Thursday Reads: We Have Entered The Twilight Zone.Posted: January 26, 2017 Filed under: Foreign Affairs, morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: border wall, CIA black sites, Dan Rather, Donald Trump, first amendment, immigration, journalism, Mexico, muslim ban, sanctuary cities, Torture, Twilight Zone 79 Comments
Yesterday JJ posted a link to this brief post by Melissa McEwan:
I was managing to keep a lid on the bitterness about Hillary Clinton not being our president until I saw Donald Trump start to govern.
It’s going precisely the way I thought it would, so it’s not like I’m surprised.
It’s just that seeing it actually begin to unfold is triggering a deep well of resentment, and a profound grief, that I was only able to keep at bay until he was sworn in.
And now I cannot contain it. I am angry and resentful and grief-stricken in a way I have never felt before.
That’s exactly how I feel. The time from the election to the inauguration was bad enough, but now everything feels unreal and frightening. Last night on Rachel Maddow’s show, Dan Rather called it a “Twilight Zone feeling.” I think it’s likely that a majority of Americans feel this way. A man with the temperament and personality of a 6-year-old–sometimes a 3-year-old–is sitting in the White House watching Fox News and plotting the destruction of our country. And even more horrifying, he has the power to blow up the entire world if he so chooses.
I recall feeling desperate and enraged after the Supreme Court handed the presidency to George W. Bush, but this is so much worse. I feel anxious and on-edge all the time. I’m afraid to get too far from my news sources for fear that he will do something drastic; and even if I try to escape into a book or TV show or video game I just can’t shake this feeling of everything being out-of-kilter. The only difference I can see between tRump and a dictator like Kim Jong Un is that we have a few checks and balances in place–for now–to keep our child-leader from killing or jailing his critics.
Apparently the DC police feel empowered to arrest and charge journalists now. The New York Times reports: Felony Charges for Journalists Arrested at Inauguration Protests Raise Fears for Press Freedom.
At least six journalists were charged with felony rioting after they were arrested while covering the violent protests that took place just blocks from President Trump’s inauguration parade in Washington on Friday, according to police reports and court documents.
The journalists were among 230 people detained in the anti-Trump demonstrations, during which protesters smashed the glass of commercial buildings and lit a limousine on fire.
The charges against the jouMexirnalists — Evan Engel, Alexander Rubinstein, Jack Keller, Matthew Hopard, Shay Horse and Aaron Cantu — have been denounced by organizations dedicated to press freedom. All of those arrested have denied participating in the violence.
“These felony charges are bizarre and essentially unheard of when it comes to journalists here in America who were simply doing their job,” said Suzanne Nossel, the executive director of Pen America. “They weren’t even in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were in the right place.”
Carlos Lauria, a spokesman and senior program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, called the charges “completely inappropriate and excessive,” and the organization has asked that they be dropped immediately.
“Our concern is that these arrests could send a chilling message to journalists that cover future protests,” Mr. Lauria added.
Witnesses reported that sweeping arrests during the parade targeted rioters, protesters and journalists indiscriminately. A lawyer representing dozens of people arrested, Mark Goldstone, told The Associated Press that the police had “basically identified a location that had problems and arrested everyone in that location.”
Yesterday, tRump began pressing forward with his promised Muslim ban, his fantasy border wall, and his threat to “defund” sanctuary cities by issuing a series of executive orders. He also threatened to reopen CIA “black sites” and reinstate Bush-era torture techniques. On Twitter, he even threatened to send Federal troops into Chicago to crack down on crime!
This isn’t creeping fascism; it’s galloping fascism.
The good news is that the White House and government agencies are leaking like crazy. Vox obtained leaked copies of draft executive orders: Read leaked drafts of 4 White House executive orders on Muslim ban, end to DREAMer program, and more. Yesterday the White House released two of the orders that were exactly like the drafts; therefore Vox decided to report on the others.
The two orders released today by the Trump administration, and delivered yesterday by our source, start the process of building President Trump’s famous “wall,” and make it easier for immigration agents to arrest, detain, and deport unauthorized immigrants at the border and in the US. Those policies are explained in detail here.
The four remaining draft orders obtained by Vox focus on immigration, terrorism, and refugee policy. They wouldn’t ban all Muslim immigration to the US, breaking a Trump promise from early in his campaign, but they would temporarily ban entries from seven majority-Muslim countries and bar all refugees from coming to the US for several months. They would make it harder for immigrants to come to the US to work, make it easier to deport them if they use public services, and put an end to the Obama administration program that protected young “DREAMer” immigrants from deportation.In all, the combined documents would represent one of the harshest crackdowns on immigrants — both those here and those who want to come here — in memory.
Read the rest at Vox.
Last night, ABC News ran an interview with tRump conducted by David Muir. I haven’t watched the whole thing yet, but the clips I’ve seen are terrifying. The interview confirmed what we already know–that tRump is a childish, ignorant buffoon who is clearly incompetent to hold any public office, much less be POTUS.
The Washington Post has published the entire interview with annotations by Aaron Blake. I can’t bring myself to post excerpts, but please read the whole thing at the Post. You watch the video there too if you can stand it.
tRump is running around saying dangerous things, apparently without even consulting the Cabinet members who would be charged with carrying out his orders.
Politico: Mattis, Pompeo stunned by CIA ‘black sites’ report.
Two of the officials who will be in charge of carrying out President Donald Trump’s terrorism detainee policies, Defense Secretary James Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, were “blindsided” by reports of a draft executive order that would require the CIA to reconsider using interrogation techniques that some consider torture, according to sources with knowledge of their thinking.
Lawmakers in both parties denounced the draft order on Wednesday even as White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he had “no idea where it came from” and that it is “not a White House document.”
It’s unclear who wrote the draft order or whether Trump will sign it, though members of Congress in both parties were taking that prospect seriously on Wednesday.
Some members of Congress said the document raised the specter of Trump following through on campaign vows to bring back waterboarding and other George W. Bush-era torture practices, which many lawmakers consider a shameful chapter of U.S. history.
The document, obtained and published by The New York Times and Washington Post, calls for the director of national intelligence to review whether to bring back the CIA’s infamous black-site prisons. Those were secret overseas facilities where the CIA carried out brutal interrogations of terrorism suspects from 2001 to 2006, as documented in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 2014 investigation into the issue.
The draft order says terrorism suspects in U.S. custody will not be subject to “torture” or “degrading treatment.” But it characterizes a 2016 law barring torture as “a significant statutory barrier” and would revoke an executive order signed by President Barack Obama stating that suspects must be treated in compliance with international law.
I’m going to give you the rest of the news in a link dump, because I’m just too traumatized to do more.
Vox: The best theory for why Trump tells such obvious lies.Tru
WaPo: People were taking Trump seriously. Now they’re starting to take him literally.
WaPo: Maybe Trump isn’t ‘lying’. Jennifer Rubin suggests that Trump may not be able to tell truth from fantasy.
WaPo: In his first major TV interview as president, Trump is endlessly obsessed with his popularity.
NYT: Clinics for World’s Vulnerable Brace for Trump’s Anti-Abortion Cuts.
New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman asks “Is Donald Trump’s War With CNN Personal?”
Nina Burleigh at Newsweek: Trump White House Senior Staff Have Private RNC Email Accounts.
NYT: As Trump Orders Wall, Mexico’s President Considers Canceling U.S. Trip.
CNN: Trump to Mexican president: Better to cancel our meeting.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and try to stay calm just for today. I love you all.
Thursday Reads: Convention Hangover EditionPosted: August 30, 2012 Filed under: 2012 presidential campaign, morning reads, the GOP, U.S. Economy, U.S. Politics | Tags: abortion, Ann Romney, Barack Obama, Chris Christie, Dan Rather, lies, medicare, Mitt Romney, Nut-throwing incident, Paul Ryan, Racism, Republican National Convention, Todd Akin, Walter Cronkite, welfare 68 Comments
I’m really beat after two nights of watching the horror show down in Tampa, so today’s post is going to be a link dump. Luckily, there are lots of good reads out there.
Yesterday we were talking about how the media is handling the blatant lies of the Romney campaign on welfare and medicare. Some media outlets have actually begun calling them out and using words like “false” and even “lies.”
Some links on that topic–some of which come from yesterday’s comments, because I think this is such an important issue.
Jonathan Chait: Mitt Doesn’t Care About Your Facts.
Brian Beutler: A Critical Juncture (h/t RalphB)
James Fallows: Bit by Bit It Takes Shape: Media Evolution for the ‘Post-Truth’ Age (h/t JJ)
Robert Reich: How Romney Keeps Lying Through HIs Big White Teeth
Dave Wiegel: “You Didn’t Build That”…But You Sure Did Edit It.
Now, some important reads on Romney/Ryan and race-baiting.
Harold Meyerson: In modern GOP, the old South returns (h/t RalphB)
Ron Fournier: Why (and How) Romney is Playing the Race Card (h/t JJ)
Joan Walsh: Paul Ryan and the GOP’s New Dog Whistle Politics
By now everyone knows that a CNN camera woman was harassed at the GOP Convention. Two attendees reportedly threw nuts at her and said “This is how we feed animals.” They were removed, but no one knows if they were permanently banned. CNN has chosen not to reveal the camera woman’s name or the names of the perpetrators–why?
Greg Sargent: CNN should reveal details of nut-throwing incident
Digby: CNN is fighting the perception of being biased against racist thugs
Digby harked back to the famous incident when Dan Rather was attacked by a security person at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968 and pointed out that Rather and Walter Cronkite didn’t shrink from commenting on the thuggish behavior.
Several links about Tuesday night’s top speakers, Ann Romney and Chris Christie
Connor Friedersdorf: Chris Christie’s RNC Speech Misled Viewers on Medicare
Andrew Rosenthal: Chris Christie: But Enough About Mitt, Let’s Talk About Me
Errol Lewis: Tough Truths About Christie’s New Jersey
Politico: Chris Christie’s Flop at the GOP Convention
E.J. Graff: Ann Romney Loves Women!
Adam Serwer: Ann Romney and the Subversive Conservatism of ABC’s ‘Modern Family’
Don’t Miss this one! Ed Kilgore: Who’s Zoomin’ Who on Abortion?
E.J. Dionne: In defense of Juan Williams (and Chris Matthews)
Today is the last day of the GOP Convention, and tonight is Mitt’s big moment!
Gail Collins: Renovating Mitt Romney
Dana Millbank: Republicans playing Brutus
Michael Kinsley: Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Todd Akin: Going for distance
Now what are you reading and blogging about today?
Tuesday ReadsPosted: December 7, 2010 Filed under: morning reads | Tags: Barack Obama, Dan Rather, Ed Rendell, Herbert Hoover, Norman Solomon, Robert Kuttner 50 Comments
I just have one question this morning. Does President Obama read? If he does, there is no way he could miss the fact that he has blown his chance for a second term. Back in January, he told Diane Sawyer:
“I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president,”
Sorry Barack, you’re not even going to be a mediocre one-term president. You’re working on being Herbert Hoover II. You’re destroying the country, and a lot of people are waking up to that reality and beginning to ask how on earth we can get rid of you. Some cases in point:
For the Obama presidency, moral collapse has taken on the appearance of craven clockwork, establishing a concentric pattern — doing immense damage to economic security at home while ratcheting up warfare overseas.
By the end of the weekend, a deal was just about wrapped up between the president and Republican congressional leaders to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
On the spin-cycle agenda this month is yet more reframing of the president’s foggy doubletalk about Afghanistan. Strip away the carefully crafted verbiage and the picture is stark — with plans for a huge U.S. war effort in that country for many years to come.
At the end of a year with massive U.S. military escalation in Afghanistan, parallels with the Johnson administration’s unhinged Vietnam War are hard to miss. Conjectures about an inside-the-Democratic-Party challenge to Obama’s re-nomination are now moving from shadowy whispers to open discourse.
Clarence B. Jones, Scholar in Residence, Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University (H/T Wonk the Vote) Time to Think the Unthinkable: A Democratic Primary Challenge To Obama’s Reelection You need to read the whole thing, but here’s just a sample:
It is not easy to consider challenging the first African-American to be elected as President of the United States. But, regrettably, I believe that the time has come to do this.
It is time for Progressives to stop “whining” and arguing among themselves about whether President Obama will or will not do this or that. Obama is no different than any other President, nominated by his national party. He was elected with the hard work and 24/7 commitment of persons who believed and enlisted in his campaign for “Hope” and “Change.”
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist nor have a PhD in political science and sociology to see clearly that Obama has abandoned much of the base that elected him. He has done this because he no longer respects, fears or believes those persons who elected him have any alternative, but to accept what he does, whether they like it or not.
It is time for those persons who constituted the “Movement” that enabled Senator Barack Obama to be elected to “break their silence”; to indicate that they no longer will sit on their hands, and only let off verbal steam and ineffective sound and fury, and “hope” for the best.
Robert Kuttner, who once hope Barack Obama would be the next FDR:
Let’s stop pretending. Barack Obama is a disaster as a crisis president. He has taken an economic collapse that was the result of Republican ideology and Republican policies, and made it the Democrats’ fault. And the more that he is pummeled, the more he bends over.
So what can we do about it?
the choices boil down to these:
*Let Obama continue to undermine the economy, the real Democratic Party, and the New Deal-Great Society legacy.
*Do a ton of grass roots organizing to put pressure on the administration to change course and in the meantime to back real progressive leaders. The one time in recent memory that something like this worked was in the successful campaign to have Elizabeth Warren appointed interim head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The trouble is that the Warren appointment was something of a one-off. Though progressive pressure can produce an occasional decent appointment, it is not capable of compelling Obama to grow a spine.
*Run a progressive candidate against Obama in the 2012 primary. At a recent meeting of the Democracy Alliance, most of whose private donors and trade union backers were big Obama supporters, the two White House emissaries were ripped apart. AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka was severe in his criticism of the White House failure to promote a real jobs and recovery program. Co-panelist Austan Goolsbee appeared weak and ineffectual, like his President.*
Yet if we are to be spared an awful decade, both economically and politically, either Obama needs to grow a backbone; or some other Democrat could well challenge him in 2012. Either course will require the progressive community to stop crying in our beer and to get out and organize.
Politics Daily: Dan Rather is predicting a primary challenge to Obama.
Former “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather is predicting that if the Bush tax cuts are extended for two years (as now appears likely) President Obama will face a tough primary challenge from the left.
Appearing on MSNBC’s “Jansing & Company,” Rather said:
“This is a political nightmare for Barack Obama as president. The more-left portion of his party hates this with a passion. And politically, within his own party, if this goes through, Barack Obama will be in a position to have his shirttail on fire, his back to the wall, and the bill collector at the door. Which is metaphorically a way of saying he’s almost guaranteed — if this goes through — to have a serious challenge in a Democratic primary for president in 2012.”
Rather went on to add that “the perception of [Obama] is that he won’t fight for anything.” He also noted: “Many of the heavy contributors to the Democratic Party are beyond shock about this happening, and are saying to themselves, ‘This guy . . . has about four to six months to turn the perception of him and the party around or we’ve got to start thinking about somebody else in 2012.’ “
Wrong, Dan. We have about two months to find someone to run against this guy now or we’re doomed.
I did find one prominent Democrat who thinks the talk about primarying Obama is a bunch of hooey, good old Ed Rendell.
Outgoing Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell told Salon in an interview this afternoon that he does not think “there’s any chance of a serious contender mounting an effort against the president.”
Rendell offered two reasons for his belief: First, any primary challenge would be “too hard to do — it costs too much money.”
And, second, Rendell believes that Obama has checked off enough boxes on the progressive scorecard to keep any challenge from the left at bay.
“Has he achieved everything that he wanted to achieve — or that [the progressive base] would have wanted him to achieve? No. But given the state of the filibuster rule in the Senate, I think he’s done well in moving the ball forward in a lot of areas, areas he doesn’t get credit for,” Rendell said, rattling off a list of Obama’s accomplishments: not only the healthcare bill, but also the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, credit card reform, student loan reform, and the extension of insurance to low-income children in the S-CHIP program.
Hey Ed, what could be more expensive than keeping Obama? He’s already given away the store. God only know what he’ll cave on next. The country is going down the tubes and you want to keep this tool in office?