Trying to Read the News in 2017

(in Colin Farell Gifs)

Every single cabinet pick:

Each new Trump administration official who gets caught lying about their communications with Russian diplomats/business people:

“You know, the only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters, okay? They’re the only ones, I won; I mean, I became president. No, I don’t think they care at all. I don’t think they care at all. I think you care.” -DJT

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Every time Trump shakes anyone’s hand:

DJT 2011: “He doesn’t have a birth certificate, or if he does, there’s something on that certificate that is very bad for him. Now, somebody told me … where it says ‘religion,’ it might have ‘Muslim.’ And if you’re a Muslim, you don’t change your religion, by the way.”

DJT 2016: “President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period,”

DJT 2016: “I think he’s the worst president maybe in the history of our country,”

DJT 2016: “I must tell you, you know, I never met him before this. I never spoke to him before this. I really — I do like him.”

recent Mother Jones headline: “Trump: Obama Tapped My Phone, He’s a Sick Guy”

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Literally me watching the inauguration in a Starbucks 5 blocks from it:

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“Are they friends of yours?”

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The golden showers thing:

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Realizing that despite this great selection of gifs, this post is actually making it all feel worse…

Everyone in Congress who voted to confirm Trump’s cabinet picks:

“Rick Perry confirmed as Energy Secretary”

“Rex Tillerson skips State Department’s annual announcement on human rights, alarming advocates”


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“When I was young, in high school and in college, everybody used to say we never lost a war. America never lost. Now, we never win a war.” -DJT

Colin Farrell James Douglas Clayton GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

When Donald Trump, whose closest advisor ran Breitbart, calls actual news outlets fake news

“… the VOICE agency is expected to publish a weekly list of all crimes committed by immigrants, suggesting that anyone who has moved to the US, both documented and undocumented, could find their name on the public document.” — AJZ

Fucking everything that’s happened since Trump came down the escalator surrounded by a crowd of supporters who were probably/actually paid actors:

When you consider that maybe the Mayans were just off by 5 years:

Stressed Colin Farrell GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY


#WTFWarner: Sen. Mark Warner is voting to confirm (fmr.) Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson?

Mark Warner — the Democratic senator from Virginia that wasn’t Hillary Clinton’s running mate — is going to vote to confirm (now, former) Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state today (Wednesday).

Tillerson has only ever worked at Exxon, one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world, which, BTW, totally knew that climate change was a thing in the 1970s but did everything it could to confuse the public about the reality of the impacts of increased CO2 emissions.*

Allow me to state that again in slightly different terms:

Mark Warner (D!!!) is voting to install a man as head of the state department who has known for many, many years that the better his company does, the more desperately poor, unlucky people will become homeless, destitute and, with absolutely no hyperbole, die.

If you disagree with that analysis, that’s fine with me. We’re obviously dealing with a separate set of facts,

Warner, on the other hand, has somewhat of a history of endorsing this expert-driven, peer-reviewed, globalist conspiracy of >97 percent of the world’s climate scientists. So, either he’s been lying to his constituents about what he believes (politicians will say anything…), or he has something to gain personally from confirming Tillerson — something worth dangerously jeopardizing his and our children’s future…

Here’s what Warner has said about climate change:

According to The Hill, in a July 2014 debate against Republican candidate Ed Gillespie, he said this:

“My opponent has never been willing to acknowledge the science around climate change, and that man has an effect on it. I’d love to take my opponent to Norfolk where seas are rising so much that the Navy is spending tens of millions a year just to raise the barriers.”

Here he is endorsing Obama’s Clean Power Plan:

He has an 86-percent rating with the League of Conservation Voters. Clean Water Action gave his 2015–2016 record a 75 percent.

Here’s Rex Tillerson’s record on climate issues:

In an April 2015 interview with the AP he said:

We are in the depletion business. There will come a time when all the resources that are supplying the world’s economies today are going to go in decline. This will be what’s needed next. If we start today it’ll take 20, 30, 40 years for those to come on.

Via Buzzfeed:

“I agree with the consensus view that combustion of fossil fuels is a leading cause for increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” [Tillerson] wrote to Cardin. “I understand these gases to be a factor in rising temperature, but I do not believe the scientific consensus supports their characterization as the ‘key’ factor.”

In reality, the 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that synthesized thousands of climate studies to examine the physics behind a warming atmosphere concluded that increased carbon dioxide, a byproduct of burning coal, oil and natural gas, caused the “largest contribution” to global warming, followed by other greenhouse gases that are likewise emitted by human industry.

Here is the NRDC’s argument against Tillerson.

On Tuesday, the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club condemned Warner’s expected yes vote:

Rex Tillerson is an unacceptable candidate for Secretary of State. While CEO of Exxon, he knowingly covered up the reality of climate change, showing his willingness to put his company’s profits over people’s health and safety.

So what has Warner said to explain his odd infatuation with this man, whose parents literally named him after a prehistoric man-eating monster?

“Climate change is a problem, but not a big OOOOOOONNNNEEEEEE!!!” — [T] Rex Tillerson (probably)

From WaPo:

“There are clearly going to be some Trump nominees that give me pause, but there are some I’m going to be supporting,” Warner said in an interview on Capitol Hill Tuesday. “I argued strenuously, both as a governor and under President Obama, that you give the president, or the governor, the chance to put his team in place.”

Warner said he’s opposed to Trump picks Betsy Devos and Steve Mnuchin.

Here he is on Devos:

Access to a quality public education is key to ensuring every child has a fair shot, and the Secretary of Education’s role in safeguarding students’ civil rights and safety cannot be understated. Ms. DeVos has not demonstrated that she appreciates the scope of these responsibilities, or that she is prepared to effectively fulfill them. For these reasons, I will not be supporting her nomination to be Secretary of Education.

On Mnuchin:

Throughout the confirmation process, Mr. Mnuchin has failed to adequately demonstrate that he will be a forceful advocate for innovative policies that will make the U.S. economy work better for the majority of Americans.

How he came to the conclusion that the CEO of a fossil fuel company would be one to “appreciate the scope” of climate change or “be a forceful advocate for innovative [clean energy] policies” he has yet to explain.

And he owes that to the people who elected and reelected him in 2008 and 2014. #WTFWarner???

Top donors to Sen. Mark Warner (via VPAP). Dominion is Virginia’s largest carbon emitter.

What have Warner’s constituents said to him about Tillerson?

From WaPo:

“They need to do anything they can to defeat or delay the seating of Senator Sessions, Mr. Tillerson and Mr. Price,” said Maggie Godbold, 62, a retiree and Democratic activist from Fairfax County, Va., who helped organize the protest at Warner’s office, one of 200 across the country Tuesday. “They’re unqualified.”

“We need Democrats who are willing to stand up and fight for the people, not give concessions to Trump. VA deserves more and we’re going to fight one way or another.”

Oh, and they were pretty pissed that he helped prevent a filibuster of the vote for Tillerson altogether on Tuesday…

I, by no means, want to appear to be telling activists and organizers what to do… but if they want to remake the Democratic Party (or Congress, more broadly), Warner is up for re-election again in 2020…

*You can read Inside Climate News’ reports on Exxon’s early knowledge of climate change, which got them nominated for a Pulitzer, HERE.

“I mean what the F*** dude” pic: New America

Cmnd+F: 1/27/2017 [A.M.]

This week was overwhelming. Here’s what you need to know for Jan. 27, 2017


This really felt surreal and dangerous:

DAVID MUIR: … concerned — are you at all concerned it’s going to cause more anger among Muslims …


DAVID MUIR: … the world?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: There’s plenty of anger right now. How can you have more?

DAVID MUIR: You don’t think it’ll …


DAVID MUIR: … exacerbate the problem?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: … David, I mean, I know you’re a sophisticated guy. The world is a mess. The world is as angry as it gets. What? You think this is gonna cause a little more anger? The world is an angry place. All of this has happened. We went into Iraq. We shouldn’t have gone into Iraq. We shouldn’t have gotten out the way we got out.

The world is a total mess. Take a look at what’s happening with Aleppo. Take a look what’s happening in Mosul. Take a look what’s going on in the Middle East. And people are fleeing and they’re going into Europe and all over the place. The world is a mess, David.

DAVID MUIR: You brought up Iraq and something you said that could affect American troops in recent days. You said, “We should’ve kept the oil but okay maybe we’ll have another chance.” What did you mean by that?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we should’ve kept the oil when we got out. And, you know, it’s very interesting, had we taken the oil, you wouldn’t have ISIS because they fuel themselves with the oil. That’s where they got the money. They got the money from leaving — when we left, we left Iraq, which wasn’t a government. It’s not a government now.

And by the way, and I said something else, if we go in and do this. You have two nations, Iraq and Iran. And they were essentially the same military strength. And they’d fight for decades and decades. They’d fight forever. And they’d keep fighting and it would go — it was just a way of life. We got in, we decapitated one of those nations, Iraq. I said, “Iran is taking over Iraq.” That’s essentially what happened.

DAVID MUIR: So, you believe we can go in and take the oil.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We should have taken the oil. You wouldn’t have ISIS if we took the oil. Now I wasn’t talking about it from the standpoint of ISIS because the way we got out was horrible. We created a vacuum and ISIS formed. But had we taken the oil something else would’ve very good happened. They would not have been able to fuel their rather unbelievable drive to destroy large portions of the world.

DAVID MUIR: You’ve heard the critics who say that would break all international law, taking the oil. But I wanna get to the words …


DAVID MUIR: … that you …

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Wait, wait, can you believe that? Who are the critics who say that? Fools.

Using data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, which interviews tens of thousands of people every election year, the ODU study concluded that, at most, “maybe 14 percent of non-citizens engaged in some type of voting behavior,” Richman said.

Repeat: That’s not 14 percent of all voters. That’s 14 percent of all non-citizens.

“And keep in mind that non-citizens are a fraction of the total U.S. population,” Richman said, around 20 million adults. “So they maybe make up, at the very, very high end, 1 percent of an electorate.”

Note: The measures Trump has taken, and the responses to them, over the last week are not included in this post. I’m working on a separate post to cover that.

Climate Change

With a capacity of 20 MW/80 MWh, the project can hold enough energy to power more than 2,500 households for a day, but that’s not really what Southern California Edison is using it for on its grid covering 15 million people.

Instead, the system will charge using electricity from the grid during off-peak hours, when demand is low, and then deliver electricity during peak hours to help maintain the reliability and lower SCE’s dependence on natural gas peaker plants.

On (the) Media

“We are not the opposition,’’ Stephen Engelberg, editor in chief of the nonprofit news organization ProPublica, wrote in an email. “We are part of an essential function in any democracy.” He added that ProPublica had no intention of “shutting up in response to this or any other president’s demand.”

The White House seemed to be using the same tactics the Chinese government routinely uses against the foreign press corps: Make false claims to support an alternative narrative. When challenged, threaten reporters — and then try to delegitimize them.

Like the new White House, the Chinese government has tried over the years to convince citizens not to believe their own eyes. For instance, when smog enveloped Chinese cities, the government would insist it was really just fog. This tactic grew increasingly absurd as air reached staggeringly toxic levels and people faced post-apocalyptic scenes that no propaganda campaign could overcome.

“What does an assessment mean? It’s not a national intelligence estimate. If you had a real estimate, you would have five or six dissents. One time they said 17 agencies all agreed. Oh really? The Coast Guard and the Air Force — they all agreed on it? And it was outrageous and nobody did that story. An assessment is simply an opinion. If they had a fact, they’d give it to you. An assessment is just that. It’s a belief. And they’ve done it many times.”

On Resistance

This is a new section dedicated to important and interesting perspectives on protest and resistance.

Through this perspective, we might view today’s blac bloc activists not as cynical, nihilistic criminals, but as deeply concerned, yet seemingly powerless, citizens whose love of their fellow man surpasses their reverence for property rights and/or the law in general (the reality is really only known to the protesters themselves).

That might sound totally ridiculous, but it’s exactly how we talk about the Boston Tea Party and other insurrections against our previous colonial ruler.

What makes me the enemy, you may ask? In their mind it’s very simple: if you’re not among the victims, you’re among the culprits. In your case, you’re that modern bogeyman called the liberal urbanite hipster who thinks all cultures and religions are valid and equally worthy, who thinks of the working-class disparagingly. You are, in short, ‘a citizen of nowhere’ whose utopia is a massive, world-wide kumbaya with carrot chips, no church, and no soul either.

It may surprise you to learn that most of the time those who break windows or get into scuffles with the police at these kind of things are not the equivalent of human non sequiturs but highly committed and rational individuals, who–right or wrong–choose their actions after careful deliberation and in sharp awareness of the personal risk they run. Although you may not immediately see it, there is no small amount of strategic thought behind such tactics…

Civil disobedience, like blocking a port, can incur costs in the millions of dollars, while other actions widely accepted as ‘non-violent’ like pouring fake blood over draft cards or mortgage records can amount to incredibly costly direct property destruction. Breaking cheap windows may look scarier to some, but appearing intimidating is hardly an atrocity.


If Christians refuse to help and actually use their political advocacy and opinions to further hurt refugees, immigrants, women, foreigners, minorities, the poor, the oppressed, the persecuted, the sick, the LGBTQ community — and aren’t abiding by the golden rule of loving their neighbors as themselves, then who exactly are Christians supposedly loving?

What benefit are Christians providing their communities, and what good are they contributing to the world around them? Because in America, it appears that the sole purpose of Christianity is to selfishly protect people’s own self-interests instead of sacrificially serving others.

The election of President Donald Trump has proven that numerous Christians are more worried about power, influence, and control than the gospel messages of humility, generosity, ministering to others, and love.

Cmnd+F: Inauguration Day -1

Everything worth reading for Jan. 19, 2017.

Inauguration Protests

“There’s an opportunity here for education and awareness building through the march,” Lake says. “Yes, it is going to be messy. It is going to be all these positions that aren’t the same, but what’s wonderful is that all these conversations are happening and it’s making people think. Just because things are challenging doesn’t mean it’s bad.”

And that’s exactly the point. The march has become momentous both because of the number of people attending who have been steeped in the fight for justice on multiple fronts and for the groundswell of people who have never been politically active at all, for whom just the act of showing up to a protest is, well, uncomfortable.

“Being able to attend the march is a privilege, and if you are unable to march that likely means that you will be one of the people hit hardest under the Trump regime.”

Trump/Cabinet Hearings

The whole thing has been a vanity show from the second he ran to the Republican Convention. I think we can expect to see the same on Inauguration Day. He’s been unable to find a clean division between his own emotional needs and his own insecurities and simply being a healthy, strategically committed leader who wants to parse through good policy options and a wide series of public statements about the direction in which he’ll take the country

But one thing I think that we have overlooked as we see Trump trying to delegitimize others is what I suspect is a feeling he has inside that nothing he’s ever achieved himself has ever been legitimate. This is a person who has never known whether anybody wants to be around him because he’s a person they want to be around or they want to be around his money. And since he’s promoted himself as this glamorous, incredibly wealthy person, that’s the draw he’s always given. So he doesn’t know if he has any legitimate relationships outside of his family, and that’s why he emphasizes family. … He’s always kind of gaming the system — not, in my view, winning on the merits. And even his election was with almost 3 million fewer votes than his opponent. So he has this deep fear that he is himself not a legitimate president, and I think that’s why he goes to such great lengths to delegitimize even the intelligence community, which is the president’s key resource in security, and he’s going to do this demeaning and delegitimizing behavior rather than accept what they have to tell him.

The cabinet appointments seem to me to be people who have been successful in some realm, so he takes that as proof of their abilities. But he’s also looking for people that will be in conflict with everyone in that department. Down the line, it’s the same kind of sowing-conflict mode that he’s used throughout his career of setting people against each other so that they’re not going to be loyal to each other and they’re going to be loyal to him.

At the end of the day, there is going to be an education secretary, and that person is going to be a member of Trump’s administration. It’s in the Republican Party’s interest, more than anyone else, that that person be an effective member of the team. Shielding DeVos’s flaws from public scrutiny by scheduling an unusually brief hearing with limited questions at an odd time works well if your goal is to spare her embarrassment.

Climate Change

At the center of all this is Standing Rock and Black Lives Matter, symbols and anchors of intersectionality and community power. Environmental and climate justice have always operated at that intersection of racial, social, gender and economic justice…

On (the) Media

The Post‘s announcement says he’ll be looking at the “remarkable reversal of fortune” in which “the nation’s largest cities have become magnets for money, innovation and young professionals, while its small towns and farms have become poorer, older, sicker and more resentful of urban elites.”

“Blowing stuff up isn’t hard. Crapping on the republic isn’t hard. Bullying reporters: not hard. These things don’t take genius. Come on.”

Another myth is that Trump’s victory represented some sort of catastrophic failure for the polls. Trump outperformed his national polls by only 1 to 2 percentage points in losing the popular vote to Clinton, making them slightly closer to the mark than they were in 2012. Meanwhile, he beat his polls by only 2 to 3 percentage points in the average swing state… the result was not some sort of massive outlier; on the contrary, the polls were pretty much as accurate as they’d been, on average, since 1968…

… there are real shortcomings in how American politics are covered, including pervasive groupthink among media elites, an unhealthy obsession with the insider’s view of politics, a lack of analytical rigor, a failure to appreciate uncertainty, a sluggishness to self-correct when new evidence contradicts pre-existing beliefs, and a narrow viewpoint that lacks perspective from the longer arc of American history….

White voters without college degrees, by far Trump’s strongest demographic group, were disproportionately concentrated in swing states, while Clinton’s coalition of minorities and college-educated whites (but with declining turnout among black voters) produced huge gains for her in states such as California and Texas without winning her any additional electoral votes.

“we are greatly, greatly supportive of national treasures such as Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and Peyton Manning. And we really support their efforts to really get the truth out there.”

Americans who said they voted for Clinton reported a more diverse array of news sources than Americans who said they voted for Trump, with no one news source named by more than one in five self-identified Clinton voters. About 18 percent of Clinton voters said they relied on CNN as their main source of election news; other sources, like The New York Times and MSNBC, hovered between 5 and 9 percent.

Eight percent of Trump voters relied on CNN for their main election news, according to the survey results.

All in all, most respondents said they relied on television news as their main source of election news. About the same percentage of Trump and Clinton voters relied on news sources like CBS and NBC News, as well as local television stations.


“Wednesday’s incidents came just over a week after 16 Jewish institutions across several eastern states received similar threats. The calls were said to be prerecorded in some cases and live in others, with the caller using voice disguising technology, and likely came from a single source.”

North Dakota Guard spokesman William Prokopyk told The Daily Beast that the Avenger’s missile tubes aren’t loaded. “These systems have observation capabilities and are used strictly in the observation role to protect private property and public safety,” Prokopyk said.

I think that we can’t say “This school is not good enough for my child” and then sustain that system. I think that that’s just morally wrong. If it’s not good enough for my child, then why are we putting any children in those schools?

Cmnd+F: Inauguration Day -2

Everything worth reading (and watching)(and listening to) for Jan. 18 2017

Inauguration Protests

Trump/Cabinet Hearings

While Democrats slammed him for suing the agency more than a dozen times as attorney general, Republicans worked to cast those lawsuits as a counterweight to federal overreach, and Pruitt was receptive to their framing.

“Your goal is not to do away with regulation, your goal is to make it such that the EPA follows their regulatory authority,” Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) said.

“The idea that her own mother’s foundation would accidentally list her as a vice president for years as result of a clerical error is just not believable. The Democrats should go to town on this obvious attempt to mislead the Senate. This alone should disqualify DeVos, though there is a vast ocean of other reasons they could fish from.”

Her financial disclosure notes that she will receive a “cash payout for my deferred stock compensation” upon confirmation as Secretary of Transportation. The document discloses that the payments will continue throughout her time in government, if she is confirmed. The payouts will begin in July 2017 and continue yearly through 2021.

Her hands visibly shaking as she held a copy of her statement, Zervos said she had “no alternative” but to sue Trump to vindicate her reputation. The lawsuit seems designed to either force Trump into a confession or into giving potentially embarrassing or incriminating testimony in court. Both Zervos and Allred said the lawsuit would be dropped if Trump retracted his statements calling the women who accused him of assault and misconduct “liars.”

… She did note, however, that Allred and Zervos would be attending the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday to protest Trump’s Friday inauguration and that “other accusers” would “be there marching with us.”

… white Americans are five times more likely than black Americans to say they didn’t vote simply because they “did not like candidates or campaign issues”. Meanwhile, black voters are more likely than white voters to cite obstacles to voting, such as “inconvenient polling place” or “transportation problems”…

Answers like “too busy” are also more likely to be chosen by non-white voters who are questioned by the census, a fact which is often met with an eye-roll as being an “excuse”. But people of color are more likely than white people to live in single-parent households and are more likely to work in roles with less pay and less job security. For many of those voters, heading to a polling station for a few hours on a Tuesday is particularly difficult.

Climate Change

His findings show that if human-induced climate change was not part of the equation, the amount of warming in 2016 would have less than one-in-a-million odds of occurring.

“One could argue that about 75 percent of the warmth was due to human impact,” Dr. Mann said.

(^Peep the byline. My college roommate is kicking ass)

On (the) Media

44:15: I like the stories about people who are dismissed as monsters… ‘Trump’s a monster,’ well great we don’t need to wrestle with, ‘uh oh. he’s not a monster. He’s in this human family with us.’ I’m not normalizing him, I’m acknowledging the fact that… if Trump is human, what’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with the human condition?

48:45: When I was in the midst of that crowd, there’s no way I would’ve said I was a journalist… No question, I know I would’ve gotten clocked. I was standing around with people that were talking about how much they would like to get their hands on a CNN reporter…

They were just clearly religious events… talk about press failure. Every one of those rallies started with a preacher. Did you ever see that covered?…

And the preacher at the Youngstown [Trump rally] — the first one I went to — I know the religious right, this guy was hard right… And the people around me weren’t real churchgoers. We don’t understand this, but [there are] lots of people who aren’t actually religious, but they like the idea of it. This, by the way is Putin’s Russia too…

Many, many of the rallies would begin with a black preacher… This was a smart move right? This was inoculating the white crowd from the idea that they’re racist: ‘I really like that black preacher up there!’ right?…

53:49: We’ve just experienced a radical, profound failure of comprehension. Youd on’t fix that with hard news. You fix that with stories.

I’m watching this later tonight. It looks REALLY good.


It is very difficult to argue, in light of all that has happened in the three years since the Snowden revelations, that there was no public interest in what he did. Numerous lawyers, judges, legislators, nonprofit organizations and academics have demonstrated the contrary. Even Eric H. Holder Jr., the former attorney general, acknowledged last year, “We can certainly argue about the way in which Snowden did what he did, but I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made.”

“No young man should spend four months in jail for stealing a candy bar and soda,” Roxanne Adams, the aunt of Jamycheal Mitchell, said during a news conference at the General Assembly Building. “The mentally ill should be in treatment centers, not jails.”

Mitchell lost 46 pounds over 101 days at Hampton Roads Regional Jail after allegedly stealing $5 in snacks from a convenience store. He died Aug. 19, 2015 of extreme weight loss and heart problems.

Cmnd+F: MLK Day

Everything worth reading for Jan. 16, 2017


^This talk is really good.

This interview is a really good read:

I shall never forget the grief and bitterness I felt on that terrible September morning when a bomb blew out the lives of those four little, innocent girls sitting in their Sunday-school class in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. I think of how a woman cried out, crunching through broken glass, “My God, we’re not even safe in church!” I think of how that explosion blew the face of Jesus Christ from a stained-glass window. It was symbolic of how sin and evil had blotted out the life of Christ. I can remember thinking that if men were this bestial, was it all worth it? Was there any hope? Was there any way out?

Haley: Do you still feel this way?

King: No, time has healed the wounds — and buoyed me with the inspiration of another moment which I shall never forget: when I saw with my own eyes over 3,000 young Negro boys and girls, totally unarmed, leave Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church to march to a prayer meeting — ready to pit nothing but the power of their bodies and souls against Bull Connor’s police dogs, clubs, and fire hoses. When they refused Connor’s bellowed order to turn back, he whirled and shouted to his men to turn on the hoses. It was one of the most fantastic events of the Birmingham story that these Negroes, many of them on their knees, stared, unafraid and unmoving, at Connor’s men with the hose nozzles in their hands. Then, slowly the Negroes stood up and advanced, and Connor’s men fell back as though hypnotized, as the Negroes marched on past to hold their prayer meeting. I saw there, I felt there, for the first time, the pride and the power of nonviolence.

I would like to reply with another rhetorical question: Why do white people seem to find it so difficult to understand that the Negro is sick and tired of having reluctantly parceled out to him those rights and privileges which all others receive upon birth or entry in America? I never cease to wonder at the amazing presumption of much of white society, assuming that they have the right to bargain with the Negro for his freedom. This continued arrogant ladling out of pieces of the rights of citizenship has begun to generate a fury in the Negro. Even so, he is not pressing for revenge, or for conquest, or to gain spoils, or to enslave, or even to marry the sisters of those who have injured him.

The conflict between King and the Freedom Riders is one to remember as the need for resistance persists more than half a century later. “We all had different roles,” said Dennis, who has spent the last two decades trying to bridge the education gap in America while also traveling the country speaking about the civil rights movement and how to achieve those dreams in the 21st century. “King’s role was different. Nobody could articulate the issues in the movement the way he did. His role was to do what he did. There were farmers, and workers in cities who had roles and couldn’t go to jail because they had families to take care of. The students had their roles, too. We all had different things we needed to do to achieve our goals. Nobody was more important than anyone else.”

The New York Times editorial board blasted King for linking the war in Vietnam to the struggles of civil rights and poverty alleviation in the United States, saying it was “too facile a connection” and that he was doing a “disservice” to both causes. It concluded that there “are no simple answers to the war in Vietnam or to racial injustice in this country.” The Washington Post editorial board said King had “diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country and his people.” In all, 168 newspapers denounced him the next day…

King had long considered himself a socialist, In 1966, he told staff at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference that “there must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism. Call it what you may, call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children.”

Inauguration Protests

Washington will in effect transform into a series of chaotic demonstrations along the two-mile route Trump will travel from the U.S. Capitol to the White House after he is sworn in as the 45th President…

A group known as Antifascists of D.C. plans to shut down the roads at strategic traffic points on Inauguration Day, but it is unclear where or when they plan to carry it out. Actions are expected to occur early in the day…

The protest groups are making no secret about their plans. Last Sunday, they invited the public to attend a meeting publicized on Facebook. Over three hundred showed up–including plainclothes police officers who took photographs of the attendees…

[I]f you’re not planning to go to DC because it’s too far or too hard or not right for you and your family, check out options for local marches. Nearly 600,000 people are planning to attend more than 280 marches around the U.S.

If you aren’t attending a local march or the national march, please consider donating to the cause. You can still help even if you aren’t the marching type.

Trump and Related

The warrant adds that he referred to the incident as a “misunderstanding,” which is the wrong word: Grabbing a colleague by the genitals is sexual assault, a fact which is seemingly understood by everyone but von Keyserling.

The woman also told police that she’d heard of him acting in a similar way toward other employees, and that he’d been referring to the groping as “a joke.” She felt obligated to come forward to prevent similar things from happening to other women, the warrant said.

Climate Change

On (the) Media

They use classic clickbait headlines, actively seek to confirm far-right ideology, and exploit bigotry and biases. Social media analytics site BuzzSumo, which tracks social media engagement levels for websites, shows that half of American News’ 10 most shared stories — which collectively boasted more than 4 million Facebook engagements — featured fearmongering about Muslims. Among these was an anti-Muslim fake news story claiming that a Texas man was forced to remove the U.S. flag from his house because it was a “threat to Muslims.”

I wanted to go and see the human toll for myself and be able to communicate that. We just disappear these people from society. Most prisons are pretty distant physically from our cities, which makes it easier for society to ignore that we have so many people warehoused in them. Families are having a hard time reaching them physically, and the emotional toll, the financial cost for our society and our communities, is tough to watch. I would cry but also be very pissed off. We need to get pissed off. We need to understand that what we do in America is radically oppressive. We are the leading incarcerator in the world. There’s nobody better at locking people up than we are. We need to confront that, because that’s being done in our name. Our money pays for it; our politicians are enacting these laws. If that’s what the land of the free and the home of the brave is known for, why aren’t we saying more to do something about it?
 — John Legend

I want to talk about what you ended the question with: low-level crimes. There’s this narrative about low-level, nonviolent drug offenders. We’ve been saying it for years: Let’s let those people go free. When do we start talking about populations of people that maybe did something violent — not because they are violent people, but because they lived in a place where their day-to-day was consumed by violence, their conditioning since they were kids was kill or be killed? In a flash, they do something violent, but that doesn’t make them “violent offenders.”…
 — Adam Foss

One of the reasons I’m excited about being a human rights lawyer working in tech is because we can bear witness in ways that were unimaginable before. Our mobile devices have changed the conversation around police brutality, and that has become a public-square conversation. We are now able to use technology to bear witness to each other’s lives, to document abuse not just within one community, or one country, but in a global context — and then share it on these global platforms. I think about what happened in Ferguson, or Baton Rouge. Technology is about being borderless. It’s about surmounting walls. I mean, if the 20th century was the history of how walls and boundaries define us and diminish us in so many ways, the 21st century is about how we can surmount those walls. Tech is part of what allows us to do that. Every human rights abuse, every genocide, every act of rape, every war crime happens in an atmosphere of isolation and silence. Tech allows us this powerful opportunity to disrupt that silence, to disrupt that isolation, so that we understand what is happening.
 — Malika Saada Saar

SB782 aimed to repeals the statutory prohibitions on same-sex marriages and civil unions in the Commonwealth, specifically dealing with Virginia state laws 20–45.2. and 45.3.

National Archives via NY Times

MLK, Jerry Falwell and History

The biggest name in Lynchburg actively fought against the man we’re celebrating today.

Martin Luther King Jr., 1965:

[T]he most pervasive mistake I have made was in believing that because our cause was just, we could be sure that the white ministers of the South, once their Christian consciences were challenged, would rise to our aid. I felt that white ministers would take our cause to the white power structure. I ended up, of course, chastened and disillusioned. As our movement unfolded, and direct appeals were made to white ministers, most folded their hands — and some even took stands against us.

Jerry Falwell on integration, 1958:

The true Negro does not want integration…. He realizes his potential is far better among his own race… It will destroy our race eventually. In one northern city, a pastor friend of mine tells me that a couple of opposite race live next door to his church as man and wife.

“[Falwell] enlisted with J. Edgar Hoover to distribute FBI manufactured propaganda against the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and publicly denounced the 1964 Civil Rights Act as ‘civil wrongs,’”

— Max Blumenthal, The Nation

Falwell on civil rights leaders, 1964:

[I question] the sincerity and intentions of some civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mr. James Farmer, and others, who are known to have left-wing associations. It is very obvious that the Communists, as they do in all parts of the world, are taking advantage of a tense situation in our land, and are exploiting every incident to bring about violence and bloodshed…

Preachers are not called to be politicians, but soul winners.”

Three years later he opened Lynchburg (later Liberty) Christian Academy as a (segregated) private school for white children.

On MLK Day, 2016, Liberty University hosted Donald Trump (who, has been sued for housing discrimination, and just days ago, attacked civil rights icon John Lewis for being “all talk”). Over the last year, Jerry Falwell Jr. has been a faithful supporter (read: surrogate) of Trump, appearing on network news programs and even going so far as to get into petty arguments with anti-Trump LU students.

I wanted to highlight these things, not because I enjoy beating dead horses (Falwell later said he’d been wrong on integration), but because when we talk about MLK and the Civil Rights Movement, we rarely connect the dots from that time to now.

Conservative historical revisionists have tried to erase the names and faces of those who worked against the movements for justice and civil rights, but it’s not like we don’t have anything to learn from them…

like what it sounds like to be on the wrong side of history at an especially historic time…

Note: I’m from Lynchburg and Falwell’s ministries are still the dominant institution of that city.

Disclosure: Jerry Falwell Jr. has been nice to me before.

Cmnd+F: 1/11/2017

[For reactions, skip to the end→]

Trump and Related

The dossier, which is a collection of memos written over a period of months, includes specific, unverified, and potentially unverifiable allegations of contact between Trump aides and Russian operatives, and graphic claims of sexual acts documented by the Russians. BuzzFeed News reporters in the US and Europe have been investigating various alleged facts in the dossier but have not verified or falsified them. CNN reported Tuesday that a two-page synopsis of the report was given to President Obama and Trump.

Via the New York Times:

The memos suggest that for many years, the Russian government of Mr. Putin has looked for ways to influence Mr. Trump, who has traveled repeatedly to Moscow to investigate real estate deals or to oversee the Miss Universe competition, which he owned for several years. Mr. Trump never completed any major deals in Russia, though he discussed them for years.

“In short, there is no indication so far that his confirmation is in jeopardy.”

Climate Change

Nature Climate Change (story below)

The temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 2.9°F above the 20th century average for 2016, displacing 2015 and ranking only behind 2012, when searing heat waves hit the middle of the country.

More notable than the back-to-back second place years, Arndt said, was that 2016 was the 20th consecutive warmer-than-normal year for the U.S. and that the five hottest years for the country have all happened since 1998. Those streaks mirror global trends, with 15 of the 16 hottest years on record occurring in the 21st century and no record cold year globally since 1911.

“Any economic strategy that doesn’t take climate change into account will result in fewer jobs and less economic growth in the long term.”

“December produced the least snow in Switzerland since record-keeping began more than 100 years ago.”

“NOAA challenged idea of [the]global warming ‘pause.’ Now new research says the agency was right.”

The ash, buried as much as 6 feet below mean sea level, is “highly vulnerable to coastal hazards, including flooding, storm surge, erosion and sea level rise,” says the report from researchers at Western Carolina University’s Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines. “Further, with the changing climate in the coming decades, these hazards are only expected to worsen” at the Chesapeake Energy Center site.

On (the) Media

I think the one thing we’ve been smacked in the head with in recent years is that people don’t understand that stuff. And the most non-elitist thing we can do is to assume people don’t understand it. To relax a bit in forms of storytelling, to tell people when we witness things and observe things. To be transparent…

Readers pay our bills more than they ever have. We have to listen to them.

I went to a couple of US Uncut protests and then it died out, but a lot of the protesters at US Uncut went over to Occupy Wall Street. So, I was at Zuccotti Park the first day of the Occupy Wall Street protest, which at the time didn’t seem like it was going to amount to anything and then, of course, it blew up. And because The Nation is cool, they were like “Yeah, do that for us!” So that was really my first big journalism break.

It is dangerous to give Donald Trump, a known and habitual liar, the opportunities to attempt to paint lies as truth. In my mind it is not even so much an issue over printing Trump’s response, but that there was not an immediate refutation of his claims by the article’s author in the piece itself. These may seem like small issues, even down to single turns of phrase. But they are also the slipperiest of slopes.

The trajectory that started with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s use of the radio for fireside chats — and continued with the Age of Television — is reaching its natural conclusion with Trump and the real-time social Web…

We are living in a moment in which communications regulation, both official and cultural, is in freefall. Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey set the rules whereby heads of state communicate and the rest of us respond. Other disruptive political movements — the Brexit campaign in the UK; the Five Star Movement in Italy; and, most notoriously, ISIS — have also used the convergence of communications technologies to recruit and activate entirely new power bases.


“The SEALs believe that they can handle the discipline themselves, that’s equal to or greater than what the criminal justice system would give to the person,” said Susan Raser, a retired Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent who led the agency’s criminal division but did not investigate this mission. “They have an internal process that they think is sufficient and they are not inclined to cooperate unless they absolutely have to.” Raser, who conducted investigations into both regular SEAL units and SEAL Team 6, said that in her experience, SEALs simply didn’t report wrongdoing by their teammates.

In 2016, US special operators could be found in 70% of the world’s nations, 138 countries — a staggering jump of 130% since the days of the Bush administration… the Obama administration dropped at least 26,171 bombs. This means that every day last year, the US military blasted combatants or civilians overseas with 72 bombs; that’s three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day.

The jury of nine whites and three blacks, who last month found Mr. Roof guilty of 33 counts for the attack at this city’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, returned their unanimous verdict after about three hours of deliberations.

Despite the anger I am still coping with from my mother’s death, I don’t believe in the death penalty, even for the man who killed her. That’s my conviction because of my faith. I’ve said the same thing all along — I don’t believe as human beings that we should take away someone’s life just because we have the power to do so.

This one-sided representation of campus speech doesn’t reflect my 14 years teaching in large public institutions in Michigan, Texas and Wisconsin. In that time, no student has ever demanded that my classes include a trigger warning or asked for a safe space. But my colleagues and I have been given much more reason to worry about the ideological agendas of elected officials and politically appointed governing boards. Students can protest on the campus mall, demanding that policies be changed; elected officials can pass laws or cut resources to reflect their beliefs about how a campus should operate. One group has much more power than the other.

Reactions to President Obama’s farewell speech

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Cmnd+F: 1/6/2017

Only the highest quality, responsibly-sourced digital news content (for January 6, 2017)

Trump and Related

The elaborate campaign included, according to the report:*Covert operations such as “cyber activity” and overt operations through state-funded media and “paid social media users or ‘trolls’.”*Russian military intelligence relaying material to media outlets *And gaining access to “elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards” although it was clear to say those systems were “not involved in vote tallying.”

Climate Change

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced today that it had denied applications from six companies seeking to do seismic airgun blasting along the coast, including off Virginia.

“Those who believe that we are talking about the Grand Canyon and the Catskills, but not Harlem and Watts are wrong.”

For decades, environmentalism and what we now call environmental justice were deeply intertwined. Care for the earth and for vulnerable human communities belonged together. Empowering workers, protecting public health, and preserving landscapes were part of a single effort. Maybe it’s time to reclaim that older environmental movement, and see that it was an environmental-justice movement all along.

Virginia Politics

2017 is gonna be lit

Danica Roem, a journalist for the Montgomery County Sentinel and a lifelong resident of Manassas, Va., has announced she will run as a Democrat against longtime Republican Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas, Manassas Park, Bull Run), who is known best for his socially conservative views, including his vehement opposition to LGBT rights

Obviously, Perriello’s anti-abortion vote does not disqualify him from Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. It does, however, call into question the lazy narrative that Perriello represents a progressive challenge to Northam’s centrist disposition. Northam is a liberal with a strong track record on gun safety and reproductive health, two core tenets of the contemporary Democratic Party. Perriello’s voting record suggests he is a blue dog Democrat who deviates sharply from the party line on gun control and abortion rights. If the Perriello of 2017 wants to run as a proud progressive, that’s his prerogative. But he owes it to voters to explain why he deserves to be seen as a liberal champion for Virginia.

Virginia Sierra Club is organizing a social media ‘thunderclap’ to oppose Scott Pruitt’s nomination to head the EPA on Jan. 17:

On (the) Media

Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough is cozying up to Trump, the network is literally paying Trump through Celebrity Apprentice, and MSNBC is reportedly in talks to hire Greta Van Susteren, a longtime Fox News host with a history of treating Trump with kid gloves. And now Megyn Kelly, who famously buried the hatchet with Trump by lobbing him a softball interview and then withheld information about him until after the election, is also going to work for NBC.


Perry’s hypothesis for the disconnect is that much of the population, especially that rising portion with no clear memories of the first Cold War, is suffering from a deficit of comprehension. Even a single nuclear explosion in a major city would represent an abrupt and possibly irreversible turn in modern life, upending the global economy, forcing every open society to suspend traditional liberties and remake itself into a security state. “The political, economic and social consequences are beyond what people understand,” Perry says. And yet many people place this scenario in roughly the same category as the meteor strike that supposedly wiped out the dinosaurs — frightening, to be sure, but something of an abstraction…

“I am not suggesting that this Cold War and this arms race is identical to the old one,” Perry added. “But in many ways, it is just as bad, just as dangerous. And totally unnecessary.”

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Flickr/Daniel Kulinski

Cmnd F: 1/3/2017

Everything worth reading from Jan. 3, 2017

Trump and Related

South Korea should be our role model. For months on end, in fierce opposition to corruption with their President, millions of people filled the streets in protest. At first, what it would accomplish was not clear, but the people knew that corruption necessitates opposition. As the opposition grew and grew and grew, it gripped the nation and eventually broke the back of the administration, causing the ouster of their President.

“With a record number of people selecting plans for Jan. 1, Americans are once again proving that coverage is vital to them and their families,” said Wakana, referring to the federally run Obamacare exchange that sells health coverage in 39 states.

About 6.4 million people signed up for individual health plans on that exchange in time for coverage that kicked in on New Year’s Day. That was 400,000 people more than had signed up during the same time period in the last open enrollment season.

[T]here’s one realm in which Perry will have plenty of preparation: doling out taxpayer money in the form of government grants to the energy industry.

What often gets lost in all the talk of the Texas job boom under Perry is how much economic development strategy was driven by direct subsidies to employers who promised to relocate to the state or create jobs there. Of course, many states have for years engaged in the game of luring companies with tax incentives. But by the count of a2012 New York Times investigation, Texas under Perry vaulted to the top, giving out $19 billion in incentives per year, more than any other state.

Climate Change

There’s a reason the U.S. military cares so much about climate change. Not only will climate change drive wars in the future, it will affect some of their own installations. Naval Air Station Key West, for example, will lose 70 to 95 percent of its land to the ocean by 2100, and as much as 45 percent of its land will be inundated by 2050.

On (the) Media

The one thing Fox insiders are in agreement on is that whoever replaces Kelly will be a pro-Trump conservative. In the wake of Ailes’s ouster, some media observers speculated that 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch wanted to reposition Fox to the center, bringing it more in line with his moderate political views. But the selection of a pro-Trump host to fill Kelly’s slot would suggest that Fox is instead doubling down on its right-wing politics and planning to align itself with the new administration…

If Fox News’ politics ultimately solidify as more pro-Trump than they were during the campaign, that might be to the benefit of Murdoch’s business interests. According to a well-placed source, Trump has asked Murdoch to submit names for FCC Chairman. Murdoch, another source said, also wants conditions put on the AT&T-Time Warner merger, and he could lobby Trump to make that happen.


“As a matter of conscience and conviction, we can neither be mute nor mumble our opposition to Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions becoming attorney general of the United States,” Brooks said in a statement. “Sen. Sessions has callously ignored the reality of voter suppression but zealously prosecuted innocent civil rights leaders on trumped-up charges of voter fraud. As an opponent of the vote, he can’t be trusted to be the chief law enforcement officer for voting rights.”


[T]he midterms will offer the first nationwide referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency. The whole House of Representatives, a third of the Senate, and most governorships will be at stake, along with hundreds of state legislative seats and local offices around the country. The better Democratic candidates perform, the more strength they’ll have to block legislation or nominees they don’t like in Trump’s third and fourth years…

[I]n 36 states, the governor who will be in office for the next redistricting will be elected in 2017 or 2018. And in 31 states, half or more of state senators whose terms extend through the next redistricting will be elected in 2017 or 2018.

(Interview starts at 32:30)

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