Donald lost tonight, and every time he’s lost he’s gone on Twitter or stood before an audience to rant against whoever was responsible for his loss. I anticipate that Donald will attack the media again for reporting the facts about Flynn and his Russia contacts. And I expect he’ll instruct his new Attorney General to figure out who in the FBI was investigating Flynn, and who leaked the information that Flynn was being investigated….
I don’t know about anyone else, but if I found out my National Security Advisor had been lying to me and was susceptible to blackmail by foreign powers as a result of it, I’d have fired him almost immediately, not waited two weeks until the media broke the story and forced my hand. Because, you know, national security. But maybe that’s because I take stuff like this seriously, rather than treating the Presidency like a business investment. Continue reading →
Donald doesn’t lose well. I doubt he’ll ignore the role of the media and FBI leaks in Flynn’s resignation
Michael Flynn (image credit: Politico)
Michael Flynn, Donald’s now former National Security Advisor, resigned from his position this evening. In a statement, Flynn said he “misled” Vice-President Pence about a phone call Flynn had with the Russian Ambassador to the United States in which the two discussed having Donald lift sanctions imposed on Russia after the invasion and annexation of Crimea.
Flynn’s contacts with Russia had been under investigation by the Justice Department since Donald took office, if not before then, and the fact that Flynn was being investigated had been widely reported in the media. In fact, the Washington Post reported just tonight that the FBI considered Flynn a blackmail risk due to his lying to Pence.
Today a three judge panel from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that they would not overturn the injunction blocking most of Donald’s immigration and travel ban Executive Order. I read the entire ruling, and I’ve extracted several key or amusing quotes from it below. Many of these were quotes that I posted first on Facebook, but I wanted to collect them all in one place.
Liberals should talk about our values. And we should start with fairness.
Equity is another word for fairness (image credit: King County)
Over the last few years, I’ve read liberals saying that we need to talk about our values more openly, to own them, to assert that they are just as much American values as conservative values are. But I’ve never been comfortable talking about my values. Partly that’s because I’m an introvert. Partly because sharing such important stuff about myself feels a bit like everyone’s nightmare of showing up to give a presentation and realizing you’re naked before the crowd. And partly it’s because some of my values have shifted over the years as I’ve matured and experienced more of life, and I’m sure that some of them will shift again in the future.
But since Donald’s election I’ve been thinking about my values a lot. I’ve already chosen to fight for my values via my writing, and I’m prepared to fight for my values by putting my personal safety on the line if need be. So I figured that, if I’m going to be willing to risk my career or my physical well-being, I’d better be damned sure I know what my values are.
After a great deal of thought, I’ve finally realized what my core value is. The one value that matters more to me than any other. The one value against which all my other values are weighed, and from which most of my values spring. The one value with which I weigh the character of everyone I encounter.
To give you some idea of how dark my thoughts have become since Donald took over (in case worrying about being nuked in my sleep wasn’t bad enough), on the way home from skiing today I found myself wondering if Donald would send law enforcement/thugs to threaten the judges on the 9th Circuit in order to get them to rule in his favor. Continue reading →
My very own Daisy moment, courtesy of Donald Trump’s first 12 days in office
From Lydon Johnson’s “Daisy” ad (image credit: Smithsonian Magazine)
Donald Trump was sworn in on January 20, 2017. Today is February 1. In that period, I’ve fallen asleep twice wondering if I’d wake up to a bright flash followed by a shock wave that turned my home to burning splinters around me and my sleeping family.
I’ve started wondering if this is what it was like for my parents, learning as children to “duck and cover” under their desks in the event of a nuclear attack. Whether this level of daily stress was normal during the Cuban Missile Crisis and other low points of the Cold War. They’re still alive – maybe I should ask them. Perhaps their perspective could help allay some of my fears. Then again, do I really want to know that they think “it’s worse now than it was then,” if in fact that’s what they think? Continue reading →
We will need protest songs for Donald’s presidency, but listening to Seamus Kennedy’s folk songs of conflict and immigration on the drive home yesterday was a good start.
My family and I went skiing yesterday. On the way home, we listened to a lot of wonderful music by Seamus Kennedy. As is his style, it was a mix of jokes, traditional folk music, Scottish and Irish ballads, and irreverent musical humor. Two of the songs had me softly crying while driving home, and I had to ask my wife to skip a third (and to be prepared to skip another). The songs were about immigrants and conflict and families torn apart.
I’ve collected those songs and a couple of others I heard yesterday below, in case anyone is interested. Continue reading →
The war against the press will be fought at the local and state level, but the war at the federal level will get the most airtime.
CNN reporter Jeremy Desmond asked Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, under fire because of four deaths at his jail, for an interview. On Friday, Clarke replied on Twitter:
Donald Trump has labeled CNN as fake news. When Pres. Trump says CNN is ok again, then I might.
The sheriff — an elected public official — has refused to respond to a press request for an interview. This particular sheriff has a nationwide reputation as a supporter of President Donald and has been considered for a position in the Donald administration. Continue reading →
Well, so what? Politicians and their spear carriers have prevaricated, evaded, fibbed, misinformed, misdirected, and dissembled since the dawn of government.
But Sean Spicer lied. He did not disguise the lie. He told lies easily contravened. He did so acting as the representative of the president of the United States. He did so just days after promising he wouldn’t lie.
The sooner the New York Times realizes it needs to identify the Administration’s lies as “lies” in print, the better
The New York Times‘ Jim Rutenberg, author of the Mediator blog, wrote a post yesterday titled “‘Alternative Facts’ and the Costs of Trump-Branded Reality.” The article focused on how Sean Spicer, Donald’s Press Secretary, and Kellyanne Conway, Donald’s spokeswoman, have already engaged in an “aggressive use of falsehoods” and that attacking the media might not serve the administration’s long-term goals. Continue reading →
There’s an old phrase that comes from the 1800s – “keep your powder dry.” It harks back to a time when firearms were fired with black gunpowder, and wet gunpowder wouldn’t fire. The idea was that you wouldn’t be able to use your gun when you really needed it if you let the powder get wet.
Since the election of Donald Trump to be the next President of the United States, I’ve been very busy with work and family, and I’ve been largely focused on what amounts to self-care for my mental and physical health. After all, I’m no good to my family, friends, or coworkers if I’m always fried, mentally and/or physically. And I haven’t been writing much.
An inability to focus on consequences that do not center on him. Check. An absence of empathy for others. Check. A lack of impulse control coupled to a need to lash out at perceived offenses (and offenders). Check. A vainglorious view of himself. Check. An ever-present, almost childlike, need for praise. Check.
President-Elect Donald is a narcissist. That’s the conclusion of Alan J. Lipman, a clinical psychologist, chronicled in a commentary on CNN. But we already know that, don’t we? We’ve seen it repeatedly at his rallies and in his Twitter rants. But so far, he’s insulated himself from the consequences of his narcissism. Even past Republican critics, such as the speaker of the House, and big-money donors who did not support his candidacy are falling in line, creating an imaginary unity.
President-Elect Donald’s egregious behaviors have become acceptable because so many legislators and donors have too much at stake (power, influence, government contracts, etc.) to suggest the emperor-elect is naked.
But there’s one judge of presidential behavior, character, and leadership President-Elect Donald has yet to face — George Gallup’s question:
Do you approve or disapprove of the way ____ is handling his job as president?
Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump’s newly minted Counselor to the President, has been struggling recently to answer the sorts of double-standard personal questions from interviewers that frequently plague women. Now, granted, she brought some of that questioning on herself. But one of her latest answers opens a new, but not unexpected, can of worms for Team Donald.
Kellyanne appeared on the Trump-friendly “Mornings With Maria” on the Fox Business Network. Maria Bartiromo asked her if she would have enough time to do her job and still be a full-time mother. Kellyanne defended her decision by saying,
“I don’t play golf and I don’t have a mistress so, I have a lot of time that a lot of these other men don’t.”
At first, I was going to let this issue slide. Then Jason Miller, who was just appointed White House Communications Director on December 22, resigned on Christmas Eve, giving the traditional “there’s more to this story” reason: “I want to spend more time with my family.” A Trump advisor, A.J. Delgado, accused Miller of resigning from Team Donald because he’s “The 2016 version of John Edwards.” In other words, A.J. accused Miller of having a baby with his mistress.
And there it is: Mistressgate.
And so, Kellyanne, trusted counselor to Donald, I have a few follow-up questions for you. You may answer them in any order. Continue reading →
Reality has facts, however poorly we see them sometimes. Reaching out to understand someone else’s experience requires common ground, and for me, that common ground must be based upon a shared understanding of objective facts.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about how I was living in a bubble that distorted my perspective on America. The point was that, while I’m living in a bubble, I’m hardly the only one, and I gave an example of a grandfather from Vigo County, Indiana, who felt that his America was populated by “real people,” as opposed to the presumably fake or inauthentic people in New York City, Los Angeles, or Chicago. But after reading several excellent comments on that article that provided suggestions how to reach people – listen, talk with instead of at, stop dismissing, denigrating, and demonizing – I realized that there is a limit to my ability, even to my willingness, to reach out and have a meaningful discussion.
Facts. They exist. And they’re a non-negotiable entry point for any bubble-piercing attempts I’m going to be involved in.
Rex: We need to stop the CIA from briefing the Electoral College.
Donald: People are already saying I’m a tyrant. Won’t it look worse if I come out against an informed electorate?
Rex: The chances of swaying thirty seven electors is practically nil. Everyone knows it. What they don’t know is that the Chinese have moles everywhere. If 538 people get briefed on what the CIA knows and how they know it, all our methods, tactics, even some sources are compromised. The chance of a secret getting out is equal to the square of the number of people who know it. If ten people know, that’s a 100% chance. If 538 people know, we might as well broadcast the briefing via satellite to every corner of the world. Continue reading →
Donald: I love bacon. They say every slice of bacon takes three minutes off your life. At this point I died in 1795.
Scott: North Carolina, under Chinese control, recently enacted a law making it a crime to record video on private hog farms.
Donald: It’s private property. They should be allowed to do what they want without activists making them look like Darth Vader.
Scott: They’re dumping raw animal waste into the drinking water. There are signs along the highway that say, ” Foreign owned hog farms are polluting our water.” They’re paid for by North Carolina hog farmers. Continue reading →