Randy Rainbow weighs in on Alternative Facts

This is how I’d like to see the White House Press Corps respond to this administration’s bullshit artists.

The Watering Hole, Monday, January 23rd, 2017: Freedom of the Press

We’ve all ripped both network and cable news organizations for their role in aiding and abetting this abomination of a Presidential election. But since the Orange Shitgibbon has won, and he and his spokesgoblins are taking more active steps to label any accurate and unflattering reporting of their words and activities as “fake news” by the “dishonest press”, this should be considered a very serious attack on the First Amendment right of Freedom of the Press. After having previously, in a fit of pique, revoked The Washington Post’s press credentials during the campaign, now the new Trump administration has shut down access to and from CNN.

According to a MediaMatters article:

President Donald Trump and his team continued their unprecedented attempts to delegitimize and blacklist CNN by refusing to have a representative appear on CNN’s Sunday political talk show, State of the Union, while booking appearances on the other major political talk shows on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox Broadcasting Co.
At the top of the January 22 edition of CNN’s State of the Union, host Jake Tapper said that his show “asked the Trump White House for a member of the new administration to join us this morning, but they declined.”

 

During Trump’s first press conference as president-elect on January 11, Trump refused to take a question from CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta, calling his network “fake news” and “terrible.” Following the event, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer admitted to threatening to remove Acosta from the press conference and later demanded an apology. Trump ally and Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich responded to the incident by asserting that Trump should use the altercation to “shrink and isolate” CNN and eventually “close down the elite press.” Acosta and his colleagues from across the media condemned Trump’s treatment of CNN.

 

The Trump team’s refusal to appear on CNN came one day after it declined to air the live feed of Spicer’s first press conference after the inauguration, where Spicer blatantly lied about the size of inauguration crowds. According to Variety’s Brian Steinberg, “CNN’s refusal to take the live feed suggests executives there are reluctant to put false statements on air, and, what’s more, do not think the new White House press representative is entirely credible.” From the January 21 report:

 

“CNN’s decision to not air the press conference live illustrates a recognition that the role of the press must be different under Trump. When the White House holds press briefings to promote demonstrably false information and refuses to take questions, then press ‘access’ becomes meaningless at best and complicit at worst,” said Danna Young, an associate professor at the University of Delaware who studies politics and the media. “Democracy works best when journalists have access to the executive branch, of course. But that holds true if and only if that access leads to verifiable, accurate information. The decision on behalf of CNN to wait and verify before airing it live suggests that the media are adapting quickly to this new era.”

 

To be certain, news outlets routinely make decisions about whether to air press events live, usually based on projections about news value. But this press conference, held just a day after the President’s inauguration, would have been a hot prospect for a cable-news outlet, and could have sparked hours of debate and follow-up on CNN’s schedule. In an unusual and aggressive maneuver, CNN aired its regular weekday lineup this Saturday, underscoring heavy interest in breaking news of a series of massive protests by women across the nation in response to Trump’s presidency as well as the new President’s first few days in office.

While I am still outraged by the fact that CNN had hired Corey Lewandowski fresh from the Trump team campaign, and paid the lying POS good money to NOT say anything bad about Trump, maybe, just maybe, CNN can redeem itself by employing real investigative journalism. There’s a lot to dig into in all aspects of Trump’s life/taxes/business practices/Russian connections/conflicts of interest, and a 24-hour news network is what’s needed to get to the bottom of Trump’s “alternate facts” swamp.

What do you say, CNN? Do the right thing, or cave to a tyrant?

This is our Open Thread–comments welcome.

The Watering Hole; Friday, January 20th, 2017: “A Date Which Will Live In Infamy.”

I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate
president. I think the Russians participated
in helping this man get elected . . .”
(Rep. John Lewis, D-GA; 1-13-2017)

Rep. John Lewis was, of course, spot-on correct when he made that statement to Chuck Todd on MSNBC a week ago (seems like a year at least; why is that?) a mere seven days before the inauguration. Lewis also said he would not be in attendance for the event, a position that infuriated Trump even as it raised the spirits of others. The only quibble I have with Lewis’s statement is a simple one: to my mind, Trump’s “presidency” is not rendered illegitimate solely because of Russian interference in the election.

“Legitimate” is defined as conforming to established standards of usage, behaviour, etc., [and] based on correct or acceptable principles of reasoning.”

I cannot, even in my most generous mood, see how ANY of that definition can be applied to that which is about to happen to the highest elective office in this country. In my seventy-four-plus years on this planet, presidents FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Poppy Bush, Clinton, Dubsy Bush, and Obama have occupied the head chair in the Oval Office. Two of them — FDR and Obama — have been among the greatest Presidents the country has ever had, and while Ike, JFK, and Carter stood tall as they grandly overshadowed the marginal and/or less than marginal others, the dude that will ascend to that chair somewhere around noon EST today stands out as that pinhole of dimmest light which may well prove to be the herald of our nation’s darkest hour. How did that happen? As William Wordsworth put it a couple of hundred years ago,

Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

Where is it now indeed. We have, just  now, “elected” as “president,” a man who is clearly the LEAST qualified for that office in at least the last 85 years, and likely the most unqualified person ever in the country’s 240 year history. As of today, we have a president who . . .

  1. Is a certifiable Narcissistic Egomaniac,
  2. a bigot,
  3. a misogynist,
  4. a xenophobe,
  5. and a chronic liar.
  6. He has zero political experience, also offers no clue that he’s ever read even a word of the Constitution (or that he even COULD read a word of the Constitution).
  7. Trump lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, and “won” the election solely via the obsolete but Constitutionally-defined Electoral College. His popular vote defeat was the largest in history, and yet he claims to have won the election in a landslide.
  8. He attributed Clinton’s 3 million winning vote margin to massive voter fraud.
  9. He has spoken out loud that NATO is obsolete and that he has no interest in the Eurpoean Union. Small wonder that Europe is probably about as worried as we are in re Trump’s “election” to the most powerful governing position in the world.
  10. Trump is a climate change denier and has indicated that he’ll work to nullify the Paris Agreement, also to increase coal and other fossil fuel production in the US.
  11. A major contingent of the Republican Party (including Trump, I presume) believes that all Federal Public Lands should be turned over to the states so they can be made useful; Trump has offered no indication that he will support protection of National Forests, National Parks, Monuments, Refuges, Wilderness, or any other category of Public Land.
  12. Trump has often spoken of his admiration for Putin, and has either denied or minimized the fact that Russian cyber-hackers worked diligently to influence the US election in 2016 with the goal of swinging enough voters to elect Trump — apparently because Putin thinks he can manipulate Trump, something he couldn’t manage with Obama and knew wouldn’t happen with Hillary Clinton.
  13. Intelligence has revealed that Putin may indeed have the means at hand to essentially force Trump to do what Putin asks, via alleged hotel camera videos of Trump interacting with Russian Prostitutes; Trump, of course, denies everything.
  14. Since Trump’s election, White Supremacists/Nationalists, neo-Nazis, the KKK, and other hate groups have dramatically increased their anti-Jewish/Black/Latino/Muslim activities; hate crimes have increased nation wide.
  15. Trump has said he will halt all Muslim immigration, and will also . . .
  16. Move to immediately deport all undocumented immigrants from Latin America and, presumably, anywhere else.
  17. He has even included DACA people, i.e. young folks who were brought into this country by undocumented parents when they were children, even infants, and who have grown up as Americans.
  18. Trump has refused to divest his business interests, and is very likely to be violating the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution at the very moment his swearing-in is complete.
  19. He has also refused to open his finances and financial arrangements, including via his tax returns, for examination (does he have strong financial ties to Russia? He doesn’t want anyone to know, apparently, so a best guess would be YES he does).
  20. He is threatening every American-owned company that has products manufactured overseas or outside of the US in this hemisphere that there will be a heavy tariff imposed on their products unless they manufacture them in the US and not overseas. That will apply, apparently, to every company other than his own various facilities in China, Turkey, Mexico, and various other places.
  21. When Trump’s proposed tax cuts and budgeting proposals are merged, the calculations result in a ten trillion dollar add-on to the National Debt; “conservatism” defined.
  22. He has vowed to ‘repeal and replace’ Obamacare. Right. Look for 20-30 million folks with no health care at all if Trump and fellow wingnuts get their way.

Can anyone make the argument that Trump is, indeed, a “Legitimate” president? Does he/will he ever conform to established standards of usage, behaviour, etc., based on correct or acceptable principles of reasoning? Clearly no. I do, therefore and hereby, declare Donald J. Trump to be this nation’s first totally ILLEGITIMATE PRESIDENT! whose sole purpose remains his own self-glorification, no matter the cost to others — including the nation as a whole, even the entire of the planet. He, Donald J. Trump, is, in his mind, ALL THAT MATTERS! PERIOD! — all of which brings to the forefront, once again, FDR’s description of “December 7th, 1941: A date which will live in infamy,” now become “January 20th, 2017: A Date which . . . etc.”

In closing, I’m inserting a poem I wrote and posted here last summer after the Republican Convention, after Trump’s nomination. It’s a sonnet, an acrostic quatorzain, intended to define the essence of Trump the nominee, his persona. To bring it up to date I only had to change two words: in the title, ‘Persona’ to ‘Presidency,’ and in the body, ‘nominee’ to ‘President.’ It appears to have worked. 🙂

Donald J Trump and His Egomaniacal Presidency
(via an Acrostic Fourteener Quatorzain)

Democracy allows a boundless breadth of mindless thought.
One brief glance today unmasks a President who deems to
Never claim to own the vicious speech he hopes will be bought
And sold as memes. Whilst he himself wears masks of learn’ed view,
Lengthy rhetoric from speaker thus afflicted reveals
Dismal platitudes, each expressed as if nonsensical
Judgment of those who are more sane, of those whose thought appeals
To wisdom, not to ignorance of issues topical.
Racial bigots find curious relief in hate and fear
Until they are themselves dismissed by soft and passioned dreams.
Misogyny as well appeals to minds that aim to smear
Perspectives based on common goals of life — with bogus schemes.
Deliv’rance of this nation’s soul and heart is thus on hold
Till egomania’s greed and sloth are disappeared — or sold.

One has to wonder, I suppose, if the theses and conclusions implied in the sonnet will still be valid after, say, a full four-year term of a Trump presidency. My best guess is HELL YES they’ll still be valid! That’s assuming, of course, that the country can survive four years with a Narcissistic, Egomaniacal, Bigoted, Misogynistic, Xenophobic and Illegitimate nutcase at its helm. I, for one, have my doubts, but time will surely tell; it always does.

Footnote: Here are a couple of links that provide a few revealing details from both sides of the Trump-Putin topic:

Paul Krugman: With All Due Disrespect

Vladimir Putin defends Donald Trump, says critics trying to “undermine the legitimacy” of the president-elect

******

A darting fear — a pomp — a tear —
A waking on a morn
To find that what one waked for,
Inhales the different dawn.
(Emily Dickinson)

******

OPEN THREAD