Posts Tagged ‘politics’

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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Holland Welcomes Trump

January 25, 2017

Arjen Lubach shows how The Netherlands should welcome the 45th President of the United States.

Related:

“Why, when Trump says ‘America First,’ much of the world worries,” Peter Ford, Christian Science Monitor

“A Short History of ‘America First,'” Krishnadev Calamur, The Atlantic

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Trump’s Tax Disclosure: Never Mind!

January 23, 2017

Trump's Tax Disclosure: Never Mind!
Presidential candidate Donald Trump repeatedly claimed that he would release his tax documents. He said it well before he threw his hat in the GOP ring, back in 2014. As the Republican candidate he came up with a lame excuse for avoiding the tax disclosures made by White House hopefuls since 1970: He said he couldn’t do it since he was under audit, a specious argument, as himself finally admitted. He even claimed he would release his tax forms after the election, if the audit took that long.

Sunday morning, on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Trump spokescreature Kellyanne Conway admitted that it’s not going to happen, since voters already elected him without any tax facts. She say’s voters don’t care, but 74% of Americans — including half of Trump’s supporters — want him to release his tax forms.

Since inauguration Day, over 200,000 citizens have signed a We the People petition on the White House website asking the President to “immediately release Donald Trump’s full tax returns, with all information needed to verify emoluments clause compliance.” 100,000 signatures is enough to require an official response. It is doubtful that Ms. Conway’s raised middle finger meets that requirement.

What is Mr. Trump hiding? Perhaps:

— He hasn’t paid any taxes, as his previous state tax releases indicate

— He’s not as rich as he claims

— He hasn’t given as much to charity as he claims

— He has had previously undisclosed foreign business dealings, perhaps with Russia

Wikileaks, Trump’s best bud during the campaign, says it will release the new president’s tax returns for him if they can be obtained. “Trump’s breach of promise over the release of his tax returns is even more gratuitous than Clinton concealing her Goldman Sachs transcripts,” tweeted the organization.

UPDATE:

“Conway Backtracks On Trump’s Tax Returns, Saying He’s Still Under Audit,” Matt Shuham, TPM Livewire

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All I Want For Christmas

December 17, 2016

“All I Want For Christmas,” written and performed by Macy Gray, with the help of some young friends. A topical 2015 recording.

Lyrics here.

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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:

(more…)

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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Ben Carson at HUD: Pyramid Scheme?

November 30, 2016

Ben Carson at HUD: Pyramid Scheme?
Last we heard of retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, he was proposed for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, presumably because he lives in a house and once lived in a city. We assume President-elect Trump will appoint a city planner as Surgeon General.

Dr. Carson’s fascination with Egyptian pyramids may influence U.S. cityscapes during the Trump administration. On the other hand, his spokesman told the press that Ben Carson thinks he’s unqualified to run a federal department. Any department. Oh, and the good doctor recently diagnosed the HUD-administered Fair Housing laws as “communist.”

More:

“Ben Carson Is Trump’s Pick for HUD Secretary, for Some Terrible Reason,” Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

“Ben Carson for HUD Secretary, Why?” Kriston Capps, CityLab

“Stop Treating HUD Like A Second-Tier Department,” Andrew Flowers, FiveThirtyEight

Update:

“Turns Out Ben Carson Didn’t Grow Up in Public Housing,” Adam K. Raymond, New York Magazine

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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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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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