Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

The Usual Suspects, 2017

February 17, 2017

Chazz Palminteri interrogates Stephen Colbert about an international conspiracy.

“You’re just not listening! I’ve been telling you for like a year! There’s something weird going on between Trump and the Russians!”

Related:

The Logan Act

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Judge Thomas Hardiman: Miss Congeniality

February 3, 2017

The suspense is over: President Donald Trump named Federal Appellate Judge Neil Gorsuch as “Man Most Likely to Be Cast as a Supreme Court Justice in a TV Movie.” “I have selected an individual whose qualities define — really, and I mean closely define — what we’re looking for,” said the president, a devotee of central casting.

Judge Gorsuch is no stranger to DC. While a high school student at $30,000-a-year Georgetown Prep, he founded the Fascism Forever Club. That certainly would get the alt-right nod from the Commander-In-Fact, Mr. Steve Bannon.

Mr. Trump handled the Big Reveal with the decorum he became known for in his beauty pageants and reality TV shows. Rumor had it that SCOTUS runner-up Judge Thomas Hardiman would come to DC to heighten the suspense, but it was just fake news back-channel hype.

More:

“It’s ‘The Apprentice, Supreme Court Edition,’ as Trump Summons Finalists to White House,” Maggie Haberman, Michael Grynbaum, and Ron Nixon, New York Times

Related:

“Behind the Smoke Screen: What Reality-TV Veterans Think of Donald Trump’s Presidency,” Julie Miller and Josh Duboff, Vanity Fair

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Alternative Facts

January 24, 2017

Alternative Facts

On the first full day of the Trump Administration, we were met with the odd spectacle of a White House Press Secretary who did not take questions from the  White House press corps, but instead made claims that were demonstrably untrue.

On Day 2, Counselor the President Kellyanne Conway explained that these were not lies, they were “alternative facts“:

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Rick Perry Named Secretary of ‘Oops’

December 14, 2016

Rick Perry Named Secretary of 'Oops'

President-elect Donald Trump nominated former Texas governor Rick Perry as Secretary of  Energy, a department GOP candidate Perry would have abolished if he could have remembered what it was:

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Trump Appoints ‘Foreclosure King’ As Treasury Secretary

December 2, 2016

Trump Appoints 'Foreclosure King' As Treasury Secretary

President-elect and self-proclaimed swamp-drainer Donald J. Trump has named Goldman Sachs alum and former hedge fund partner Steve Mnuchin as his Treasury Secretary. Mr. Mnuchin, who was finance chair of the Trump campaign and the producer of Suicide Squad, became infamous as the “Foreclosure King” when his OneWest Bank foreclosed on over 36,000 family homes during the financial crisis. OneWest specialized in “harsh, repugnant and repulsive” foreclosures on the homes of minority families and the elderly, and in one celebrated case foreclosed on a 90-year-old woman over a 27 cent error.

The Department of the Treasury controls mortgage guarantee agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and runs the MHA mortgage relief program and the Hardest Hit Fund, which helps homeowners most in danger of foreclosure due to the financial crisis. Oh, it also regulates banks.

More:

“Trump Treasury pick made millions after his bank foreclosed on homeowners,” Lorraine Woellert, Politico

“Steve Mnuchin: Evictor, Forecloser, and Our New Treasury Secretary,” Peter Dreier, American Prospect

“Trump Was Always Going to Be a Gift to Wall Street. His Pick for Treasury Secretary Proves It.,” Jordan Weissmann, Slate

“Donald Trump voter who lost her home to new Treasury pick Steven Mnuchin has ‘no faith in our government anymore,’” Josh Boak and Jeff Horowitz, AP via Salon

“Angus King: Trump’s not draining swamp, he’s adding alligators,” Mark Hensch, The Hill

Bonus:

“Before heading to the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin will grace the silver screen in ‘Rules Don’t Apply,'” Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times

“The fiancée of Trump’s twice-married new Treasury Secretary, 53, is 35-year-old actress who sparked fury after she ‘invented parts of her memoir about nearly being killed in Africa,'” Jennifer Newton, Daily Mail

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Image (“American Dream, after Grant Wood”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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The Post-Truth Presidency

November 28, 2016

The Post-Truth Presidency

Editors of the Oxford English Dictionary has chosen the “2016 Word of the Year”: Post-truth.”

post-truth (adjective) — Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief:

‘in this era of post-truth politics, it’s easy to cherry-pick data and come to whatever conclusion you desire’
‘some commentators have observed that we are living in a post-truth age’

That dictionary’s definition of “Truth”: “That which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.” So what could negate that? George Orwell reflected on that in 1942:

“A British and a German historian would disagree deeply on many things, even on fundamentals, but there would still be that body of, as it were, neutral fact on which neither would seriously challenge the other. It is just this common basis of agreement, with its implication that human beings are all one species of animal, that totalitarianism destroys.” — George Orwell, “Looking Back on the Spanish War.”

So we know what causes the phenomenon, this “War on Reality,” and now there’s a name for it.

h/t: Gideon Lichfield

More:

“Trump Team Explains They Were Campaigning Against Facts, Not Just Clinton,” Margaret Hartmann, New York Magazine

“The post-truth world of the Trump administration is scarier than you think,” Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post

Related:

“How Do You Avoid Sounding Elitist in a Post-Truth Era?” Nancy LeTourneau, Washington Monthly

“Merriam-Webster’s plea: There’s still time to prevent ‘fascism’ from becoming word of the year,” Ben Guarino, Washington Post

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Infomercials Are the New Press Conferences

November 22, 2016

Infomercials Are the New Press Conferences

SUBJECTS OF THE UNITED STATES: Donald J. Trump speaks to you directly — without the no good, dishoneststinkin’LYING MEDIA and their pesky questions — in a daily screencast in ENGLISH. At the mobile phone alert, stop all other activities and attend to your device. This is COMPULSORY. Remember: Guantánamo is not closing.
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Trump Pays $25 Million Over Phony University

November 21, 2016

Trump Pays $25 Million Over Phony University

On Friday, President-elect and litigious career con man Donald J. Trump, who prides himself on never settling lawsuits, agreed to a $25 million settlement over his fraudulent “Trump University.” You may not have noticed because Mr. Trump spent the weekend distracting the media with his theater criticism.

Donald Trump’s unlicensed “university” was a bait-and-switch scheme, offering free courses that were sales pitches for $1,000 courses, which were in turn sales pitches for $10,000 and $35,000 courses. It’s a wonder the President-elect wasn’t sued by the Church of Scientology for stealing its business model.

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Mike Pence Casting Out the Lobbyists From the Trump Transition Team

November 18, 2016

Mike Pence Casting Out the Lobbyists From the Trump Transition Team
“Swamp-drainer” Donald Trump’s initial transition team was chock full of the very lobbyists he had railed against on the campaign trail. It was embarrassing, so the president-elect brought in holy warrior Mike Pence to drive the money changers out of Trump Tower. Trump Tower has revolving doors, but the new administration’s incoming officials will pledge to forego lobbying for 5 years. As we know, ethics are very important to the founder of Trump University.

More:

“Donald Trump’s Lobbying Ban Effectively Bans Very Little,” on Schwarz, The Intercept

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Image (“Mike Pence Casting Out the Lobbyists From the Trump Transition Team, after Antoine Jean-Baptiste Thomas”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Put a Pin In It

November 17, 2016

Put a Pin In It

You may have noticed people wearing safety pins on their shirts, blouses and lapels. People who object to the Trump election are using the fastener as a symbol of tolerance and solidarity with minorities. The symbol was borrowed from the UK where it was worn to show disapproval after the xenophobic Brexit vote. Like many British expressions, it doesn’t quite translate here:

“Dear White People, Your Safety Pins Are Embarrassing,” Christopher Keelty, Huffington Post

“Safety pins: Solidarity symbol or emblem of ‘white guilt’?” By Derek Hawkins, Washington Post

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Photo by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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