open thread. Post whatever you want. I do not have the capacity to care anymore. What good does it do anyway?