The Monday night massacre

On Jan. 30, the acting attorney general of the U.S. was fired:
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Just to be clear, Sally Yates did not betray the Justice Department. She refused to enforce a Hookerpiss proclamation that was in violation of the Constitution. In case the pump truppets have forgotten:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Proclaiming that one group of people cannot come into America because of their religion is unconstitutional. Period.

On Jan. 20, a tiny-fingered vulgarian put his paw on two Bibles in front of the denizens of Animal Farm and said:

“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Nowhere does that Oath of Office say:

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

The refugee ban is in clear violation of the First Amendment. It doesn’t preserve, protect or defend the Constitution of the United States.

The thrice-married Lügenorange has broken his vow. But then, as his former wives know, he never takes a vow seriously.

Time to impeach.

Doublethink: 2017

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”

― George Orwell1984

A University of Massachusetts professor conducted a poll on perceptions of turnout for the recent presidential inauguration based on political preference. This happened (via Monkey Cage):

On Sunday and Monday, we surveyed 1,388 American adults. We showed half of them a crowd picture from each inauguration (see below) and asked which was from Trump’s inauguration and which was from Obama’s.

If the past is any guide, we would expect that Trump supporters would be more likely to claim that the picture with the larger crowd was the one from Trump’s inauguration, as doing so would express and reinforce their support for him. Further, as some respondents had never seen these photos, uncertainty regarding the answer would likely lead them to choose the photograph that would be most in line with their partisan loyalties.

For the other half, we asked a very simple question with one clearly correct answer: “Which photo has more people?” Some of these people probably understood that the image on the left was from Trump’s inauguration and that the image on the right was from Obama’s, but admitting that there were more people in the image on the right would mean they were acknowledging that more people attended Obama’s inauguration.

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For the question about which image went with which inauguration, 41 percent of Trump supporters gave the wrong answer; that’s significantly more than the wrong answers given by 8 percent of Clinton voters and 21 percent of those who did not vote.

But what’s even more noteworthy is that 15 percent of people who voted for Trump told us that more people were in the image on the left — the photo from Trump’s inauguration — than the picture on the right. We got that answer from only 2 percent of Clinton voters and 3 percent of nonvoters.

Even when the photographic evidence was directly in front of them and the question was straightforward, one in seven Trump supporters gave the clearly false answer.

What can you say? We’re screwed.

 

We’re either living in Bizarro World or Oceania

bizarro_world_001In Bizarro World in the DC Universe, reality is reversed in every manner. So

— A lyingracistanti-Semiticxenophobichomophobicmisogynisticpedophile thief is considered qualified to run the most powerful country in the world. (Just click on every highlighted word in that sentence.)

— A president of the United States can win an election by getting 2.5 million fewer votes than his opponent.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has garnered at least 65,527,625 votes in the 2016 presidential election, over 2.6 million more than the president-elect, who has received at least 62,851,436 votes, according to figures released Wednesday by The Cook Report, a nonpartisan election analysis organization.

Completely made up news is treated as reality.

The proliferation of fake and hyperpartisan news that has flooded into Americans’ laptops and living rooms has prompted a national soul-searching, with liberals across the country asking how a nation of millions could be marching to such a suspect drumbeat. But while some Americans may take the stories literally — like the North Carolina man who fired his gun in a Washington pizzeria on Sunday trying to investigate a false story spread online of a child-abuse ring led by Hillary Clinton — many do not.

baumhswBut in Oceania, where in the year “1984,” Big Brother is always watching through the telescreen, ministries perform the opposite function of what they’re named for. So:

— The proposed head of the Department of Labor wants to make it easier for businesses instead of workers.

On Thursday, Trump announced that he would nominate as his labor secretary Andrew Puzder, a fast-food executive who has opposed additional overtime pay for workers and expressed skepticism about increasing the minimum wage. That followed a pair of Twitter messages Wednesday evening in which Trump attacked an Indiana union leader who had criticized him, saying the official had done a “terrible job representing workers.”

— The proposed head of the Environmental Protection Agency is against protecting the environment:

President-elect Donald J. Trump has selected Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general and a close ally of the fossil fuel industry, to run the Environmental Protection Agency, signaling Mr. Trump’s determination to dismantle President Obama’s efforts to counter climate change — and much of the E.P.A. itself.

Mr. Pruitt, a Republican, has been a key architect of the legal battle against Mr. Obama’s climate change policies, actions that fit with the president-elect’s comments during the campaign. Mr. Trump has criticized the established science of human-caused global warming as a hoax, vowed to “cancel” the Paris accord committing nearly every nation to taking action to fight climate change, and attacked Mr. Obama’s signature global warming policy, the Clean Power Plan, as a “war on coal.”

— The proposed head of the Department of Education wants to dismantle public education:

President-elect Donald Trump announced that he would nominate billionaire activist and Republican fundraiser Betsy DeVos as his education secretary.

Education historian Diane Ravitch believes that—if confirmed by the Senate—DeVos will become the most radical, anti-public-school education secretary since the Office of Education was established in 1867. “Never has anyone been appointed to lead in the past 150 years who was hostile to public education,” Ravitch told Mother Jones.

— The proposed head of the Department of Health and Human Services wants to eliminate the program that has provided healthcare to millions of previously uninsured Americans:

Donald Trump has chosen a prominent critic of Obamacare as his secretary of health and human services, casting fresh doubt over the future of the Affordable Care Act.

Last week, Price said that whatever Republicans do to replace Obama’s healthcare law will bear a “significant resemblance” to a 2015 measure that was vetoed by the president. That bill would have gutted some of the health care law’s main features: Medicaid expansion, subsidies to help middle-class Americans buy private policies, the tax penalties for individuals who refused to get coverage and several taxes to support coverage expansion. The bill would have delayed implementation for two years.

— And the proposed head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development isn’t interested in housing or urban development:

Donald Trump’s selection Monday of retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development sets up what could be a collision between the nominee’s philosophical aversion to social safety-net programs and an agency that administers some of the government’s most expansive programs for helping minorities and low-income people.

Who knows? Maybe we’re living in both places, and the national slogan is:

War am peace.
Freedom am slavery.
Ignorance am strength.

Last week’s threats, and a little history

From the Associated Press:

A student at the University of Oklahoma was temporarily suspended and police are investigating a threat against a Muslim student near the University of Michigan amid racially charged outbursts at schools and universities across the country following Donald Trump’s presidential election.

The Associated Press and other local media outlets identified several reports of racist incidents at schools since Tuesday, including a group chat that the Oklahoma student got involved with aimed at black freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania, Trump’s alma mater.

The chat contained “violent, racist and thoroughly disgusting images and messages,” and Penn is “appalled” its students were added to the GroupMe account,” UPenn President Amy Gutmann said. Gutmann said UPenn police have been working with the FBI. She earlier said officials had increased campus safety and were “reaching out to support the affected students.”

University of Oklahoma President David Boren in a statement said the student has been temporarily suspended as the school investigates further.

“It would appear this matter did not originate at the University of Oklahoma, but started elsewhere,” Boren said in a statement.

In Ann Arbor, Michigan, police are looking into a report of a man who threatened to set a Muslim student on fire with a lighter if she didn’t remove her hijab on Friday. The incident apparently happened near the University of Michigan campus, according to Ann Arbor police Sgt. Patrick Maguire. He added that the department is “investigating it actively … and soliciting information from anyone who may have witnessed anything.”

A crime alert issued by the university said the woman took off her hijab and left the area. Witnesses told police the man was white with an “unkempt appearance” and “intoxicated with slurred speech.”

The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called Saturday for the incident to be investigated as a hate crime, saying the “alleged attack is just the latest anti-Muslim incident reported since the election of Donald Trump as president.”

In other news, last week marked the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht:

Kristallnacht, literally, “Night of Crystal,” is often referred to as the “Night of Broken Glass.” The name refers to the wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms which took place on November 9 and 10, 1938. This wave of violence took place throughout Germany, annexed Austria, and in areas of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia recently occupied by German troops.

Kristallnacht owes its name to the shards of shattered glass that lined German streets in the wake of the pogrom—broken glass from the windows of synagogues, homes, and Jewish-owned businesses plundered and destroyed during the violence.

But we’re told “It Can’t Happen Here.”

A brief reading list to prepare you for Jan. 20 and beyond

Here are a few books to prepare you for the next four years in America:
1984 by George Orwell
Black Boy by Richard Wright
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
Nixonland by Rick Perlstein
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

A couple of plays:
The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
The Crucible by Arthur Miller

And a couple of graphic novels:
March: Book One by John Lewis
Maus by Art Spiegelman

When you click on some of the titles, you’ll get to read an excerpt from the book. In a couple of cases, if you have a Kindle, you can get the book free.

Read them now, so you know what you’ll be up against. And get them before the Pump Truppets start burning them.

(Other suggestions are welcome)

 

Hillary had dinner with the ADHD poster boy last night

There’s something called the Al Smith Dinner each year in New York, where the New York elite gather to raise money for the archdiocese to help poor children. But it’s also a time with political figures are invited as speakers to tell jokes about each other.

So guess who showed up:

I really enjoy how she’s being a nasty girl to the thin skinned kumquat, and I really like how she made Rudy Giuliani look like his head was going to explode. But if this is the only speech you see from the dinner, you probably think she’s being extraordinarily mean, or as Barbara Bush once said, “It rhymes with rich.”

But her opponent was on the dais before her and had a few things to say. Ladies and gentlemen, I now present you the best the Republican Party has to offer.

Here’s the thing. I really believe he thinks these jokes are hilarious. Because he’s from alt-right land, where they speak their own language, all of it horrible. To that basket of deplorables, this is the epitome of comic wit.

Honestly, I see this guy and the people who support him and I feel like I accidentally wandered into the bonfire rally in “Lord of the Flies.”

(That, my friends, is another obscure literary reference that will go over the heads of the passengers on the GOP trolley to doom. Because every literary reference to that crowd is obscure, including “The Grouchy Ladybug,” which bears a striking resemblance to the Republican standard bearer.)

A few words from the Nobel Prize winner

This is from the 1976 Rolling Thunder Review. I saw it when it hit Madison Square Garden. It highlighted the imprisonment of the boxer Hurricane Carter, who was railroaded into jail on a murder charge.

Hurricane Carter was freed years later and died in 2014.

One of the things about a Dylan concert is he doesn’t always play songs the way you know them. He can be halfway into the song and you realize, “Oh, this is ‘Tangled Up in Blue.'” And he changes the lyrics on you or, as in this case, drops an entire verse.

Anyway, Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for literature yesterday.