Snowflake-in-Chief

New game in town

This series is titled Snowflake-in-Chief for a reason. The administration of Donald Trump has been the skowflakeist in recent memory, making for interesting reporting and even more interesting watching. This came up on CNN yesterday. It was a panel discussion hosted by Don Lemon  (CNN) and featuring the following:

  • Ben Ferguson, host of the Ben Ferguson Show (upper left)
  • Angela Rye, former Executive Director Congressional Black Caucus (upper right)
  • Paris Dennard, CNN political commentator—Director of Black Outreach for President George W. Bush (lower left)
  • Symone Sanders, former press sectary for Bernie Sanders (lower right)

What unloaded all this was a back and forth between reporter April Ryan and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. It is not news that the FBI is investigating possible collusion between the Donald Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government. Ryan was asking a question and was being too persistent. The result is today’s source of humor. From NBC News:

Stop Shaking Your Head’: Sean Spicer Lashes Out at Reporter April Ryan

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer snapped at a female reporter on Tuesday over a question about the administration’s image, telling the veteran White House correspondent to “stop shaking your head” — a snide comment that drew rebuke from Hillary Clinton and several prominent women journalists.

Spicer got into a heated exchange with American Urban Radio Networks’ correspondent April Ryan at the White House press briefing after the reporter asked how President Donald Trump’s administration would work to repair its image.

Ryan followed up with a question about Trump’s meeting with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, whom Trump made a vulgar comment about in 2006.

Spicer then accused Ryan of wanting to push an agenda, telling her from the podium to “stop shaking your head.”

“April, hold on, it seems like you’re hell-bent on trying to make sure that whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays,” he said.

“I’m sorry, please stop shaking your head again,” he added.

A reporter should stop shaking her head? Good thing Spicer didn’t notice I was shaking my head while I watched this on YouTube. What is equally interesting, maybe more so, was the response of panel members Ferguson and Dennard. Both have a conservative bent, to say the least, and both jumped in to prop up the administration.

Lemon: Paris, I know you want to jump in. He became annoyed [for asking the question], how is he [Trump] going to revamp his image, given the rocky start this administration has had. Is that a reasonable question for her to ask?

Dennard: No, I don’t think it was an unreasonable question to ask, if that had been the only question. I think it was a series of questions, back to back to back, and that she was not giving him a chance to  answer the questions. And oft times what happens is, when you give an answer these journalists do not like, they continue and press and press until they try to get you to answer the way they want you to answer.

Lemon: That’s what a reporter does…

I’m with Lemon on this. I am not a reporter, but when I ask somebody a question, and they make an attempt at evasion, then I get to thinking there’s something more here, and I  press for details—something to back up what the person has just told me. Sometimes I ask peripheral questions, when all the while the question I want to ask is “What did you do with the body?”

At the heart of the matter is Trump’s charge back on 4 March that President Obama ordered wire taps on his (Trump’s) phones in Trump Tower. That has devolved into  multiple (another way of saying unanimous) reports back from the Justice Department that no such order was given, nor could it have been given by a president. That migrated into the matter coming before  the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, headed up by Devin  Nunes, Republican congressman from California and previously a member of the Trump administration transition team. At a point a few days ago Congressman Nunes saw fit to get himself to the White House with the errand of reporting to President Trump that a review of intelligence documents revealed transition team members had been recorded during monitoring by American intelligence agencies. Trump quickly leveraged this revelation into vindication of his original claim, and subsequently Nunes was back on the White House grounds receiving additional information. As a side note, practically all Democrats and some Republicans in the government see these goings on as evidence Nunes has allegiance to the administration and not to the Committee. Under this pressure, Secretary Spicer turned unusually prickly, even for him.

An item appearing in The Week elaborates further:

Ryan was reminding Spicer of all the Russia-related news the White House is dealing with — the scuttled Sally Yates testimony, President Trump’s widely dismissed claims he was wiretapped at Trump Tower, the broader Russia investigation — and Spicer cut it, rejecting the premise. “No, we don’t ‘have’ that,” he said. “I’ve said it from the day that I got here until whenever that there’s not a connection. You’ve got Russia. If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that’s a Russian connection.”

Nevertheless, Ryan persisted. Spicer selectively insisted that everyone has dismissed reports of Trump-Russia collusion, despite the ongoing FBI investigation, and told Ryan, “I’m sorry that that disgusts you. You’re shaking your head.” He accused her of pursuing an “agenda” and ignoring “facts,” and when she changed subjects to ask about a White House visit by Condoleezza Rice, Spicer accused Ryan of being “hellbent on trying to make sure that whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays,” adding again: “Please, stop shaking your head again.”

Yes, reporter for the American Urban Radio Networks April Ryan, quit shaking your head when the press secretary evades your questions and dresses you down. Ryan recalled her impressions following the briefing:

“I’ve been here for 20 years, since 1997, the second term of Bill Clinton,” Ryan told MSNBC’s Katy Tur afterwards. “We’ve never seen anything like this before. And my question was simple. How do you change the perception problem basically? I don’t know verbatim what I said, but that was the impetus and the crux of my question. And it went off into this Russian dressing, no shaking my head or whatever.”

“I understand what Sean is doing,” Ryan said, “Sean is being the White House press secretary talking about and trying to make this administration look better than what it does right now. Unfortunately, I was roadkill today.”

Ben Ferguson was the other panelist to push back, to defend the administration:

Ferguson: First, he didn’t lash out at her. He defended the White House, and I think there is one thing that the press sometimes does, especially in the White House. They act as if somehow they’re above the average American person, or they’re somehow better than other people, or they’re elitists, or they’re special.

Right. A person, selected by a responsible news organization selects from its cadre a qualified reporter to attend these White House briefings, where often the most critical news affecting the planet gets disclosed. And then these reporters are expected to humble themselves and act like Archie Bunker next door. What does that remind me of? Oh, yes:

A spirit of national masochism prevails, encouraged by an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals.

There have been times in the past when a reporter needed to get hard nosed with the President of the United States:

During Richard Nixon‘s presidency, critics accused Rather of biased coverage against him. At a Houston news conference in March 1974, Nixon fielded a question from Rather, still CBS’s White House correspondent, who said, “Thank you, Mr. President. Dan Rather, of CBS News.” The room filled with jeers and applause, prompting Nixon to joke, “Are you running for something?” Rather replied, “No, sir, Mr. President. Are you?” In his question, Rather accused Nixon of not cooperating with the grand jury investigation and the House Judiciary Committee in relation to the Watergate scandal.

Do we need snippy White House Correspondents, such as April Ryan, even today? Especially today. You go, April.

Four Weeks In

Number 40 of a series

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The drip goes on. I’m half way through. Daniel Dale, with the Washington bureau of The Star, compiled a list of 80 fabrications by the Snowflake-in-Chief, all during the first four weeks of the new administration. Here is number 40:

40. Feb. 5, 2017Super Bowl interview with Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly

The claim: “California in many ways is out of control, as you know. Obviously the voters agree, otherwise they wouldn’t have voted for me.”

In fact: It is hard to fact-check nonsense, but this is nonsensical. California governance was not one of the subjects debated during the national campaign, and not even pro-Trump pundits argued that his victory was a reaction against California. Further, Trump was trounced in California voting: 62 per cent for Hillary Clinton to his own 32 per cent.

La de da de da, indeed! He is the dictionary definition of fact-deprivation. How long can he keep this up? Better yet, how long am I going to keep this up?

Until there is no skin left.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

I watched this back in January, courtesy of Amazon Prime Video. I should have saved it for Christmas. But, no. It’s Midnight Clear. If the title sounds familiar, recall this:

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold!
Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From heaven’s all gracious King!
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Yes, that’s what this is all about. There is no Wikipedia entry, so I’m getting details from IMDb. The production company is listed as Jenkins Entertainment. My early guess was the setting is Houston, but filming actually took place in Dallas. The scenery just looks Texas, not to mention car license plates. It’s Christmas eve. It’s grim.

This movie is drama as a morality play. We are going to get lessons in life before the 95 minutes run time is up.

The opening scene shows Lefty (Stephen Baldwinabout to lose his job. He’s a demonstrated loser. There must be a badge for demonstrated losers, but Lefty seems to have lost his. He’s sleeping in his car because he’s homeless. A co-worker is coming to wake him and tell him he’s late for work. It’s a good way to keep your demonstrated loser badge.

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Yes, Lefty does lose his job. Reporting for work he is told by his boss that his days with the company are over. Goodbye. On his way out Lefty steals some stuff from the company and takes it to sell.

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We meet a host of other characters facing life crises. Here is Kirk (Kirk B.R. Woller). He runs a convenience store/gas station. He has become embittered with life.

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Here is Eva. Elderly, living alone, planning to  end her life. Her plan to take all her medication at one time is thwarted by the arrival of a visitor.

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Things get worse for Lefty. His wife has divorced him, and he is unable to get visitation rights for his son. At a meeting with his ex-wife’s lawyer he explains why he is called Lefty. He is actually right-handed, but when he was growing  up his family didn’t have much money, so when  he played baseball he had to borrow his brother’s baseball glove. His brother was left handed and others called him Lefty, because he fielded left handed.

At the meeting he is asked if his current address is still as listed. He attempts to flummox the lawyers by claiming he has just received a promotion at work, but the extra money hasn’t come through yet, so he doesn’t actually have a place to live. That ends the meeting. No court is going to grant visitation if you don’t have a home.

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Lefty’s next move is typical of him. He goes to a shop across the street from his ex-wife’s house and bums a cell phone from a customer, telling him he has to make an important business call. Then he phones his ex-wife Heather (Faline England) and cusses her out, falsely telling  her that her freaking lawyers screwed him over because she and her dorky boyfriend don’t want him to visit his kid. The shop owner comes out with a baseball bat and forces Lefty to return the phone to its owner.

Mary (Mary Thornton) takes her son Jacob (Dominic Scott Kay) to visit her husband Rick (Kevin Downes). He is in a perpetual care facility, having received irreparable injuries in an automobile accident. He doesn’t speak. Things are grim for Mary.

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Lefty steals more stuff from his former employer. He trades it for a pistol and some ammunition. His plan to use the gun to rob Kirk is aborted, and he leaves. His plan to kill himself with the pistol is called off, as well.

midnightclear-07

Mary is going to visit relatives for Christmas. Her car encounters trouble, and she pulls in at Kirk’s station. He fixes the car for her. Kirk and Mary get something going.

midnightclear-08

Eva turns out to be Lefty’s mother. They share dinner, and things begin to come together for everybody. Lefty and his mother go to church together.

midnightclear-09

This movie has no great plot. It’s a story of Christian redemption, loaded with syrup. Acting is par for a modern film. Contrast it with standard fare from 70 to 80 years ago. And nobody dies. Watch it when you are feeling down and need a lift.

The Golden Shower

Something interesting

From ABC World News Tonight with David Muir as seen on Hulu

The tale of the Golden Shower grows ever more enticing. Congress investigates connections between  the Trump campaign and the Trump transition with the Russian government of Vladimir Putin. The plot thickens:

The F.B.I. Is Scrutinizing Trump’s Russia Ties. How Will That Work?

Then-candidate Donald Trump would have had ample motive to elicit assistance from the Russians to turn around Hillary Clinton’s polling numbers. If the Russians had information from within the Democratic National Committee that could be used to embarrass Clinton, then so much the better. Comments made by Clinton  campaign manager John Podesta did prove embarrassing, and  they were obtained by cyber sleuth operatives under the pay of the Russians. Putin has an acknowledged disdain for Clinton, and purports to be on friendly terms with Trump:

Don. Don! People are not saying you slept with the guy. But what do you call a relationship? Another video clip elaborates:

 

Interviewer: Do you have a relationship with Vladimir Putin, a conversational relationship, anything that you feel that you have sway…?

Trump: I do have a relationship.

Yes, Donald, that’s what we mean when we say you have a relationship with Vlad the Embalmer. It’s when you say in a news interview that you have a relationship, that’s when you have a relationship. Otherwise you would be a liar, and nobody wants to call you a liar. Yet.

A few days ago President Trump charged that then President Barack Obama had his phone tapped at Trump Tower. So far, nobody, but nobody, besides the President and a gaggle of right wing propagandists, have signed up to this narrative. However, last week, when a review determined that communications between Trump transition members and others to be named turned up in intelligence agency records, many saw this as a vindication of the President’s charges. Devin Nunes, chairman of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which has been assigned to investigate possible Russian collusion, rushed to inform Mr. Trump of this helpful break. With irony that would gag a goat, Nunes assures all that there is still no evidence President Obama had Trump’s phones tapped.

So far, the significance of the dossier prepared by former British spy Christopher Steele, has not entered into the picture. The document, available on-line, includes charges Mr. Trump would find embarrassing, if they were demonstrated to be true. The title for this series of posts derives from some of the language in the Steele dossier.

There’s going to be more of this as the story unrolls. My liberal friends are shocked, shocked! They think Trump should be chased out of office forthwith. They are idiots. Having Donald Trump in office and a daily embarrassment to conservative causes across the spectrum is the best to come along since the Watergate fiasco over 40 years ago. Readers, batten down the hatches and ride this one out.

Four Weeks In

Number 39 of a series

politics-trumpliestotruth

The drip goes on. Daniel Dale, with the Washington bureau of The Star, compiled a list of 80 fabrications by the Snowflake-in-Chief, all during the first four weeks of the new administration. Here is number 39:

39. Feb. 5, 2017 — Super Bowl interview with Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly

The claim about voter fraud: O’Reilly: “So you think you’re gonna be proven correct in that statement (that three million illegal immigrants voted)? Trump: “Well, I think I already have. A lot of people have come out and said that I am correct.”

In fact: Even if Trump is referring here to his broader claim of widespread voter fraud, not specifically the “three million illegal immigrants” claim, he’s still wrong: no credible expert has said Trump is correct. That includes Republican elections officials around the country. That Trump can find some conspiracy theorists to declare him correct does not amount to proof.

La de da de da, indeed! He is the dictionary definition of fact-deprivation. How long can he keep this up? Better yet, how long am I going to keep this up?

Until there is no skin left.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

Worse news, Jesus is not the only one ready to do us in. All that is required is a dim bulb upstairs:

An as yet unidentified “holistic” practitioner negligently kills a young woman with IV turmeric (yes, intravenous)

It was only just yesterday that I recounted the story of a naturopathic quack in Bowling Green, KY who told a cancer patient that “chemo is for losers,” promising her that he [would] eliminate her tumor within three months. She listened to him, and as a result she died, as she and her husband were suing the quack. Not long after, her distraught widower walked into the quack’s office on a Friday evening earlier this month and, if the police charges are accurate, shot him dead. Basically, because this quack convinced the woman to [forgo] chemotherapy, whatever chance of survival she had was eliminated. The woman’s name was Fikreta Ibrisevic; the quack’s name was Juan Gonzalez; and the name of the widower allegedly turned killer is Omer Ahmetovic.

Sleep softly. Somewhere Jesus is waiting.

Schlemiel-in-Chief

Number 17 in a series

We all know the definition of the term schlemiel, but some of us seem to want to rub it in. A bit of history:

68 times Trump promised to repeal Obamacare

“On my first day in office, I am going to ask congress to send me a bill to immediately repeal and replace, I just said it, Obamacare.” [Asheville, NC, 9/12/16]

“Also on my first day, I will ask congress to send me a bill to immediately repeal and replace disastrous Obamacare.” [Clive, OH, 9/13/16]

“Also on my first day i’m going to ask congress to send me a bill to immediately repeal and replace disastrous Obamacare.” [Canton, OH, 9/14/16]

So, how is that working  out?

WASHINGTON — House Republicans passed roughly 60 bills over the past six years dismembering President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Other than minor tweaks, they knew the measures would go nowhere because the Democrat still lived in the White House.

With a bill that counted Friday, they choked. It was an epic, damaging, self-inflicted collapse that smothered the GOP effort.

“We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future,” a flustered Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters after abruptly yanking the legislation off the House floor to avert a certain defeat. “I don’t know how long it’s going to take us to repeal this law.”

And that was the first day? No, that was about the 60th day. Remember, Donald Trump as candidate only promised to ask Congress to send him a bill. Ask. That’s the operative word. Ask. Not the same as Congress actually sending him a bill. People who voted for Donald Trump were thinking there would actually be a bill to abolish the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Ace, Obamacare. For many voters it was a promise best left unfilled:

Some fear losing insurance if health law repealed

Fortunately for people like Alison Koehler, we elected a Schlemiel-in-Chief instead of a Commander-in-Chief.

There’s more to come. Keep reading.

Four Weeks In

Number 38 of a series

politics-trumpfarrightfuel

The drip goes on. Daniel Dale, with the Washington bureau of The Star, compiled a list of 80 fabrications by the Snowflake-in-Chief, all during the first four weeks of the new administration. Here is number 38:

38. Feb. 4, 2017 — Twitter

The claim: “What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into U. S.?”

In fact: The U.S. does not allow “anyone” to come in. Even without Trump’s travel ban, there is strict vetting of refugees, and visas are required for people seeking to enter from the seven mostly-Muslim countries to which the ban would apply.

La de da de da, indeed! He is the dictionary definition of fact-deprivation. How long can he keep this up? Better yet, how long am I going to keep this up?

Until there is no skin left.

Four Weeks In

Number 37 of a series

politics-trumpinnercircleputin

The drip goes on. Daniel Dale, with the Washington bureau of The Star, compiled a list of 80 fabrications by the Snowflake-in-Chief, all during the first four weeks of the new administration. Here is number 37:

37. Feb. 4, 2017 — Twitter

The repeated claim: “After being forced to apologize for its bad and inaccurate coverage of me after winning the election, the FAKE NEWS @nytimes is still lost!”

In fact: The New York Times not only wasn’t “forced” to apologize for its coverage, it did not apologize at all. Trump was referring to a post-election letter, a kind of sales pitch, in which Times leaders thanked readers and said they planned to “rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism.”

La de da de da, indeed! He is the dictionary definition of fact-deprivation. How long can he keep this up? Better yet, how long am I going to keep this up?

Until there is no skin left.