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Archive for the ‘White House’ Category

… another rotation of moms and dads arrived at work to discover that they should have blocked POTUS on their tween sons’ Twitter accounts. What an example for boys the age of his own son!

 

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A biopic about J.D. Salinger debuted at Sundance and is likely and given the writer-director’s creds is a hit in the making and is likely to spur a revival of The Catcher in the Rye this year.

MAKE AMERICA PHONY AGAIN

J.D. Salinger in the Age of Donald Trump: ‘The Rebel in the Rye’ Debuts at Sundance

Writer-director Danny Strong (Empire, The Butler, Game Change) on why his J.D. Salinger biopic The Rebel in the Rye, which just premiered at Sundance, is so timely.

Kevin Fallon

Kevin Fallon

01.28.17

“What makes you think that you have anything to say to people?”

It’s a crushing line, delivered from father to son, in writer-director Danny Strong’s new J.D. Salinger biopic The Rebel in the Rye, which chronicles how Salinger’s time fighting in World War II and ensuing PTSD played backdrop to his writing one of the last century’s most popular and important novels, and eventually played a part in the writer spending the last decades of his life a recluse in New Hampshire.

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George Orwell’s 1984 is at the top of Amazon’s bestseller list, again. It is unlikely that this is because every English teacher in America is assigning it as required reading this semester. Many probably are, and if I were back in my English teaching days, I probably would. In fact I probably would add Animal Farm, which I did use with freshman English classes once upon a time.  Two articles published today cite both books as worthy of a second read.  It may be the year of the rooster, but the pigs are in control.

Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast

Prescient

How George Orwell Predicted Donald Trump

The White House’s embrace of ‘alternative facts’ evokes the managed truth Orwell described in 1984 and Animal Farm—a perfect example of the Big Lie backed by Big Power.

John Sutherland

01.28.17

Oh Orwell, thou shouldst be living at this hour. In fact, every hour since that dark night in January 1950 when you died, alone, in a hospital. Perhaps, web paranoia speculates, your truth-telling got too dangerous for the powers that be and you were terminated with extreme prejudice. It makes a crazy kind of sense.

The recent furor about “alternative facts,” in a culture polluting its thought processes with post-truth license and fake news, suggests that George Orwell’s dire predictions about double-think and thought-crime are with us—albeit 33 years late.

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In our Orwellian reality, reach for ‘Animal Farm’ with your ‘1984’

After Trump took office, on Saturday he sent his press secretary out to berate and lie to the press. On Sunday, his senior adviser called the lies “alternative facts.” The Washington Post’s media columnist Margaret Sullivan declared we’ve gone “full Orwell.”

Sales of Orwell’s anti-totalitarian classic “1984” skyrocketed after Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway tried to justify the government’s over-exaggerated inaugural turnout claim as ” alternative facts.”

But Stanford University literature professor Alex Woloch, who penned ” Or Orwell: Writing and Democratic Socialism,” says another book by the late British author might provide better insight for what’s happening to America today: “Animal Farm.”

“In ‘1984,’ however we’ve gotten into that situation has already occurred,” Woloch says. “But in ‘Animal Farm,’ [Orwell is] really tracing that sense of a ‘slippery slope.’”

Woloch is referring to the “slippery slope” scholars on authoritarian regimes call the transition from democracy to totalitarianism.

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Meanwhile, the benevolent dictator wannabe’s executive order banning immigrants from seven countries has, today, left hundreds stranded in no man’s land. He sat with ABC’s David Muir, this week,  and in the kindliest of tones described how Christian immigrants would be given priority standing.

Your first reaction might be that this is unAmerican.  That is correct. But it also is untrue.

VIENNA (AP) — Austria has shut its door to about 300 non-Muslim Iranians hoping to use the country as a way station before establishing new homes in the United States, The Associated Press has learned. The action is an early ripple effect of U.S. President Donald Trump’s effort to clamp down on refugee admissions.

Under a 27-year-old program originally approved by Congress to help Jews in the former Soviet Union, Austria had been serving until recently as a conduit for Iranian Jews, Christians and Baha’i, who were at risk in their home country and eligible to resettle in the United States. Iran has banned the Baha’i religion, which was founded in 1844 by a Persian nobleman considered a prophet by followers.

U.S. officials had been interviewing the candidates in Austria because they cannot do so in Iran. But the United States suspended the so-called “Iranian Lautenberg Program” in recent days, according to Austrian officials, who in turn stopped Iranians from reaching their territory. It’s unclear when the program might restart.

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Not only are these folks marooned, green card holders are included in the ban.

People holding so-called green cards, making them legal permanent U.S. residents, are included in President Donald Trump’s executive action temporarily barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, a Department of Homeland security spokeswoman said on Saturday.

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So it is not English teachers and their students alone who likely are boning up on their Orwellian glossaries. Newspeak is with us. As for how this particular transition works, Animal Farm is a great source. You might even want to pair it up with William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. My long-ago ninth graders were adept at finding parallels in the politics of subjugation.

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From the day Donald J. Trump entered the race, this past election cycle followed a path from the most bizarre to the most corrupted in our history.  If a website experienced the multilateral attacks this election suffered, it would have been taken down. Your bank would have notified you after one such intrusion into your account, cancelled your card and the unauthorized charges to it, and arranged for a new card to be issued. Our government knew these things and did nothing to head off what amounts to election theft.

winner

By now, you know about all of this, of course.  I am posting it for the record. Why was this information  not released prior to Election Day?  What can be done now?  Must we live with  a flawed election? How secure are we if a major adversary can influence our elections and install the candidate they prefer?  If this were not presidential election, I would be tempted to go full Laurel & Hardy mode and say, “Now you’ve done it!”  But it is not a movie. It is not TV. It is not reality TV. It is reality.

CIA assessment: Russia tried to help Trump win 2016 election

CIA briefers told senators in a closed-door briefing it was now “quite clear” that electing Trump was Russia’s goal, according to officials. (Victoria Walker/The Washington Post)
December 9 at 10:45 PM
The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.

“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”

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U.S.

Russian Hackers Acted to Aid Trump in Election, U.S. Says

Photo

President Obama giving a speech in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday. He has ordered a comprehensive report on the Russian efforts. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — American intelligence agencies have concluded with “high confidence” that Russia acted covertly in the latter stages of the presidential campaign to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances and promote Donald J. Trump, according to senior administration officials.

They based that conclusion, in part, on another finding — which they say was also reached with high confidence — that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems in addition to their attacks on Democratic organizations, but did not release whatever information they gleaned from the Republican networks.

In the months before the election, it was largely documents from Democratic Party systems that were leaked to the public. Intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russians gave the Democrats’ documents to WikiLeaks.

Republicans have a different explanation for why no documents from their networks were ever released. Over the past several months, officials from the Republican committee have consistently said that their networks were not compromised, asserting that only the accounts of individual Republicans were attacked. On Friday, a senior committee official said he had no comment.

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Harry Reid: Comey Should Resign

In the wake of a “soul-crushing” report on Russia’s meddling in the presidential election, Sen. Harry Reid has called for FBI Director James Comey to resign for allegedly withholding information on President-elect Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. Reid, who was a fierce opponent of Comey’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, which many believe cost her the election, told MSNBC on Saturday that he believes the FBI knew all along that Russia was helping Trump and deliberately did nothing about it. “This is not fake news. Intelligence officials are hiding connections to the Russian government. There is no question,” Reid said.

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DEFCON 1

World War III: Democrats and America vs. Trump and Russia

The CIA believes Moscow tried to destroy Hillary Clinton and tilt the election. Republicans stayed quiet. This is a fight for who controls America: you or Putin?

Michael Tomasky

Michael Tomasky

12.10.16

Make no mistake, yesterday’s Washington Post revelation that the CIA has concluded that Russia was actively trying to elect Donald Trump as opposed to just “meddling with” the election, is a nuclear bombshell. And if the Post piece is Hiroshima, then today’s New York Times story, which adds the detail that Russian actors also hacked email accounts at the Republican National Committee but did not release those publicly as they did Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign emails, is Nagasaki.

Hyperbole? Think again. A foreign government may have determined the outcome of a presidential election. And not Canada or Costa Rica, but Russia: the United States’ chief historic adversary and an oligarchy ruled by a tyrant who has systematically taken away rights. Bombshells don’t come much bigger.

Oh, wait; yes they do. On top of all the above, leaders of one of our two political parties—I’ll let you hazard a guess as to which one—argued against letting the American public know about all this before the election, reportedly saying it would be too partisan. That’s not hardball politics. That’s a hair’s breath away from treason.

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I had a friend, years ago, whose father suffered what was diagnosed as hysterical blindness. Nothing was wrong with his eyes according to top ophthalmologists. Yet he stumbled along, tripping on furniture while never, mysteriously, over the dogs he loved. His only son, my friend, was a rising artist bringing more wealth to an already affluent family. He was gay at a time when and in a culture where being gay was not only not cool, it brought shame and social alienation similar to that incurred by mental illness in the family.

The parents lived in the main house, and my friend erected a loft two stories high on the other side of the garden where he occupied the first floor and worked on the second under a skylight. He came and went as he pleased and entertained friends as he wished. Was it perhaps my friend’s independent life that precipitated this blindness of his dad’s?  It occurred shortly after the loft was completed. Were there things the dad simply could not allow himself to accept and see? Is that why he blinded himself?  One can only speculate. We will never know. The father is long gone, and the son succumbed before there were effective HIV-AIDS medications.

How sad and ironic, in the wake of this election, when the unfairly maligned Clinton Foundation, which works assiduously to eradicate HIV-AIDS and preventable blindness, that Americans need to be warned not to succumb to a self-disciplined form of viral blindness that can spread via mass media.

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

Naked

Already Happening: Media Normalization of Trumpism

His polls numbers will…improve. The international community will…come around. Melania and Ivanka will be…unorthodox but charming. Brace yourselves for a huge media fail.

Joy-Ann Reid

Joy-Ann Reid

11.27.16

In the children’s short story “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” by Hans Christian Andersen, what kept the fiction of the naked emperor’s sartorial splendor alive was nothing in particular about the emperor. True, he was vain and plainly foolish; easily tricked by the false flattery of swindlers into paying a kingly sum for a cloak so fine and magical that only the wise and true could see it. But it was the people of the kingdom, including his trusted advisers, who maintained the absurd notion that he was splendidly clothed, because none – the emperor included – wanted to admit that they were so unworthy as to not see the bright colors and fine threads.

Only the characteristic bluntness of a child, who proclaimed the emperor’s nudity as he paraded through the streets humiliating himself and his kingdom, threatened to break the spell. But when the boy spoke out he was quickly rebuked by his father, who assured the gasping public that the child was clearly soft in the head. So powerful is the compulsion to normalize the powerful.

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Ironic that late Friday night I was watching Richard Lester’s “Cuba” with Sean Connery on MGM HD when the news of Castro’s death came through. Right after that, on the same channel, I watched Oliver Stone’s “Salvador” – partly about the Carter-Reagan transition and including the murders of the nuns and Archbishop Romero. Today, this article.

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

License to Kill

The Nun Murders and the Presidential Transition Team

During the transition from Carter to Reagan, the Salvadoran death squads started targeting Americans. A cautionary tale about signals sent and messages received.
Christopher Dickey

Christopher Dickey

11.27.16

PARIS — A new president had just been elected in the United States — a hard line president, who, it was said, had no patience with the vacillating, moralizing policies of his predecessor. Around the world thugs who would spit when they heard the phrase “human rights” suddenly took heart. With such a man in the White House, they thought, they had a license to kill. 

This was November 1980, when the confused transition from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan opened the door to a bloodbath in the little Central American country of El Salvador; when, suddenly, anyone the military suspected of aiding the subversivos was liable to be tortured to death, and even Americans—even American nuns—were fair game.

Now 36 years later, we will soon mark the anniversary of the death of four American churchwomen kidnapped, raped and murdered in El Salvador on the night of December 2, 1980. 

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Three weeks ago tomorrow the improbable happened. It was not improbable that Americans would elect Donald Trump. It is never a total shock when Americans choose the candidate you thought sure to lose.

“You won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore!” Really? Then, in 1968 they elected him. They’ll never put a second-rate former movie star in the White House. Meet Ronald Reagan 2.0, and Democrats helped elect him.  George W. Bush seemed a laughable long shot in 1999, and we all know what happened then.

Trump campaigned as a scary clown in a season of scary clown sightings. He ridiculed cruelly: women, the disabled, the press. He threatened liberally: Latinos, Muslim, immigrants in general, our NATO allies. At the outset, many thought he was funny and too improbable to be elected. Some of us knew better. Some read the writing on Trump’s great wall.

The improbability was not that it could not happen. All my life I have been wary that it could indeed happen here.  But every poll said it would not happen and had Hillary Clinton defeating Trump. After spending a year and a half reminding people that the only poll that matters is the actual vote, I too had come to believe that Hillary had this. I gave in to the certainty on the night before Election Day, unlike the Irish bookies who began paying out two weeks before the election. I kept working, but I really thought we had this at Independence Hall.

Now this, trending on Twitter. Trump’s supporters are speaking out in a most frightening way.

Alt-right leader: ‘Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!’

More on this here. I urge you to read it. Even dedicated Republicans like Ana Navarro are tweeting about this. You might want to take a spoon of Pepto Bismol first. If this doesn’t make you sick, you are foolhardy, ignorant of history, or perhaps sick in more serious ways than OTC meds can help.

The POETUS’s Veep pick somehow managed to get tickets to see Hamilton on Broadway which has a wait list longer than Stanford. Hillary’s supporters at the performance also spoke out. This happened.

There Is No ‘Safe Space’ in Art: What Mike Pence Should Have Learned From ‘Hamilton’

Donald Trump rounded on the ‘Hamilton’ cast for addressing Mike Pence when he visited the show. But Brandon Dixon and his peers were speaking truth to power in the purest form.

Tim Teeman

Tim Teeman

11.21.16 3:23 PM ET

It is heartening, for those who work in arts and culture, to see their work migrate to the front pages. It’s rare: The world of culture is seen as more rarefied than the 24-hour news cycle.

But the stratospheric success of Hamilton means it has often traversed both. It is that rare thing; an intelligent, stirring work of art that has found a populist home on stage on Broadway, feted not just by critics but by the general public who have been to see it. You’ll have seen its songs and stars on TV, if you haven’t seen them on stage. The difficulty of securing a ticket has become a mainstream joke.

The weekend bought the show back to the front page. One of the actors, Brandon Victor Dixon, gracefully read out a statement to the Vice President Elect Mike Pence, who was in the audience. It wasn’t rudely phrased. It wasn’t rudely spoken. It wasn’t rude in any way. We know this because it was videotaped. We can see it. If you choose to see it as harassment or rudeness, you are willfully misreading what you are seeing or hearing.

Dixon’s speech was a request from the heart, and—this seems to have been somewhat overlooked—a heartfelt plea to Pence to recognize and respect true diversity.

It was aimed at him because as Governor of Indiana he advocated for a range of discriminatory legislation, not least ‘conversion therapy,’ or discredited, cruel and downright weird ‘treatments’ to ‘cure’ people of homosexuality. He has also been accused of ignoring racism.

The gracefully read statement was immediately leapt upon by Donald Trump, the President-elect: he demanded the Hamilton cast apologize. They had been rude to Mike Pence. He had been in a safe space. How dare they?

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Some contrast was provided here but of the snide variety. We could have done without words like smug and gushed. For Ms. Okafor’s information, Hillary Clinton is very warm, caring, and loving and is eminently huggable and kissable. We love the Grandma-in-Chief.

Here’s How the ‘Hamilton’ Cast Reacted When Hillary Clinton Attended their Show


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Getty – Theo Wargo, Thomas Greff

The conservative and liberal worlds lit up in a firestorm when Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended a performance of “Hamilton”’ on Broadway this past week.

The Vice President-elect was roundly booed and jeered by the audience, and he received a smug lecture from the cast before leaving the building. It went like this:

SNIP

While the “Hamilton” cast ‘heroically’ stood up to Pence, they had no problem slobbering all over Hillary with hugs, kisses and gushing selfies.

NEW YORK - JULY 12: U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton meets the cast of the Broadway musical "Hamilton" following a special performance at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on July 12, 2016 in New York City. Clinton hosted a fundraiser at the special performance, with supporters paying from $2,700 to up to $100,000 for the chance to attend. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

Image Credit: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

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What was most improbable was that Americans would vote for someone supported by white nationalists who say things like this.

“America was until this last generation a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity. It is our creation and it belongs to us.” – RICHARD SPENCER, an ideologue of the alt-right movement, speaking to 200 mostlyyoung men in Washington.

We elect buffoons, crooks, grade B actors. I did not expect us to elect a potential despot.  I thought we dodged that bullet with Nixon. I thought we closed the book on registries with the Nisei internment camps. I thought women would finally shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling by electing the most qualified and prepared candidate ever to run in my lifetime. I thought we were moving toward a more inclusive society. I thought a lot of things.

This is #NotWhoWeAre.

No sooner had I posted this than this letter from George Takei appeared in my inbox.

Still —

Just a few weeks after my fifth birthday, in the spring of 1942, my parents got my younger brother, my baby sister, and me up very early, hurriedly dressed us, and quickly started to pack.

When my brother and I looked out the window of our living room, we saw two soldiers marching up the driveway, bayonets fixed to their rifles. They banged on our front door and ordered us out of the house. We could take only what we could carry with us.

We were loaded on to train cars with other Japanese-American families, with guards stationed at both ends of each car as though we were criminals, and sent two-thirds of the way across the country to an internment camp in the swamps of Arkansas.

For nearly three years, barbed wire, sentry towers, and armed guards marked home. Mass showers, lousy meals in crowded mess halls, and a searchlight following me as I ran from our barracks to the latrine in the middle of the night — in case I was trying to escape — became normal.

So when I hear Donald Trump’s transition advisors talk about building a registry of Muslims and his surrogates using the internment of Japanese-Americans as their model, I am outraged — because I remember the tears streaming down my mother’s face as we were torn away from our home. And I am resolved to raise my voice and say, loudly and clearly, that this is not who we are.

My mother was born in Sacramento, my father grew up in San Francisco, and my siblings and I were born in Los Angeles. We were American citizens, as proud of our country as we were of our Japanese heritage. But in the fear and mass hysteria of wartime, none of that mattered. When our government allowed hatred and racism to overtake our values, nothing else mattered.

We cannot allow our country to be led down that dark path ever again.

Rosemary, I am committed to fighting for our values, our democracy, and the moral character of our nation. And I am committed to standing with the Democratic Party against bigotry and oppression for the next four years and beyond, no matter what form it takes. I hope you will do the same. Add your name today to stand with me:

Thank you,

George

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This is so exciting and so well deserved!

Carl Anthony’s Ida McKinley: Turn-of-the-Century First Lady through War, Assassination & Secret Disability won the 2014 Independent Publishers Bronze Medal for Biography. 

Way to go, Carl!

Carl relates American historyas you never knew it, the history of the White House and of first ladies at his website, Carl Anthony Online  Visit and be enchanted!

How wonderful to see Carl receive this acclaim!

 

 

 

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