Quote of the Day postsFriday September 22, 2017
Our Story So Far
“We know that the Russians launched a cyber campaign to help Trump win. We know that the Trump campaign was willing to entertain assistance from the Russian government because Manafort, Jared Kushner, and Donald Trump, Jr., eagerly met with a Russian offering such assistance. This latest news suggests—though the reporting is still vague—what many people have long wondered: that Manafort may have been a crucial link between the Trump campaign and Russians seeking to defeat Hillary Clinton. If Mueller or congressional investigators unearth proof that Manafort colluded with the Russians, it will fortify the narrative that the Trump campaign worked with a foreign nation to alter the outcome of an American Presidential election—an unprecedented event in the country's history.”
-- from Ryan Lizza's “A Dizzying Week of Trump-Russia Revelations” on The New Yorker site
Quote of the Day
“When you're in film school everyone talks about, 'Oh, I wouldn't make a studio film, that's selling out.' And you're like, 'You know how hard it is to ”sell out“? To, like, work with a studio? They only hire 12 people a year—in the whole world!”
-- Justin Lin, in the documentary “Hollywood Chinese,” 2007
Trump is the Culmination of 50 Years of GOP Strategy
“We've seen this coming. Donald Trump is not an outlier; he is a culmination, a logical conclusion of the rhetoric and tactics of the Republican Party for the past ten, fifteen, twenty years. What surprised me was the degree to which those tactics and rhetoric completely jumped the rails.”
-- Pres. Barack Obama, before last November's election, in conversation with David Remnick. In Remnick's New Yorker piece, “Donald Trump's True Allegiances,” Remnick goes on to talk about how, for the past 50 years, “the leaders of the G.O.P. have fanned the lingering embers of racial resentment in the United States.” This is the story. Don't lose sight of this.
ADDENDUM: The piece keeps getting better. From Remnick: “This is the inescapable fact: on November 9th, the United States elected a dishonest, inept, unbalanced, and immoral human being as its President and Commander-in-Chief. Trump has daily proven unyielding to appeals of decency, unity, moderation, or fact. He is willing to imperil the civil peace and the social fabric of his country simply to satisfy his narcissism and to excite the worst inclinations of his core followers.”
On some level I'm like, “Of course! Why do you think we were all so fucking depressed?” But it's nice that it's out there.
Quotes of the Day in Another Crazy Week in America
What do you say about this week? I have no words. Or few words. Or fewer words than normal.
OK, I have other people's words. That makes it easier.
Steve Bannon got the axe yesterday, and he went out with a promise to bring his, you know, fire and fury back to his alt-right/white supremacist/neo-Nazi website Breitbart, which has been spewing bullshit for years. (I've mostly followed its shoddy reporting on, and attacks of, Hollywood and the American film community.) Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker has a good piece, “The Rise and Fall of Steve Bannon,” in which he parses the particular idiocy of the Trump administration:
“In previous White Houses, officials downplayed this sort of internal combat, insisting that everyone was united around the President's agenda. But in the Trump White House there is no Trump agenda. There is a mercurial, highly emotional narcissist with no policy expertise who set up—or allowed his senior staffers to set up—competing ideological fiefdoms that fight semi-public wars to define the soul of Trumpism.”
Is there a particular idiocy to Trump? Following Trump's doubling-down on defending the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Jimmy Kimmel had a great monologue on Tuesday. You can see it here. I particularly like the moment, at 7:20 or so, when he reminds us of the lowlights of this presidency. Because we tend to forget. Because there's so many of them. But here we go:
Then he moves into the White House. Right off the bat, he's angry at the media for reporting that the crowd at his inaugruation was smaller than it was. Which was weird, but not important, really. And he claimed it stopped raining when he was speaking at his inaugural address, which ... everyone could see it was raining. But OK, it was his first week, you give him a break. So he gets in there, hires his daughter, hires his son-in-law, demands an investigation of voter fraud even though he won the election; he calls the prime minister of Australia and hangs up on him, he won't shake Angela Merkel's hand, he doesn't know Frederick Douglass isn't alive; he claims he can't release his tax returns because they're under audit, then says he's not going to release them at all; he signs a ban on Muslims that he claims isn't a ban on Muslims; he compliments the president of the Philippines for murdering drug addicts; hours after a terror attack on London he starts a fight with their mayor; after criticizing Obama for playing golf he plays golf every weekend; he accidentally shares classified intelligence with the Russians; he tweets a typo at midnight, then wakes up and claims it was a secret message; he praises Jim Comey in February, calls him a coward in June, and fires him, and he lashes out at his own attorney general for recusing himself from the investigation; he hires the Mooch, he fires the Mooch, he bans transgenders in the military without telling anyone in the military he's doing it; he plays chicken with Kim Jong Un ... And that's just some of the list!
Trump just moves from disaster to disaster, declaring victory all the while. We've had bad presidents, incompentent ones, malicious ones, racist ones, but never all of those elements together in one clownsuit. The fact that we ever elected him remains a dark day for American democracy.
Meanwhile, infamous conspiracy theorist Alex Jones (9/11 was an inside job, Sandy Hook shooting was 'a total hoax') was on the streets of my city, Seattle, yesterday, apparently looking for someone to talk to. But not really. He just wants to spew. He and others on the right want to make Seattle the new Hollywood: a perennial right-wing punching bag. According to KOMO News, he said, “These people are bots, they're in a cult. 'Can you speak?' We're trying to see if any of these folks can speak out here.” Hey Alex, it's called the Seattle Freeze. Get used to it. Someone supposedly threw coffee on him but that was probably staged. He asked to talk to a city councilman but got this response: “I don't talk to racist fucks.” Love that. But my favorite part of KOMO's piece was this graf:
Jones also had plenty of defenders on Twitter, including @SeigHeil1, who asked people to pray for Jones as he was “surrounded by pharmaceutically deranged communists in Seattle.”
When you're defenders are @SeigHeil1, who needs enemies?
Meanwhile, on Twitter, Dinesh D'Souza is still peddling his idiot “Democrats started the KKK” argument. He got this response:
And then...the 20th century happened. Google it Dinesh. https://t.co/oWvuUzrEl0— Avi Asher-Schapiro (@AASchapiro) August 18, 2017
But my favorite tweet of the week, in a week in which many were suddenly talking about taking down Confederate statues, and others, from Pres. Trump to Tucker Carlson, were arguing that this was tantamount to destroying our history, amid all that hubub, we got this:
Are we going to take down this statue of Trump and Mitch McConnell? pic.twitter.com/EHSxDBJN5Z— Talia (@2020fight) August 17, 2017
Quote for Donald Trump II
“The easiest thing to do with great power,” [Eisenhower] continued, “is to abuse it—to use it to excess.” The United States, he said, must not “grow weary of the processes of negotiation and adjustment that are fundamental to freedom” and slide into “coercion of other free nations.” To do so “would be a mark of the imperialist rather than of the leader.”
-- from pg. 99 of “Ike and McCarthy: Dwight Eisenhower's Secret Campaign against Joseph McCarthy” by David A. Nichols