An Observation

I guess I'd be more concerned about President Obama supposedly (according to Fox News) earning a $400,000 speaking fee if I weren't keenly aware that he—like Hillary Clinton, also criticized for drawing big speaking fees—uses his personal wealth to help people.

It seems to me that earning lots of money in and of itself isn't the problem, but earning lots of money at the expense of other people's basic needs being met (which he isn't here), and/or using that money to harm people (which he won't).

That isn't a defense of capitalism (which sucks) (especially when it's unregulated), but an acknowledgement of the fact that we do currently operate within a capitalist system, and the fees themselves may be "unsavory," but I can't (or won't) just ignore that the person getting them will use them well (by my estimation).

(So many parentheticals!)

I've also noticed that most of the commentators who are taking issue with these speaking fees never seemed to have a problem with them until it was a woman and a Black man collecting them.


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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound lying upside down on the sofa with his legs in the air, looking at me

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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We Resist: Day 96

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

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Here are some things in the news today:

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Peter Martin and Kanga Kong at Bloomberg News: U.S., North Korea Flex Military Muscles as Tensions Simmer.
The U.S. and North Korea both showed off their military prowess on Tuesday as nations in the region stepped up diplomatic talks to defuse a brewing crisis over Kim Jong Un's nuclear program.

The nuclear-powered USS Michigan, one of four Ohio-class guided-missile submarines capable of launching cruise missiles, arrived at the South Korean port of Busan, U.S. Naval Forces Korea said in a statement. South Korea's navy said it had no plans for a joint military drill with the submarine.

Yonhap News reported that Kim attended North Korea's largest-ever live-fire artillery exercise east of Pyongyang, prompting South Korea's defense ministry to monitor developments in the area. The report came amid expectations that North Korea might seek to mark the anniversary of the Korean People's Army with its sixth nuclear test.
Meanwhile, in Japan...

ICYMI, further updates on the concerning goings-on here: Everything Is Fine. (Everything Is Not Fine.)

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Allegra Kirkland at TPM: Report: Flynn Lobbied for Turkish Businessman with Business Ties to Russia. "The Turkish businessman who paid Michael Flynn's consulting firm almost $600,000 while he was serving as a top adviser to Donald Trump’s campaign has extensive business ties to Russia, Politico reported Tuesday. Ekim Alptekin, who runs Dutch firm Inovo BV, has since 2015 worked closely with Ukraine-born businessman Dmitri 'David' Zaikan to coordinate Turkish lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C., according to the report. Both Alptekin and Zaikan have negotiated business deals with Vladimir Putin's government, according to court records obtained by the news site."

Michael C. Bender, Richard Rubin, and Nick Timiraos at the Wall Street Journal: Trump Wants Tax Plan to Cut Corporate Rate to 15%. "Donald Trump has ordered White House aides to draft a tax plan that slashes the corporate tax rate to 15%, even if that means a loss of revenue, according to people familiar with the directive. During a meeting in the Oval Office last week, Mr. Trump told staff he wants a massive tax cut to sell to the American public, these people said. He told aides it was less important to him that such a plan could add to the federal budget deficit, though that might make it difficult to sell to GOP lawmakers..." POPULISM!

Aaron Rupar at ThinkProgress: State Department Uses Government Website to Promote Trump's Private Country Club. "An official State Department website is promoting [Donald] Trump's private club in Florida, with help from a number of State Department Facebook accounts. An April 4 post on U.S. Department of State: Economic & Business Affairs' Facebook page characterizes Mar-a-Lago as the 'winter White House' and links to an article on the State Department's Share America site. That article—entitled, 'Mar-a-Lago: The winter White House'—explains that the club 'has become well known as the president frequently travels there to work or host foreign leaders' and provides some history about the property." That is straight-up illegal. As many people pointed out. Which is probably why the article has now been removed.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Christina Wilkie at the Huffington Post: Trump Inauguration Admits Errors, Vows to Correct Numerous Faulty Donor Records. "Donald Trump's Presidential Inaugural Committee acknowledged late Monday that a final report it filed with the Federal Election Commission this month was riddled with errors, many of which were first identified through a crowdsourced data project at HuffPost. ...The inaugural committee raised more than $100 million for Trump's Jan. 20 festivities, which included two inaugural balls that drew a combined total of about 30,000 guests. The fundraising set new records. But according to Brendan Fischer, counsel to the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center, 'it doesn't seem that any real effort was made to collect the information that is very clearly required by law.'"

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Ana Swanson and Damian Paletta at the Washington Post: 'Another Bad Act on the Part of the Canadians': Trump Administration Launches Punitive Tariffs on Canadian Lumber. "The Trump administration announced on Monday that it is planning to impose a roughly 20 percent tariff on softwood lumber imported from Canada, a new escalation of trade tensions with America's northern neighbor. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an interview that his department had reached a preliminary decision to impose the tax, the administration's first major trade action against Canada. Ross portrayed the action as a tough measure to punish Canada after [Donald] Trump declared last week that 'we can't let Canada or anybody else take advantage and do what they did to our workers and to our farmers.' ...The tension between the United States and Canada is only expected to worsen."

JFC. Let's just alienate every one of our allies as quickly as possible. Listen, I don't want U.S. workers harmed by unfair trade practices, but there are multiple ways of doing this, and Trump is, naturally, going with the way that stands to cause maximum offense.

Further, remember what I was just saying yesterday about the retail crash? "We're careening headlong into a major retail crash, which is going to send the economy into a tailspin, and there is no discussion or preparation for the fallout. Fast food is being automated. Service jobs are being automated. Manufacturing jobs are being automated. And retail is being automated via the internet. Also: Construction collapses with no retail spaces to build and no one able to afford new homes. Retail construction is what saved the industry during bad housing markets."

Guess what happens to the lumber industry when construction declines? Yeah. So trade imbalance is the least of lumber's long-term worries. This is an awful lot of bluster, with a potentially serious diplomatic cost, with zero recognition of a quickly-moving major economic crisis the solution to which isn't tariffs.

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Speaking of struggling industries... Molly Walsh at Seven Days: Border Hassles Keep Would-Be Tourists—and Loonies—in Canada. "A federal proposal to implement biometric screening such as fingerprinting and eye scans could bring longer lines and wait times when merchants are already worried about losing Canadian shoppers. It's important for border crossings to flow smoothly, said Homeport co-owner Frank Bouchett, who doesn't see the need for biometric screening. 'Anything they do like that,' he said, 'doesn't help our business.' The new layer of screening is a little-discussed side provision of [Donald] Trump's controversial revised executive order on immigration. The same order that would restrict travel from six Muslim-majority countries also calls for border security using biometric checks."

See also Annie Sciacca at the Mercury News: Under Trump, Bay Area Tourism Could See a Decline, Travel Leaders Say. "[S]earch traffic for booking travel to the U.S. from other countries has already taken a hit, according to Hopper, which analyzes billions of flights to help people find the best deals and times to buy. ...Hopper's data shows that 103 of 122 countries showed a drop. China, which is one of the biggest sources of Bay Area tourism, is among the largest decreases, with searches to the U.S. down more than 40 percent. San Francisco International Airport is the most impacted airport, with flight searches from international origins to SFO dropping 45.6 percent following the travel ban announcement."

That first story is from a Vermont outlet. So, from literally one side of the country to the other, people are concerned about how Trump's policies are going to affect the tourism sector of the economy.

If tourism continues to decline, that is inevitably going to cost people their jobs.

* * *

[CN: Homophobia; video may autoplay at link] Eliza Collins at USA Today: Republicans in Congress Push for Religious Liberty Executive Order.
Dozens of Republican lawmakers are asking [Donald] Trump to scale back Obama-era protections for gays and lesbians in order to make good on a campaign promise to protect religious liberty.

In early February, Trump was reportedly considering an executive order that would reverse former president Barack Obama's orders prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians in the federal workforce or by federal contractors. But the order was never signed.

A group of 51 members of the House wrote to Trump this month to "request that you sign the draft executive order on religious liberty, as reported by numerous outlets on February 2, 2017, in order to protect millions of Americans whose religious freedom has been attacked or threatened over the last eight years." The letter has not been publicly released but was obtained by USA TODAY.

In February, the White House said Trump had no plans to sign such an order: "The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump.”

But on Monday, a senior White House official told USA TODAY that some sort of policy to protect religious liberty is still in the works, but that the president is trying to find middle ground. The official did not want to publicly discuss a policy that is still under development.
Absolutely vile. Republicans don't care about Russian interference in the election, but they do care that Trump isn't hating queer people hard enough. (Which is a particularly disgusting irony, given the violent eliminationism being directed against queer people in Chechnya.)

And Trump won't stand his ground on keeping protections intact. Instead, he's "trying to find middle ground." FUCK THAT. This whole administration is such despicable garbage.

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Catherine Rampell at the Washington Post: Workers Who Really Do 'Support Our Troops' Are Getting Their Wages Slashed. "For at least the third time in two years, the National Guard Bureau has awarded a contract for military family services to a lowball bidder. For the third time, that bid was based on plans to cut workers' pay by about a third on average, and in some cases by half. These pay levels are so low that they may not be legal, according to a complaint filed Monday with the Labor Department. And for the third time, these sudden wage cuts have led to mass resignations, leaving few workers available to help prepare military families for deployment, reintegration into civilian life, and the financial and psychological stresses that can come with both."

Dan Carden at the Times of Northwest Indiana: Indiana to Take DNA Sample from Every Person Arrested for Felony. "Indiana law enforcement is entering a brave new world where police can obtain and test any Hoosier's DNA profile against crime scene evidence, so long as a prosecutor can show the person probably committed a felony. Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb on Friday signed into law Senate Enrolled Act 322 requiring police to take a cheek swab DNA sample from every person arrested for a felony, starting in 2018. Currently, only individuals convicted of felonies have their DNA records permanently entered into a state police database. State Sen. Erin Houchin, R-Salem, the sponsor of the new law, said she expects police will catch more criminals once they have a bigger pool of DNA records to check against blood, fluids and other detritus gathered at crime scenes. She also refused to rule out someday expanding the DNA collection mandate to include those arrested for misdemeanors or traffic infractions."

Emphases mine. Bad news for Indiana, and bad news for everyone else, since Indiana is the Conservative Legislation Lab. If this shit, which will certainly be challenged in court, passes constitutional muster, get ready to see laws like this passed across the entire country.

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

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Of Course

Ashley Parker and Robert Costa at the Washington Post: 'Everyone Tunes In': Inside Trump's Obsession with Cable TV.

During a small working lunch at the White House last month, the question of job security in [Donald] Trump's tumultuous White House came up, and one of the attendees wondered whether press secretary Sean Spicer might be the first to go.

The president's response was swift and unequivocal. "I'm not firing Sean Spicer," he said, according to someone familiar with the encounter. "That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in."

Trump even likened Spicer's daily news briefings to a daytime soap opera, noting proudly that his press secretary attracted nearly as many viewers.
Who cares if Spicer is a dissembling disaster? He gets great ratings!

That says as much about the kind of shallow, unserious person that Donald Trump is than just about anything else one could ever read about him.

The entire article is worth your time to read in its entirety, but I want to highlight one more passage:
Trump turns on the television almost as soon as he wakes, then checks in periodically throughout the day in the small dining room off the Oval Office, and continues late into the evening when he's back in his private residence. "Once he goes upstairs, there's no managing him," said one adviser.
It's terrifying that the President of the United States needs to be "managed" in the first place—though we all knew that would be the case if Trump were elected. Even his campaign surrogates addressed this obvious concern by assuring us he'd surround himself with moderating influences. But apparently their magical powers of moderation are rendered inert by Trump simply walking up a flight of stairs.

"There's no managing him." No shit.

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On Who Gets to Be Likeable

Throughout her entire political career, the media has been obsessed with Hillary Clinton's "likeability." Specifically, the alleged lack thereof. And one of the things I have read over and over in election postmortems, is that a significant part of the reason she lost is that people just don't like her.

No matter how many people who have worked with or for her speak about how kind she is, no matter how many average people publicly share stories of the ways in which she's generously gone above and beyond to help them, no matter how remarkably few negative interpersonal stories there are about a person with a decades-long political career, no matter how perfectly pleasant and decent a person she seems in her public appearances, the assumption is always that she is secretly a monstrous she-devil.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump is demonstrably a deeply malicious man, about whom there are abundant stories of his abuse, exploitation, and cruelty. His behavior is repellent, his policies are malignant, and countless people who have interacted with him personally or professionally report that he is an aggressively awful human being. He has a historically low approval rating, and that's clearly more than just about the terrible job he's doing.

Virtually the only people who give him high praise are his own children and media types who want continued or restored access to him.

Joe Scarborough: [starting at 3:03] I hope that Donald Trump becomes the Donald Trump that—and we'll say it—that we've known privately. A guy that's a hell of a lot more gracious in private than the sort of reality TV show president that he plays on TV. Because that's the thing: You talk to Hillary Clinton, you talk to Nancy Pelosi, you talk to Chuck Schumer, you talk to the biggest, like, Democrats that have known him for a long time—they will tell you, off-camera, he can be a charming guy, he can be an engaging guy, and instead of— Like, for instance, we invite him, you know, we used to invite him to our book parties. He never talked about himself. He'd come in and go [Trump voice] "Hey, Mika Brzezinski's book, Knowing Your Value, the greatest book since the Gutenberg Bible."

Mika Brzezinski: It is, by the way.

Seth Meyers: [to Mika] You know he didn't read it, right? I don't wanna break your heart. [laughter]

Brzezinski: It's okay! It's okay! It's branding.

Scarborough: Which makes it even kinda— But it is very interesting. We actually could tell a lot of stories about how this guy was genuinely kind, helped immigrants actually that Mika knew, did all of these things, but for some reason, he can't show it on TV, and—

Meyers: It's such a weird thing. Everybody else in show business are nice on television and then assholes behind the camera, and he's like, "I'm gonna let the public know—" [crosstalk] "I'm gonna switch it up!"

Scarborough: You know, I always tell people the story that actually tells you what Trump can be behind the scenes—as long as you're not doing business deals with him, or you loan him money; other than those two areas—I remember one time saying like five years ago, "You know, you got the nicest kids." And I judge people by their children, because that talks about their character. With nobody looking, behind closed doors, with nothing to gain by it—you know what? He said, "Anything that you see in my children that's good, it's because they've got a great mom. They've got a tough mom. They've got somebody that raised 'em right. I owe that all to Ivana." And I sat there and I think, you know, what a [inaudible] guy! We were telling him that story about a month ago, and he said [Trump voice] "Hey, that's a great story. I gotta remember that one."
I don't think that anecdote reveals about Trump what Joe Scarborough seems to think it does, but okay.

This is a pretty standard "Trump is actually a nice guy" defense. Riddled with caveats, featuring a story that still makes him sound like a jackass, relying heavily on saying his kids are nice so he must be nice, and conceding that he doesn't show this side of himself publicly. Ever.

There is no observable evidence that Trump is either kind or likeable, but because people with a vested interest in saying he is shockingly say that he is, it's taken as truth.

Hillary Clinton is unlikeable, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Donald Trump is likeable, despite all evidence to the contrary.


I wonder if that had anything to do with the election result. Oh well. Just another mystery lost to the sands of time, I guess.

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Trumpty Dumpty Promised a Wall. Trumpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall.

Yesterday morning, we were hearing that Donald Trump was willing to risk shutting down the entire government to get funding for his border wall—a central promise of his campaign.

But, by the end of the day, Trump was already throwing in the towel on one of his signature policies.

But with a Friday deadline looming to pass a new spending bill, the Trump administration projected confidence that a shutdown would be avoided. In the face of fierce Democratic opposition to funding the wall's construction, White House officials signaled Monday that the president may be open to an agreement that includes money for border security if not specifically for a wall, with an emphasis on technology and border agents rather than a structure.

Trump showed even more flexibility Monday afternoon, telling conservative journalists in a private meeting that he was open to delaying funding for wall construction until September, a White House official confirmed.
Oh dear! The Loser President is afraid of another spectacular failure, so he's just caving in and betraying all the people who voted for him to fight for that lousy, despicable wall because of their economic insecurity. Sorry, folks! You're always going to lose if Trump's ego is at risk!

As Josh Marshall notes, this is an "abject surrender," as Trump is "giving in and will either accept non-wall money and pretend it's like a wall or just give the whole thing up entirely and try again in the fall, which likely means never."

His last desperate gambit is sending out his surrogates to redefine his once-promised "tall, beautiful wall" as a metaphor.
"There will never be a 2,200-mile wall built, period," said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a supporter of immigration reform who challenged Trump in the 2016 primaries. "I think it's become symbolic of better border security. It's a code word for better border security. If you make it about actually building a 2,200-mile wall, that's a bridge too far — but I'm mixing my metaphors."

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a key appropriator and member of Senate leadership, said that "there could be a wall in some places and technology in other places," implying that there would not be funding for the wall sketched out in campaign rhetoric. "I think you're going to get a down payment on border security generally," he said.
So much winning.

Trump is collapsing because he is a coward. And, don't get me wrong, I'm glad that the chances a ginormous wall will be built along the southern border are crumbling.

But while Trump being a craven president with no firm principles for which he's willing to fight is good news on domestic policy, it is terrifying to contemplate what that means for foreign policy. Powerful cowards are very dangerous. Especially powerful cowards who have only earned praise for dropping bombs.

As he concedes this battle, as healthcare reform stalls, as Sally Yates is scheduled to testify in the Senate Russia probe, as his approval rating swirls in the bowl, he will desperately wanting a new, more flattering message.

And as North Korea [video may autoplay] continues to escalate, I am very nervous about the reckless measures he will take to change the conversation.

So: The good news is that Trumpty Dumpty's wall is probably off the table. The bad news is that every win for decency is accompanied by the cold shiver of knowing that Trump's failures make him ever more dangerous.

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My Point, Here It Is

Last night, Chelsea Clinton was trending on Twitter, in part because she was obliged to respond (again) to male journalists insisting that she was running for office, despite the fact that she has not said that she has plans to run for office.

I had a few thoughts about that.

That is not to suggest, naturally, that Ivanka Trump is not intelligent. But she is not knowledgable, and she is not keenly concerned with facts and reality.

People can be intelligent, and still not be very smart—or wise, if you prefer.

Certainly, central to Ivanka Trump's personal branding is that she is a "brilliant" businesswoman, savvy and cunning, but decidedly not central to her personal branding is that she is a wonky nerdlady armed with solid facts and earned expertise.

To the absolute contrary, central to the entire Trump brand is being "business geniuses" while routinely claiming a lack of knowledge on an array of policy subjects to rationalize their tremendous fuck-ups.

Of course the movement against smart women doesn't target women whose innate intelligence doesn't threaten the status quo, who are armed with talking points and never facts, but instead targets women whose knowledge is used to agitate against privilege.

And whose competency itself indicts the status quo, by highlighting the cavernous disparity of opportunities between the smart women who are outside power centers looking in at the mediocre men running them.

Which is why no matter what indefensible horseshit comes out of Ivanka's mouth, there are large swaths of the political press who will either give it cursory scrutiny or none at all, or actively defend her—while Chelsea Clinton can insist all day every day that she's not running for office, and there are members of the political press who will effectively call her a fucking liar. Because they assert to know her better than she knows herself.

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Open Thread

Hosted by a turquoise sofa. Have a seat and chat.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Yankee Transferred: "What's the best job you ever had?"

This one! Yes, even despite all the shit.

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The Monday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by a horsehair brush.

Recommended Reading:

Digby: Trump and the Media: Beneath the Surface Hostility, a Deep and Dangerous Symbiosis

Chauncey: [Content Note: White supremacy; police brutality] Welcome to the Terrordome: Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions Ramp Up Their Crusade Against Black and Brown Americans

Chase: [CN: Gender policing; ciscentrism] An Open Letter to Those Praising the New York Times 'Tomboy' Piece

Melissa: To Swim Is to Endure: On Living with Chronic Pain

Marykate: [CN: Sexual assault] American Women Pay an Average of $1,000 in Medical Bills After Being Sexually Assaulted

Jeff: [CN: Whitewashing] Whitewashing Hollywood Movies Isn't Just Offensive—It's Also Bad Business

Rae: Celebrate Hubble's Birthday by Tearfully Reviewing Its Best Photos

Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!

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Everything Is Fine. (Everything Is Not Fine.)

Patricia Zengerle at Reuters: Entire U.S. Senate to Go to White House for North Korea Briefing.

Top Trump administration officials will hold a rare briefing on Wednesday at the White House for the entire U.S. Senate on the situation in North Korea, senior Senate aides said on Monday.

All 100 senators have been asked to the White House for the briefing by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the aides said.

While top administration officials routinely travel to Capitol Hill to address members of Congress on foreign policy and national security matters, it is unusual for the entire 100-member Senate to go to such an event at the White House, and for those four top officials to be involved.
"Unusual." Indeed.

Meanwhile, as I noted in today's We Resist thread, Trump has dispatched a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group toward Korean waters, and has called U.N. Security Council ambassadors to the White House, saying North Korea is "a problem that we have to finally solve."

This is extremely worrisome. To put it mildly.

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The Movement Against Smart Women

We are in a moment in the United States in which millions of women across the nation feel, quite rightly, like the presidential election was a referendum on how we are valued by our country. Given the choice between a proudly feminist candidate and a confessed serial sexual abuser, the latter now occupies the Oval Office.

That general election followed a primary in which the proudly feminist candidate, who is the most qualified person ever to seek the presidency, was denounced by her (then) Democratic opponent as an "establishment" candidate, which was an inherently misogynistic argument, being made by a man with tremendously less policy knowledge than she has.

Following the election, we have been subjected to a national gaslighting, a central part of which is telling that historic female candidate to "go away" and telling the women who want to talk about her to "get over it" and STFU.

Despite that fact she was right about the current president, and lots and lots of other stuff, and that many of her prominent female supporters were a bunch of goddamned Cassandras who were right not only about her general election opponent but her primary opponent, as well.

And now, if any of the people who were profoundly, insistently, dangerously wrong can even bring themselves to begrudgingly admit we were right, it is followed immediately by the belligerent assertion that it doesn't matter. A line is drawn: Sure, you were right, but now we are where we are, so let's move on.

Let's not.

Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign can be seen as a turning point at which the harassment of and 'splaining at knowledgeable—and correct—women reached such epic and visible proportions that it became difficult to ignore, even to those most determined to ignore it.

But it was not, as it is sometimes regarded, the instigation of this dynamic. It was the nadir. It was the broadest (pun intended) issue around which people on either side of the dynamic coalesced, the one to which mass media paid the most attention.

Clinton's campaign was the inevitable culmination of a movement against smart women which has been underway for quite some time.

One might reasonably argue that this movement's genesis is virtually impossible to pinpoint, as there are examples of smart women being ignored, shouted down, and harmed stretching back to the origins of the country, and then back before that.

There is a long and ugly tradition into which neatly fits what might called a new iteration of an ancient movement.

This new iteration is heavily centered around online discourse, and the many ways the internet has abetted its rise. By giving women more opportunities to speak, to participate in the public conversation with lower barriers to entry, the internet also provided more opportunity for people to insert themselves as arbiters, contrarians, devil's advocates, disruptors, and silencers.

And while there is no shortage of sadistic abusers who try to silence smart women via threats and harassment, the movement against smart women is largely led by (primarily although not exclusively) white men whose interactions with us are not evidently abusive, but are insistently disrespectful, condescending, patronizing, and hallmarked by pervasive wrongness about basic facts.

Whatever our areas of expertise, they are worthless to these men who have contempt for smart women. There is no deference to our knowledge, no matter how frequently and unassailably demonstrated. Armed with nothing but their own certitude and some reductive bullshit they gleaned from a social media meme, they come at us with hostile lectures, laughable in their inaccuracy.

Any attempt to engage, to provide the actual facts or relevant context or necessary history, is met not with thoughtful discussion but an unaccountable insistence that they are right, that the details don't matter, that their opinions are just as valid as our facts, and, inevitably, that we are bitches.

We are not even allowed to be authorities on our own lives, no less anything else.

On occasions when they are proven indisputably incorrect, they do not concede or apologize or credit us with bettering them. They disappear.

These interpersonal dynamics are replicated across the culture: In almost every industry, women are underrepresented in leadership roles; in academia, female professors are obliged to fret about self-aggrandizing male students giving them poor reviews because their instructors refused to defer to their claimed expertise; in hardware stores and at car dealerships, knowledgeable women are treated like ninny-brained know-nothings.

And of course this infects our politics.

Proof of competency, no matter how consistent, does not qualify smart women as experts. To the absolute contrary, the more a woman is consistently right, the more likely she is to be likely to be treated with hostility.

That is the signature of the movement against strong women.

The more you demonstrate that you know what you're talking about, the more you are hated.

It is a feminist backlash, but a very specific one: Women who are smart—and attendantly capable and independent—are threatening. And must be stopped.

It's no surprise that the campaign of Hillary Clinton, one of the most competent and knowledgeable women on the planet, became the focal point of this movement against smart women, who have no truck with the idea that coasting on privilege is men's birthright.

But this movement is bigger than the campaign, even as the campaign has highlighted one of its essential truths with which we refuse to meaningfully reckon: The mostly white men—and the exceptionalized women who share their meme-based educations, or proudly boast about their "alternative facts"—are resentful about losing their privilege.

They have been activated by being held to the same expectations as women and other marginalized people. And smart women, and other marginalized people, who Know Things are visible evidence that their fortunes aren't exclusively dictated by banks, billionaires, and trade policy.

Faced with the erosion of their privilege, the members of the movement against smart women have done what they've accused marginalized people of doing lo these many years—playing the victim.

Which is not to say that there aren't policies which are harmful to privileged men. Of course there are. But those men aren't turning to the smart women who have solid plans for addressing those policies, because those plans include the expectation of yielding the privilege underwriting the luxury on which they've traded for their whole lives.

They don't want serious solutions. They want their privilege restored.

And they view smart women as a deep and abiding threat to the restoration of that privilege. For good reason, as we aren't keen to remain second-class citizens in deference to lazy men's egos.

So they're coming after the smart women.

And that is in no small part because masculinity has defined itself exclusively in contradistinction to the feminine for so long that challenges to the idea of inherent male superiority has left millions of American men floundering—and the best answer most of them have found for the question "What is my role if not a keeper of women?" is "I am a victim of oppression by women." Femininity has become the center-pin around which masculinity pivots—on one side there is dominion; on the other side, subjugation.

A great number of men have responded to this by being overt oppressors. And a great many more have responded by ostensibly arguing for equality, while remaining firmly indifferent to social justice.

They want to talk about their own dwindling opportunities in an increasingly corporatized, automated state while ignoring that, where their opportunities are limited, so are everyone else's, but they retain the privilege that preferences them.

Justice doesn't look like upholding those rules. Justice looks like changing the rules altogether—which is something smart women have known for a very long time.

Women have had to change the rules, because we were told "You can't," because we had seemingly unnavigable barriers put in our way by people who didn't want us to succeed, because the rules were designed so that we fail. For many of us, the odds have been against us our whole lives; everything we've ever done has been in defiance of the distinct likelihood—and expectation—that we would settle for less than we wanted.

But we wanted more, and so we changed the rules—primarily by raising the bar.

The men who resent that the bar has been raised, their unearned privilege undermined and replaced with an expectation to achieve to the same level as women who hadn't their head start, can now do naught but whine about victimhood. They haven't yet realized that they are not victims of women, who only want the equality that's been denied them, but victims of a patriarchal culture that has spoiled men with the promise of success without effort, and robbed them of the will to expect more of themselves.

Intersectional Feminism/Womanism has built a framework for implementing new rules. And, yes, that progress is a long slog. Instant gratification isn't part of the deal—but smart women who tell you the truth, rather than what you want to hear, is.

And we all need to get real about the fact that there is a vast and reprehensible movement being orchestrated against Smart Women Who Know Things, by men who think the truth sucks.

The endemic rejection of smart women is a problem. It is one of the key reasons we are now saddled with a president who doesn't know anything about the job. It is one of the key reasons why the Democrats are running away from Hillary Clinton and elevating Bernie Sanders, despite the fact that his economic credentials are absurd. It is one of the key reasons that lots of good ideas aren't heard, until a man says them—and sometimes that doesn't happen quickly enough, or at all.

This movement, which transcends political affiliation, must be called out, examined, and dismantled. It is having catastrophic consequences, which is to say nothing of the harm done to individual women by regarding us with contempt.

One doesn't have to be a woman, or even particularly smart, to see that.

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Daily Dose of Cute

As I have previously mentioned, Matilda looooooves ribbons. So when I gave her a pink ribbon that came tied around the top of a bag with some chocolates in it, she went typically bananas over it.

[Images embedded in the tweet show Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint cat getting increasingly goofy over a pink ribbon I'm dangling in front of her.]

[Image embedded in the tweet shows Matilda looking like a wild-eyed adorable monster going after the ribbon.]

LOL this cat and her ribbons!

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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We Resist: Day 95

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Ben Blanchard and Ju-min Park at Reuters: U.S. Carrier Group Heads for Korean Waters, China Calls for Restraint.
Chinese President Xi Jinping called for all sides to exercise restraint on Monday in a telephone call about North Korea with U.S. President Donald Trump, as Japan conducted exercises with a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group headed for Korean waters.

Trump sent the carrier group for exercises in waters off the Korean peninsula as a warning, amid growing fears North Korea could conduct another nuclear test in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

Angered by the approach of the USS Carl Vinson carrier group, a defiant North Korea said on Monday the deployment was "an extremely dangerous act by those who plan a nuclear war to invade."

"The United States should not run amok and should consider carefully any catastrophic consequence from its foolish military provocative act," Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling Workers' Party, said in a commentary on Monday.

"What's only laid for aggressors is dead bodies," the newspaper said.
Everything is fine. (Everything is not fine.)

This, among many other examples, is why it is a very bad thing to have a president who treated the office like an entry-level position and is doing on-the-job learning (such at it is).

* * *

Tim Mak at The Daily Beast: Senate Trump-Russia Probe Has No Full-Time Staff, No Key Witnesses.
The Senate Intelligence Committee's probe into Russia's election interference is supposedly the best hope for getting the public credible answers about whether there was any coordination between the Kremlin and Trump Tower.

But there are serious reasons to doubt that it can accomplish this task, as currently configured.

More than three months after the committee announced that it had agreed on the scope of the investigation, the panel has not begun substantially investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, three individuals with ties to the committee told The Daily Beast.

The investigation does not have a single staffer dedicated to it full-time, and those staff members working on it part-time do not have significant investigative experience. The probe currently appears to be moving at a pace slower than prior Senate Intelligence Committee investigations, such as the CIA torture inquiry, which took years to accomplish.

No interviews have been conducted with key individuals suspected of being in the Trump-Russia orbit: not Michael Flynn, not Roger Stone, not Carter Page, not Paul Manafort, and not Jared Kushner, according to two sources familiar with the committee’s procedures.

"It's either a real investigation or not," said one individual with knowledge of the committee's activities. "You have to have an approved investigative guide. You have to make it formal. Can you have a credible investigation with only seven part-time staffers, doing everything in secret?"

This is despite the committee's leadership giving off a bipartisan, cooperative impression to the public.
And that's not all. At Yahoo News, Michael Isikoff reports: Senate Russia Probe Flounders Amid Partisan Bickering. "[T]he panel has made little progress and is increasingly stymied by partisan divisions that are jeopardizing the future of the inquiry, according to multiple sources involved in the probe. The committee has yet to issue a single subpoena for documents or interview any key witnesses who are central to the probe, the sources said. It also hasn't requested potentially crucial evidence—such as the emails, memos and phone records of the Trump campaign—in part because the panel's chairman, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., has so far failed to respond to requests from the panel's Democrats to sign letters doing so, the sources said."

[Teaspoon Action Item: Burr Washington office: (202) 224-3154. Winston-Salem office: (800) 685-8916. Senate Intel committee phone: (202) 224-1700. Senate Intel Committee fax line: (202) 224-1772.]

So we've got a Senate committee making nice noises about how they're definitely totally for sure going to get to the bottom of whether the U.S. president colluded with a foreign government to get elected, but they've woefully understaffed the investigation, haven't conducted interviews with key players, haven't issued a single subpoena, and haven't requested any evidence. Terrific.

This is why I keep saying over and over like the brokenest of broken records, that we need an independent select committee if we're ever going to have a meaningful investigation into what is potentially the nation's most significant act of treason in its history.

* * *

Bryant Harris, Robbie Gramer, and Emily Tamkin at Foreign Policy: The End of Foreign Aid as We Know It. "Donald Trump's vow to put 'America first' includes a plan to drastically cut assistance to developing countries and merge the State Department with USAID, according to an internal budget document and sources. The administration's March budget proposal vowed to slash aid to developing countries by over one-third, but contained few details. According to a detailed 15-page State Department budget document obtained by Foreign Policy, the overhaul also includes rechanneling funding from development assistance into a program that is tied closely to national security objectives. ...[S]hutting down, or even just scaling back, an agency dedicated to issues like disease prevention and food security could prove [devastating]. 'That will end the technical expertise of USAID, and in my view, it will be an unmitigated disaster for the longer term,' said Andrew Natsios, the former USAID Administrator under President George W. Bush."

Brian Beutler at the New Republic: Trump Will Provoke a Crisis or Be Humiliated This Week. "It's hard to imagine a better metaphor for Donald Trump's presidency than if, backed by a Republican-controlled Congress, he celebrates his 100th day in office by shutting down his own government. This outcome is by no means inevitable, but the odds of it are astonishingly high: Government funding runs out on Friday, and Trump hits the 100-day mark on Saturday. ...To secure border-wall funds from Congress before day 100, Trump is actually flirting with two different modes of extortion. The first one, which hasn't been expressed as a formal threat, is that he will not sign spending legislation unless it funds the wall; the second, which he tweets about frequently, is that unless Democrats agree to fund the border wall, he will sabotage the Affordable Care Act by freezing billions of dollars in insurance subsidies the law authorizes to reduce out-of-pocket costs for the near-poor."

David Edwards at Raw Story: Trump Budget Chief: Border Wall Will 'Protect Millions of Low Income Americans' Who Lose Obamacare. "During an interview one Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace noted that [Donald] Trump had offered Democrats a deal: If you fund the border wall, payments to Obamacare will not be cut. 'You are holding hostage health insurance for millions of lower-income Americans,' Wallace pointed out. 'Actually, what I would say is they're holding hostage national security,' [Trump Budget Director Mick Mulvaney] replied. ...Mulvaney insisted that Trump was trying to build a border wall to 'protect millions of low income Americans' who may lose their health care benefits in the tradeoff."

In case you're wondering if Trump has planned any more supercool Please Clap for Me events, the answer is yes:

screen cap of tweet in which I am responding to a Hill report about Trump announcing a rally on the night of the White House Correspondents Dinner; my tweet reads: 'Yeah, that sounds about right.'

[Content Note: White supremacy] Jessica Gonz├ílez-Rojas at Rewire: Trump's First 100 Days: A Blueprint to Hurt People of Color. "The Trump administration sees the country's changing demographics—the rising number of nonwhite and foreign-born people—as the chief internal threat. ...Trump's budget amounts to an obscene redistribution of money and resources from the working poor—of whom a disproportionate amount are people of color, including immigrants—to the wealthiest. In order to fund the criminalization and persecution of immigrants, Trump proposes stripping those very communities of the support they rely on to thrive."

[CN: Violent homophobia; eliminationism] Andy Towle at Towleroad: NYT Editorial Board Warns Trump Administration: 'Time is Not on the Side of Gay People' in Chechnya. "The New York Times Editorial Board urges the United States to take more stringent action toward Chechnya. The southern Russian republic's president Ramzan Kadyrov has reportedly stated his intentions to exterminate the country's gay people before Ramadan on May 26. Writes the NYT Editorial Board: 'Moscow is unlikely to take meaningful action against Chechnya, or to rethink its broader policy toward gay rights, in the absence of strong and sustained international pressure. In recent years several countries from the Americas and Europe have promoted equality for gay and transgender people as universal human rights. The Obama administration, and in particular former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, deserves much credit for making this a diplomatic priority. ...Without American leadership, forging a global consensus that gay rights are human rights will take longer. Time is not on the side of gay people living in terror in places like Chechnya.'"

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Sam Levine at the Huffington Post: Donald Trump's Earth Day Statement Is Shameful. "Donald Trump released an Earth Day statement touting his commitment to protecting the environment, despite doing the exact opposite in the first few months of his administration. ...The statement also noted that Trump is committed to 'rigorous science' and 'honest inquiry.'" All the mirthless laughter in the multiverse.

Let America Vote: Republican Congressman Considering Senate Bid Introduces Nationwide Voter Suppression Bill. "Congressman Luke Messer (IN-06), who has taken steps toward a formal run for Senate in Indiana, today introduced a nationwide voter suppression bill. Messer used the Indiana voter ID law as a model for his legislation even though the judge who upheld the law has since denounced voter ID laws as purely political and said laws like it 'appear to be aimed at limiting voting by minorities, particularly blacks.'"

[Teaspoon Action Item: Messer Washington office: (202) 225-3021. Muncie office: (765) 747-5566. Richmond office: (765) 962-2883. Shelbyville office: (317) 421-0704.]

[CN: White supremacy; threats] Esther Yu Hsi Lee at ThinkProgress: Workers Don Bulletproof Vests While Taking Down New Orleans' Confederate Monument in Middle of Night. "Workers in New Orleans on Monday began removing the first of four Confederate monuments known as the 'Lost Cause of the Confederacy.' They took down a statue originally erected to honor members of a white supremacist organization who fought against racial integration within the city's police force and state militia. The roughly four-hour removal process for the Battle of Liberty Place monument began at 1:30 a.m. in an effort to avoid protesters who want the monuments to stay, including people who have in the past made death threats."

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

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The Fifth Sentence on Page 34

Whatever book you're reading right now, turn to page 34 and share the fifth sentence. No titles. Just the sentence. Let's see what story we end up telling together, in these series of isolated sentences!

"There were swings, a playground, a flagpole, and a soccer pitch where we played every day."


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What Is Bernie Sanders' Endgame?

Despite continuing to make clear that he is not a Democrat, Senator Bernie Sanders has been on a "unity tour" with DNC Chair Tom Perez and has been elevated to co-chair of Democratic outreach.

It's been a troubling couple of days, as Sanders has deemed Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff insufficiently progressive; declared reproductive rights negotiable; denounced threats against Ann Coulter more vociferously than he denounced threats from his supporters against Hillary Clinton and her supporters; and then declared that "the model of the Democratic Party is failing."

"I think what is clear to anyone who looks at where the Democratic Party today is, that the model of the Democratic Party is failing," Sanders told CBS's "Face the Nation."

..."Clearly the Democratic Party has got to change. And in my view, what it has got to become is a grassroots party, a party which makes decisions from the bottom on up, a party which is more dependent on small donations than large donations," Sanders said.
Ostensibly, Sanders' endgame is "changing" the Democratic Party to make it more competitive nationally. But I have some questions about that.

1. Hillary Clinton having won the popular vote is not evidence of a failing model, but of an antiquated electoral system in desperate need of reform. Why is Sanders not leading a visible and sustained focus on the Electoral College?

2. I understand that Sanders believes Democrats need to start being competitive in smaller races across the country (and I agree). But why did he choose to use his platform to support an anti-choice mayoral candidate in Omaha, a white man named Heath Mello? And why did he not choose to use his platform to support a progressive mayoral candidate in St. Louis, a Black woman named Tishaura Jones, who ended up losing by only 888 votes?

3. Is Sanders unaware, or does he simply not care, that he is risking alienating the existing Democratic base? And what the costs of that could be? By continually criticizing the Democratic party, and by suggesting there doesn't already exist a grassroots of Democratic activists, he (and the Democratic leadership) will not only find out that grassroots activism already exists, but quickly find out how much grassroots party organizing has relied on women's unpaid labor. And, as I noted on Twitter, I'm not talking about voting, but about all the work that happens in between days we head to the voting booths. The volunteering. The organizing. The making calls to Congress. The showing up in between.

It may well be safe to assume that people will still show up to vote, because we're the people who won't let fascists win because of hurt feelings. But it's a big risk to alienate the people who have the experience of organizing outside elections. That's the stuff that people might be less willing to do, when they're getting shit on for their troubles.

This passage from Laurel Brett's piece "Still We'll Rise" is incredibly important:
Doesn't it mean anything that this "tour" is traumatizing women? We raised money, canvassed, made phone calls, stuffed envelopes, went on Facebook and educated people, and for many of us, November 8th may have been one of the worst nights, if not the worst night, of our lives.

And now here you are, posturing and strutting your stuff as if HRC had not aced the popular vote and created the most inclusive platform in the history of the Democratic Party. Don't take us for granted. We won't do all that work again for a candidate who compromises on our issues.
This isn't about "sour grapes." It's about the unpaid labor of women, especially women of color, which has been and is being taken for granted, and about what should be the easily understandable fact that women aren't going to keep giving their unpaid labor to a party that will happily accept their labor but not their input. Who will let us stuff envelopes but not lead.

4. I have been told countless times now that we must sacrifice "identity politics" (that is, the policy needs of marginalized people) to focus on economic populism (which is not the same thing as economic justice) because "Bernie is right about working class people." Okay. My question is: Which working class people?

Because, as I recently noted, Trump has made a deeply dishonest promise to the working class, which is, in part, dishonest because it fails utterly to acknowledge who constitutes a significant portion of the working class. Specifically, retail workers, who are disproportionately women and disproportionately people of color.

And while I keep hearing that Sanders is "right" about working class people, what I don't hear is anything that meaningfully differentiates his rhetoric from Trump's about who the working class actually is in this country.

Further, I don't hear much discussion about how to address the fact that "it's possible more than 8,600 brick-and-mortar stores will close their doors in 2017." That translates into a shit-ton of jobs. And while I agree that it's critically important to raise the minimum wage for these workers, that won't matter if the jobs disappear.

We're careening headlong into a major retail crash, which is going to send the economy into a tailspin, and there is no discussion or preparation for the fallout.

Fast food is being automated. Service jobs are being automated. Manufacturing jobs are being automated. And retail is being automated via the internet.

Also: Construction collapses with no retail spaces to build and no one able to afford new homes. Retail construction is what saved the industry during bad housing markets. What is the plan?

Stump speeches about banks and billionaires won't cut it. Is Sanders actually interested in being a leader on economic issues for everyone in the working class, or is he just interested in focusing on the same select group of working class voters that Trump is, the only difference being that he makes them slightly different insufficient promises?

* * *

I want and need answers to these questions. I'm not asking them because I "hate Bernie Sanders." I'm asking them because I don't see evidence of a leader who wants to make the Democratic Party more viable. To the absolute contrary, I'm seeing what looks very much like a reckless man whose ego is leading a party (of which he isn't even a part) down a road to ruination.

This "unity tour" looks an awful lot like every other call for unity we've seen before: Privileged people not listening, shitting all over marginalized people, and telling us that it's our responsibility to STFU and get on board, or else we'll be the ones subverting all the cool unity.

As I have said many times before: If your revolution doesn't implicitly and explicitly include a rejection of misogyny, racism, and other bigotries, and you aren't centering intersectional analysis in your solutions, then you're not staging a revolution; you're staging a change in management.

If that is indeed Sanders' endgame, it's time to be honest about that.

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Trump Was and Remains Catastrophically Unprepared for the Presidency

Donald Trump did an interview with the Associated Press, the complete transcript for which is available here. The entire thing is appalling, for all the usual reasons, but chief among them is the further evidence that Trump had no idea what he was getting into and doesn't even appear remotely ashamed that he is dangerously clueless about the gravity of the United States presidency.

For example: He casually admits that when he said NATO is obsolete that he didn't know anything about NATO. (Emphasis mine.)
TRUMP: They had a quote from me that NATO's obsolete. But they didn't say why it was obsolete. I was on Wolf Blitzer, very fair interview, the first time I was ever asked about NATO, because I wasn't in government. People don't go around asking about NATO if I'm building a building in Manhattan, right? So they asked me, Wolf ... asked me about NATO, and I said two things. NATO's obsolete — not knowing much about NATO, now I know a lot about NATO — NATO is obsolete, and I said, "And the reason it's obsolete is because of the fact they don't focus on terrorism." You know, back when they did NATO there was no such thing as terrorism.
It's horrendous that he was unfamiliar with NATO in the first place, and horrendous that he thinks there's no problem with admitting he didn't.

Further, his claim that he now knows "a lot about NATO" is fairly suspect, given his assertion that "back when they did NATO there was no such thing as terrorism." NATO was established in 1949, smack in the middle of a 16-year terror spree in New York City orchestrated by George Metesky, who planted explosives "in theaters, terminals, libraries, and offices. Bombs were left in phone booths, storage lockers, and restrooms in public buildings, including Grand Central Terminal, Pennsylvania Station, Radio City Music Hall, the New York Public Library, the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the RCA Building, and in the New York City Subway. Metesky also bombed movie theaters, where he cut into seat upholstery and slipped his explosive devices inside." He "planted at least 33 bombs, of which 22 exploded, injuring 15 people."

That certainly wasn't the only act of terrorism before 1949, but it was a significant one, which happened in Trump's hometown. His ignorance of history is stunning. Of course, that's partly because Trump's definition of terrorism seemingly excludes domestic terrorism committed by white men.

Elsewhere in the interview, Trump expresses surprise at how much the presidency necessitates caring about people. (Emphasis mine.)
AP: You've talked a little bit about the way that you've brought some business skills into the office. Is there anything from your business background that just doesn't translate into the presidency, that just simply is not applicable to this job?

TRUMP: Well in business, you don't necessarily need heart, whereas here, almost everything affects people. So if you're talking about health care — you have health care in business but you're trying to just negotiate a good price on health care, et cetera, et cetera. You're providing health. This is (unintelligible). Here, everything, pretty much everything you do in government, involves heart, whereas in business, most things don't involve heart.

AP: What's that switch been like for you?

TRUMP: In fact, in business you're actually better off without it.
Only after becoming president did Trump realize that you have to give a shit about other people, because "almost everything affects people."

And if that weren't incredible enough, he also explains that he's realized "how big" the presidency is, and what "great responsibility" is has. (Emphasis mine.)
AP: Can I ask you, over your first 100 days — you're not quite there yet — how do you feel like the office has changed you?

TRUMP: Well the one thing I would say — and I say this to people — I never realized how big it was. Everything's so (unintelligible) like, you know the orders are so massive. I was talking to —

AP: You mean the responsibility of it, or do you mean —

TRUMP: Number One, there's great responsibility. When it came time to, as an example, send out the 59 missiles, the Tomahawks in Syria. I'm saying to myself, "You know, this is more than just like, 79 (sic) missiles. This is death that's involved," because people could have been killed. This is risk that's involved, because if the missile goes off and goes in a city or goes in a civilian area — you know, the boats were hundreds of miles away — and if this missile goes off and lands in the middle of a town or a hamlet ... every decision is much harder than you'd normally make. (unintelligible) ... This is involving death and life and so many things. ... So it's far more responsibility. (unintelligible) ... The financial cost of everything is so massive, every agency. This is thousands of times bigger, the United States, than the biggest company in the world. The second-largest company in the world is the Defense Department. The third-largest company in the world is Social Security. The fourth-largest — you know, you go down the list.

AP: Right.

TRUMP. It's massive. And every agency is, like, bigger than any company. So you know, I really just see the bigness of it all, but also the responsibility. And the human responsibility. You know, the human life that's involved in some of the decisions.
I don't know what I find more appalling—that he's only now realizing the extraordinary gravity of the presidency and the scope of the federal government, or that he imagines that "human life" is only "involved in some of the decisions." Some.

Trump is an impossibly shallow, deeply unserious man. He is catastrophically unprepared, and unfit, for the presidency. Which was patently obvious when he was running, and has only become even more painfully evident now that he's got the job.

And a big part of how we got here is a political press that was determined to project an aggressively undeserved parity between the two candidates, not only by eliding Trump's tremendous lack of preparation for this extraordinarily demanding and important job, but also by criticizing Hillary Clinton's preparation for it, turning that preparation into a negative.

Now here we are. And casting Clinton's preparedness as a problem seems more goddamn foolish and breathtakingly irresponsible than ever.

But far from examining their own responsibility, as Nate Silver has observed, "the media's election post-mortems have mostly ignored it because it implicates the media's judgement."

Which, suffice it to say, was lacking.

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Open Thread

image of a purple sofa

Hosted by a purple sofa. Have a seat and chat.

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The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The Beloved Community Pub'
[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

Belly up to the bar,
and be in this space together.

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The Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by E=MC2.

Recommended Reading:

Shae: Feminists Get a Lot Right—Let's Celebrate That

Matthew: [Content Note: Violent homophobia] Hillary Clinton Slams Trump for Silence on Torture of Gay and Bisexual Men in Chechnya

E.A.: [CN: Islamophobia; anti-Semitism; nativism] Marine Le Pen Is Using Islamophobia to Draw Female Voters

Ragen: [CN: Fat hatred; death] Doctor Kills Fat Person, Gets Slap on the Wrist

Jessica: [CN: Rape culture; war on agency] The False Rape Narrative Has No Place in Feminism, Even in Fake Pro-Life Feminism

George: What the Hell Is This Beautiful Thing?

Fannie: First Crush Friday

Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!

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