icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Writers and Editors (RSS feed)

Artificial intelligence (AI) What problems does it bring? solve? What the heck is a bot?

This replaces an early version of this post that appeared in June 2018. 

Updated 5-15-24.

 

The Basics about AI
What is AI? Everything you need to know about Artificial Intelligence (Nick Heath, ZDNet, 2-2-18) An executive guide to artificial intelligence, from machine learning and general AI to neural networks.

What is an Internet bot? (Wikipedia) An Internet bot, web robot, robot or simply bot, is a software application that runs automated tasks over the Internet, usually with the intent to imitate human activity on the Internet, such as messaging, on a large scale.
What is a bot: types and functions (Digital Guide IONOS UK, 11-16-21) What is a bot, what functions can it perform, and what does its structure consist of? Learn about Rule-based bots and self-learning bots, the different types of good bots, the different types of malware bots, and how they work. What types of attacks can botnets perform?
ChatGPT (AI) This chatbot launched by OpenAI in November 2022 is being used to write novels, among other things. It has a problem with factual accuracy. See also section on this website on ChatGPT (AI)

[Back to Top]

 

Writers/journalists/creators and artificial intelligence and issues like copyright protection, plagiarism, flaws and inaccuracies, and how frank creators must be about using AI
FAQs on the Authors Guild’s Positions and Advocacy Around Generative AI
A crash course for journalists on AI and machine learning (Video, 51 min., International Journalism Festival, 4-7-22)
Denied by AI: How Medicare Advantage plans use algorithms to cut off care for seniors in need (Casey Ross and Bob Herman, Stat Investigation, 3-13-23, a Pulitzer finalist for a series, For exposing how UnitedHealth Group, the nation's largest health insurer, used an unregulated algorithm to override clinicians' judgments and deny care, highlighting the dangers of AI use in medicine. Read the full series.
CNET Is Quietly Publishing Entire Articles Generated By AI (Frank Landymore, The Byte, 1-15-23) "This article was generated using automation technology," reads a dropdown description.The articles are published under the unassuming appellation of "CNET Money Staff," and encompass topics like "Should You Break an Early CD for a Better Rate?" or "What is Zelle and How Does It Work?" That byline obviously does not paint the full picture, and so your average reader visiting the site likely would have no idea that what they're reading is AI-generated.

     (H/T to Jon Christian for links to this and next four pieces)
CNET's Article-Writing AI Is Already Publishing Very Dumb Errors (Jon Christian, The Byte, Futurism,1-29-23) CNET is now letting an AI write articles for its site. The problem? It's kind of a moron.
Sports Illustrated Published Articles by Fake, AI-Generated Writers ( Maggie Harrison Dupré, Futurism, 11-27-23) We asked them about it — and they deleted everything.
CNET's AI Journalist Appears to Have Committed Extensive Plagiarism (Jon Christian, The Byte, Futurism 1-23-23) CNET's AI-written articles aren't just riddled with errors. They also appear to be substantially plagiarized.
BuzzFeed Is Quietly Publishing Whole AI-Generated Articles, Not Just Quizzes (Noor Al-Sibai and Jon Christian, Futurism, 3-30-23) These read like a proof of concept for replacing human writers--lots of repetition of pet phrases.

[Back to Top]

The AI is eating itself (Casey Newton, Platformer, 6-27-23) Boy, is this post packed with info and insights. The third paragraph alone kept me online for an extra half-hour, following links to more good reading.
The AI takeover of Google Search starts now (David Pierce, The Verge, 5-10-23) Google is moving slowly and carefully to make AI happen. Maybe too slowly and too carefully for some people. But if you opt in, a whole new search experience awaits.
AI is killing the old web, and the new web struggles to be born (James Vincent, The Verge, 6-26-23) Generative AI models are changing the economy of the web, making it cheaper to generate lower-quality content. We’re just beginning to see the effects of these changes.
New Tool Could Poison DALL-E and Other AI to Help Artists (Josh Hendrickson, PC Mag, 10-27-23) Researchers from the University of Chicago introduce a new tool, dubbed Nightshade, that can 'poison' AI and ruin its data set, leading it to generate inaccurate results.
---This new data poisoning tool lets artists fight back against generative AI (Melissa Heikkilä, MIT Technology Review, 10-23-23) The tool, called Nightshade, messes up training data in ways that could cause serious damage to image-generating AI models.
Godfathers of AI Have a New Warning: Get a Handle on the Tech Before It's Too Late (Joe Hindy, PC Mag, 10-24-23) Two dozen experts warn that 'AI systems could rapidly come to outperform humans in an increasing number of tasks [and] pose a range of societal-scale risks.'

[Back to Top]


How AP Investigated the Global Impacts of AI (Garance Burke, Pulitzer Center, 6-21-23) "When my editor Ron Nixon and I realized that too few journalists had gotten trained on how these complex statistical models work, we devised internal workshops to build capacity in AI accountability reporting....No surprise, FOIA and its equivalents are an imperfect tool and rarely yield raw code. Little transparency about the use of AI tools by government agencies can mean public knowledge is severely restricted, even if records are disclosed.Viewing predictive and surveillance tools in isolation doesn’t capture their full global influence.The purchase and implementation of such technologies isn’t necessarily centralized. Individual state and local agencies may use a surveillance or predictive tool on a free trial basis and never sign a contract. And even if federal agencies license a tool intending to implement it nationwide, that isn’t always rolled out the same way in each jurisdiction."
AI is being used to generate whole spam sites (James Vincent, The Verge, 5-2-23) A report identified 49 sites that use AI tools like ChatGPT to generate cheap and unreliable content. Experts warn the low costs of producing such text incentivizes the creation of these sites.
The semiautomated social network is coming (James Vincent, The Verge, 3-10-23) LinkedIn announced last week it’s using AI to help write posts for users to chat about. Snap has created its own chatbot, and Meta is working on AI ‘personas.’ It seems future social networks will be increasingly augmented by AI.

[Back to Top]

 

 

AI Art for Authors: Which Program to Use (Jason Hamilton, Kindlepreneur, 12-9-22) There are dozens of AI art tools out there, many with unique specialties. But most would agree that three stand up above the rest:
    Midjourney
    Dall-E 2
    Stable Diffusion.

Hamilton discusses how to access them, what they cost, how they can be useful, and why he recommends them (or not, and what for, illustrated), with a final section on AI art's copyright problems: Are they copying exist art on the collage principle (a little here, a little there), or are they facing legal and copyright problems?
Artificial Labor (Ed Zitron's Where's Your Ed At, 5-12-23) With the 2023 Writers Guild of America strike, "we are entering a historical battle between actual labor – those who create value in organizations and the world itself – and the petty executive titans that believe that there are no true value creators in society, only “ideas people” and those interchangeable units who carry out their whims...The television and film industries are controlled by exceedingly rich executives that view entertainment as something that can (and should) be commoditized and traded, rather than fostered and created by human beings. While dialogue eventually has to be performed by a human being, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers clearly views writing (and writers) as more of a fuel that can be used to create products rather than something unique or special....entertainment’s elites very clearly want to be able to use artificial intelligence to write content."

[Back to Top]


The Fanfic Sex Trope That Caught a Plundering AI Red-Handed (Rose Eveleth, Wired, 5-15-23) Sudowrite, a tool that uses OpenAI’s GPT-3, was found to have understood a sexual act known only to a specific online community of Omegaverse writers. The data set that was used to train most (all?) text-generative AI includes sex acts found only in the raunchiest of fanfiction. "What if your work exists in a kind of in-between space—not work that you make a living doing, but still something you spent hours crafting, in a community that you care deeply about? And what if, within that community, there was a specific sex trope that would inadvertently unmask how models like ChatGPT scrape the web—and how that scraping impacts the writers who created it. (H/T Nate Hoffelder, Morning Coffee)
AI art tools Stable Diffusion and Midjourney targeted with copyright lawsuit (James Vincent, The Verge, 1-16-23) The suit claims generative AI art tools violate copyright law by scraping artists’ work from the web without their consent. Butterick and Saveri are currently suing Microsoft, GitHub, and OpenAI in a similar case involving the AI programming model CoPilot, which is trained on lines of code collected from the web.
The lawsuit that could rewrite the rules of AI copyright (James Vincent, The Verge, 11-8-22) Microsoft, its subsidiary GitHub, and its business partner OpenAI have been targeted in a proposed class action lawsuit alleging that the companies’ creation of AI-powered coding assistant GitHub Copilot relies on ---“software piracy on an unprecedented scale.”

---"Someone comes along and says, 'Let's socialize the costs and privatize the profits.'"

---“This is the first class-action case in the US chal­leng­ing the train­ing and out­put of AI sys­tems. It will not be the last.”
The scary truth about AI copyright is nobody knows what will happen next (James Vincent, The Verge, 11-15-22) The last year has seen a boom in AI models that create art, music, and code by learning from others’ work. But as these tools become more prominent, unanswered legal questions could shape the future of the field.
`
Wendy’s to test AI chatbot that takes your drive-thru order (St. Louis-Post Dispatch) (Erum Salam, The Guardian, 5-10-23) 'The Guardian' reports that Wendy's is ready to roll out an artificial-intelligence-powered chatbot capable of taking customers' orders. Pilot program ‘seeks to take the complexity [the humans] out of the ordering process’
In a Reminder of AI's Limits, ChatGPT Fails Gastro Exam (Michael DePeau-Wilson, MedPage Today, 5-22-23) Both versions of the AI model failed to achieve the 70% accuracy threshold to pass.
Some companies are already replacing workers with ChatGPT, despite warnings it shouldn’t be relied on for ‘anything important’ (Trey Williams, Fortune, 2-25-23)
‘The Godfather of A.I.’ Leaves Google and Warns of Danger Ahead (NY Times, 5-1-23) For half a century, Geoffrey Hinton nurtured the technology at the heart of chatbots like ChatGPT. Now he worries it will cause serious harm.
Teaching A.I. Systems to Behave Themselves (Cade Metz, NY Times, 8-13-17)

[Back to Top]

 

On the plus or minus side:
Smarter health: How AI is transforming health care (Dorey Scheimer, Meghna Chakrabarti, and Tim Skoog, On Point, first piece in a Smarter Health series, WBUR radio, 5-27-22, with transcript) Guests Dr. Ziad Obermeyer (associate professor of health policy and management at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health. Emergency medicine physician) and Richard Sharp (director of the biomedical ethics research program at the Mayo Clinic, @MayoClinic) explore the potential of AI in health care — from predicting patient risk, to diagnostics, to just helping physicians make better decisions.
Artificial Intelligence Is Primed to Disrupt Health Care Industry (Ben Hernandez, ETF Trends, 7-12-15) Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the prime technologies leading the wave of disruption that is going on within the health care sector. Recent studies have shown that AI technology can outperform doctors when it comes to cancer screenings and disease diagnoses. In particular, this could mean specialists such as radiologists and pathologists could be replaced by AI technology. Whether society is ready for it or not, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, or any other type of disruptive technology will be the next wave of innovation.
How will large language models (LLMs) change the world? (Dynomight Internet Newsletter, The Browser, 12-8-22) Think about historical analogies for 'large language models': the ice trade and freezers; chess humans and chess AIs; farmers and tractors; horses and railroads; swords and guns; swordfighting and fencing; artisanal goods and mass production; site-built homes and pre-manufactured homes; painting and photography; feet and Segways; gull-wing and scissor doors; sex and pornography; human calculators and electronic calculators.

[Back to Top]


Artificial You: AI and the Future of Your Mind by Susan Schneider. Can robots really be conscious? Is the mind just a program? "Schneider offers sophisticated insights on what is perhaps the number one long-term challenge confronting humanity."―Martin Rees
Top 9 ethical issues in artificial intelligence (Julia Bossmann, World Economic Forum, 10-21-16) In brief: unemployment, income inequality, humanity, artificial stupidity (mistakes), racist robots (AI bias), security (safety from adversaries), evil genies (unintended consequences), singularity, robot rights. She makes interesting points!
AI in the workplace: Everything you need to know (Nick Heath, ZDNet, 6-29-18) How artificial intelligence will change the world of work, for better and for worse. Bots and virtual assistants, IoT and analytics, and so on.
What is the IoT? Everything you need to know about the Internet of Things right now (Steve Ranger, ZDNet, 1-19-18) The Internet of Things explained: What the IoT is, and where it's going next. "Pretty much any physical object can be transformed into an IoT device if it can be connected to the internet and controlled that way. A lightbulb that can be switched on using a smartphone app is an IoT device, as is a motion sensor or a smart thermostat in your office or a connected streetlight. An IoT device could be as fluffy as a child's toy or as serious as a driverless truck, or as complicated as a jet engine that's now filled with thousands of sensors collecting and transmitting data. At an even bigger scale, smart cities projects are filling entire regions with sensors to help us understand and control the environment."
Beyond the Hype of Machine Learning (Free download, GovLoop ebook, 15-minute read) Read about machine learning's impact in the public sector, the 'how' and 'why' of artificial intelligence (AI), and how the Energy Department covers the spectrum of AI usage.

[Back to Top]


Can Artificial Intelligence Keep Your Home Secure? (Paul Sullivan, NY Times, 1-29-18) Security companies are hoping to harness the potential of A.I., promising better service at lower prices. But experts say there are risks.
What will our society look like when Artificial Intelligence is everywhere? (Stephan Talty, Smithsonan, April 2018) Will robots become self-aware? Will they have rights? Will they be in charge? Here are five scenarios from our future dominated by AI.
Amazon Is Latest Tech Giant to Face Staff Backlash Over Government Work (Jamie Condliffe, NY times, 6-22-18) Tech "firms have built artificial intelligence and cloud computing systems that governments find attractive. But as these companies take on lucrative contracts to furnish state and federal agencies with these technologies, they’re facing increasing pushback  Read More 

1 Comments
Post a comment

Campus protests, counter-protests, violence, and police responses in 2024

Updated frequently. Will keep adding entries, not to support sides but to get the big picture. Go to the original articles to get their full story.


Striking deals to end campus protests, some colleges invite discussion of their investments (Kathleen Foody, Karen Matthews, Mike Catalini, and MIchael Hill, AP News, 5-3-24) Anti-war demonstrations ceased this week at a small number of U.S. universities after school leaders struck deals with pro-Palestinian protesters, fending off possible disruptions of final exams and graduation ceremonies. The agreements at schools including Brown, Northwestern and Rutgers stand out amid the chaotic scenes and 2,400-plus arrests on 46 campuses nationwide since April 17.
    Deals included commitments by universities to review their investments in Israel or hear calls to stop doing business with the longtime U.S. ally. Many protester demands have zeroed in on links to the Israeli military as the war grinds on in Gaza.

  What to know about student protests
---What's happening: Student protests over the Israel-Hamas war have popped up at many college campuses following the arrest of demonstrators in April at Columbia University.
---Why: The students are protesting the war's death toll and are calling for universities to separate themselves from any companies that are advancing Israel's military efforts in Gaza.
---On campus: As students around the country protest, student journalists are covering their peers in a moment of uncertainty.


2024 pro-Palestinian protests on university campuses Wikipedia's entry is more thorough than many news stories, trying to cover many aspects of, and angles on, the protests.


California police move in to dismantle pro-Palestinian protest camp at UCLA (Reuters, 5-2-24)
    "Hundreds of helmeted police muscled their way into a central plaza of the University of California at Los Angeles early on Thursday to dismantle a pro-Palestinian protest camp attacked the previous night by pro-Israel supporters.
    "The pre-dawn police crackdown at UCLA marked the latest flashpoint for mounting tensions on U.S. college campuses, where protests over Israel's conduct of the war in Gaza have led to student clashes with each other and law enforcement.
    "Live TV footage showed about six protesters under arrest, kneeling on the ground, their hands bound behind their backs with zip-ties.
    "Dozens of loud explosions were heard during the clash from flash-bang charges, or stun grenades, fired by police."

    

DRAD Statement: As a free speech organization, we condemn campus crackdowns (Defending Rights & Dissent, 5-1-24)
   "Defending Rights & Dissent condemns the crackdown taking place across campuses in the United States. Across the country, we have seen protests calling for a ceasefire and end to Israel’s brutal war in Gaza. Increasingly, many of these protests have taken place on America’s campuses. Since the Columbia University occupation began on April 17, protests, including encampments, have spread across college campuses as students link their opposition to Israel’s war with demands for university divestment. In spite of false claims to the contrary, the protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful and nonviolent.
   "The nonviolent nature of the protests has been no protection against police violence. Police have arrested and assaulted both students and professors engaged in peaceful protests. They’ve even arrested journalists covering the protests. Police have shown up to peaceful protests in riot gear or on horseback. They have used tear gas, projectiles, tasers, and batons against the protesters. The situation continues to develop rapidly, but at the time of publication, arrests had taken place on nearly thirty separate college campuses.
   "These violent attacks on protesters have been accompanied by the spread of false information designed to demonize the protesters and facilitate the crackdown against them. Northwestern University allowed the police to break up students protests and arrest 102 students. The university justified its decision by stating one of the pro-Palestine protesters yelled “kill the Jews.” In fact, according to journalists on the ground, a pro-Israel counter protester engaged in what they described as a “provocative joke.” Multiple media outlets repeated a story that a protester stabbed a Yale student in the eye because the student was Jewish. This story turned out to be false. A reporter shared a picture on social media purportedly of a Columbia student protester holding a despicably anti-Semitic sign. Later, it was revealed that not only was the man not a student protester, the picture was not even taken on Columbia’s campus. The individual, who has no connection to advocacy for Palestinian rights, frequently holds anti-Semitic displays across New York City. False stories have been repeated by politicians advocating for a crackdown on student protests.
    Read the full story HERE


UCLA students describe violent attack on Gaza protest encampment: ‘It was terrifying’ (Dani Anguiano in Los Angeles, The Guardian, 5-1-24)

Slow response from authorities left students shocked as people wearing white masks attacked pro-Palestine protesters
   When Meghna Nair, a second-year student at the University of California, Los Angeles, saw a masked group of people headed toward the pro-Palestine encampment on campus late Tuesday evening, she expected trouble.
   “I knew where they were going. I had an idea what they planned to do,” she said. “I didn’t know what to do.”
   “But the violence that unfolded on the public university’s campus overnight and the slow response from authorities shocked Nair and other UCLA students.
   “Late Tuesday night, a masked group surrounded the encampment in solidarity with Gaza, throwing fireworks and violently attacking students. Students and reporters for multiple outlets said university-hired security forces locked themselves in nearby buildings and police looked on for hours before intervening.
   "UCLA cancelled all classes on Wednesday and with the exception of the central meeting area, the normally lively campus was mostly deserted. A helicopter hovered overhead throughout the morning while groups of security guards and law enforcement stood around the sectioned off encampment. Students slowed as they passed the barricades, taking in the scene." ...
   "Nair said she was sickened by the attacks on students who she viewed as courageous for standing up for what they believe in and advocating for Palestinians.
   “They didn’t start this. This was a peaceful protest,” she said. “What I saw last night, those people, as far as I know, were just random people coming in on to our campus, full grown adults and they started attacking kids.”


Noah Goldberg Twitter thread (Noah Goldberg @Noah__Goldberg) on Twitter. "A nugget tucked in mine and @LAcrimes reporting on police response at UCLA last night.
According to three sources, Mayor Bass had to call UCLA Chancellor Gene Block last night to get the chancellor to allow LAPD to deploy on the campus."

Police move in and begin dismantling pro-Palestinian demonstrators’ encampment at UCLA (Los Angeles, AP/WTOP, 5-24) "Police removed barricades and began dismantling a pro-Palestinian demonstrators’ fortified encampment early Thursday at the University of California, Los Angeles, after hundreds of protesters defied police orders to leave, about 24 hours after counterprotesters attacked a tent encampment on the campus.
     "Police methodically ripped apart the encampment’s barricade of plywood, pallets, metal fences and trash dumpsters and made an opening toward dozens of tents of demonstrators. Police also began to pull down canopies and tents. Demonstrators held umbrellas like shields as they faced off with dozens of officers.
     "The police action occurred a night after the UCLA administration and campus police waited hours to stop the counterprotesters’ attack. The delay drew condemnation from Muslim students and California Gov. Gavin Newsom." 

Governor @GavinNewsom statement on the violence that unfolded at @UCLA. "I condemn the violence at UCLA last night. The law is clear: The right to free speech does not extend to inciting violence, vandalism, or lawlessness on campus. Those who engage in illegal behavior must be held accountable for their actions--including through criminal prosecution, suspension, or expulsion." ~ Governor Gavin Newsom


Biden says ‘order must prevail’ during campus protests over the war in Gaza (Chris Megerian, AP News, 5-2-24) The Democratic president broke days of silence on the protests with his remarks, which followed mounting criticism from Republicans who have tried to turn scenes of unrest into a campaign cudgel. By focusing on a law-and-order message while defending the right to free speech, Biden is grasping for a middle ground on an intensely divisive issue in the middle of his reelection campaign.

 
Student journalists discuss covering the campus protests (PBS NewsHour, 5-1-24)
--- Daily News Lessons (many of them, some on protests, most on issues of the day. From PBS NewsHour)

 
Student journalists discuss covering the campus protests against Israel’s war in Gaza (Transcript, PBS NewsHour, 4-30-24: reporting: Amna Nawaz, Karina Cuevas, Ethan Dodd, Leila Jackson) News coverage has been "very over the top on the days where there is violence and there is brutality by police possibly, but not so much when there is just peaceful protests that have been happening in the days since." Feedback invited.

Student journalists are covering their own campuses in convulsion. Here’s what they have to say (David Bauder and Christine Fernando, AP News, 5-2-24) The Columbia-based Pulitzer Prize Board, meeting this weekend to decide on its annual prizes, issued a statement on Thursday recognizing “the tireless efforts of student journalists across our nation’s college campuses, who are covering protests and unrest in the face of great personal and academic risk.”
    The protest movement has become a training ground for students grappling with complicated editorial decisions for some of the first times in their careers. They confront the awkwardness of reporting on their peers and the challenge not to get swept up in emotion.
    On American campuses awash in anger this spring, student journalists are in the center of it all, sometimes uncomfortably so.

    “This is your legacy,” the Spectator wrote — “a president more focused on the brand of your university than the safety of your students and their demands for justice.”
    “This is a moment in our campus’ history,” said Arianna Smith, editor-in-chief of The Lantern at Ohio State University. “Being able to contribute to its coverage is a privilege we don’t take lightly.   We’re under a lot of pressure to get it right, to be accurate, so that’s what we’re striving to do.”
    At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, student journalists are also making difficult decisions about anonymous sourcing. Managing Editor Liv Reilly said photographers are being mindful not to take photos that show faces of people who fear being arrested."

 

The protests over the Israel-Hamas war put a spotlight on college endowments (Thalia Beaty, AP News, 4-26-24)

    “Divest from death” read the bubble letters written in chalk on the sidewalk on Tuesday outside of The New School in New York City.

    "Campaigns to pressure universities to divest for political or ethical reasons go back decades, at least to the 1970s when students pressured schools to withdraw from investments that benefited South Africa under apartheid rule. More recently, in the early aughts, schools made rules barring investments in things like alcohol, tobacco and gambling, according to a report from the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) and Commonfund.

    "Campus protests are bringing attention to who controls university endowments and how decisions about those investments get made. Endowments usually are managed by a board of trustees at the university and the purpose of any endowment is agreed upon by the donors, usually to benefit the institution. They don’t “belong” to current students, faculty or alumni but rather to the organization itself."  A thoughtful piece.


US campus protests: hundreds of riot police move in to disperse pro-Palestinian demonstrators at UCLA – live (Gloria Oladipo; Fran Lawther, Amy Sedghi, Hamish Mackay, Jonathan Yerushalmy and Lois Beckett, The Guardian, 5-2-24)
   "Officers in tactical gear moving on to campus in latest flashpoint for mounting tensions over protests at US colleges.
   "As police helicopters hovered overhead, the sound of flash-bangs, which produce a bright light and a loud noise to disorient and stun people, pierced the air. Protesters chanted “where were you last night?” as the officers approached.
   "California Highway Patrol officers wearing face shields and protective vests stood with their batons protruding out to separate them from demonstrators, who wore helmets and gas masks and chanted, “you want peace. We want justice.”
   "Police methodically ripped apart the encampment’s barricade of plywood, pallets, metal fences and trash dumpsters and made an opening toward dozens of tents of demonstrators. Police also began to pull down canopies and tents. Demonstrators held umbrellas like shields as they faced off with dozens of officers."


‘Unacceptable’: Why it took hours for police to quell attack at UCLA pro-Palestinian camp (Noah Goldberg, Richard Winton and Summer Lin, Los Angeles Times, 5-1-24)
   "When dozens of counterprotesters swarmed UCLA late Tuesday night, attacking the Palestinian solidarity encampment at the center of campus, university authorities were quickly overwhelmed.
   "Law enforcement sources told The Times there were only a few UCLA police officers on hand. They tried to stop the violence but were no match for the crowd and had to retreat, having been attacked themselves, the sources said.
   "A group of unarmed private security guards was there as well. But the guards were hired mainly to protect campus buildings, not to break up fights or make arrests. So they observed the scene as it descended into chaos.
   "It would take about three hours for scores of California Highway Patrol officers and police from Los Angeles and other agencies to fully bring the situation under control.
   "The response to the violence is now under increasing scrutiny, with many on campus and outside criticizing UCLA for not handling the violent counterprotest better."


British Colleges Are Handling Protests Differently. Will It Pay Off? (Stephen Castle, NY Times, 5-11-24) University leaders have so far adopted a more permissive attitude to pro-Palestinian encampments than their U.S. counterparts. Here’s why.


Where are the US college campus protests and what is happening? (Jonathan Yerushalmy, Helen Livingstone, and Erum Salam, Explainer, The Guardian, 5-2-24) Protest encampments have been set up on about 30 campuses across the US over the Israel-Gaza war, with unrest flaring at some after police moved in to clear out protesters

 

To post a link to another story, be sure to provide an accurate, working URL. The URL for this last item, for example, is

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2024/may/02/where-are-the-us-college-campus-protests-and-what-is-happening 

Be the first to comment

Small Press Publishers

Small presses: A troubled sector


Small Press Distribution (1969 – 2024) "After 55 years, Small Press Distribution (SPD)—one of the last remaining independent book distributors in the US—was shutting down immediately, with no advance notice or transitional support." Against all odds, a tiny distribution service in the back of Berkeley’s Serendipity Books grew to help authors attain some of the literary world’s crowning achievements. Alas, "several years of declining sales and the loss of grant support from almost every institution that annually supported SPD have combined to squeeze our budget beyond the breaking point....Our inventory of 300,000 books is in safe hands, having been transferred to our SPD Next partners Ingram Content Group and Publishers Storage and Shipping (PSSC) over the past several months. You will need to contact Ingram or PSSC to discuss distribution options and the return or disposition of your books."
---“The Small Press World is About to Fall Apart.” On the Collapse of Small Press Distribution (Adam Morgan, LitHub, 4-3-24) "Distributors are perhaps the most opaque and byzantine part of the publishing industry. When you buy a book on Amazon or Bookshop.org, it’s usually the distributor—not the publisher—who ships you a copy from its warehouse. When bookstores, libraries, and schools order books for their brick-and-mortar locations, they use online catalogs populated by distributors. Even further, most distributors (including SPD, before it vanished) employ sales teams that work to get copies in Barnes & Noble, independent bookstores, and other retail outlets like gift shops. Without a distributor, presses like Black Lawrence and Noemi are completely cut off from their main sources of income—and for some, SPD might have been the only affordable option left."
How to Evaluate Small Publishers—Plus Digital-Only Presses and Hybrids (Jane Friedman, 6-25-18) "Small publishers often have little or nothing in common with each other; each has unique contracts, distribution power, and quality, not to mention title count and revenue. That said, small presses can be alike in that they take pride in their status (and often rightly so) and call themselves “independent publishers,” to emphasize their creativity or more personal approach, and to differentiate themselves from corporately owned behemoths."
The Key Book Publishing Paths: 2022-2023 (Jane Friedman's excellent chart). Should you self-publish or traditionally publish? This infographic will help you determine the best choice for you and your project. Six categories analyzed: The Big Five, Other Traditional, Small Presses, Self-Publishing and Hybrid, Indie and DIY, and Social (serialization, fan fiction, social media and blogs, Patreon/patronage). A realistic description of small presses (albeit hard to read in small type).

[Back to Top]


Small Presses (Writer Beware) See Submitting to a Small Press: Issues to Consider and Evaluating a Small Press (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association)
Preditors and Editors list of book publishers and distributors lists many small presses and tells you which ones to avoid, and why.

Publishing With a Small Press: Straddling the Indie-Traditional Gap (Eliot Peper on Jane Friedman's blog, 7-19-23) Small presses often have more flexible contract terms than the Big Five. Small presses run the production and distribution processes for you. Small presses often have more flexible contract terms than the Big Five.

    "Traditional publishers typically offer somewhere between 5-15 percent gross royalty to authors and 25% net royalty on ebooks. I received a 50/50 net royalty split and retained many subsidiary rights to my work. If you have specific priorities you want to negotiate, you’ll probably be able to find a healthy middle ground."
Better Than Fall Back: The Small Press Option (Shirley Showalter on Jane Friedman's blog, 7-30-13, updated 7-19-23) Several mini-articles, worth a look.
Small Press Distribution: An Interview with Brent Cunningham (RealPants.com)
Complete Guide to Small Press Publishing: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Small Presses for Writers (Kate Sullivan, TCK Publishing,
3 Unique Research Methods for Identifying Small Publishers (Rosalie Morales Kearns on Jane Friedman's blog, 7-19-23) Browse review venues that specialize in small-press books. Identify awards for small-press books. Check bestsellers and new releases through book distributors that specialize in small-press books. With many useful links.

[Back to Top]


How Small Presses Are Welcoming More Women Into Publishing (Aaron Calvin, Pacific Standard, 12-14-16) Dorothy, YesYes Books, and Graywolf Press have made it their mission to publish more women — and reform an industry that more often celebrates the achievements of men.
Against Conglomeration: Nonprofit Publishing and American Literature After 1980 (Dan Sinykin and Edwin Roland, Post45, 4-21-21) In 2008, Zadie Smith imagined "Two Paths for the Novel." The next year, Mark McGurl published The Program Era, about how creative writing programs changed American literature.... The editors of n+1 responded by proposing that the two paths for the novel were MFA or NYC: creative writing programs or New York publishing....By missing corporate conglomeration, they miss the whole. The two paths paved by the period — which subsume and reorient realism or avant-garde, MFA or NYC — were commercial or nonprofit. 1980 marked the start of this era. Under tremendous financial pressure, commercial and nonprofit publishers split in their approaches to literariness. Writers of color, who make up a disproportionately small fraction of literary production, do not align easily along the intersecting axes of conglomeration and literariness. This literary order — organized around conglomeration, literariness, and diversity — lasted twenty-seven years, from 1980 to 2007. It ended with the financial crisis and the emergence of Amazon as a major player in publishing....In 2003, Graywolf broke from the indie distributor that connects small presses across the US to partner with Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. "It is a step away from the band of 'small presses' and into that virtually empty gap between us and the substantial independent/literary presses"...
5 Ways Small Press Publishers Offer Opportunities for New Authors (Emily Wenstrom, The Write Life, 8-30-16)
3 Unique Research Methods for Identifying Small Publishers (Rosalie Morales Kearns on Jane Friedman's blog, 3-19-2020)
The Big, Big List of Indie Publishers and Small Presses (Nonconformist Authors, The Nonconformist, Medium, 9-14-19) 150+ proofs that indie is beautiful.
24 of Our Favorite Small Presses (Powell's Books, 3-14-18)
20 Small Press Books You Might Have Missed (Ruth Minah Buchwald, Electric Lit, 8-29-19)

[Back to Top]
Be the first to comment

Farewell, Marc Pachter

The following dispatches and quotes about the late beloved Marc Pachter are posted here on my Writers and Editors blog partly to make it easy for Marc's friends and colleagues to post comments. Marc died after a yearlong celebration of his 80th birthday, filled with travels to his favorite people, haunts, and cultural hotspots in Asia, Europe, South America, and the United States.

 

You can watch the Memorial service for Marc Pachter, April 13, 2024 (video online), held at the National Portrait Gallery. 

 

Marc Pachter, Who Revived National Portrait Gallery, Dies at 80 (Sam Roberts, NY Times, 2-23-24)
     Marc Pachter, who transformed the National Portrait Gallery in Washington from a collection primarily of solemn paintings of old white men into a more up-to-date museum that now includes illustrations and interviews with diverse living luminaries, died on Feb. 17 in Bangkok. He was 80.
     The cause was cardiac arrest, his son, Adam, said. Mr. Pachter, who [after many years of living in Washington DC] lived on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, died in a hospital while vacationing in Thailand.
     As director of the Portrait Gallery from 2000 to 2007, Mr. Pachter presided over a $300 million renovation that reimagined the museum while maintaining its artistic integrity.

     A memorial service was held at the National Portrait Gallery on Saturday, April 13, at 9 am in the Kugod Courtyard (at 8th and G Streets NW, DC).

     It was a beautiful day in a beautiful setting, and it was particularly nice to hear Marc's son and daughter, Adam and Gillian, talk about life with their delightfully nontraditional father.

 

Marc's memorable talk on the Living Self Portrait Series (Marc Pachter, Director Emeritus, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution (EG3) February, 2008)

     If you listen to nothing else, listen to this lecture. Marc started to worry about the fact that people didn't get their portraits painted anymore, so he came up with the remarkable Living Self-Portrait Series. As a cultural historian, Marc conducted live interviews with some of the most intriguing characters in recent American history as part of this series created for the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.  In this talk he reveals the secret to a great interview and shares extraordinary stories of talking with Steve Martin, Clare Booth Luce and more. 

         In celebrating great American lives, Marc preferred sprawling, messy cities like LA and Berlin to beautiful self-regarding ones like SF and Paris, but these portraits were of Americans of a certain age (60s thru 90s), the idea being to sit at the feet of people who "know how the story turned out. It's amazing what people will say when they know how the story turns out."  Marc  is particularly interesting on how to do interviews that are different--that are empathic, that feel like what people want to say.  He talks about qualities in the interview subject that made them more interesting (or boring) and about what his best and worst moments were in creating the series.  In a sense, this is also a living portrait of Marc.

       This is also available as The art of the interview (Marc Pachter, video with transcript, listed withTed Talks, January 2008)

        Marc is profiled here as a cultural historian.


Marc Pachter: Remembering a Mentor and Friend (Gordon H. "Nick" Mueller, President & CEO Emeritus of The National World War II Museum, 2-23-24) Mueller mourns the loss of friend and colleague Marc Pachter. "A talent in the museum world such as Marc comes along only once in a generation. His passion for history, art, and culture were unmatched, and his exuberance was highly infectious. Mueller writes about Marc's contributions to the museum world.


Marc Pachter, museum chief who led race to save Washington portrait, dies at 80 - The Washington Post
"Marc Pachter, an American cultural historian at the Smithsonian Institution who as director of the National Portrait Gallery led a nail-biting scramble for donors in 2001 that kept a famed painting of George Washington from leaving the collection for possible auction, died Feb. 17 in Bangkok. He was 80. He had a heart attack at an apartment he rented during an extended stay in Thailand, said his son, Adam Pachter.
     "Mr. Pachter described himself as a “a teller of lives” in his roles across the Smithsonian system, including overseeing a top-to-bottom renovation of the Portrait Gallery as director from 2000 to 2007. As director of the National Portrait Gallery in 2001, he hunted for a donor to keep a famed painting of Washington in the collection. He found one."


In Memoriam: Marc Pachter 1943–2024 (National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 2-21-24) "Marc Pachter's distinguished career at the Smithsonian spanned more than thirty-three years. In addition to being the National Portrait Gallery's director, he served as the museum’s chief historian and assistant director. Marc was the Smithsonian assistant secretary for external affairs, chair of the Smithsonian’s 150th anniversary celebration in 1996, and acting director of the National Museum of American History." And more, about his career with the Smithsonian.


Q&A with Marc Pachter (C-SPAN, 12-12-07, 58 minutes) A fascinating Q&A. Marc Pachter talked with Brian Lamb about his work at the National Portrait Gallery and the operations of the Smithsonian Institution. He retired in 2007 after 33 years at the Smithsonian, where he served as chief historian and assistant director at the Portrait Gallery, acting director of the National Museum of American History, as well as deputy assistant secretary for external affairs and chair of the Smithsonian's 150th anniversary celebration in 1996.

     Asked about being interviewed: "Well, I just told my son, Adam, that it's the first time I've ever been nervous on stage. It's because, when you're the interviewer, you're in control of the situation and when you're being interviewed, suddenly I realize, or whether you're being portrayed in a portrait or written about in a biography, somebody else is in charge of your life, so it's interesting."

    The worst quality in an interviewee, says Marc: Modesty.

    About his education: 'Berkeley made me lucid.'

    His ex-wife Lisa put his finger on why they never loved Washington DC: "It lacks a sense of healing irony. This is a very literal place." But the opportunities it gave him he would forever be grateful for.

---See Additional C-SPAN interviews with Marc.

 
“History Is A Construct. A Lot Happened, But What Do We Remember From It?” (Heather Jaber and Nicole Bogart, Salzburg Global News, 1-29-18) As a historian and former museum director of the National Portrait Gallery, Marc Pachter was tasked with signifying achievement in American culture. “This used to be very easy… White men on horses, usually generals or Presidents,” he explains.

     “True history began with thinking of race and gender in general. But... the road was still stopping short of LGBT questions – also part of the reveal of what a culture really is.” During his tenure at the Gallery in Washington, DC, Pachter, a multi-time Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar, "was involved in introducing the controversial HIDE/SEEK exhibition to the National Portrait Gallery in which homosexuality was depicted as a core theme in the work of many American artists. He believes national museums play an important role in signaling a growing consensus within society to discuss the history of LGBT communities. Moreover, including those exhibitions acknowledge that LGBT rights and visibility are not new issues – they have always existed in history."
---Marc Pachter on history as a construct: What do we remember from it? (YouTube video, Salzburg Global Seminar, 9-30-15) Marc Pachter in conversation with Salzburg Global LGBT Forum Chair Dr. Klaus Mueller on public readiness for using lenses of race, gender, and sexuality on history.

      As explained on the Gallery’s website, the exhibition (developed by a team under his successor), which ran from October 2010 to November 2011, was “the first major museum exhibition to focus on sexual difference in the making of modern American portraiture. HIDE/SEEK considers such themes as the role of sexual difference in depicting modern America; how artists explored the fluidity of sexuality and gender; how major themes in modern art--especially abstraction--were influenced by social marginalization; and how art reflected society's evolving and changing attitudes toward sexuality, desire, and romantic attachment.”

      “It boils down to invisibility; history is a construct; lots happened, but what do we remember from it?” Pachter says. “And that we chose as a nation not to think about it says a lot. The history was always there… People that were not known as gay were living their lives. The nation needed to say: our history telling is incomplete. “We already knew that about race; we already knew that about women… but we needed to think this way [about queer history]. It felt both revolutionary and, happily, in the end ordinary to do this.” (Download PDF of that issue.)


Smithsonian's Veteran Man-in-the-Middle Stands His Ground (Adam Goodheart, In the Capital, NY Times, 4-24-2002)
     "The tensions at the history museum would test any acting director -- though in some ways Marc Pachter seems the perfect man for the challenge. A 28-year veteran at the institution, he was regarded as a pathfinder through the thicket of the cultural wars of the 90's. Now, his admirers say, he is a lone voice of reason drowned out in the continuing din. The question, they say, is how much any museum director, even a visionary, can accomplish amid the current tensions.
    "Mr. Pachter is, in a sense, the Smithsonian's resident philosopher -- a role that he quickly steps into when we finally reach the ruby slippers. On this afternoon, the slippers' display case is surrounded by throngs of school-age visitors. As Mr. Pachter surveys the scene with satisfaction, I ask him the type of question that the museum's detractors have long raised: isn't Judy Garland's footwear a bit trivial to be given a place of honor in a national museum?
     '' 'They're here because they're important to people,'' he answers. ''It's a touchstone to their childhood, a point of contact with the whole story of 'The Wizard of Oz' and how that came to be created. It's a way of getting them to think of history as including their own lives.'
     "Many of the Smithsonian's critics, Mr. Pachter says, talk as if the museum were faced with a stark choice between academia or Disney World. For Mr. Pachter, the best analogy for a museum's cultural role is another, perhaps slightly old-fashioned, comparison: a cathedral. It's a view he has been preaching for years in a number of well-regarded speeches and articles to the international museum world, and, possibly less effectively, to his Smithsonian colleagues. Indeed, a few days after the Reynolds gift was withdrawn, Mr. Pachter was at Oxford University to deliver a prestigious Slade lecture, a speech he titled ''The Museum as a Sacred Place in a Secular Age.'' 

      "For Mr. Pachter, such ecclesiastical comparisons don't suggest aloofness and sterility, but rather the opposite: an experience that combines both theatricality and reason, both rapture and contemplation. In other words, both Disney World and academia. It's a dualism that, he says, goes all the way back to the origins of modern museums in the 18th century."

 

      The tensions at the history museum would test any acting director -- though in some ways Marc Pachter seems the perfect man for the challenge. A 28-year veteran at the institution, he was regarded as a pathfinder through the thicket of the cultural wars of the 90's. Now, his admirers say, he is a lone voice of reason drowned out in the continuing din. The question, they say, is how much any museum director, even a visionary, can accomplish amid the current tensions. Mr. Pachter is, in a sense, the Smithsonian's resident philosopher -- a role that he quickly steps into when we finally reach the ruby slippers. On this afternoon, the slippers' display case is surrounded by throngs of school-age visitors.

 

Portrait Gallery Director to Retire in '07 (Jacqueline Trescott, Washington Post, 12-11-2006) "As director, Pachter was a key part of the team that redesigned the Portrait Gallery and refocused and expanded its view of history and art. The gallery was closed for a longer-than-expected six years for a top-to-bottom renovation; since reopening in July, it has had record crowds visiting the building it shares with the Smithsonian American Art Museum. About 30 percent of the visitors are coming after 5 p.m.; the decision to extend the museum's hours till 7 p.m. was made to fit "the vibe" of the revitalized Gallery Place neighborhood, Pachter said."


American Flâneur (Instagram) Photos and reels. (I passed, then kept flunking, Instagram's test, but maybe it will work for you.) Maybe it will come back. Maybe you need to be a member of Instagram. See also Barge rehearsal in Thailand (Reels) Scroll down for more photos of Marc.

    Good luck getting on Instagram. I routinely fail their tests for getting on, clicking on photos of buildings with stairs, etc.. They asked for my cell phone number, and after I sent it, I filled in that number and they said "Try another number. That doesn't work."


• Marc had a few words to say in 2016 about Trump’s election, by way of boosting morale.
       "This is not the first setback in our political history as a nation. It is important to remember that in a democracy there are always different views as to the direction the nation should take. Every major body of opinion gets a shot at Presidential leadership. And it's also important to remember that our system never allows a President complete authority. In fact the system is set up to frustrate authority. When the person you support has been elected you often see the limits of what he (and someday she) can do. Obama had his successes but was often blocked. The same will happen to the President-elect.
       "What we are now obligated to do is monitor the new administration and if we disagree with its policies to make our opinions known and to expect our representatives and the judiciary to reflect on these issues. The American system is not meant to be efficient or to support only one set of views. It is meant to check and balance. This is a loud, messy and very American process."


Marc Pachter (Wikipedia entry) Marc Pachter (born 1942 or 1943) is an American museum director who headed up the United States National Portrait Gallery from 2000 until 2007 and was the acting director (after coming back out of retirement) of the National Museum of American History between 2011 and 2012, both at the Smithsonian. While at the NPG Pachter played an instrumental role in acquiring the Lansdowne portrait for the...


Marc Pachter and the Washington Biography Group The Washington Biography Group was inspired by Marc Pachter, then chief historian of the National Portrait Gallery, who organized an all-day symposium on "Biography: Life As Art" at The Smithsonian Institution's Baird Auditorium. Held December 6, 1986, the symposium was attended by 325 people. Three biographers talked about their work: David McCullough, Phyllis Rose, and Marc Pachter. After the event, Marc Pachter, Judy Nelson, and others wondered if members of the audience would like to continue meeting, so Marc announced at the end of the day that those interested in meeting to discuss biography writing should send him a postcard and he would schedule a meeting. In February 1987, about 30 people attended the first meeting, at Chick and Judy Nelson's home. During the pandemic the group has met on Zoom.

     It was through the WBG that I got to know Marc. WBG survived Marc's post-retirement move to New York and his peregrinations through the world, but he always stayed in touch. He will truly be missed.


Washington Biography Group


• Marc's two books:

     Telling Lives: The Biographer's Art

     A Gallery of Presidents (National Portrait Gallery)

________________

Be the first to comment

Differences of Agreement on Capitalizing Black and White (or Not) as Race Terms

What should it be? Black and white?  Black and White? black and white?

A few well-expressed opinions, handy for classroom and copy desk arguments.

Frequently updated and as of 2-24-24 there is clearly no concensus on which of the two words (black, white) to capitalize or why.


Capitalization Style for Black and White as Race Terms (Right Touch Editing's useful chart of various organizations preferences, as of 10-26-21)


Why we will lowercase white (AP) "[P]eople who are Black have strong historical and cultural commonalities, even if they are from different parts of the world....White people generally do not share the same history and culture, or the experience of being discriminated against because of skin color."


Uppercasing ‘Black’ (New York Times, 6-30-30) 'The Associated Press and other major news organizations have recently adopted “Black,” which has long been favored by many African-American publications and other outlets. The new style is also consistent with our treatment of many other racial and ethnic terms: We recently decided to capitalize “Native” and “Indigenous,” while other ethnic terms like “Asian-American” and “Latino” have always been capitalized.
      We will retain lowercase treatment for “white.” While there is an obvious question of parallelism, there has been no comparable movement toward widespread adoption of a new style for “white,” and there is less of a sense that “white” describes a shared culture and history. Moreover, hate groups and white supremacists have long favored the uppercase style, which in itself is reason to avoid it.'

    The term “brown” as a racial or ethnic description should also generally remain lowercase and should be used with care.


Capitalizing for Equality (Conscious Style Guide) The New York Times, Poynter, and Columbia Journalism Review "have argued for capitalizing black and white when used as racial terms, for the sake of respect, equality, and typographical integrity. Other groups are entitled to the visibility conferred by a capital letter—Hispanic, Native, Asian American—and despite the lack of consensus that any of these are one people, these overly broad and arbitrary labels endure."
       However, "If your editorial directive is to call people what they want to be called—including names, pronouns, and labels—then look to Black media outlets like Ebony and Essence for accepted usage and avoid overriding their terminology. By capitalizing black and white, we also make necessary distinctions between color and race—black hair and Black hair—similar to distinguishing between native and Native. Don’t wait for your style guide to catch up, because it’s waiting for you to demonstrate sufficient usage."


Why we capitalize ‘Black’ (and not ‘white’) (Mike Laws, Columbia Journalism Review, 6-16-20) "For many people, Black reflects a shared sense of identity and community. White carries a different set of meanings; capitalizing the word in this context risks following the lead of white supremacists." "...as my CJR colleague Alexandria Neason told me recently, “I view the term Black as both an ethnic identity in the States that doesn’t rely on hyphenated Americanness (and is more accurate than African American, which suggests recent ties to the continent) and is also transnational and inclusive of our Caribbean [and] Central/South American siblings.” To capitalize Black, in her view, is to acknowledge that slavery “deliberately stripped” people forcibly shipped overseas “of all other ethnic/national ties.” She added, “African American is not wrong, and some prefer it, but if we are going to capitalize Asian and South Asian and Indigenous, for example, groups that include myriad ethnic identities united by shared race and geography and, to some degree, culture, then we also have to capitalize Black.”


The Case for Capitalizing the B in Black (Kwame Anthony Appiah, The Atlantic, 6-18-2020) Black and white are both historically created racial identities—and whatever rule applies to one should apply to the other.


Why ‘White’ should be capitalized, too (Nell Irvin Painter, Washington Post, 7-22-20)

 

•  After a long discussion on the Copyeditors' listserv, participants tended to agree that at the moment the best thing is to follow the style guide of your publisher or publication, because there are reasons, many of them good, to capitalize both Black and White, to capitalize only Black, and to capitalize neither. (H/T Jeannette de Beauvoir)

 

• James McBride, in The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, uses lowercase for both black and white.


The Washington Post announces writing style changes for racial and ethnic identifiers (7-29-20) 

      "The Post to capitalize Black to identify groups that make up the African diaspora."

      "[P]olitical terms used to promote racist ideologies or to advocate ethnic superiority or separation should remain lowercase (i.e. white supremacist, black nationalist). And in crime stories, where cultural and historical identity aren’t key to a suspect’s actions, use the lowercase versions of black, white and brown as race descriptors."


Ask a Radical Copyeditor: Black with a Capital “B” (Alex Kapitan, “Black” vs. “black,” Radical Copyeditor, 9-21-16) In his book Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?: What It Means to Be Black Now, author Touré explains: 'I have chosen to capitalize the word “Black” and lowercase “white” throughout this book. I believe “Black” constitutes a group, an ethnicity equivalent to African-American, Negro, or, in terms of a sense of ethnic cohesion, Irish, Polish, or Chinese. I don’t believe that whiteness merits the same treatment. Most American whites think of themselves as Italian-American or Jewish or otherwise relating to other past connections that Blacks cannot make because of the familial and national disruptions of slavery. So to me, because Black speaks to an unknown familial/national past it deserves capitalization.'
      'I choose to use Black and white in my own writing out of a dedication to centering the leadership, authority, and truths of the people I’m writing about—particularly when those people are marginalized. Although all people of African descent by no means agree with each other on everything, in the United States the Black press and many Black authors use Black and white.' [It is worth reading this full entry.]


A Debate Over Identity and Race Asks, Are African-Americans ‘Black’ or ‘black’? (John Eligon, NY Times, 6-26-2020) The push to capitalize black to refer to African-Americans is far more than a typographical change.


Recognizing Race in Language: Why We Capitalize “Black” and “White” (Ann Thúy Nguyễn and Maya Pendleton, Center for the Study of Social Policy, 3-23-20)


Why We're Capitalizing Black (NY Times, 7-5-2020) The Times has changed its style on the term’s usage to better reflect a shared cultural identity. Here’s what led to that decision. Here's Tony Mancini's good argument against it.


Why hundreds of American newsrooms have started capitalizing the ‘b’ in ‘Black’ (Elahe Izadi, Washington Post, 6-18-2020) A good overview of why it's changing.

Be the first to comment

Big hubbub about science fiction's Hugo Awards

Expect to hear continuing controversy about the 2023 Hugo Awards, awarded at the Worldcon convention held in Chengdu, China. Several authors who should have qualified for the science fiction awards were disqualified without any explanation, including R.F. Kuang, author of Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence, Xiran Jay Zhao, author of Iron Widow, and Paul Weimer, who would have been eligible for Best Fan Writer as well as an episode of Netflix's The Sandman series.

 

Worldcon in the news Charlie Stross, Charlie's Diary, 1-26-24) "The important thing to note is that the 'worldcon' is *not a permanent organization. It's more like a virus that latches onto an SF convention, infects it with worldcon-itis, runs the Hugo awards and the WSFS business meeting, then selects a new convention to parasitize the year after next.
     Charlie's takeaway: "The world science fiction convention coevolved with fan-run volunteer conventions in societies where there's a general expectation of the rule of law and most people abide by social norms irrespective of enforcement. The WSFS constitution isn't enforceable except insofar as normally fans see no reason not to abide by the rules. So it works okay in the USA, the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and all the other western-style democracies it's been held in ... but broke badly when a group of enthusiasts living in an authoritarian state won the bid then realized too late that by doing so they'd come to the attention of Very Important People who didn't care about their society's rulebook.
      Immediate consequences:
    "For the first fifty or so worldcons, worldcon was exclusively a North American phenomenon except for occasional sorties to the UK. Then it began to open up as cheap air travel became a thing. In the 21st century about 50% of worldcons are held outside North America, and until 2016 there was an expectation that it would become truly international. But the Chengdu fubar has created shockwaves. There's no immediate way to fix this..."
    Check out the 200+ comments.


Resignations, Censures Follow in Wake of Hugo Awards Controversy (Sophia Stewart, Publishers Weekly, 2-1-24) "Two leaders of Worldcon Intellectual Property (WIP), the nonprofit that holds the service marks of the World Science Fiction Society, have reportedly stepped down from their posts following accusations of censorship in the voting process for the 2023 Hugo Awards.

     "The Hugo Awards are the most prestigious honors in the sci-fi/fantasy community. The awards, administered by the World Science Fiction Society, are awarded annually at the group's global convention, Worldcon. Last year's Worldcon was held for the first time in China, in Chengdu. "The resignations and disciplinary actions come after the nomination data for the 2023 awards was made public on January 20 and it was revealed that certain authors and books—including R.F. Kuang's hit novel Babel—had been inexplicably deemed "not eligible" for the Hugo. Kuang is Chinese American, and her work draws heavily from Chinese culture and history. Many fans and authors have speculated that state censorship—or self-censorship under the state's watch—was the reason for the opaque ineligibility rulings by the Chengdu–based committee."

 

Inside the Censorship Scandal That Rocked Sci-Fi and Fantasy's Biggest Awards (Adam Morgan, Esquire Magazine, 2-2-24) Insiders tell Esquire what really happened when the Hugo Awards melted down over unexplained disqualifications—and what it could mean for the future of literary awards.


Genre Grapevine on the Hugo Awards’ “not eligible” problem (Jason Sanford, Genre Grapevine, January 2024) Once again, the Hugo Awards are making international news. And once again, not in a good way. The "Hugo Award stats revealed that a number of writers and works were kept off the award’s final ballot for no valid reason. One of the biggest shockers was that Rebecca F. Kuang’s acclaimed fantasy novel Babel, which won the Nebula Award for Best Novel, was left off the final ballot despite earning 810 nomination votes, enough to place it third on the list of nominated novels."

     See also Worldcon Intellectual Property Announces Censure of McCarty, Chen Shi and Yalow; McCarty Resigns (Mike Glyer's News of SF Fandom, 1-30-24) and Hugo Award nominations raise questions Jane Friedman on The Hot Sheet, 1-31-24) Others also listed as ineligible for Hugo Awards: Xiran Jay Zhao, Neil Gaiman, and Paul Weimer.


The Hugo Awards controversy goes back a few years:

 

Attack the Bloc: The Hugo Awards Controversy (Emmaline Soken-Huberty, Gildshire, 8-28-19)

 

Sci-fi’s right-wing backlash: Never doubt that a small group of deranged trolls can ruin anything (even the Hugo Awards) (Arthur Chu, Salon, 4-6-15) Lazy democracy is like an open comments section -- left unmoderated and unguided, the worst people take over.

 

The Sad Puppy Takeover (Brooke Gladstone interviews Arthur Chu, On the Media radio, 4-17-15) The Hugo Awards are science fiction writing's highest honor, and this year conservative fans, concerned with the liberal leanings of recent awards, banded together to nominate their sci-fi ideals. Brooke speaks with actor and writer Arthur Chu about how the awards controversy reflects a larger history of cultural backlash.

 
The Hugo Awards Were Always Political. But Now They're Only Political. (Charlie Jane Anders, Gizmodo, 4-4-15) Last August, the Hugo Awards for science fiction and fantasy were swept by a younger group of women and people of color. At the time, we said "This was really a year that underscored that a younger generation of diverse writers are becoming central to the genre." So maybe it's not surprising that there was an organized backlash....When the nominees are mostly white men, as they have been during most eras except for the mid-1990s and the past five years, it does send a message about whose work is going to be considered valuable.

 

Freeping the Hugo Awards (Susan Grigsby, Daily Kos, 4-12-15) "The Nebulas are awarded by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). The Hugos are nominated and awarded by fans of the genre who are members of Worldcon, making them basically a popularity contest." This piece is about how a group of conservative people ("Sad Puppies"--and not necessarily sci fi readers) gamed the system, stacking the ballot for Hugos with some unlikely candidates with acceptable attitudes toward white males (and fewer heroes who are woman or people of color).

Be the first to comment

Trump, January 6, opinions vs. facts, indictment, trials, election tactics, political agenda

Trump, disrupter in chief

This blog post is an outgrowth of a website page originally called

Trump,  January 6, election lies, myths vs. facts, indictment, trials
Find yourself arguing about Trump? These links (to both opinion and facts) may be helpful.

 

"Call me old-fashioned but I don't think a president who incites a coup against the U.S. government deserves a $200,000 pension for the rest of his life, along with a million-dollar travel budget, all financed by U.S. taxpayers. Just sayin."
~ Robert Reich

 

"When a clown moves into a palace, he doesn't become a king. The palace becomes a circus."

 

Updated regularly, as the circus continues.

 

Tracking the Trump investigations and where they stand  (Washington Post)

(Derek Hawkins, Nick Mourtoupalas and Natalie Vineberg)  

      A helpful calendar, with useful background information, presumably to be kept up-to-date.

Keeping Track of the Trump Criminal Cases (The New York Times) "Confused about the inquiries and legal cases involving former President Donald Trump? The New York Times is here to help.

 Key Cases and Inquiries: The former president faces several investigations at both the state and the federal levels, into matters related to his business and political careers.

   Here is a close look at each.

Case Tracker: Trump is at the center of four criminal investigations.

   Keep track of the developments in each here.

What if Trump Is Convicted?: Will any of the proceedings hinder Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign? Can a convicted felon even run for office?

   Here is what we know, and what we don’t know.

Receive a Weekly Update: Sign up for the Trump on Trial newsletter to get the latest news and analysis on the cases in New York, Florida, Georgia and Washington, D.C.

 • Keeping Track of the Trump Criminal Cases (New York Times, updated regularly)
Donald Trump’s Trial of the Century (Eric Lach, NY Times, 4-14-24) Manhattan prosecutors have argued that the Stormy Daniels case—the first criminal trial of a former President in American history—is about much more than hush money. "The argument that the prosecutors have made in court filings is focussed on something closer to election interference. The case is about Trump lying his way into office...And legal experts believe that a conviction is likely. As a first-time offender, jail time isn’t a sure thing. And the Constitution does not prohibit a convicted felon from serving as President."
How has Donald Trump fared on the Truth-O-Meter? (PolitiFact, 9-29-20) "Since 2011, we’ve checked 853 statements by Trump. Of these, 618 ended up as either Mostly False, False, or Pants on Fire, meaning that 72% of Trump’s statements ended up in the bottom half of our rating system." For more recent scores see Trumpometer
What Sentencing Could Look Like if Trump Is Found Guilty "The case focuses on alleged interference in the 2016 election, which consisted of a hush-money payment Michael Cohen, the former president’s fixer at the time, made in 2016 to a porn star, Stormy Daniels, who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump. Mr. Bragg is arguing that the cover-up cheated voters of the chance to fully assess Mr. Trump’s candidacy.
     "To date, Mr. Trump has been unrepentant about the events alleged in this case. There is every reason to believe that will not change even if he is convicted, and lack of remorse is a negative at sentencing. Justice Merchan’s evaluation of Mr. Trump’s history and character may also be informed by the other judgments against him, including Justice Arthur Engoron’s ruling that Mr. Trump engaged in repeated and persistent business fraud, a jury finding that he sexually abused and defamed E. Jean Carroll and a related defamation verdict by a second jury.
      "Justice Merchan may also weigh the fact that Mr. Trump has been repeatedly held in contempt, warned, fined and gagged by state and federal judges. That includes for statements he made that exposed witnesses, individuals in the judicial system and their families to danger."

 

And from other sources:

Catch Up on Where the Trump Investigations Stand (Ben Protess, Alan Feuer and Danny Hakim, NY Times, 2-12-24) Donald J. Trump has been sued in New York and indicted in Georgia, Florida, Manhattan and Washington, as federal and state prosecutors elsewhere have opened a number of investigations.
Lawfare’s coverage of the Trump trials Coverage of the criminal indictments against former President Donald Trump in the Southern District of Florida, Washington, D.C., and Fulton County, Georgia. Much good information here, well-organized.
Tracking the Trump criminal cases (Politico Status, charges, and strengths and weaknesses of each case, key players, prosecution, Trump's team, Who could pardon him.
Tracking Trump's trials (NPR)
Long-Concealed Records Show Trump’s Chronic Losses and Years of Tax Avoidance ( Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig and Mike McIntire, The President's Taxes, NY Times, 9-27-20) The Times obtained Donald Trump’s tax information extending over more than two decades, revealing struggling properties, vast write-offs, an audit battle and hundreds of millions in debt coming due.   

     'The tax data examined by The Times provides a road map of revelations, from write-offs for the cost of a criminal defense lawyer and a mansion used as a family retreat to a full accounting of the millions of dollars the president received from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.
      'Together with related financial documents and legal filings, the records offer the most detailed look yet inside the president’s business empire. They reveal the hollowness, but also the wizardry, behind the self-made-billionaire image — honed through his star turn on “The Apprentice” — that helped propel him to the White House and that still undergirds the loyalty of many in his base.'

 

Back to Trump in general:

I gathered these links (to both facts and opinion and, above, a guide to information on various Trump cases and investigations) because I have found myself occasionally arguing about the man.

I admit bias, but where there is a solid argument for Trump's innocence, let me know. ~ P.M.

Liz Cheney:  "There are some conservatives who are trying to make this claim that somehow Biden is a bigger risk than Trump. My view is: I disagree with a lot of Joe Biden's policies. We can survive bad policies. We cannot survive torching the Constitution." ~ quoted from The Choice Republicans Face (Charles Sykes, The Atlantic, 4-26-24) More than 200 years ago, Alexander Hamilton defied partisanship for the sake of the country’s future; if he hadn’t done so, American history might have taken a very different course. Today, Republicans face the same choice.

 


For the Women Who Accused the Trump Campaign of Harassment, It’s Been More Harassment (Marilyn W. Thompson, ProPublica, 5-23-24) Nearly eight years ago, convinced that she’d been treated unfairly, Jessica Denson sued Donald Trump’s campaign for workplace harassment. Then she discovered the lengths Trump’s attorneys would go to hit back — and their unwillingness to stop.
The magnitude of Pence refusing to endorse Trump (Aaron Blake, Washington Post, 3-16-24) “It should come as no surprise that I will not be endorsing Donald Trump this year,” Mike Pence told Fox News on Friday. "Pence’s lack of an endorsement also highlights the chasm between GOP elected officials and those who actually served alongside Trump in his Cabinet. NBC News last summer reached out to 44 former Cabinet officials and found that only four of them would commit to backing Trump in what was then the early stages of the primary contest. Many have turned into strong Trump critics, like former chief of staff John F. Kelly and former defense secretaries Jim Mattis and Mark T. Esper."

Letters from an American (Heather Cox Richardson, 3-5-24) Super Tuesday. Just as voters don’t appear to know much about what the [Biden] administration has done to make their lives better, a recent study from a Democratic pollster suggests that voters don’t seem to know much about Trump’s statements attacking democracy. When informed of them, their opinion of Trump falls.

      "Trump has called for mass deportations of immigrants and foreign-born U.S. citizens; on February 29, he said he would use local police as well as federal troops to round people up and move them to camps for deportation. Asked yesterday by a Newsmax host if he would “order mass deportations if you win the White House,” Trump answered: “Oh, day one. We have no choice. And we’ll start with the bad ones. And you know who knows who they are? Local police. Local police have to be given back their authority, and they have to be given back their respect and immunity.”
      "On the one hand [Biden], caps to credit card late fees and an attempt to address price gouging; on the other hand [Trump], local police with immunity rounding up millions of people and putting them in camps, for deportation. And, in between the two, an election. People had better start paying attention."

 

Trump-O-Meter (PolitiFact) Tracking 100 promises President Trump made during his 2016 campaign. "tracking 100 promises President Trump made during his 2016 campaign.For each campaign promise, our reporters research the issue and then rate it based on whether the promise was achieved: Promise Kept, Promise Broken, Compromise, Stalled, In the Works or Not Yet Rated. Go thru the promises and the ratings he got for each of them.
How Far Trump Would Go (Eric Cortellessa, Time Magazine, 4-30-24)

    "What emerged in two interviews with Trump, and conversations with more than a dozen of his closest advisers and confidants, were the outlines of an imperial presidency that would reshape America and its role in the world. To carry out a deportation operation designed to remove more than 11 million people from the country, Trump told me, he would be willing to build migrant detention camps and deploy the U.S. military, both at the border and inland. He would let red states monitor women’s pregnancies and prosecute those who violate abortion bans. He would, at his personal discretion, withhold funds appropriated by Congress, according to top advisers. He would be willing to fire a U.S. Attorney who doesn’t carry out his order to prosecute someone, breaking with a tradition of independent law enforcement that dates from America’s founding. He is weighing pardons for every one of his supporters accused of attacking the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, more than 800 of whom have pleaded guilty or been convicted by a jury. He might not come to the aid of an attacked ally in Europe or Asia if he felt that country wasn’t paying enough for its own defense. He would gut the U.S. civil service, deploy the National Guard to American cities as he sees fit, close the White House pandemic-preparedness office, and staff his Administration with acolytes who back his false assertion that the 2020 election was stolen."
     'Trump would enter a second term backed by a slew of policy shops staffed by loyalists who have drawn up detailed plans in service of his agenda, which would concentrate the powers of the state in the hands of a man whose appetite for power appears all but insatiable. “I don’t think it’s a big mystery what his agenda would be,” says his close adviser Kellyanne Conway.'“But I think people will be surprised at the alacrity with which he will take action.”

     "Every election is billed as a national turning point. This time that rings true. To supporters, the prospect of Trump 2.0, unconstrained and backed by a disciplined movement of true believers, offers revolutionary promise. To much of the rest of the nation and the world, it represents an alarming risk."


How the Biden-Trump Border Visits Revealed a Deeper Divide (Shane Goldmacher, NY Times, 2-29-24) Their approaches to immigration represent a test of voters’ appetite for the messiness of democracy, pitting the president’s belief in legislating against his rival’s pledge to be a “Day 1” dictator.   “The difference is between a president who is trying to address a complex policy issue through our political system and one who is promising quasi-authoritarian solutions.”


I Listened to Trump’s Rambling, Unhinged, Vituperative Georgia Rally—and So Should You (Susan B. Glasser, New Yorker, 3-14-24)

      The ex-President is building a whole new edifice of lies for 2024.

     "Trump’s over-the-top distortions of his record as President—“the greatest economy in history”; “the biggest tax cut in history”; “I did more for Black people than any President other than Abraham Lincoln”—are now joined by an equally flamboyant new set of untruths about Biden’s Presidency, which Trump portrayed in Saturday’s speech as a hellish time of almost fifty-per-cent inflation and an economy “collapsing into a cesspool of ruin,” with rampaging migrants being let loose from prisons around the world and allowed into the United States, on Biden’s orders, to murder and pillage and steal jobs from “native-born Americans.” Biden, in Trump’s current telling, is both a drooling incompetent being controlled by “fascists” and a corrupt criminal mastermind, “weaponizing” the U.S. government and its criminal-justice system to come after his opponent. His campaign slogan for 2024 might be summed up by one of the rally’s pithier lines: “Everything Joe Biden touches turns to shit. Everything.”

      "Indeed, Trump’s efforts this year to blame Biden for literally everything have taken on a baroque quality even by the modern-day standards of the party that introduced Willie Horton and Swift-boating into the political lexicon."
US could have averted 40% of Covid deaths, says panel examining Trump's policies (Amanda Holpuch, The Guardian, 2-10-21) The country began the pandemic with a degraded public health infrastructure, leading to more deaths than other high-income countries. The US could have averted 40% of the deaths from Covid-19, had the country’s death rates corresponded with the rates in other high-income G7 countries. In seeking to respond to the pandemic, Trump has been widely condemned for not taking the pandemic seriously enough soon enough, spreading conspiracy theories, not encouraging mask wearing and undermining scientists and others seeking to combat the virus’s spread.


Trump's brain getting worse QUICKLY, says psychologist Harry Segal, clinical psychologist and Senior Lecturer in the Psychology Department at Cornell University and the Department of Psychiatry at Cornell Weill Medical School, joins David Pakman to compare and contrast what is being labeled "cognitive decline" with regard to both Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.

     Trump's decision not to participate in debates was smart. He's undeniably a successful self-promoter. But you are unlikely to see him in a debate with Biden. Remember his 2016 speech, saying I'm smarter than the generals (he believes it; he's a narcissistic person, with delusions about himself). He's a pathological liar. He believes his lies about himself. He never admits he's wrong. He is already a very erratic, mentally challenged person who shouldn't be anywhere near the White House. The tanning dye is to cue Americans to think he's younger but it's not well-applied (watch the hairline). He gets historical details wrong, mistaking one person for another. "I like making deals. That's how I get my kicks." But the kicks never lasted long. No amount of money, success, or attention was ever enough.
    Joe Biden sometimes seems to trail off or mutter and sometimes seems confused about what he's trying to say. But his 2024 State of the Union speech (read it here) was at night, it was long, and he was incredible and quick. His badgering the Republicans and catching Marjorie Taylor Greene was impressive. "You really can't do that if you're suffering from major cognitive impairments." Biden is a more honest person who projects who he really is.


Donald Trump Has Never Sounded Like This *(Charles Homans, NY Times,4-27-24) No major American presidential candidate has talked like he now does at his rallies — not Richard Nixon, not George Wallace, not even Donald Trump himself. "We're going to win this election because we have no choice. If we lose this election, we're not going to have a country left."
‘I am your retribution’: Trump rules supreme at CPAC as he relaunches bid for White House (David Smith, The Guardian, 3-5-23) Quoting Trump, the great divider: “With you at my side, we will demolish the deep state. We will expel the war mongers... We will drive out the globalists. We will cast out the communists. We will throw off the political class that hates our country … We will beat the Democrats. We will rout the fake news media. We will expose and appropriately deal with the Rinos [Republicans in name only]. We will evict Joe Biden from the White House. And we will liberate America from these villains and scoundrels once and for all.”


A Financial Reckoning for Donald Trump (John Cassidy, New Yorker, 3-19-24) The former President’s inability to secure a $464-million bond in his New York civil fraud case is a reminder of the deep legal and financial peril he’s in. In their court filing, "Trump’s lawyers said that the Trump Organization had worked with four insurance brokers and approached thirty companies that provide bonds, but none of them had agreed to supply one for the James case....this latest development is testament to the formidable powers to go after fraudulent businesses that the New York attorney general possesses under state law. For decades, Trump managed to maneuver around this threat, despite allegations that he routinely stiffed contractors and engaged in other unscrupulous behavior."


What I Learned When I Read 887 Pages of Plans for Trump’s Second Term (Carlos Lozada, Opinion, NY Times, 2-29-24) it is easy to imagine “Mandate for Leadership” wielding influence in a second Trump term. It is an off-the-shelf governing plan for a leader who took office last time with no clear plan and no real ability to govern. This book attempts to supply him with both--for a conservative agenda.

     "There is plenty here that one would expect from a contemporary conservative agenda: calls for lower corporate taxes and against abortion rights; criticism of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and the "climate fanaticism" of the Biden administration; and plans to militarize the southern border and target the "administrative state," which is depicted here as a powerful and unmanageable federal bureaucracy bent on left-wing social engineering. Yet what is most striking about the book is not the specific policy agenda it outlines but how far the authors are willing to go in pursuit of that agenda and how reckless their assumptions are about law, power and public service."


Tony Schwartz: The Truth About Trump (YouTube video, speech at Oxford Union, Nov. 2016) The ghostwriter of "The Art of the Deal," the book Trump calls 'his proudest achievement.' "I'm here tonight because shortly before Donald Trump won the Republican nomination for president back in July I made a decision to publicly renounce the book I had written and the man whose image and persona I had helped to shape and define. He is persevering, he is aggressive in pursuit of his goals. If he would lie about things that are so easy to disprove, he would lie about anything. Trump came out of the dark side of capitalism. If Trump loses the election, he will never acknowledge that he has lost the election.

 

Trump Fraud Trial Penalty Will Exceed $450 Million (Jonah E. Bromwich and Ben Protess, NY Times, 2-16-24) The ruling in Donald J. Trump’s civil fraud case could cost him all his available cash. The judge said that the former president’s “complete lack of contrition” bordered on pathological.
Judge Engoron’s Ruling Is a Detailed Road Map to Trump’s Thievery (David Cay Johnston, Simply a Crook, TNR, 2-19-24) The $355 million judgment is bad enough. But if you want the full flavor of the Trump Organization’s chicanery, read what the judge had to say. "In justifying his findings of fact, New York Judge Arthur Engoron’s analysis of testimony in Trump’s seven-week civil fraud trial in Manhattan showed how everything Trump does is based on consistent and shameless cheating, deceiving, falsifying documents, and lying.
      "The 92-page ruling establishes that Trump isn’t a business genius, a modern Midas who turns everything he touches to gold. Instead, the former TV entertainer and real estate mogul is simply a crook, a white-collar thief who uses flattery, threats, lies, and an ink pen to rip off everyone he can, particularly banks and insurance companies. Engoron’s opinion provides a road map to understanding Trump’s outrageous behavior and thus what we should expect from a second Trump administration.
       "Trump, to use his words, does “whatever the hell” he wants. Trump is just being true to himself, whether cheating his niece Mary out of most of her inheritance; sexually assaulting women like E. Jean Carroll; making up lies about Carroll in hopes of discrediting her; or tricking banks, insurance companies, and our government into valuing his properties in ways that stuff greenbacks into his pockets."

       "...The judge's opinion is a sequel to Trump's 1987 autobiography, The Art of The Deal, in which he brags about cheating at golf, deceiving business partners, and thumbing his nose at the law. That book is a guide not just to Trump's megalomaniacal ego but to how he serially ripped off unsuspecting people and then moved on to the next victim."
Trump Media Is the New Bed Bath & Beyond (James Surowiecki, The Atlantic, 3-28-24) Donald Trump gets into the meme-stock business. Like GameStop and AMC before it, Trump Media trades not on fundamentals, but on emotion. Even if Trump Media can rely on Trump supporters to keep its stock up, at least for the moment, plenty of volatility is still in store, because speculators will look to cash in on the meme-stock mania by either riding the stock up or selling it short
Pump and trump (Heather Vogell, ProPublica, with Andrea Bernstein and Meg Cramer, WNYC, and Peter Elkind, ProPublica, 10-17-18) Donald Trump claims he only licensed his name for real estate projects developed by others. But an investigation of a dozen Trump deals shows deep family involvement in projects that often involved deceptive practices. Trump’s licensing strategy originated with his early-2000s comeback, as “The Apprentice” propelled him to international TV stardom and restored luster to a reputation tarnished by multiple bankruptcies.
      The New York Times published a 13,000-word examination of how Donald’s father, the late Fred Trump, and his estate, funneled millions of dollars to his children, in possible violation of tax rules and criminal laws. With copious documentation showing that Fred directed $413 million in today’s dollars to Donald — not the single loan for $1 million, with interest, that Donald has always claimed — it exploded Trump’s long-propagated claim that he is a self-made man.
      This article examines another Trump claim: that his post-millennium comeback and global expansion rested on the brilliant purity of a licensing strategy that paid him millions simply for the use of his name. That, it turns out, is no truer than the notion that Donald Trump is self-made.

Here Are the Trump Projects Where Ivanka and Her Dad Misled Buyers (Katherine Sullivan and Heather Vogell, ProPublica, 10-17-18) Read the Trumps’ false statements — and what the actual facts were. Part of a series exploring Trump business practices.

For Donald Trump, the Recriminations Will Be Televised (James Poniewozik, NY Times, 2-17-24) The former president’s trials aren’t being aired. That isn’t stopping him from turning them into a political reality show. "The civil-fraud case against Donald J. Trump’s businesses in New York, in which he was ordered to pay a penalty of $355 million, was not televised. Neither was his civil trial for the defamation of E. Jean Carroll. Nor — barring an unlikely change in federal court policy — will be his looming federal election-interference trial.
But outside the courtroom, the show goes on.
      "In each case, Mr. Trump has sought out the cameras, or brought in his own, to offer a stream-of-consciousness heave of legal complaints and re-election arguments. In the process, the former reality-TV host and current presidential candidate has turned his many legal cases into one-sided TV productions and campaign ads.
      "To TV producers, because Mr. Trump is a former president, a candidate and high-profile defendant, his on-camera tirades are news. But there is also a kind of transaction at work. TV news craves conflict and active visuals. There are only so many times you can show a motorcade, or reporters cooling their heels in the street. Mr. Trump’s appearances give them sound, fury and B-roll.
      ""At the same time, Mr. Trump gets the kind of unfiltered access to the airwaves that networks were, once upon a brief time, wary of giving a candidate notorious for fabrications and conspiracy theories."


'A number of civil rights groups blame former President Donald J. Trump for creating an atmosphere of intolerance in America's schools. His promotion of what he called "patriotic education" — which sought to minimize the country's history of slavery — spurred conservative policymakers to support a series of efforts, including banning books, revising curriculums and challenging diversity programs...."We cannot underestimate the normalizing of intolerant behaviors..."' ~Strife in the Schools: Education Dept. Logs Record Number of Discrimination Complaints


Trump, House Republicans plot to kill border deal (Stef W. Kight, Politics & Policy, Axios, 1-29-24 and ongoing) The migrant crisis at the border and in major U.S. cities is one of the most jeopardizing issues for Biden and Democrats this November. It's also Trump's marquee political issue. He has every incentive to keep it front and center as he heads toward a likely rematch against Biden. Biden has doubled down on a tougher border image in recent months, and has signaled his willingness to "shut down the border" if he's given new authority under the Senate agreement. But Republicans seem ready to walk away from the border deal."
• Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) on Trump reportedly discouraging a GOP border resolution before the election: “"The fact that [Trump] would communicate to Republican senators…that he doesn't want us to solve the border problem because he wants to blame Biden for it is really appalling."   (And not surprising.)


Trump's extraordinary history lesson about airports and the Revolutionary War (Barbara Morrill, Daily Kos):

Do you want as president again someone whose history adlibs are so bad?
     "In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified Army out of the Revolutionary Forces encamped around Boston and New York, and named after the great George Washington, commander in chief. The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown.
     "Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rocket’s red glare it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came, their star-spangled banner waved defiant."

 • The Good Republicans’ Last Stand (David Frum, The Atlantic, 2-12-24) Will enough of Trump’s party finally be willing to stick up for Ukraine rather than follow his lead and bow to Russia?

An Outburst by Trump on NATO May Push Europe to Go It Alone (David E. Sanger, NY Times, 2-11-24) [A shared link that should allow non-subscribers to read this piece.]

     “Many were alarmed by comments that he would “encourage” Russia to attack U.S. allies that didn’t pay into NATO, but European leaders were already pondering the prospect of an alliance without the United States. “Long before Donald J. Trump threatened over the weekend that he was willing to let Russia 'do whatever the hell they want' against NATO allies that do not contribute sufficiently to collective defense, European leaders were quietly discussing how they might prepare for a world in which America removes itself as the centerpiece of the 75-year-old alliance.
     “Even allowing for the usual bombast of one of his campaign rallies, where he made his declaration on Saturday, Mr. Trump may now force Europe’s debate into a far more public phase.
    “So far the discussion in the European media has focused on whether the former president, if returned to office, would pull the United States out of NATO.
    “But the larger implication of his statement is that he might invite President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to pick off a NATO nation, as a warning and a lesson to the 30 or so others about heeding Mr. Trump’s demands.”

[Back to Top]



Maggie Haberman, the Confidence Man’s Chronicler (Katy Waldman, New Yorker, 1-7-23) In her book Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America, Haberman 'presents Trump as a bullshit artist whose grand theme is his own greatness. Trump, Haberman writes, “was usually selling, saying whatever he had to in order to survive life in ten-minute increments.” He “was interested primarily in money, dominance, power, bullying, and himself.

     'Haberman sees herself as a demystifier. Her coverage is often grounded in statements about Trump's character—that he thrives on chaos but loves routine, or that he stirs up infighting among his cronies. When I asked her about these conceptual scoops, she corrected me: "They're contextual scoops." Context is key to Haberman's project. A characteristic article, which she co-wrote in July of 2017, emphasized that Donald Trump, Jr.,'s huddle with a Kremlin-linked lawyer proved "unusual for a political campaign" but "consistent with the haphazard approach the Trump operation, and the White House, have taken in vetting people they deal with." It was a quintessential Haberman balancing act, which underlined both the meeting's extraordinary nature (for Washington) and the mundane pattern that it fit (for the Trumps). A reader wondering whether to be surprised by such carelessness, such corruption, gets her answer: yes and no.'
Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’ (Jeffrey Goldberg,The Atlantic, 9-3-20) The president has repeatedly disparaged the intelligence of service members, and asked that wounded veterans be kept out of military parades, multiple sources tell The Atlantic. President Donald Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018, saying “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.
I chatted with a courtroom sketch artist who draws Trump (Marisa Kabas, The Handbasket, 1-25-24, illustrated with court drawings) Christine Cornell has been at this for nearly 50 years—and she's seen it all. "I've been getting a lot of emails from all over the country, especially since Trump became my most current news...." Asked What’s it like capturing someone [like Trump] who is such an emotional trigger for people: 

     CORNELL: "You know, his face is—everybody knows it. And he has about three expressions: One is just implacable. You don't know what the heck is going on. The other is angry, and the other is a smug smile."
Trump Is the Greatest Evil! (YouTube video, Liz Cheney The Bulwark Podcast with Charlie Sykes, 12-6-23) Listen and follow the transcript.
Republican Push for More Capital Punishment Echoes Crime Panic of the 1980s (Duncan Hosie, History News Network, 5-23-23 ) "And former president Donald Trump — who oversaw an unprecedented spate of executions in the final days of his presidency — has vowed to swiftly execute drug dealers if reelected. In private, Trump has reportedly proposed that the federal government bring back group executions and the guillotine, and televise executions, potentially even the grisly footage of inmates’ death throes."
---Donald Trump has been wrong on trade for 30 years (Andrew C. McKevitt, HNN, 7-30-18) "Although Trump never got his trade war in the 1980s, Japan’s rise to the status of an economic superpower, and its subsequent fall, offers lessons for the conflicts the president has provoked today. “Japan-bashers” such as Trump missed how the influx of Japanese commerce and culture was transforming social and economic life in the United States for the better, bringing jobs and goods that connected Americans to a rapidly globalizing world. Trump may have welcomed a trade war, but it would have threatened tens of thousands of American workers at new Japanese-owned manufacturing plants."
How Joe Biden Could Address the Age Issue (Dhruv Khullar, New Yorker, 2-26-24) It "would be a mistake to cast concerns about Biden’s age as simply a distillation of biases against the elderly. Trump, if reëlected, would also finish his term as an octogenarian, but voters harbor considerably fewer misgivings about his age. (It’s possible that the question of age is overshadowed by Trump’s more general incoherence; earlier this month, he claimed that Democrats were trying to change the name of Pennsylvania, and encouraged Russia to attack U.S. allies.)...Some longevity researchers, having pored over publicly available medical information about Biden and Trump, have deemed both men “super-agers.”

[Back to Top]


Jeff Greenfield On Trump and History (On The Dishcast with Andrew Sullivan, 1-19-24) Excellent summary, but listen, also.
How the Biden-Trump Border Visits Revealed a Deeper Divide (Shane Goldmacher, Politics, NY Times, 2-29-24) 'Their approaches to immigration represent a test of voters’ appetite for the messiness of democracy, pitting the president’s belief in legislating against his rival’s pledge to be a “Day 1” dictator. “What’s being proposed is more than a difference on immigration policy,” said Brendan Nyhan, professor of government at Dartmouth, who helped found a group that monitors American democracy. “The difference is between a president who is trying to address a complex policy issue through our political system and one who is promising quasi-authoritarian solutions.”
      'For his part, Mr. Biden made the case on Thursday that his hands had been tied by the failure of a bipartisan border package that had been negotiated on Capitol Hill. The legislation would have increased border spending, made asylum claims harder, and stiffened fentanyl screening. It unraveled when Mr. Trump demanded its defeat.'
     ...'The thing about Mr. Trump’s lightning-rod pledge to be a “Day 1” dictator was that it was not just a blanket promise of authoritarian rule. It was grounded in a specific policy. He said he wanted to close the border — the limits of governmental red tape be damned.'
Is $83.3 Million Enough to Make Trump Stop Lying? (David A. Graham, The Atlantic, 1-26-24) To avoid today’s eye-popping verdict, he just needed to stop talking about E. Jean Carroll. Is there any sanction so dire that it can keep Trump from lying?

     12-22-24: Four of Trump's co-defendants have pleaded guilty to illegally conspiring to overturn his defeat. They include three lawyers associated with Trump — Jenna Ellis, Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell — as well as Atlanta bail bondsman Scott Hall. All could testify against the other defendants if those cases go to trial.
The Constitutional Case for Barring Trump from the Presidency (Isaac Chotiner, New Yorker, 8-23-23) Does the Fourteenth Amendment empower state election officials to remove him from the ballot? The argument rests on Baude and Paulsen’s interpretation of Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states that officeholders, such as the President, who have taken an oath to “support” the Constitution and “shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof” will no longer hold such an office....

     Laurence Tribe, a liberal law professor, and J. Michael Luttig, a conservative former judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals, wrote an article for The Atlantic, in which they essentially endorsed the view advanced by Baude and Paulsen: “The former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and the resulting attack on the U.S. Capitol, place him squarely within the ambit of the disqualification clause, and he is therefore ineligible to serve as president ever again.”
      See: The Constitution Prohibits Trump From Ever Being President Again (J. Michael Luttig and Laurence H. Tribe, The Atlantic, 8-19-23) "As students of the United States Constitution for many decades—one of us as a U.S. Court of Appeals judge, the other as a professor of constitutional law, and both as constitutional advocates, scholars, and practitioners—we long ago came to the conclusion that the Fourteenth Amendment, the amendment ratified in 1868 that represents our nation’s second founding and a new birth of freedom, contains within it a protection against the dissolution of the republic by a treasonous president."
       "This protection, embodied in the amendment’s often-overlooked Section 3, automatically excludes from future office and position of power in the United States government—and also from any equivalent office and position of power in the sovereign states and their subdivisions—any person who has taken an oath to support and defend our Constitution and thereafter rebels against that sacred charter, either through overt insurrection or by giving aid or comfort to the Constitution’s enemies."

[Back to Top]


Letters from an American (Heather Cox Richardson, 1-20-24) "Last night at a rally in New Hampshire, former president Trump repeatedly confused former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, who is running against him for the Republican presidential nomination, with Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the former speaker of the House....

     "Observers have been saying for a while now that once Trump had to start appearing in public, his apparent cognitive decline would surprise those who haven’t been paying attention....
      "The Trump Organization’s auditor said during a fraud trial in 2022 that the past 10 years of the company’s financial statements could not be relied on, and Trump was forced to turn to smaller banks, likely on much worse terms. Now the legal case currently underway in Manhattan will likely make that financial problem larger. The judge has already decided that the Trump Organization, Trump, his two older sons, and two employees committed fraud, for which the judge is currently deciding appropriate penalties....
      "Since 2023, right-wing organizations, backed by Republican state attorneys general, have argued that banks are discriminating against them on religious and political grounds....

     "The attempt to create distrust of large financial institutions is part of a larger attempt to destabilize the institutions of democracy. Trump is the figurehead for that attempt, but it is larger than him, and it will outlast him....

    "Once elected, Trump and MAGA Republicans started to undermine faith in the rule of law that underpins our democracy. Less than four months after he took office, Trump fired the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Comey, for investigating the connections between his 2016 campaign and Russian operatives, and his attacks on the FBI and the Department of Justice under which the FBI operates have been relentless ever since.
     "Trump and his supporters have also challenged the U.S. military, insisting that it is weak because it is “woke.” He has called its leaders “some of the dumbest people I’ve ever met in my life.”
     "Over all, of course, is the Big Lie that undermines the nation’s electoral system by insisting that the 2020 presidential vote was “rigged” against Trump. Although there has never been any evidence of such a thing, 30% of Americans think Biden won the presidency only through “voter fraud.”
What Trump's lawyer was really advocating (Robert Reich, 1-11-24) America is not the Weimar Republic in its final days and Trump is not Hitler, but … the parallels between a potential Trump presidency and the Weimar Republic on the eve of 1933.

[Back to Top]


Jonathan Karl: Donald Trump and the End of the GOP (YouTube video, In Conversation with Jonathan Swan, 12-9-23, intelligent Q&A  at Commonwealth Club, well worth listening to).

      Karl is author of Tired of Winning: Donald Trump and the End of the Grand Old Party. In this special online-only program Karl details the former president’s quest for retribution, talks about how Trump talked about leaving the Republican party (during the post-election-defeat time when he was a pariah in the party) and provides a glimpse at what the GOP would be signing up for if it once again chooses him as its standard bearer.

      Interesting stories, about Trump threatening to leave the party, the role of the massive database of Trump supporters (which Trump made a lot of money from, renting it out to the Republican party), about the threat of being ineligible ever to run for president again. Most shocking to Karl was Trump's belief that he could resume the presidency without being re-elected. He's drawn working class voters (Hispanic and African American men) and he really brings out the voters (from both parties). This has never been about policy. It's about orienting the party towards the whims of one man.
Trump on Trial newsletter (NY Times) The latest news and analysis on the trials of Donald Trump in New York, Florida, Georgia and Washington, D.C.
Trump Will Be a Dictator on Day One and Every Day Thereafter (Matt Ford, TNR, 12-6-23) His interview with Hannity told us everything we need to know about his second-term plans. His supporters have argued that Trump’s opponents actually struck first by charging him with a series of crimes after he left office. It’s a neat rhetorical trick from Trump and his allies: simultaneously arguing that the cases against them are illegitimate and that any targeting of his opponents would be legitimate.
     "But that reasoning is detached from reality. First, the reason that Trump has been indicted multiple times is that he appears to have committed a wide variety of genuine crimes. He manipulated property values in New York to secure favorable loans from banks and lower taxes rates before taking office. He pressured local officials to “find” enough votes to let him win Georgia in the 2020 presidential election. He summoned a mob to attack the Capitol to stop the peaceful transfer of power. And he stole classified documents from the federal government after leaving office."

• In a New York Times piece about Joe Biden's verbal slips: "Mr. Trump, at age 77, has not exactly been a smooth operator himself. He has long strayed off message, and has his own growing record of verbal slips. He has confused Mr. Biden with Mr. Obama, suggested America is on the verge of entering World War II, praised Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militant group, and told supporters not to worry about voting."

[Back to Top]


Trump doubles down, saying ‘Obamacare Sucks’ and must be replaced (NBC News, 11-29-23) Despite the GOP 2024 front-runner's call, congressional Republicans are divided on whether to pick that battle again after they tried and failed to eliminate the law in 2017.
A Court Ruling That Targets Trump’s Persona (Lora Kelley, The Atlantic, 9-27-23) 'A New York judge’s decision undermines the former president’s image as a “deals guy.” He rode his image as real-estate mogul and a maestro of transactions first to pop-culture stardom, then to the White House. Now a judge has ruled that much of that dealmaking was fraudulent: New York Judge Arthur Engoron found yesterday that Trump and his associates, including his sons Eric and Donald Jr., committed persistent fraud by toggling estimates of property values in order to get insurance and favorable terms on loans. The judge ordered that some of the Trump Organization’s “certificates,” or corporate charters, be canceled, and that a receiver be appointed by the court to dissolve some of its New York companies. This latest blow for Trump puts on record that his mythos of business acumen was largely built on lies.
‘Blood bath’ remarks give Trump a new firestorm to rally around (Brett Samuels, The Hill, 3-8-24) 'Former President Trump and his allies are aggressively pushing back after Democrats and critics seized on his comments that there would be a “blood bath” if he loses November’s election.

     'Trump had encouraged his supporters to come to Washington, D.C., for a “wild” rally and that morning urged them to march to the Capitol. He praised rioters as “patriots” and has since referred to those imprisoned for their actions that day as “hostages.”
     'Biden has repeatedly cited Trump’s comments that there were “very fine people” on both sides after white nationalists clashed with counterprotesters in a deadly 2017 incident in Charlottesville, Va.

     'During a 2020 debate, Trump told the Proud Boys, a far-right group, to "stand back and stand by," remarks he had to later clarify.
     'And Trump has in recent weeks ratcheted up his attacks on migrants, saying they’re “poisoning the blood” of the country. On Saturday, he said he considers some migrants “animals” who are in some cases “not people.” '
Why have so many Americans succumbed to Trumpism? (Robert Reich, Alternet) An opinion piece well worth reading. Trump has responded to America's lopsided economy "by portraying himself as a strongman who would fight for the “forgotten Americans.” He has responded to their suspicions by giving them a set of villains who, he claims, have conspired to keep them down — the so-called “Deep State,” the cultural elites supporting it, and the political establishment guarding it.

     "In his 2024 campaign, Trump is using the criminal proceedings against him as a means of fusing his own identity with that of millions of Americans who have felt mistreated and bullied by the system. He is them. This fusion is a hallmark of authoritarian fascism. "As we have seen, many of the key political and economic institutions of our society have abandoned their commitments to the common good — and along the way, abandoned the bottom half of the adult population, especially those without college degrees. The consequence has been a catastrophe, especially for the bottom half.

     "Trump’s attempted coup could not have gotten as far as it did — and it continues to this day — without the deepening anger, despair, and suspicions that have subsumed a substantial portion of the American population. This is especially true of Americans without college degrees, without good jobs, whose pay has stagnated, who have little or no job security, and whose adult children are no longer doing better than they did — in places that have been hollowed out and economically abandoned."

[Back to Top]


Trump’s Chaos Agenda (Robert Reich, 10-9-23) Reagan’s negative view of government has morphed into a malevolent anti-democracy fervor. Ronald Reagan told Americans that “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”
    "Reagan is still revered, especially by Republicans, but his negative view of government has morphed into an authoritarian fervor within the Republican Party. And that fervor has become the basis of a strategy — led by Trump — for seeking to persuade the rest of America that the nation is ungovernable as a democracy and therefore in need of an authoritarian strongman."
    "The more chaos Trump and his allies create, the more pessimistic Americans feel about the capacities of our democratic institutions to govern the nation — which advances their authoritarian agenda."

[Back to Top]


Trump’s Long Fascination With Genes and Bloodlines Gets New Scrutiny The former president’s remark about undocumented immigrants “poisoning the blood” of the country is one of several comments he’s made over the years regarding “good genes.” Mr. Trump dismissed criticism that his language echoed Nazi ideology.
Maggie-Koerth Baker Untangles the Story behind Trump’s False Claims of Immigrant Voter Fraud (Jeanne Erdmann, Open Notebook, 9-12-17) Trump proclaimed he had peer-reviewed research to support his claim: a 2014 study that said enough noncitizen immigrants were registered to vote to swing an election. What Trump didn’t tell his base is that other scientists had debunked the study, identifying a major flaw in the data analysis.
Keeping Track of the Trump Investigations (The New York Times) State and federal prosecutors are pursuing multiple investigations into Donald J. Trump’s business and political activities, with the cases expected to play out over the coming months. Here is a guide to the major criminal cases involving the former president.
Covering Trump: An oral history of an unforgettable campaign (Shelley Hepworth, Vanessa Gezari, Kyle Pope, Cory Schouten, Carlett Spike, David Uberti and Pete Vernon, Columbia Journalism Review, 11-22-16. Series reported in partnership with Guardian US). Did Trump's tactics wound the media?

     "You hear him talk for five minutes and understand that he does not believe in free and independent media. We know how threatening that is, not just to journalists, but to the idea of having accountability and the idea of democratic governance. That's part of what we all react to viscerally."
Trump Thinks Running for President Again Is His Get Out of Jail Free Card (Bess Levin, Vanity Fair, 7-18-22) Justice Department policy says a sitting president cannot be prosecuted—and Trump knows it. He doesn’t care that rational people believe that inciting an insurrection (or being an abject racist, or trying to use the government to punish his enemies, or pardoning war criminals, or setting the wheels in motion to overturn Roe v. Wade) should disqualify him for holding office again, and he has apparently decided that another run for the White House is happening.
The Patriot: How General Mark Milley protected the Constitution from Donald Trump (Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic,11/23) Until General Mark Milley, no chairman of the Joint Chiefs had confronted the possibility that the president might provoke a coup, The Atlantic’s editor in chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, writes in our cover story. Milley may have done more than any other American to protect the Constitution from Donald Trump.
     "In normal times, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the principal military adviser to the president, is supposed to focus his attention on America’s national-security challenges, and on the readiness and lethality of its armed forces. But the first 16 months of Milley’s term, a period that ended when Joe Biden succeeded Donald Trump as president, were not normal, because Trump was exceptionally unfit to serve. “For more than 200 years, the assumption in this country was that we would have a stable person as president,” one of Milley’s mentors, the retired three-star general James Dubik, told me. That this assumption did not hold true during the Trump administration presented a “unique challenge” for Milley, Dubik said....

    "In The Divider, Peter Baker and Susan Glasser write that Milley believed that Trump was “shameful,” and “complicit” in the January 6 attack. They also reported that Milley feared that Trump’s “ ‘Hitler-like’ embrace of the big lie about the election would prompt the president to seek out a ‘Reichstag moment.’ ”

[Back to Top]


My Father, My Faith, and Donald Trump (Tim Alberta, The Atlantic, Jan 2024) 'Dad would have preferred any of the other Republicans who ran in 2016. He knew that Trump was a narcissist and a liar; he knew that he was not a moral man. Ultimately Dad felt he had no choice but to support the Republican ticket, given his concern for the unborn and the Supreme Court majority that hung in the balance. I understood that decision. What I couldn’t understand was how, over the next couple of years, he became an apologist for Trump’s antics, dismissing criticisms of the president’s conduct as little more than an attempt to marginalize his supporters. Dad really did believe this; he believed that the constant attacks on Trump’s character were ipso facto an attack on the character of people like himself, which I think, on some subconscious level, created a permission structure for him to ignore the president’s depravity. All I could do was tell Dad the truth. “Look, you’re the one who taught me to know right from wrong,” I would say. “Don’t be mad at me for acting on it.” '
Fox Will Pay $787.5 Million to Settle Defamation Suit (Jeremy W. Peters and Katie Robertson, NY Times, 4-18-23) The settlement with Dominion Voting Systems was the latest extraordinary twist in a case that exposed the inner workings of the most powerful voice in conservative news....
      "Producers referred to pro-Trump guests like Sidney Powell and Rudolph W. Giuliani as “gold” for ratings and acknowledged that the audience didn’t want to hear about subjects like the possibility of a peaceful transition from a Trump administration to a Biden administration.
      "Those communications have shown how employees at Fox expressed serious doubts about and, at times, were scornful of Mr. Trump and his allies as they spread lies about voter fraud, questioning the legitimacy of Mr. Biden’s election. Some at Fox mocked Mr. Trump and his lawyers as “crazy” and under the influence of drugs like L.S.D. and magic mushrooms.
The Mar-a-Lago Documents Indictment (Doug Muder, The Weekly Sift, 6-12-23) As clear and complete an explanation as you're likely to find in this short a space.
Fact-Checking the Breadth of Trump’s Election Lies (Linda Qiu, Fact Check, 8-17-23) The former president faces multiple charges related to his lies about the 2020 election. Here’s a look at some of his most repeated falsehoods.
Newspaper editorial boards reflect on Trump indictment across the U.S. (Politico, 8-2-23) On Tuesday, special counsel Jack Smith charged Trump with four felony counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding. The United States “had never seen an indictment of this magnitude,” The New York Times Editorial Board wrote.
Fact check: 14 of Trump’s false claims on ‘Meet the Press’ (Daniel Dale and Jack Forrest, CNN, 9-17-23) He's keeping fact checkers busy, for sure.
George Will: Republican Party Living in Fear of Voters (MSNBC, MTP Daily,8-20-20) Columnist George Will says the GOP has enabled President Trump, and “fear” is the main reason they aren’t pushing back, “The Republican Party today lives in terror of its voters, and that’s, again, a very dangerous political condition.”
Trump's debate response: The fascist who doesn't want America to think (Robert Reich, 8-25-23) The presidential mugshot. He deals in images designed to invoke defiance in supporters and outrage in opponents. Or complains about unflattering shots, of which this is surely the prize (scroll to bottom).
True patriotism is the opposite of Trump’s White Christian Nationalism (Robert Reich, 7-3-23) For July 4th, Trump advances his version of patriotism based on White Christian Nationalism. For example (and I quote):
---He commended the Supreme Court for rejecting affirmative action “so someone who has not worked as hard will not take your place.”
---He saluted the court’s decision to overrule Roe v. Wade so “radical left Democrats will not kill babies.”
---He condemned foreign governments that "send" over the border "people in jails and insane asylums" and promised to deny entry to "all communists and Marxists." And so on.
Trump’s Legal Woes Mount as Trial Dates and Campaign Calendar Collide (Charlie Savage, NY Times, 7-19-23) The Republican front-runner is facing a growing tangle of criminal and civil trials that will overlap with next year’s presidential primaries. A rundown on all his trials.

[Back to Top]


Years later, Jan. 6 fallout continues for journalists (Kirstin McCudden, Press Freedom Tracker blog, 7-28-23)
Newspaper editorial boards reflect on Trump indictment across the U.S. (Kierra Frazier, Politico, 8-2-23) The United States “had never seen an indictment of this magnitude,” The New York Times Editorial Board wrote.
Global media reacts to Trump’s third indictment (Jenna Moon, Semafor, 8-2-23) American democracy itself will hinge on this trial, said Financial Times columnist Gideon Rachman. This indictment will be the most important, he wrote, because the center of the argument is that Trump is a threat to political freedom.
Jared and Ivanka made up to $640 million in the White House (Jordan Libowitz and Caitlin Moniz, Citizens for Ethics, 2-8-21) One major factor in their outside profits came from Ivanka Trump's ownership stake in the Trump Hotel in DC, just blocks from the White House and the locus of influence peddling in the Trump administration...

    "Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump should never have been allowed to work in the White House. The Department of Justice reversed decades of precedent to grant President Trump's wish to have his children work in the White House. While taking on enormous responsibilities that they were unqualified to carry out, and debasing their positions with constant ethics scandals, they likely made hundreds of millions of dollars from questionable sources. All that was waived off by the same nepotism that got them their jobs." 
Trump, Macho Macho Victim (Maureen Dowd, NY Times, 11-19-22) 'It wasn’t really an announcement [of his candidacy for president] so much as another Trump scam to fend off prosecutions and to keep raising money from his supporters. Trump is no victim....Trump is the first former president subjected to a special counsel investigation into whether he masterminded a coup attempt. That’s mind-blowing, especially since he’s running for president again....Trump told Fox News that he "won't partake" in the investigation, as if it were a breakfast buffet at Mar-a-Lago that he's skipping.'
To Jail or Not to Jail (Maureen Dowd, Opinion, NY Times, June 17, 2023) 'During his presidency, The Times reported, “his aides began to refer to the boxes full of papers and odds and ends he carted around with him almost everywhere as the ‘beautiful mind’ material. It was a reference to the title of a book and movie depicting the life of John F. Nash Jr., the mathematician with schizophrenia played in the film by Russell Crowe, who covered his office with newspaper clippings, believing they held a Russian code he needed to crack.”
     "The aides used the phrase — which turned up in the indictment — as shorthand for Trump’s organized chaos, how he somehow kept track of what was in the boxes, which he held close as a security blanket. During the 2016 campaign, some reporters said, he traveled with cardboard boxes full of real estate contracts, newspaper clippings and schedules, as though he were carrying his world around with him. "The guy likes paper."
    'Trump has said one of his favorite movies is “Citizen Kane.” Perhaps the boxes at Xanadu he’s obsessed with, the papers that could make him the locked-up loser he dreads being, have been revealed as his Rosebud.

[Back to Top]


What the January 6th Report Is Missing (Jill Lepore, New Yorker, 1-9-23) The investigative committee singles out Trump for his role in the Capitol attack. And that, in brief, is the report, which concludes that “the central cause of January 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump.” And that, in brief, is "the problem: chasing Trump, never quite untethering itself from him, fluttering in the biting wind of his violent derangement, like a ribbon pinned to the tail of a kite during a tornado, and failing, entirely, to see the tornado."

      "As prosecution, the report is thorough. But as historical explanation it’s a mess."
Trump Real Estate Deal in Oman Underscores Ethics Concerns (Eric Lipton, NY Times, 6-20-23) Details of the former president’s agreement to work with a Saudi firm to develop a hotel and golf complex overlooking the Gulf of Oman highlight the ways his business and political roles intersect.Mr. Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, has already brought in at least $5 million from the Oman deal. The project could also draw scrutiny in the West for its treatment of its migrant workers, who during the first phase of construction are living in compounds of cramped trailers in a desertlike setting and are being paid as little as $340 a month, according to one of the engineers supervising the work.
Indictment Presents Evidence Trump’s Actions Were More Blatant Than Known (Alan Feuer and Maggie Haberman, News Analysis, Trump Documents Inquiry, NY Times, 6-8-23) The accounts in the 49-page indictment provide compelling evidence of a shocking indifference toward some of the country’s most sensitive secrets. The indictment of former President Donald J. Trump that was unsealed on Friday provided compelling evidence that Mr. Trump’s handling of classified documents was more cavalier, and his efforts to obstruct the government’s attempts to retrieve them more blatant, than previously known. A classic example of what is known as a “speaking indictment,” the charging document did far more than merely lay out seven crimes, among them obstruction of justice and the willful retention of national defense records.
       "Prosecutors say that Trump knowingly removed classified information from the White House; that the information was sensitive, including some relating to the country’s military vulnerabilities; that Trump left the documents in public places where others might have seen them; and that when asked to return the documents, he lied to federal investigators and tried to obstruct an investigation. Trump says he is innocent and the case is a witch hunt intended to prevent him from returning to the presidency."

[Back to Top]


Indictment turbocharges Trump’s fundraising (Alex Isenstadt, Political, 4-15-23) The former president’s two political entities brought in $18.8 million during the first quarter of this year, through his joint fundraising committee and his campaign. But the campaign also says it brought in nearly the same amount in the two weeks after the charges were filed against the former president — $15.4 million — underscoring just how much the charges against Trump have animated his backers... nearly a quarter of those who contributed to Trump during that period had never given to him before. While the former president’s indictment — along with potential future charges in several ongoing investigations — puts him in serious legal jeopardy, it has helped to solidify his standing with his supporters and grow his campaign war chest."
Letters from an American (Heather Cox Richardson, 8-6-23) From Republican presidential candidate James A. Garfield's powerful speech in 1880 about how "four years after unreconstructed southern Democrats had taken control of all the former Confederate states and cemented the process of taking the vote away from Black men" this essay shifts to "Trump is charged with conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding—violating a law passed to stop Ku Klux Klan terrorists from breaking up official meetings in the late 1860s—and obstructing that proceeding: the counting of electoral votes."
     "In the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision, the Supreme Court significantly weakened the Voting Rights Act. Republican-dominated states immediately found ways to keep minority voters from the polls and their votes from being counted, and in 2020, then-president Trump tried to throw out the votes of people in majority Black districts in order to overturn the results of that year’s presidential election."
Letters from an American (Heather Cox Richardson, 6-11-23) "Trump supporters have flooded media channels with accusations that President Joe Biden has weaponized the Department of Justice to use as a political cudgel against former president Trump...While committed Republican partisans seem to believe Trump is a victim, according to the CBS News poll, 38% of likely Republican primary voters do, in fact, believe Trump endangered our security—and national security, after all, is the primary job of the president...The question is how much damage the fight for control will do to the Republican Party, especially in light of the fact that Smith’s other investigation, the one into the attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, has not yet been concluded. There is reason to suspect those congress members involved in that effort might have been spooked by just how thorough the investigation of the documents case turned out to be."
Trump’s Indictment Reveals a National-Security Nightmare (Tom Nichols, The Atlantic Daily, 6-9-23) Republicans are trying to gaslight America about the former president’s astounding recklessness. Trump and his enablers are already trying to brush the charges away as the result of a witch hunt over a minor issue, but this indictment shows why Trump was, and remains, a threat to national security. (Check out the photos of how and where he stored classified documents and read about who he shared their contents with.)

[Back to Top]


America’s First Indicted Ex-President Is Very Sorry—for Himself (Susan B. Glasser, New Yorker, 4-5-23) "Indicted and Arraigned Trump, in other words, turned out to be just like his most recent previous incarnation, Impeached and Defeated Trump: a rambling, unrepentant grievance machine...he’s already raised more than seven million dollars as a result of Bragg’s indictment, began sending out fund-raising e-mails using his “NOT GUILTY” plea even before he had entered it....you could get a T-shirt emblazoned with a fake mug shot of the former President for a contribution of a mere forty-seven dollars to the campaign."
For Now, Trump and Allies Focus on Political Upside of a Criminal Case (Maggie Haberman, Michael C. Bender and Jonathan Swan, NY Times, 4-5-23) The indictment of the former president has unlocked a rush of fund-raising and has frozen the 2024 Republican primary, but he faces deeper legal peril in multiple inquiries.

      To convict Trump of a felony, prosecutors must show that Trump’s “intent to defraud” included an intent to commit or conceal a second crime. That turns on the untested question of whether a state prosecutor can invoke a federal crime even though he lacks jurisdiction to charge that crime himself.
The Cases Against Trump: A Guide (David A. Graham, The Atlantic, 3-23-23) The timelines, the issues at stake, and the threat they pose to the former president--arranged by Graham's assessment of the seriousness of the allegations to democracy and the rule of law, from the least significant to the most.
How Fox Chased Its Audience Down the Rabbit Hole (Jim Rutenberg, NY Times, 4-6-23) Rupert Murdoch built an empire by giving viewers exactly what they wanted. But what they wanted — election lies and insurrection — put that empire (and the country) in peril. Win or lose, Fox News will still face a choice in the coming election and beyond. Do they continue catering, perhaps with more careful lawyering, to paranoid fantasies like those that led to Jan. 6, or do they pull back from the brink?
Manhattan Prosecutors Will Begin Presenting Trump Case to Grand Jury (William K. Rashbaum, Ben Protess and Jonah E. Bromwich, NY Times, 1-30-23) The Manhattan district attorney’s office will begin presenting evidence to a grand jury about Donald J. Trump’s role in paying hush money to a porn star during his 2016 presidential campaign, laying the groundwork for potential criminal charges against the former president in the coming months. A conviction is not a sure thing, in part because a case could hinge on showing that Mr. Trump and his company falsified records to hide the payout from voters days before the 2016 election, a low-level felony charge that would be based on a largely untested legal theory. The case would also rely on the testimony of Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer who made the payment and who himself pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the hush money in 2018.
Judge Imposes Sanction on Fox for Withholding Evidence in Defamation Case (Katie Robertson and Jeremy W. Peters, NY Times, 4-12-23) Judge Eric Davis also said an investigation was likely into Fox’s handling of documents and whether it had withheld details about Rupert Murdoch’s corporate role.

[Back to Top]


Trump’s ‘Secret Weapon’? College Accreditation (Katherine Knott, Inside Higher Ed, 5-4-23) The issue of accreditation has become the subject of much debate between the two leading Republicans eyeing the presidency in 2024. Trump said in a campaign video that his plan would reclaim colleges and universities from the “radical Left.” If Trump returns to the White House, he plans to replace college accreditors and impose new standards on the nation’s colleges and universities that include removing diversity, equity and inclusion staff members; protecting free speech; and “defending the American tradition and Western civilization.”

      Trump’s plan also would fine college and university endowments if they are found to have engaged in “unlawful discrimination under the guise of equity.”
Inside the Hush-Money Payments That May Decide Trump’s Legal Fate (Ronan Farrow, New Yorker, 4-6-23) Years of interviews with potential witnesses provide insights into the Manhattan D.A.’s case. 'Trump had met with Michael Cohen, his personal attorney at the time, and David Pecker, then the chief executive of A.M.I. The three men formalized a scheme in which Pecker and A.M.I. agreed to buy the rights to incriminating stories on behalf of Trump’s campaign and never publish them. The practice of purchasing a story in order to suppress it is known in tabloid circles as “catch and kill.”'
The Same Ole Line Dudes Are Waiting for You (Eric Lach, New Yorker, 4-7-23) Donald Trump’s arraignment may have been a circus for the media, but it was just another day at the office for New York’s professional line sitters.
House Jan. 6 Committee to Issue Criminal Referrals, Chairman Says (Luke Broadwater, NY Times, 12-6-22) Representative Bennie Thompson, the panel’s chairman, said no decision had been made on who would be the subject of the referrals or what the charges would be. Scroll down for the Times coverage of the Jan. 6 Investigations (status of various hearings, trials, and investigations).
Trump’s New Recruits (Tom Nichols,The Atlantic, 9-19-22) His embrace of the QAnon conspiracy theorists represents a new expansion not only of Trump’s cult of personality, but of his threats to sow violence.

[Back to Top]


Elections and Trump's claims of election fraud
Fact check: Trump lies about voter fraud while states, CDC encourage voting-by-mail as pandemic-friendly option (Facts First, Fact Check, CNN) CNN holds elected officials and candidates accountable by pointing out what’s true and what’s not.
Trump repeats false election fraud claims during speech in Washington (Jill Colvin, AP/PBS, 7-26-22) In his first return to Washington since Joe Biden ousted him from the White House, former President Donald Trump vigorously repeated the false election-fraud claims that sparked the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. In a dueling speech not far away, his former vice president, Mike Pence, implored the Republican Party to move on from Trump’s defeat.
Records Show Fox and G.O.P.’s Shared Quandary: Trump (Nicholas Confessore and Jim Rutenberg, NY Times, 3-8-23) Fox hosts and executives privately mocked the former president’s election fraud claims, even as the network amplified them in a frantic effort to appease viewers.
      "It was a week after the 2020 elections, and Tucker Carlson — along with Fox News executives and other hosts — had watched with panic as Fox viewers, furious and disbelieving at President Donald J. Trump’s defeat, began to turn against the top-rated network.
     "Fox News has been the most trusted and watched source of information for conservative America for decades, and its frequent symbiosis with the Republican Party is well established. But the internal documents released in recent days have provided an unprecedented glimpse into network decision-making as its dual imperatives — to keep its base audience of conservatives satisfied and meet its promise to maintain journalistic standards of fairness and factuality — came into conflict as never before.
      "Mr. Carlson texted with staff members in early January 2021, adding, “I hate him passionately.”...But in the months after the Jan. 6 attacks, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” doubled down on a pro-Trump narrative that both Mr. Carlson and his bosses knew was rooted in a lie. According to a New York Times analysis, in 2021 nearly half of Mr. Carlson’s shows — more than 100 episodes — featured segments downplaying the Capitol riot, casting the insurrectionists as innocent citizens seeking legitimate redress for election fraud, and suggesting the riot itself was a “false flag” operation orchestrated by federal law enforcement to entrap Trump supporters....Senator Mitch McConnell pushed back against Mr. Carlson’s characterization of the Capitol attack.
      "Top Fox personnel agonized over the difficulty of escaping Mr. Trump’s influence over their own audience. “This day of reckoning was going to come at some point — where the embrace of Trump became an albatross we can’t shake right away if ever,” Dana Perino, a prominent Fox host, wrote to a friend in November 2020.
     "Yet the shoals they were trying to navigate had been in no small part laid by Mr. Carlson, one of Fox’s most-watched hosts. Though the newly released messages show Mr. Carlson expressing skepticism in his private emails about the extent of “voter fraud,” he had been an early and energetic promoter of the doubt Mr. Trump was trying to sow."

[Back to Top]


The Enduring Power of Trumpism (Jelani Cobb, New Yorker, 9-15-22) No matter what becomes of Donald Trump, the forces of intolerance, racism, and belligerence he harnessed in American politics will persist. "The G.O.P. has abided all manner of corrupt, dishonest, anti-democratic, and potentially illegal behavior from Trump, including his incitement of an armed insurrection against the United States Congress, but the lacklustre midterm performance of Republicans seems to suggest that, like McCarthy sixty-eight years ago, the former President has reached a point where his demagogy has become a liability for his own party."
It’s Just Fraud All the Way Down (David A. Graham, The Atlantic, 9-21-22) The complaint filed today by New York Attorney General Letitia James is remarkable not for the shrewdness of the misconduct it alleges, but for its audacity. "At times in his prepresidential life, Donald Trump represented himself as a real-estate mogul, a television star, a business visionary, and a salesman par excellence. But according to a complaint filed today by New York Attorney General Letitia James, the Trump Organization was actually just a massive fraud with incidental sidelines in property development, merchandising, and entertainment."
How they did it: Reporters uncovered Trump hush payments to two women (Denise-Marie Ordway, 3-11-19) A Wall Street Journal reporter discusses the newspaper's investigation into secret payoffs Donald Trump and his associates arranged to suppress sexual allegations from two women during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Melania’s Trials (Maureen Dowd, NY Times, 4-20-24) "What could be more absurd and hypocritical than the putative Republican nominee selling Bibles and promoting an America with draconian abortion laws during his trial over a $130,000 payment to keep a porn star from telling voters about their dalliance?"
Ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal tells her story about Donald Trump (YouTube video, 59 minutes, 3-22-18)
How they did it: ProPublica investigates Trump's ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy (Chloe Reichel, 3-4-19) “I’ve been doing this a long time, and I haven't ever been part of a story that has had such powerful impact so swiftly,” Ginger Thompson, senior reporter at ProPublica, said.
Key Takeaways From Trump’s Tax Returns (Jim Tankersley, Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner, NY Times, 12-30-22) Thousands of pages of tax documents contain details that have not previously been revealed. Among insights: Trump made no charitable contributions in 2020. In a bad year for business, Trump didn’t take a full refund. His own tax law may have cost him. Fred Trump is a silent actor in the returns. (Charlie Smart, NYTimes, 12-21-22)

[Back to Top]



Appeals Court Restores Justice Dept.’s Access to Sensitive Files Seized From Trump(Charlie Savage, Glenn Thrush and Alan Feuer, NY Times, 9-21-22) A federal judge had temporarily barred the department from using the records marked as classified in its inquiry into whether the former president illegally retained national defense documents. The decision by the appeals court was a striking repudiation of Mr. Trump’s attempts to claim in public, but not in court, that he had declassified the sensitive records at issue. The ruling was the latest turn in what began as a legal sideshow to the investigation into Mr. Trump’s hoarding of government documents, including some marked as highly classified.
      Mr. Trump “suggests that he may have declassified these documents when he was president,” the appeals court wrote. “But the record contains no evidence that any of these records were declassified.” The court went on to say, “In any event, at least for these purposes, the declassification argument is a red herring because declassifying an official document would not change its content or render it personal.
Heather Cox Richardson (2-21-23)
"Right-wing media has been trying to spin Biden’s trip to Kyiv and speech in Poland as proof that he doesn’t care about the derailment of the train carrying hazardous chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio. In fact, Republican governor Mike DeWine initially rejected federal help when Biden offered it, saying he didn’t see the need for it.
        "The right wing has also gone after Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg for the accident, although it was the Trump administration that weakened safety regulations put in place under Barack Obama that could have mitigated the crisis, and railroad personnel cuts that left the train understaffed. Before the accident, train workers had worried that the 151-car train, 9,300 feet long and weighing 18,000 tons, was too long and too heavy to travel safely."

[Back to Top]


Letters from an American (Heather Cox Richardson, 11-15-22) "The [Republican] party’s losses in the midterms appear to have opened the door for Trump's opponents to toss him under the bus. According to Jonathan Swan at Axios, at this morning’s annual meeting of the Republican governors, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie got “huge applause” from the room full of hundreds of politicians, consultants, and wealthy donors when he blamed Trump for three cycles of losses for the Republican Party. Christie said voters “rejected crazy.”
    "Meanwhile, Trump has told the special master that the president has the authority simply to declare which records are personal records, and that he declared all the seized documents to be personal records while in office. He suggests his careless handling of the classified documents proves he considered them personal records. The Department of Justice has responded with incredulity (that’s the gist of it, anyway).

[Back to Top]


'Times' Journalists Puncture Myth Of Trump As Self-Made Billionaire (Terry Gross interviews investigative reporters Susanne Craig and David Barstow, who say the president received today's equivalent of $413 million from his father's real estate empire, through what appears to be tax fraud. See also Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father (Susanne Craig and David Barstowand Russ Buettner, NY Times, 10-2-18) Much of the $413 million Trump received (in today’s dollars) from his father’s real estate empire came through schemes to avoid paying taxes on multimillion dollar gifts in the family. Trump has long sold himself as a self-made billionaire, but a Times investigation found that he received at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate empire, much of it through tax dodges in the 1990s.

Kari Lake was unflinchingly loyal to Trump. Then her campaign unraveled. Isaac Stanley-Becker and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, WaPo, 12-12-22) "Advisers wanted her to focus less on Trump’s false claims of voter fraud and more on homelessness, water independence and border security, according to people familiar with their counsel. Business leaders recommended that she tone down her MAGA message to create a friendlier climate for capital. Republican strategists asked her to stop denigrating early ballots, a method of voting once critical to Republican victories in the state....After pushback from some members of Lake’s team, the candidate herself spoke up. She said that True The Vote, the Texas-based group pushing unfounded claims of voter fraud, had told her to instruct supporters to mail in their ballots — not put them in drop boxes — as a way to “confuse the Democrats....Lake burst onto the national political stage this year as perhaps the purest embodiment of Trump’s grievance-fueled brand of politics....As advisers urged her to consolidate GOP support after the primary, Lake remained fixated on a grudge match against people loyal to the legacy of the late Sen. John McCain." See also True the Vote leaders sent to jail after contempt ruling by federal judge (Azi Paybarah, WaPo, 10-31-22) The organization, which has pushed false claims about the 2020 election, had been sued by a software company that has alleged defamation
Trump should fill Christians with rage. How come he doesn’t? (Michael Gerson, Opinion, Washington Post, 9-1-22) A long, thoughtful essay about the Christian embrace of populist politics in America. "Leaders in the Republican Party have fed, justified and exploited conservative Christians’ defensiveness in service to an aggressive, reactionary politics. This has included deadly mask and vaccine resistance, the discrediting of fair elections, baseless accusations of gay “grooming” in schools, the silencing of teaching about the United States’ history of racism, and (for some) a patently false belief that Godless conspiracies have taken hold of political institutions." The essay links to other op-ed pieces about specific issues, among them:
---The GOP celebration of covid ignorance is an invitation to death
---Of all the conservative bans on teaching about racism, the one in Texas is the worst
---Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 assault on American democracy (neither a spontaneous act nor an isolated event). "In both public perception and evident reality, many White, conservative Christians find themselves on the wrong side of the most cutting indictments delivered by Jesus of Nazareth."
A Timeline of Trump’s False and Misleading Statements on the Mar-a-Lago Search (Stuart A. Thompson, NY Times, 8-16-22) The former president has pushed frenetic and sometimes contradictory claims about the F.B.I.’s search of his Florida home. He and his allies have given often conflicting defenses of his retention of classified documents without addressing why he had kept them. In the wake of the search, Mr. Trump has accused the nation’s justice system of being exactly what he tried to turn it into: a political weapon for a president. Republicans have struggled to coalesce around a unified strategy to respond to the F.B.I.’s search of Donald J. Trump’s headquarters in Palm Beach, Fla.
The Part of the Espionage Act That Matters (Jan Lodal, a longtime defense and intelligence official, in a guest post on James Fallows blog, Breaking the News) "Trump’s violation of this Subparagraph (d) of the Espionage Act could not be clearer. Unlike all other crimes being considered for prosecution, Subsection (d) requires no probing of intent or consequence. It defines as criminal a clear process violation -- “failing to return” classified documents when properly asked to do so."
Trump’s Shifting Explanations Follow a Familiar Playbook (News Analysis, NY Times, 8-14-22)
The Complete Guide to All the Ways Donald Trump Is Legally Screwed (Vanity Fair, 8-22)

[Back to Top]


A Sober Look at the ‘Cartoonishly Chaotic’ Trump White House (David Greenberg, NY Times, 9-14-22) In “The Divider,” political journalists keep their cool as they chronicle the outrageous conduct and ugly infighting that marked a presidency like no other. It’s all here: the culture wars and the corruption, the demagogy and the autocrat-love, the palace intrigue and the public tweets, the pandemic and the impeachments (plural).
How Trump Supporters Came to Hate the Police (Luke Mogelson, New Yorker, 9-10-22) At the Capitol riot and elsewhere, MAGA Republicans have leaped from “backing the blue” to attacking law-enforcement officials.
Most Americans see Trump's MAGA as threat to democracy (Jason Lange, Reuters, 9-8-22) A Reuters/Ipsos poll completed on Wednesday found a majority of Americans believe Trump's movement is undermining democracy.
“We need to take away children.” (An investigation by Caitlin Dickerson, The Atlantic, 8-7-22) The secret history of the U.S. government’s family-separation policy. "It is easy to pin culpability for family separations on the anti-immigration officials for which the Trump administration is known. But these separations were also endorsed and enabled by dozens of members of the government’s middle and upper management: Cabinet secretaries, commissioners, chiefs, and deputies who, for various reasons, didn’t voice concern even when they should have seen catastrophe looming; who trusted “the system” to stop the worst from happening; who reasoned that it would not be strategic to speak up in an administration where being labeled a RINO or a “squish”—nicknames for those deemed insufficiently conservative—could end their career; who assumed that someone else, in some other department, must be on top of the problem; who were so many layers of abstraction away from the reality of screaming children being pulled out of their parent’s arms that they could hide from the human consequences of what they were doing....

    “Congress, too, deserves blame, because it failed for decades to fill a legislative vacuum that anti-immigration officials moved to exploit. For too long, an overworked and underequipped border-police force has been left to determine crucial social, economic, and humanitarian policy....What happened in the months that led up to the implementation of Zero Tolerance—the Trump administration’s initiative that separated thousands of families—should be studied by future generations of organizational psychologists and moral philosophers.”
Among the Insurrectionists (Luke Mogelson, Reporter at Large, New Yorker, 1-15-21) The Capitol was breached by Trump supporters who had been declaring, at rally after rally, that they would go to violent lengths to keep the President in power.

[Back to Top]

 

January 6: A chronicle of an attack foretold.
Plot to Overturn the Election (video, Frontline, 3-29-22) Many Republican voters believe his election was illegitimate, and the idea that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump is now a defining issue of the Republican Party. In a new investigative collaboration, FRONTLINE and ProPublica trace the hidden sources of misinformation about the 2020 election, demonstrating how a handful of people have had an outsized impact on the current U.S. crisis of democratic legitimacy.
How ‘Stop the Steal’ Captured the American Right (Charles Homans, NY Times Magazine, 7-19-22) "The movement to reinstate President Trump has gone far beyond him — and now threatens the future of American elections. It could properly be said to constitute a movement, but one that no longer gathers under the banner of “Stop the Steal,” preferring the good-government language of “election integrity” — though the movement has next to nothing in common with earlier efforts to shore up genuine vulnerabilities in the American election system....The insistence on America as a “republic” but not a “democracy” is a tendentious reading of James Madison popularized by the John Birch Society, the conspiratorial anti-communist organization — a justification for governing the country according to conservative values and policy prerogatives, even when the numerical majority of its people did not vote for them."
The January 6 Hearings Are Changing Republicans’ Minds (Sarah Longwell, The Atlantic, 7-28-22) GOP voters want political power. And they’re no longer sure Donald Trump is the best way to get it.
Will Be Wild (Wondery) An 8-part podcast series about the forces that led to the January 6th insurrection and what comes next. "Through in-depth stories from a wide range of characters – from people who tried to stop the attack to those who took part – hosts Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz explore the ongoing effort to bring autocracy to America, the lasting damage that effort is doing to our democracy, and the fate of our attempts to combat those anti-democratic forces. Because January 6th wasn't the end of the story, January 6th was just a practice run."


Tinker, Tailor, Mobster, Trump (Greg Olear, Prevail, 3-31-20) What happens when a Confidential Informant becomes President? This old post has come up in several recent Substack comments in response to the question, "Why hasn't Tя☭mp been arrested all these years?"

Trump Claims He’s Not Ignoring N.Y. Attorney General Subpoena, He Just Lost His Phone (Bess Levin, Vanity Fair, 5-10-22) According to the ex-president, he is simply “not currently in possession” of the electronic devices prosecutors say contain crucial documents concerning his Trump Organization work.

•  In Sworn Deposition, Trump Says He Has Real Concerns About Being Killed By a Piece of Fruit (4-27-22) Pineapples, tomatoes, and bananas are “dangerous stuff” that could take a person’s life, the ex-president testified.
Building the “Big Lie”: Inside the Creation of Trump’s Stolen Election Myth (Doug Bock Clark, Alexandra Berzon and Kirsten Berg, ProPublica, 4-26-22) Internal emails and interviews with key participants reveal for the first time the extent to which leading advocates of the rigged election theory touted evidence they knew to be disproven, disputed or dismissed as dubious.
A Fact-Checked List of Trump Accomplishments (Farah Stockman, Opinion, NY Times, 9-11-2020) A checklist, in case you can't remember them all.
How Biden Should Investigate Trump (James Fallows, The Atlantic, 12-9-2020) The misdeeds and destructive acts are legion. The new president should focus on these three: "corrupt and possibly criminal” offenses, "corrosion of government rather than corruption of government," and three outright catastrophes, of which one, the mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic is "the greatest failure of governance in U.S. history."
Yoni Appelbaum's pieces in The Atlantic up to 2021.
Litigation Tracker (Just Security) Pending Criminal and Civil Cases Against Donald Trump.

[Back to Top]


She Took the White House Photos. Trump Moved to Take the Profit. (Eric Lipton and Maggie Haberman, NY Times, 3-31-22) The former chief White House photographer made plans to publish a book of Trump photos. The former president had other plans. Official photographers from every White House since President Ronald Reagan’s have published their own books. Barack Obama and George W. Bush were so supportive that they wrote forewords for them. But like so much else involving Mr. Trump, the plan by his chief photographer, Shealah Craighead, did not follow this bipartisan norm. Mr. Trump jumped the gun and did his own book of photographs.

      "Since leaving office, Mr. Trump has sought multiple ways to monetize his presidency, from charging supporters to attend an event and take photos with him to selling MAGA merchandise. He also has a long history of disputes from before his political career with business partners and over the years faced regular accusations that he did not properly compensate contractors."
How Donald Trump Captured the Republican Party (Romesh Ratnesar, NY Times, 2-22-22) A review of INSURGENCY: How Republicans Lost Their Party and Got Everything They Ever Wanted by Jeremy W. Peters.“Insurgency” chronicles the astonishingly swift transformation of the Republican Party, from the genteel preserve of pro-business elites to a snarling personality cult that views the Jan. 6 insurrection as an exercise in legitimate political discourse. The outlines of the Republicans’ hard-right turn are by now largely familiar. Watching the reality-television star deliver remarks from the Trump Tower food court to a crowd that allegedly included actors who had been paid $50 to hold signs and cheer, [Steve] Bannon couldn’t contain himself. “That’s Hitler!” Bannon said. And, as Jeremy W. Peters writes in this spirited new history, “he meant it as a compliment.” What distinguishes “Insurgency” is its blend of political acuity and behind-the-scenes intrigue.
How did Trump’s name end up on coronavirus relief checks in 2020? ABC News successfully sued to find out. (Chris Young, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 3-2-22)
Trump had positive COVID test before event with Gold Star families: book (Leo Shane III, Military Times, 12-1-21) When Trump came down with a life-threatening case of Covid, he suggested that he might have caught it from Gold Star families he had met with after his positive test. He not only concealed the result but also proceeded to put hundreds of people at risk by continuing his normal activities while refusing to wear a mask or practice social distancing. H/T Paul Krugman.
The Ecological Destruction from the Border Wall, in “American Scar” (New Yorker documentary, Film by Daniel Lombroso, Text by Murat Oztaskin, 4-30-22) Congress didn't go along with Trump's call for a border wall, so in early 2019, the President found a different way: he declared a national emergency at the southern border, a move that allowed him to reallocate funds for the wall’s construction from the Department of Defense. All told, the Trump Administration built more than four hundred and fifty miles of the barrier, about a quarter of the length of the U.S.’s border with Mexico. Construction continued until the moment of Joe Biden’s Inauguration. Funding the project from the D.O.D.’s budget and classifying it as a matter of national security offered the Trump Administration a way around protections: it made the wall’s construction exempt from the stipulations of the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and more than eighty other laws and statutes. “There’s a certain kind of lawlessness that applies to the southern border that does not apply anywhere else,” said Stephania Taladrid, a New Yorker writer who’s covered the effects of the border wall, and who reported and produced “American Scar.”


Why has Trump remained so popular with Republicans? (Mark Mellman, The Hill, 1-17-24) "After the 2016 elections, I wrote a book chapter exploring his initial electoral appeal, which I argued arose from uniting three strands of conservatism—aversion to government, aversion to change and aversion to difference—along with the billionaire bounce, the view that a successful businessperson (which he was less of than he claimed) could fix the economy."
       "Since then, lots has happened and most of it should have hurt the former president, even among Republicans. But it hasn’t. Why not? In my view, three factors taken together account for much of his continuing appeal—partisanship, the persistence of preexisting beliefs and (faux) authenticity."
Insult Politics: Donald Trump, Right-Wing Populism, and Incendiary Language (Oscar Winberg, European Journal of American Studies, Open Edition Journals, Summer 2017) "This article positions the Trump campaign in historical traditions of right-wing populism, incendiary political language, and insulting rhetoric. Trump’s mocking and insulting rhetoric in the campaign was widely described as both norm-breaking and, surprisingly, not politically harmful. This article challenges both assumptions, illustrating how Trump fits into a long tradition of insult politics, and how it remains controversial and politically dangerous. The insult politics Trump utilized throughout his campaign served a political purpose. However, there are strong indications that Trump won the White House in spite of his mocking rhetoric, not because of it. Rather, the particular political position of Trump, and his media image, explains how he could utilize insult politics to his advantage."
The Trump Presidency and the Mainstreaming of Far-Right Politics (Aurelien Mondon and Antonia Vaughan, Gale, 2021) By proceeding through the 2016 and 2020 campaigns, this article has underlined how the evolving role of the alt, far and extreme right reflects the broader normalisation of far-right discourse. No longer the outrageous cheerleaders of 2016, 2020 saw the far-right discourse lose its shock factor, in the process migrating the Republicans further to the right. This migration is perhaps best highlighted by Trump’s own words to the insurrectionists: ‘We love you’, in defiance of the outrage.

Trumpism (Wikipedia, where you can see footnotes to this extract) "Trumpism is an authoritarian movement that consists of the political ideologies and political movement associated with Donald Trump and his political base. Scholars and historians have identified Trumpism as consisting of a wide range of right-wing ideologies such as right-wing populism, national conservatism, neo-nationalism, and neo-fascism. Trumpist rhetoric heavily features anti-immigrant, xenophobic, nativist,and racist attacks against minority groups. Other identified aspects include conspiracist, isolationist, Christian nationalist, protectionist, anti-feminist, and anti-LGBT beliefs.
      "Trump's rhetoric has its roots in a populist political method that suggests nationalistic answers to political, economic, and social problems. These inclinations are refracted into such policy preferences as immigration restrictionism, trade protectionism, isolationism, and opposition to entitlement reform....Referring to the populism of Trump, sociologist Michael Kimmel states that it "is not a theory [or] an ideology, it's an emotion. And the emotion is righteous indignation that the government is screwing 'us'".
      As media scholar Daniel Kreiss summarizes Hochschild, "Trump, along with Fox News, gave these strangers in their own land the hope that they would be restored to their rightful place at the center of the nation, and provided a very real emotional release from the fetters of political correctness that dictated they respect people of color, lesbians and gays, and those of other faiths ... that the network's personalities share the same 'deep story' of political and social life, and therefore they learn from them 'what to feel afraid, angry, and anxious about.'"
Trumpism, an ideology for the extreme far-right globally (Mariano Aguirre, openDemocracy, 12-14-20) Trumpism is the extreme far-right ideology that attacks democracy and normalizes violence against progressive agendas and liberal cultures, while promoting full market deregulation.
Governing the ungovernable (Jess Bidgood, On Politics, NY Times newsletter, 4-12-24) "Amid the tumult, Johnson appeared at Mar-a-Lago on Friday in an apparent effort to shore up his support from the former president. The hope, it seemed, was that the two could see past their differences if they united around something that fires up the Republican base: stoking unfounded distrust in the election.
"During the joint appearance, Johnson said he would introduce a bill that would “require proof of citizenship to vote” and baselessly claimed that undocumented voters could tip American elections, even though voting by people who are not citizens is exceedingly rare. And he got what he had most likely come for: a full-throated endorsement from the former president."
Biden May Win, but Trump Remains the President of Red America (Susan B. Glasser, New Yorker, 11-4-20) His attacks on “the rigged election” are a worst-case scenario for the country. “Trump’s incessant questioning of the basic institutions of our government and electoral system has now produced his desired result, even if he may not be back for another four years: a superpower torn apart from within, no longer trusting of its own democracy.”

[Back to Top]


A Political Obituary for Donald Trump (George Packer, The Atlantic, 12-9-2020) "The United States’ score on the human-rights organization Freedom House’s annual index dropped from 90 out of 100 under President Barack Obama to 86 under Trump, below that of Greece and Mauritius. Trump withdrew the U.S. from 13 international organizations, agreements, and treaties. The number of refugees admitted into the country annually fell from 85,000 to 12,000. About 400 miles of barrier were built along the southern border. The whereabouts of the parents of 666 children seized at the border by U.S. officials remain unknown."
Documentary “Plot to Overturn the Election" Reveals Origins of the Stolen Election Myth (ProPublica and Frontline, 3-29-22) A group of people working from a plantation in South Carolina spread misinformation about the November 2020 election. These falsehoods have since become articles of faith for many Republicans. Watch "The Plot to Overturn the Election" (54 min.)
Trump lost the election, but he won the online disinformation war (Peter Geoghegan, openDemocracy, 11-9-2020) "Social media platforms have allowed US conservatives to delegitimise the election and sow mistrust of democracy. Posts by far-right news site Breitbart had been shared three times as often as posts from the official pages of every Democratic member of the US senate combined in the previous 30 days....As Tuesday night moved into Wednesday morning, Trump held the Sunshine State comfortably, mainly thanks to Latino voters in the state's most populous county, Miami-Dade, shifting in huge numbers from Clinton in 2016 to Trump this time around. Why? One reason is the months of YouTube videos and Facebook posts that led many in Miami to believe that Biden was a stalking horse for socialism, anathema to the city's large Cuban ex-pat population. These conspiracy theories were shared widely and then repeated incessantly on Spanish-language radio."

[Back to Top]


What if a U.S, presidential candidate refuses to concede after an election? (Van Jones, TED Talk about how to stop a coup, October 2020) You can read transcript as you listen. "The president’s litigation strategy is unlikely to succeed, but it’s doing great harm in the meantime." Explaining why the customary concession speech is one of the most important safeguards for democracy, Jones exposes shocking legal loopholes that could enable a candidate to grab power even if they lose both the popular vote and the electoral college.

     Did you know "that under our constitution a presidential candidate could actually lose the popular vote, fail to get a majority in the electoral college, refuse to concede, manipulate hidden mechanisms in our government and still get sworn in as the president of the United States of America? Everyone essentially ignores the elite electoral process...".A concession speech is "the one speech no presidential candidate ever wants to give, and yet, it is that public address that is most important for the health and the well-being of our nation....The best way to stop a coup is to update and strengthen our democratic system as soon as this election is over. Maybe we need to rethink, reimagine or just get rid of this whole electoral college, extra inning thing in the first place.
      "Get informed. A number of progressive organizations are already working hard to warn Americans about this growing threat to our democracy. Some organizations you could look into and research for yourself: choosedemocracy.us, electiontaskforce.org, protectdemocracy.org, mobilize.us, allamericans.org, civicalliance.com and the Fight Back table at demos.org. All these groups are working on this. Now, on the right, if that's your cup of tea, you could also check out The Heritage Foundation or the Government Accountability Institute."

[Back to Top]


The Making of Donald Trump David Cay Johnston. An easy read: a once-over lightly survey of why this man should never have been allowed to hold office -- covering Trump's taxes and shockingly crooked tax dodging (easily done as a real estate tycoon), his casinos, Trump University, the fake names he's used in phone calls with the press, links with mafia members and Roy Cohn, his use of lawyers to bully, how he caused the destruction of the nascent United States Football League, his amorphous net worth, fake awards he has given himself, his golf courses, and the huckster's perpetual myth maintenance. (H/T Franklin the Mouse)
Less Coverage and Higher Costs: The Trump’s Administration’s Health Care Legacy (American Progress, 9-25-20) The president has failed to deliver on his promises to “take care of everybody.”
He Bought Health Insurance for Emergencies. Then He Fell Into a $33,601 Trap. (Jenny Deam, ProPublica, 5-8-21) Since the Trump administration deregulated the health insurance industry, there’s been an explosion of short-term plans that leave patients with surprise bills and providers with huge revenue.
‘It’s like every red flag’: Trump-ordered HHS ad blitz raises alarms (Dan Diamond, Politico, 9-25-2020) "The health department is moving quickly on a highly unusual advertising campaign to "defeat despair" about the coronavirus, a $300 million-plus effort that was shaped by a political appointee close to President Donald Trump and executed in part by close allies of the official, using taxpayer funds....[Michael] Caputo, who has no medical or scientific background, claimed in a Facebook video on Sept. 13 that the campaign was "demanded of me by the president of the United States. Personally."

     ...But 10 current and former health officials told POLITICO that they have concerns about the campaign's scope, goals and even how it has been funded — by pulling money out of health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control that are in the midst of fighting the pandemic, rather than working with lawmakers to set up a brand-new advertising effort with congressional oversight, or drawing on substantial internal resources and expertise in running health-related public service campaigns
     ....But 10 current and former health officials told POLITICO that they have concerns about the campaign's scope, goals and even how it has been funded — by pulling money out of health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control that are in the midst of fighting the pandemic, rather than working with lawmakers to set up a brand-new advertising effort with congressional oversight, or drawing on substantial internal resources and expertise in running health-related public service campaigns."
How a Future President Can Hold the Trump Administration Accountable (Sam Berger, Center for American Progress, 8-5-2020)
President Trump’s 3,400 conflicts of interest (Corruption, Crew, 9-24-2020) The conflicts include visits to Trump properties by foreign government officials, taxpayer spending at Trump businesses, and Trump’s own blatant promotions of the businesses. CREW has tracked around two conflicts of interest per day, but that is likely only the tip of the iceberg. According to data from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Trump made at least 500 visits to his own hotels, golf courses, restaurants, and other facilities during his four years in office. Special-interest groups held 130 events at Trump properties.


Trump Organization convicted in executive tax dodge scheme (Michael R. Sisak, AP News, 12-6-22) Donald Trump’s company was convicted of tax fraud Tuesday for helping executives dodge taxes on extravagant perks such as Manhattan apartments and luxury cars, a repudiation of financial practices at the former president’s business as he mounts another run for the White House. A jury found two corporate entities at the Trump Organization guilty on all 17 counts, including charges of conspiracy and falsifying business records. Trump himself was not on trial. The probe, which began as an inquiry into hush-money payments made on Trump’s behalf, later morphed into an examination of the company’s asset valuation and pay practices.
Trump’s penthouse value estimate boosted by millions due to his fame, execs testify in fraud trial (MICHAEL R. SISAK and JENNIFER PELTZ, AP News, 10-5-23) In pretrial testimony, the former president said that people who did business with him were given ample warning not to trust the statements, and that he never thought that the documents “would be taken very seriously.”
Former Trump executive Allen Weisselberg sentenced to 5 months in jail for lying(Associated Press, 4-10-24) Allen Weisselberg, a retired executive in Donald Trump’s real estate empire, was sentenced Wednesday to five months in jail for lying under oath during his testimony in the civil fraud lawsuit brought against the former president by New York’s attorney general. The civil fraud trial ended with Judge Arthur Engoron ruling that Trump and some of his executives had schemed to deceive banks, insurers and others by lying about his wealth on financial statements used to make deals and secure loans. The judge penalized Trump $455 million and ordered Weisselberg to pay $1 million. They are both appealing.

Trump wanted to launch missiles into Mexico to rid of drug labs: Esper memoir (Kelly McClure, Salon, 5-5-22) In a memoir written by Trump's former defense secretary, Mark T. Esper, it's revealed that the former president would often suggest shocking weapons-based forms of problem solving such as blowing up Mexican drug labs with missiles and shooting anti-police brutality demonstrators.
Heather Cox Richardson (5-6-22) "In other news today, a new book coming out by Mark Esper, former secretary of defense under Trump, reveals that the former president wanted the military to recall to active duty retired General Stan McChrystal and Admiral William H. McRaven in order to court-martial them for disloyalty to him. It also says that Trump wanted to have the U.S. military launch missiles at Mexican drug labs, quoting him as telling Esper that “[w]e could just shoot some Patriot missiles” into our neighbor and ally, Mexico, and no one would know it was the U.S. because Trump could just deny it.
"Esper pointed out that such an attack on a sovereign nation would be an act of war."

[Back to Top]


Trump’s company has received at least $970,000 from U.S. taxpayers for room rentals (David A. Fahrenthold and Joshua Partlow, WaPo, 5-14-2020)
Judge slaps down Trump appointee who has sought to reshape Voice of America and related agencies (Paul Farhi, Wash Post, 11-21-2020) 'Lee R. Crain, one of the attorneys who represented the plaintiffs, said Howell’s ruling ensures that journalists at the agencies can ‘rest assured that the First Amendment protects them from government efforts to control” their reporting. “They are free to do exactly what Congress intended: export independent, First Amendment-style journalism to the world.”... Michael "Pack had asserted the right to direct how journalists at VOA and sister networks such as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Free Asia covered the news, a violation of the traditional “firewall” that ensures the networks aren’t government mouthpieces.'

      See also Court Injunction Bars USAGM From Editorial Interference (Jessica Jerreat, VOA News,11-21-2020) and see U.S. Government-Funded Broadcasters Must Remain Free from Political Interference PEN America (11-22-2020) decries "vandalism" being committed by USAGM CEO Michael Pack, files court brief in lawsuit against the U.S. Agency for Global Media. "Since its inception, public broadcast journalism's challenge has been to win the trust of its audience—to bury any impression that Radio Free Europe, for example, is an American Pravda."
An Oral History of Trump’s Bigotry (David A. Graham, Adrienne Green, Cullen Murphy, and Parker Richards, The Atlantic, June 2019) His racism and intolerance have always been in evidence; only slowly did he begin to understand how to use them to his advantage. "One of the things Trump learned when he injected himself into the Central Park Five case was that he could get attention for himself because he was a spokesman for a certain type of Archie Bunker New Yorker. I think that’s one of the bonds that he shares with [Trump attorney and former New York City Mayor] Rudy Giuliani: They’re both profoundly guys from that moment in New York when a lot of racial boundaries got drawn."
Making Sense (Sam Harris's podcast, 10-30-2020). This link takes you to Harris's fascinating discussion with Andrew Sullivan about why Trump has been so successful despite being a horrible person.
How Trump Became the Pro-Infection Candidate (Dhruv Khullar, New Yorker, 10-23-2020)
The Coup Stage of Donald Trump’s Presidency (Masha Gessen, New Yorker, 11-20-2020) Is it a coup or a con? Trump’s bad con continues to show how easy it would be to stage a good one. Then we would call it a coup.

[Back to Top]


Trump's Clown Coup (Susan B. Glasser, New Yorker, 11-20-2020) We’ve been getting used to painful truths for so long that the awful enormity of the current situation doesn’t hit us in the way it should. The G.O.P. leadership, which has tolerated so many abuses by Trump, is now openly complicit in his worst one yet.
How Trump and His Enablers Are Laying the Groundwork For a Coup d'état (A Pointed View, 11-10-2020) There's an interesting discussion of this on Facebook (launched by Anita Bartholomew's post).
In 1,316 days, President Trump has made 22,247 false or misleading claims (Washington Post Fact Checker) The Fact Checker’s ongoing database of the false or misleading claims made by President Trump since assuming office. A timeline of untruths, along with the facts. See also Trump is averaging more than 50 false or misleading claims a day (Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly, The Fact Checker, 10-22-2020)
Disappearing Data (HuffPost Report, 10-28-2020) Data is the lifeblood of a functioning government. Over the past four years, the Trump administration has destroyed, disappeared or distorted vast swathes of the information the state needs to protect the vulnerable, safeguard our health, and alert us to emerging crises. This is an accounting of the damage in several areas where data is crucial: The Pandemic, Climate Change, The Vulnerable, Pollution, Science, Food, Conservation, and the Census.

[Back to Top]

The President's Taxes: Long-Concealed Records Show Trump’s Chronic Losses and Years of Tax Avoidance (Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig and Mike McIntire, NY Times, 9-27-2020--part of a series) The Times obtained Donald Trump’s tax information extending over more than two decades, revealing struggling properties, vast write-offs, an audit battle and hundreds of millions in debt coming due. "Donald J. Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750. He had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made." The returns "reveal the hollowness, but also the wizardry, behind the self-made-billionaire image — honed through his star turn on “The Apprentice” — that helped propel him to the White House and that still undergirds the loyalty of many in his base....Indeed, his financial condition when he announced his run for president in 2015 lends some credence to the notion that his long-shot campaign was at least in part a gambit to reanimate the marketability of his name."
The Swamp That Trump Built (Nicholas Confessore, Karen Yourish, Steve Eder, Ben Protess, Maggie Haberman, Grace Ashford, Michael LaForgia, Kenneth P. Vogel, Michael Rothfeld and Larry Buchanan, NY Times, 10-10-2020) A businessman-president transplanted favor-seeking in Washington to his family’s hotels and resorts — and earned millions as a gatekeeper to his own administration.
18 Revelations From a Trove of Trump Tax Records (NY Times, 9-27-2020) Times reporters have obtained decades of tax information the president has hidden from public view. Among the key findings of The Times’s investigation: "Mr. Trump paid no federal income taxes in 11 of 18 years that The Times examined. In 2017, after he became president, his tax bill was only $750. He has reduced his tax bill with questionable measures, including a $72.9 million tax refund that is the subject of an audit by the Internal Revenue Service. Many of his signature businesses, including his golf courses, report losing large amounts of money — losses that have helped him to lower his taxes."Read on.
Trump Engineered a Sudden Windfall in 2016 as Campaign Funds Dwindled (Susanne Craig, Mike McIntire and Russ Buettner, NY Times, 10-9-2020) Tax records expose more than $21 million in highly unusual payments from the Las Vegas hotel Donald Trump owns with Phil Ruffin, routed through other Trump companies and paid out in cash. His tax records show that "his 'self-funded' presidential campaign was short on funds, and he was struggling to win over leery Republican donors. His golf courses and the hotel he would soon open in the Old Post Office in Washington were eating away at what cash he had left on hand....And in early 2016, Deutsche Bank, the last big lender still doing business with him, unexpectedly turned down his request for a loan. The funds, Mr. Trump had told his bankers, would help shore up his Turnberry golf resort in Scotland. Some bankers feared the money would instead be diverted to his campaign."

[Back to Top]


Misinformation about Biden’s health spreads after debate (Elizabeth Dwoskin, Washington Post, 9-30-2020) TikTok videos and Trump ads with false information got more than 700,000 views and clicks. See also Right-wing voices are dominating Facebook after the first presidential debate (WaPo, 9-30-2020) Many Americans who primarily get news from Facebook are living in a media ecosystem where the winner of the debate is clear: President Trump crushed Joe Biden. But Facebook and Twitter take unusual steps to limit spread of New York Post story (Dwoskin, WaPo, 10-15-2020) "Four years after Russian operatives exploited tech giants’ services during a presidential contest, the companies’ swift and aggressive steps in responding to the unverified story, and their divergent responses, are a real-time case study in their ability to protect the integrity of an election that has been marred by domestic disinformation and misleading accounts. That activity has included misinformation about Biden’s health, the dying wish of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the validity of mail-in ballots — much of it spread by Trump and his supporters."
Trump got a $21 million tax break for saving the forest outside his N.Y. mansion. Now the deal is under investigation. (Joshua Partlow, Jonathan O'Connell and David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post, 10-9-2020) Five years ago, Donald Trump promised to preserve more than 150 acres of rolling woodlands in an exclusive swath of New York suburbia prized for its luxury homes and rural tranquility. He wrote off the cost as a business expense and the family calls it "a retreat for the Trump family."

[Back to Top]


Trump says he's leaving hospital for White House, feels good (Zeke Miller, Jill Colvin, and Aamer Madhani, AP, 10-5-2020) "For more than eight months, Trump's efforts to play down the threat of the virus in hopes of propping up the economy ahead of the election have drawn bipartisan criticism....According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those with mild to moderate symptoms can be contagious for as many — and should isolate for at least — 10 day. On Sunday afternoon, Trump briefly ventured out of the hospital while contagious to salute cheering supporters by motorcade — an outing that disregarded precautions meant to contain the virus....Less than one month before Election Day, Trump was eager to project strength despite his illness. The still-infectious president surprised supporters who had gathered outside the hospital, riding by Sunday in a black SUV with the windows rolled up. Secret Service agents inside the vehicle could be seen in masks and other protective gear....[Sunday] was the second straight day of obfuscation from a White House already suffering from a credibility crisis. And it raised more doubts about whether the doctors treating the president were sharing accurate, timely information with the American public about the severity of his condition."

[Back to Top]


The Coronavirus and the Threat Within the White House ( David Remnick, New Yorker, 10-3-2020) "The best security system and the most solicitous medical officers in the world could not protect Donald Trump from a danger that he insisted on belittling and ignoring....The Centers for Disease Control and other public-health institutions have long said that wearing masks is essential to minimizing the spread of the coronavirus. Trump has been of another opinion, a delusional one."

The Plot to Keep Meatpacking Plants Open During COVID-19 (Michael Grabell, ProPublica, 5-13-22) Newly released documents reveal that the meatpacking industry’s callousness toward the health of its workers and its influence over the Trump administration were far greater than previously known. Congressional investigators have reported on a high-pressure lobbying campaign by the meat industry leading to one of the most consequential moments in the nation’s COVID-19 response: Trump's presidential order that effectively thwarted efforts by local health officials to shut plants down and slow the spread of COVID-19.
The Battle Over “The Room Where It Happened” Continues (Authors Guild, 9-24-2020) "On September 15, the Trump Administration continued its campaign against John Bolton and his book The Room Where It Happened by opening a criminal inquiry into whether Bolton had unlawfully disclosed classified information in his bestselling memoir. Ellen Knight, formerly of the National Security Council, expressed concern 'about the politicization -- or even the perceived politicization -- of the prepublication review process. Once authors start perceiving that manuscripts are being reviewed for political considerations, they will lose confidence in the integrity of the process and find ways to publish or release their works without submitting them for review. This could result in unchecked disclosures of sensitive information and the potential for serious damage to our national security.' Ms. Knight’s letter states that the Bolton prepublication review process “entailed an unprecedented amount of interaction between the political appointees in the NSC Legal staff and the career prepublication review staff.”
Twitter’s Trump Fact Check Won’t Solve Much, but at Least It’s Something (Dahlia Lithwick, Future Tense, Slate, 5-27-2020) Twitter took the unprecedented step of attaching warning labels accompanied by links to fact checks to two of the president’s false tweets. The president then went on to threaten that Twitter was “completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!” although anyone with a brain quickly pointed out that private companies are not state actors and Trump has no First Amendment claims here.
The First Amendment: what it really means for free speech and why Donald Trump is trampling on it (Eliza Bechtold, The Conversation, 8-5-19) "...there is no First Amendment right to use Twitter or have a Facebook page. As private entities, social media companies are free to adopt policies relating to user content and to remove users who violate such policies without implicating the First Amendment. Moreover, the First Amendment protects the expression of corporations and other associations, as well as individuals. This means that Facebook, Twitter, and others have free speech rights."

[Back to Top]


Judges toss lawsuit alleging anti-conservative bias on social media (Marc DeAngelis, Engadget, 5-28-2020) In 2018, the nonprofit organization Freedom Watch and a conservative YouTuber named Laura Loomer tried to sue social media companies. They alleged that Twitter, Facebook and Google -- which owns YouTube -- broke antitrust laws and violated their First Amendment rights by conspiring to suppress conservative viewpoints. Their case was dropped last year, but they appealed the decision. According to Bloomberg, a federal appeals court today affirmed the decision to drop the suit, leaving the tech companies in the clear.The plaintiffs say that tech companies conspired to suppress conservative views. See also Freedom Watch and Laura Loomer Lose Lawsuit Against Social Media Platforms (Eugene Volokh, The Volokh Conspiracy, 5-27-2020) No, said the Court. The plaintiffs' First Amendment claim failed because "the First Amendment 'prohibits only governmental abridgment of speech," because there was no evidence of an anticompetitive behavior by platforms, and because D.C.'s public accommodation statute doesn't apply to online service providers.
The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President (McKay Coppins, The Atlantic, 2-10-2020) How new technologies and techniques pioneered by dictators will shape the 2020 election. After the 2016 election, much was made of the threats posed to American democracy by foreign disinformation. Stories of Russian troll farms and Macedonian fake-news mills loomed in the national imagination. But while these shadowy outside forces preoccupied politicians and journalists, Trump and his domestic allies were beginning to adopt the same tactics of information warfare that have kept the world's demagogues and strongmen in power.
Literary Group Goes to Court to Stop Donald Trump From Violating the First Amendment (Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter, 10-16-18) The Pen America Center says Trump is using his power to unconstitutionally punish and intimidate The Washington Post, CNN, NBC, the White House press corps and others who cover his administration.

[Back to Top]


Why Bill Barr Turned on Trump (Donald Ayer, The Atlantic, 9-19-22) No one should think he’s having second thoughts about the awful things he did in office. Remember that Barr sought out the opportunity to serve as Trump’s attorney general by submitting a memorandum in June 2018, expanding upon his long-held, breathtaking vision that the Founders created an all-powerful president immune from virtually any limitation on his powers.
Almost 2,000 former Justice officials condemn department for dropping Flynn case (Rebecca Klar, The Hill, 5-11-2020) 'Nearly 2,000 former Department of Justice (DOJ) officials who served under Republican and Democratic administrations condemned the DOJ and Attorney General William Barr on Monday for moving to drop charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The former officials said Barr “once again assaulted the rule of law” and accused the attorney general of using the department “as a tool to further President Trump’s personal and political interests.” '

     See also ‘A constant battle of you against the leadership of your country’: Justice Dept. rattled as Flynn fallout reaches FBI (Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky, and Josh Dawsey, Washington Post, 5-8-2020) 'While the president continued to criticize the FBI’s conduct, multiple federal law enforcement officials interviewed Friday expressed varying degrees of anger, resignation and alarm over the decision by Attorney General William P. Barr to abandon the prosecution of Flynn for lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the United States before Trump took office. “The attorney general is supposed to be above reproach and apolitical in terms of how the department operates and how he or she as an individual operates, and he’s just completely lost that,” said one veteran Justice Department lawyer who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. “He’s Trump’s attorney. He’s not the country’s attorney.” '
How Trump Supporters Came to Hate the Police (Luke Mogelson, New Yorker, 9-10-22) At the Capitol riot and elsewhere, MAGA Republicans have leaped from “backing the blue” to attacking law-enforcement officials."One way to think about January 6th is as the consummation, in real time, of a tumultuous shift between two distinct eras of conservatism. Before 2020, most conservatives celebrated law enforcement as the protectors of a system that was, on balance, reliably favorable to their interests. By the end of 2020, after the lockdowns and the election, many conservatives had come to see that system the same way that right-wing extremists did—as corrupt and tyrannical, perhaps even satanic. At the same time, so long as Trump was still in power and weaponizing law enforcement against leftists, neither conservatives nor the police were forced to confront what this meant for their alliance. That reckoning could no longer be avoided on January 6th, and it is understandable that people on both sides of the line persisted in respecting the terms of a compact that was now obsolete."

[Back to Top]


Kelly and Pompeo: How A Journalist Masterfully Combated Gaslighting (Stephanie Sarkis, Forbes, 1-25-2020) A brief demo on how to address gaslighters talking over you, spouting misinformation, acting as if they're being bullied, lying to make you look unreasonable, etc.
Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All (Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, 7-18-16) “The Art of the Deal” made America see Trump as a charmer with an unfailing knack for business. Tony Schwartz helped create that myth—and regrets it. Over the decades, Trump appeared to have convinced himself that he had written the book. Schwartz recalls thinking, “If he could lie about that on Day One—when it was so easily refuted—he is likely to lie about anything.”

     “He has no attention span.” “. . .it’s impossible to keep him focussed on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes, and even then . . . ” Trump’s short attention span has left him with “a stunning level of superficial knowledge and plain ignorance.” He said, “That’s why he so prefers TV as his first news source—information comes in easily digestible sound bites.” Edward Kosner, the former editor and publisher of New York, where Schwartz worked as a writer at the time, says, “Tony created Trump. He’s Dr. Frankenstein.”
Defending Rights & Dissent Opposes Trump Executive Order Equating Support for Palestinian Rights with Anti-Semitic Discrimination (Defending Rights & Dissent, 12-11-19) Anti-Semitism is a real threat, but it is a distortion of civil rights to use federal civil rights law to suppress speech in support of Palestinian rights.
Judgment days (Stephanie McCrummen, Washington Post, 7-21-18) In a small Alabama town, an evangelical congregation reckons with God, President Trump and the meaning of morality. How can people who purport to disapprove of sinfulness of all kinds vote for a twice-divorced alleged adulterer who has boasted of sexual assault? What was important was not the character of the president but his positions, they said, and one mattered more than all the others. “Abortion,” said Linda, whose eyes teared up when she talked about it. Read that and then read this: Avoiding false judgments in journalism about Trump’s evangelical supporters (Brook Wilensky-Lanford, Nieman Storyboard, 4-11-19) A religion scholar assesses how the Washington Post's Stephanie McCrummen avoids predictable pitfalls in "Judgment Days."

[Back to Top]


‘A Terrible Mistake’: Trump Criticizes DeSantis on Abortion Ban (Jonathan Swan and Maggie Haberman, NY Times, 9-17-23) The former president, while denouncing his chief rival for the Republican nomination, also largely evaded questions on the issue. "Mr. Trump's advisers are mindful that abortion was a political loser for Republicans in the 2022 midterm cycle."

       "Since announcing his candidacy — just a week after Republicans underperformed expectations in midterm elections shaped by a backlash against the overturning of the abortion ruling — there has been no policy issue on which Mr. Trump has appeared more uncomfortable than on abortion. "In interview after interview since the repeal of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, Mr. Trump has ducked questions about whether he would support a federal ban on most abortions at 15 weeks — the baseline position of many Republicans, including the leading anti-abortion group, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America....

      "In reality, Mr. Trump — who years ago said he supported abortion rights before switching his position in 2011 as he considered a presidential campaign that year — appointed three conservative justices to the Supreme Court, providing a majority to reverse the Roe ruling. Democrats have made clear they plan to make Mr. Trump’s role in Roe’s end a key focus in the 2024 general election if he is the nominee." 

 

 
ICE Has Kept Tabs on ‘Anti-Trump’ Protesters in New York City (Jimmy Tobias, The Nation, 3-6-19) Documents reveal that the immigration enforcement agency has been keenly attuned to left-leaning protests in the city. “If [the Department of Homeland Security] is specifically focusing on those who are against the current president, it gets into the realm of what fascist regimes do,” says Jody Kuh, a volunteer organizer with Rise and Resist. “If they are watching us because we are against the current president’s policies, it is more than a little disturbing.”

Why We Can’t Stop Arguing About Whether Trump Is a Fascist (Andrew Marantz, New Yorker, 3-27-24) Columbia historian Robert O. Paxton wrote, in 2017, in Harper’s Magazine. “Are we therefore looking at a fascist? Not really.” But history keeps happening, and historians’ minds can change. Here’s Paxton again, a few days after January 6, 2021, contra himself. The headline, in Newsweek, was “I’ve Hesitated to Call Donald Trump a Fascist. Until Now.” “Trump’s incitement of the invasion of the Capitol,” Paxton wrote, “crosses a red line. The label now seems not just acceptable but necessary.”
"Trump’s bluster is famously unreliable, but, since 2021, he has called for the “termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution”; he has referred to his political opponents as “vermin”; and he seems prepared to wield the levers of state more ruthlessly in a second term (including, among many other proposals, potentially using the Insurrection Act and other emergency powers to militarize the border)."

A Brief History of Fascist Lies by Federico Finchelstein (University of California Press, 2020) Excerpt: "The same lies that motivated the El Paso killer are at the center of Trumpism and the so-called effort to Make America Great Again. Lying about things that are part of the permanent record has become part of the American president’s daily routine. Trump continuously has used specific propaganda techniques, lying with-out consequence, replacing rational debate with paranoia and resentment, and casting reality itself into doubt. Trump’s attacks on the mainstream media and the extensive documented instances where he claims he didn’t say something that is in fact in the public record are related to the history of fascist lies analyzed in this book."

[Back to Top]


Inside the Steele Dossier & The Fusion GPS Investigation Of Trump (listen to Terry Gross, Fresh Air, 11-26-19) During the 2016 campaign, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch hired former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele to investigate Donald Trump's involvement with Russia. Their book about this topic is Crime in Progress (the inside story of the high-stakes, four-year-long investigation into Donald Trump’s Russia ties—culminating in the Steele dossier, and sparking the Mueller report—from the founders of political opposition research company Fusion GPS) This Washington Post review of the book may help you decide whether to read further.
The Summer of Chaos and God (Dahlia Lithwick, Slate, 9-5-19) 'A preference for chaos on the far right is connected to God in ways Democrats can barely talk about, much less comprehend, whether it’s the fundamental disconnect around evangelical support for unfettered gun rights or the right’s rejection of environmental protection or immigrants’ rights. But the more morally discordant Trump’s policies and politics are, the more he is seen as fighting for religious rights. This is not a claim that all or even most religious belief is nihilist—it is just a recognition that there is a deeply nihilist strain in some religious quarters, one that dovetails perfectly with the impulse to “blow it all up.”'
Trump Can’t Block Critics From His Twitter Account, Appeals Court Rules (Charlie Savage, NY Times, 7-9-19) "Because Mr. Trump uses Twitter to conduct government business, he cannot exclude some Americans from reading his posts — and engaging in conversations in the replies to them — because he does not like their views, a three-judge panel on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York, ruled unanimously." "The decision may have broader implications for how the First Amendment applies to officials’ accounts in the social-media era."
The Invention of the Conspiracy Theory on Biden and Ukraine (Jane Mayer, New Yorker, 10-4-19) How a conservative dark-money group that targeted Hillary Clinton in 2016 spread the discredited story that may lead to Donald Trump’s impeachment. See also the book Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency by Joshua Green, as well as the article “Stupid Watergate” Is Worse Than the Original (David Remnick, New Yorker, 10-4-19) "...his corruption is totally as we see it, out front. He doesn’t try to hide it. He doesn’t try to hide the conflicts of interest or the lying. He is not a secretive conspirator. Donald Trump’s behavior echoes Nixon’s in one sense: he and his confederates appear to have been engaged in an effort to undermine the integrity of a Presidential election."

[Back to Top]


The Difference Between Leaking and Whistle-Blowing in the Trump White House (Masha Gessen, New Yorker, 10-4-19) 'A whistle-blower often speaks out with the aim of halting some wrongdoing, but a leaker’s motives are generally self-serving....We have normalized Trumpism to such an extent that journalists and politicians didn’t know how to think about the Ukraine story until the whistle-blower framed it as an egregious abuse of power....Yet it took two and a half years for someone with significant access to the Administration to go through the process of systematically collecting information and transmitting it through the institutional channels created specifically for the purpose of saying, “This is not normal.”'
What is Trumpcare? (Larry Levitt, news@JAMA, 9-25-19)
Who Are Donald Trump's Supporters? Trump Nation (USA Today Interactives) They’re not clichés. The USA TODAY NETWORK interviewed voters in every state to find out. Read their comments.
Trump the Truth: A Timeline of Assaults on Free Expression (Pen America) The Trump the Truth timeline, maintained and updated by PEN America during the first year of the Trump Administration, was used to track important developments during the Trump Administration that posed a threat to undermine free expression and press freedoms (or, from another viewpoint, express his opinion). See also PEN America's Trump the Truth report and timeline (PDF in standard prose format).
PolitiFact's Truth-o-Meter report on Trump. See especially All statements by Trump, rated as true or false or somewhere in between. (36 pages as of 7-25-19)
•“My father never got so much as a speeding ticket in his life,” says Eric Trump, whose father paid $25 million to people he defrauded through Trump University.
Under Trump, LGBTQ Progress Is Being Reversed in Plain Sight (Kirsten Berg and Moiz Syed, ProPublica, 11-22-19) Donald Trump promised he would fight for LGBTQ people. Instead, his administration has systematically undone recent gains in their rights and protections. Since taking office, Trump’s administration has acted to dismantle federal protections and resources for LGBTQ Americans, particularly those gained under President Barack Obama. Here are 31 examples.
'Times' Journalists Puncture Myth Of Trump As Self-Made Billionaire (Terry Gross interviews investigative reporters Susanne Craig and David Barstow, who say the president received today's equivalent of $413 million from his father's real estate empire, through what appears to be tax fraud. See also Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father (Susanne Craig and David Barstow and Russ Buettner, NY Times, 10-2-18) The president has long sold himself as a self-made billionaire, but a Times investigation found that he received at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate empire, much of it through schemes to avoid paying taxes on multimillion dollar gifts in the family. "Much of this money came to Mr. Trump because he helped his parents dodge taxes. He and his siblings set up a sham corporation to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents, records and interviews show. Records indicate that Mr. Trump helped his father take improper tax deductions worth millions more."
Mueller report suggests the ‘fake news’ came from Trump, not the news media (Paul Farhi, WaPo, 4-18-19) Mueller's report cites multiple instances in which Trump and White House aides misled or lied to journalists or in public statements as the investigation was unfolding....In fact, according to Mueller’s report, Trump’s first reaction [to news of Mueller's appointment] was anything but calm. According to notes taken by an aide, Trump responded by saying, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m f-cked. . . . This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”
Donald Trump Fact Check (Toronto Star)

[Back to Top]


When Donald met Scott: a reporter's view of Trump and his White House wonderland (Katharine Murphy, The Guardian, 9-27-19) Australian PM Scott Morrison received a full-blown welcome from the US president. " If he doesn’t understand, the president will say: “Say it.” This means ask the question again, she says."
Why PEN America Is Suing Donald Trump (Jennifer Egan, LitHub, 10-18-18) "Trump's vitriol against reporters has made political journalism a more dangerous practice....President Trump’s frank admiration for authoritarian rulers makes his efforts to hobble a free press here in America all the more alarming. His actions conform to what some call an 'authoritarian playbook' for modern tyrants, in which the curtailing of free speech occurs subtly and gradually through a system of governmental rewards and punishments that encourage cooperation and gradually chill opposing voices."
Hundreds of Newspapers Denounce Trump's Attacks on Media in Coordinated Editorials(James Doubek, NPR, 8-16-18) Over 300 newspapers published editorials against Trump’s attack on the press. The President responded by calling the media “the opposition party,” and many believe this will only bolster his current platform. Will a united media be enough to reaffirm the First Amendment? NPR does not have an editorial board, and did not take part in Thursday's coordinated effort. The project was spearheaded by staff members of the editorial page at the Globe. See
---A Free Press Needs You (Editorial, NY Times, 8-15-18)
--- "Americans may not like the news they see or hear but they should not hold that against those who report it. In short, don’t shoot the messenger." --TriCorner News, LakeVille Journal, 8-15-18)
---Journalists are not the enemy (Boston Globe editorial board, 8-15-18)
---"Self-governance demands that our citizens need to be well-informed and that's what we're here to do. ... Some think we're rude to question and challenge. We know it's our obligation."--The Times of North Little Rock
---"Journalists are used to being insulted. It comes with the job ... But being called an enemy — and not of a politician or cause, but of the whole people of a nation — that's something else entirely."-- Topeka Capital-Journal
EPA Lets AP Reporter Back Into Summit After She Was Shoved Out Of Building (DAvid Bauder, Talking Points Memo, 5-22-18) AP journalist Ellen Knickmeyer and reporters from CNN and E&E News were told they could not attend an invitation-only event, a summit on a class of chemicals present in dangerous amounts in many water systems around the country. Knickmeyer "was earlier barred and shoved out of the building by a security guard." “We understand the importance of an open and free press and we hope the EPA does, too,” CNN said. Scott Pruitt apparently does not.

[Back to Top]


Trump admin tightens media access for federal scientists: report (Ali Breland, The Hill, 6-21-18) The Trump administration is directing federal scientists in the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to get approval from the Department of the Interior, its parent agency, before speaking to reporters, according to the Los Angeles Times. "The employees said that they believe the new policies were established to control the voices of Interior employees. They believe the move is a part of larger efforts to quell discourse about climate change, which the agency has produced research on."
"It's the law, stupid," and seven other lessons from the EPA's botched media blackout. (Indira Lakshmanan, Poynter, 5-24-18) The Federal Advisory Committee Act requires that any advisory group making recommendations to the federal government “shall be open to the public.” Journalists protect their interests if they’re versed in open records and open meetings laws.
Board objects to EPA press office action (National Association of Science Writers, 3-26-18) Inpart: "With the March 20 “press release,” EPA effectively limited its discussion of a major science policy story to a handpicked, partisan outlet. It also encouraged journalists to learn details about this story from a published article, which can never be a basis of responsible news reporting.
"When reporters contact the EPA Press Office asking for information regarding the activities of a taxpayer-funded organization, those queries should be answered swiftly by knowledgeable staff. The same holds when journalists request public documents from an agency."
Judge: Trump Can’t Block Twitter Users(Mark Joseph Stern, Slate, 5-13-18).S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ruled that President Donald Trump violated the First Amendment by blocking Twitter users who criticized him and his policies. Her ruling is an extraordinary victory for free speech on the internet and a harsh rebuke to Trump’s effort to prevent his critics from engaging with him online.

[Back to Top]


The White House's attack on scientists could manipulate public opinion (Lauren Kurtz and Romany Webb, Opinion, The Hill, 2-28-18) "The Trump administration’s FY2019 budget, unveiled last Monday, proposes cuts in essential funding for scientific research and education. Unfortunately, this attack on science is not an isolated incident. Barely a year into President Trump’s term, there have already been 111 attempts by the federal government to censor, misrepresent, or stifle science. Many appear intended to gain support for the administration’s efforts to prop up the fossil fuel industry... At the Department of the Interior (DOI), a website discussing the environmental and other risks of fossil fuel development was changed to emphasize economic benefits [and to argue against human causes of climate change]. A few months later, large swaths of land previously protected from coal mining and oil and gas drilling were opened to development. Shortly after this, DOI’s Bureau of Land Management changed the image on its homepage from a scenic park vista to a pile of coal, presumably to reinforce the message that public lands are for mining."
Words banned at multiple HHS agencies include ‘diversity’ and ‘vulnerable’ (Lena H. Sun and Juliet Eilperin, WashPost, 12-10-17) "The Trump administration has informed multiple divisions within the Department of Health and Human Services that they should avoid using certain words or phrases in official documents being drafted for next year’s budget. The words to avoid: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.” Participants at HHS were also told to use “Obamacare” instead of ACA, or the Affordable Care Act, and to use “exchanges” instead of “marketplaces” to describe the venues where people can purchase health insurance. At the CDC, budget analysts were told they could use an alternative phrase instead of “evidence-based” or “science-based” in budget documents. That phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.”
     The CDC analyst said it was clear to participants that they were to avoid those seven words but only in drafting budget documents.

[Back to Top]


Homeland Security Used a Private Intelligence Firm to Monitor Family Separation Protests (Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept, 4-19-19) In the last two years, law enforcement agencies executing the Trump administration’s immigration agenda have cracked down on critics of the president’s policies. Among the targeted: humanitarian volunteers providing food, water, and medical aid to migrants trekking through the desert, and immigration attorneys, journalists, and activists working with, and around, migrant caravans.“This is a chilling revelation, but follows an even scarier trend of constant government surveillance and policing of immigrant communities, and targeting of activists and journalists,” Jesse Franzblau, a senior policy analyst with the National Immigrant Justice Center.
The police threw the book at Trump Protesters in DC but sat and watched White Supremacists terrorize Charlottesville (Sandra Fulton, HuffPost, 8-29-17) "Last week, the Department of Justice altered a sweeping warrant, which sought to collect personal information on every visitor to an anti-Trump website that organized protests on Inauguration Day....The demand seems to be in line with a broader trend within the Trump Administration—a harsh crackdown against any group that disagrees with President Trump. For his part, Trump has categorized these protesters as the “Alt-Left,” a term that doesn’t seem to apply to any easily-defined entity beyond the paranoid imaginings of Trump and his allies." "The administration and law enforcement are using a range of tactics — from electronic surveillance to a growing number of anti-protest laws — to criminalize anyone that organizes in the streets to protest the president and his policies. But how are law enforcement and the administration responding to the very real threats coming from white supremacists like those who marched earlier this month on Charlottesville?'

[Back to Top]


Leaked FBI Documents Reveal Bureau’s Priorities Under Trump (Ken Klippenstein, The Young Turks, 8-8-19) Under President Trump, the FBI’s official counterterrorism priorities have included “Black Identity Extremists,” “anti-authority” extremists, and “animal rights/environmental extremists,” according to leaked Bureau documents.... When an August 2017 internal FBI report referencing the counterterrorism threat posed by “Black Identity Extremists” was published by Foreign Policy, the FBI became the subject of intense criticism for adopting what critics alleged was a racially loaded term....While the documents depict concerns about violent black extremist attacks, they do not cite a single specific attack — unlike white supremacist attacks, of which several prominent examples are provided....So grave did the Bureau consider the threat of black extremists that from 2019 to 2020, using new designations, it listed the threat at the very top of its counterterrorism priorities — above even terror groups like Al Qaeda."
Justice demands 1.3M IP addresses related to Trump resistance site (Morgan Chalfant, The Hill, 8-14-17) "DreamHost claimed that the complying with the request from the Justice Department would amount to handing over roughly 1.3 million visitor IP addresses to the government, in addition to contact information, email content and photos of thousands of visitors to the website, which was involved in organizing protests against Trump on Inauguration Day. “That information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment,” DreamHost wrote in the blog post on Monday. “That should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyone’s mind.”
Trump Administration Starts Returning Copies of C.I.A. Torture Report to Congress (Mark Mazzetti and Mathew Rosenberg, NY Times, 6-2-17) "The Trump administration has begun returning copies of a voluminous 2014 Senate report about the Central Intelligence Agency’s detention and interrogation program to Congress, complying with the demand of a top Republican senator who has criticized the report for being shoddy and excessively critical of the C.I.A....The committee, which was then run by Democrats, also sent copies of the entire classified report to at least eight federal agencies, asking that they incorporate the report into their records — a move that would have made it subject to requests under the Freedom of Information Act. That law, which allows citizens, the media and other groups to request access to information held by the federal government, does not apply to congressional records...The full report is not expected to offer evidence of previously undisclosed interrogation techniques, but the interrogation sessions are said to be described in great detail. The report explains the origins of the program and identifies the officials involved, and also offers details on the role of each agency in the secret prison program."

[Back to Top]


How Can Journalists Protect Themselves During a Trump Administration? (Kaveh Waddell, The Atlantic, 11-10-16) The president-elect’s attacks on the press hint at an unfriendly atmosphere for reporters.
Trump Hates the Press? Take a Number. (Jack Shafer, Politico, 2-17-17) "No matter how grievous the sins of the press may be—and as a press critic, let me tell you, they are grievous—a president can’t forever blame everything on “dishonest reporters,” the “mess” the previous president left behind or the dug-in elites. Reckonings tend to take a while to form, as Nixon and Agnew learned. Trump’s will come."
Trump, who received hundreds of millions of dollars from his father's real estate empire, calls John Fetterman spoiled: 'He lived off his parents' money' (Isabella Zavarise, Yahoo, 9-4-22)
Journalists around the country are joining a Slack channel devoted to FOIA and Trump (Krysten Hare, Poynter, 1-25-17) A few days before President Trump's inauguration, MuckRock opened up a Slack channel to help journalists better cover him and his administration. Sign up here: www.muckrock.com.
How far will President Trump’s media blackout spread? The Sunlight Foundation is trying to find out (Kelly Hinchcliffe, Poynter, 1-25-17)
Trump tried to ban top aides from penning tell-all books (Nancy Cook and Andrew Restuccia, Politico, 8-13-18) After the controversy surrounding the Omarosa Manigault Newman tell-all, the President’s use of non-disclosure/disparagement agreements is facing public criticism. The idea that top government officials could be censored from speaking out against abuse of power is frightening. What happens in a world where important political stories cannot be told?

[Back to Top]


The Memory Hole 2, run by Russ Kick, and The Internet Archive (The Wayback Machine) save pages that disappear from the Web. Kick's site has been good about saving items deleted by the Trump Administration (including Trump's error-filled Tweets).
Trump shares Twitter accounts linked to conspiracy theory QAnon (Tony Romm and Colby Itkowitz, WaPo, 7-30-19) How QAnon, the bizarre pro-Trump conspiracy theory, took hold in right-wing circles online. (And how Trump tweets its latest claim.
Unsolicited Advice for the White House Press Corps (Jack Shafer, Fourth Estate, Politico, 2-6-17) And keep up to date on Shafer's Twitter feed.
Poll: Trump More Trusted Than the Media (by Republicans) (Curt Mills, US News, 2-9-17) Views on the press and the administration break down along clear party lines. ""The partisan split on this topic is clear – 89 percent of Republicans find the Trump administration truthful, versus 77 percent of Democrats who find the administration untruthful. Conversely, 69 percent of Democrats find the news media truthful, while a whopping 91 percent of Republicans consider them untruthful. Independents consider both untruthful," according to a poll conducted by Emerson College." Mind you, this was in 2017.'
The Private Trump Angst of a Republican Icon (Susan B. Glasser and Peter Baker, New Yorker, 9-27-2020) James Baker thinks Trump is “nuts,” but he voted for him once—and may soon do so again?

[Back to Top]


The Invention of Thanksgiving (Philip Deloria, The New Yorker, 11-18-19) Massacres, myths, and the making of the great November holiday--in which white Americans have from the start tended to play a villainous role. 'Today, Wampanoag people debate whether Thanksgiving should be a day of mourning or a chance to contemplate reconciliation. It’s mighty generous of them....“American Indian” is a political identity, not a racial one, constituted by formal, still living treaties with the United States government and a long series of legal decisions. Today, the Trump Administration would like to deny this history, wrongly categorize Indians as a racial group, and disavow ongoing treaty relationships.'
Trump organizations agree to pay $750,000 to settle lawsuit with D.C. (Keith L. Alexander, WaPo, 5-3-22) The city alleged the groups misused nonprofit funds donated for inauguration to benefit Trump and his family. Lawyers for the District also accused Trump’s organization of improperly using nonprofit funds to throw a private party on Jan. 20, 2017, for Trump’s children — Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric — which cost $300,000. The city also alleged that the Trump Organization, the inaugural committee and the Trump International Hotel misused $1.1 million.
With New Trump Policy, Is the Moon for the Taking? (Ramin Skibba, Undark, 5-30-19) The Trump administration has been vague about what it hopes to accomplish on the moon, but mining may be on the agenda. "Worse yet, the 2024 target date suggests a selfish motive — an attempt by Trump to conjure a dramatic legacy before he leaves office, assuming he is reelected next year. Indeed, recent comments by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine suggest the deadline was chosen with little, if any, consideration of the scientific and engineering challenges."

[Back to Top]
Be the first to comment

If you have an LLC, read about new BOI federal filing requirement for 2024

New in 2024:

The BOI E-Filing System supports the electronic filing of the Beneficial Ownership Information Report (BOIR) under the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA)--"beneficial ownership information" meaning information about the individuals who directly or indirectly own or control a company. The CTA requires certain types of U.S. and foreign entities to report beneficial ownership information to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

[Emphasis here and below added for clarity about what this is all about. Let me know if someone presents crystal clear and concise information anywhere about who has to do what. In particular, do freelance writers and writing firms need to comply?Meanwhile, read this only when brain working at full capacity.]

 
Small Entities Must File New Beneficial Ownership Information Reports in 2024 (Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation, Iowa State University, 11-30-23) The CTA was enacted as part of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, Public Law 116–283. The CTA was enacted to prevent money laundering, corrupt financial transactions, and financial terrorism. It requires the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN, a bureau of the U.S. Treasury) to establish and maintain a national registry of beneficial owners of entities that are otherwise not subject to disclosure regulations. Specifically, FinCEN has stated that collection of BOI will “help to shed light on criminals who evade taxes, hide their illicit wealth, and defraud employees and customers and hurt honest U.S. businesses through their misuse of shell companies.” In furtherance of these goals, the CTA authorizes FinCEN to share the collected information with government agencies, financial institutions, and financial regulations, subject to safeguards and protocols. Answers clearly these questions: Who must file a report? Exceptions to Reporting

 

Do you have an LLC? There’s a new federal filing requirement known as BOI. (Jane Friedman, Electric Speed blog, 2-3-24)

       "In January 2021, the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) was enacted by Congress, which requires business entities to file a beneficial ownership information (BOI) report with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network within the US Department of the Treasury. The CTA went into effect on Jan. 1, 2024. If you have an LLC, you have one year to file your BOI. There is no fee to file, but you may be fined if you don’t file on time."


New Year, New Rules: 2024 Beneficial Ownership Reporting Requirement (Wolters Kluwer) What (small) business owners, lawyers, accountants must do under the Corporate Transparency Act. Find out how to comply.


FinCEN issues final rule on access to the beneficial ownership information reported under the Corporate Transparency Act (Sandra Feldman, Wolters Kluwer, 12-22-23) "On December 22, 2023, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a final rule (the Access Rule) that sets forth the circumstances under which beneficial ownership information (BOI) may be disclosed to authorized BOI recipients.
" The CTA allows FinCEN to disclose BOI only to six categories of requestors. The Access Rule, among other things, clarifies the purposes for which these requestors may use BOI, the steps they must take in making their request, and the steps they must take to ensure the security and confidentiality of the information. The very long final access file can be accessed here:

     https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-12-22/pdf/2023-27973.pdf

 

File the Beneficial Ownership Information Report (BOIR)

Welcome to the BOI E-Filing System

     The BOI E-Filing System supports the electronic filing of the Beneficial Ownership Information Report (BOIR) under the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA). The CTA requires certain types of U.S. and foreign entities to report beneficial ownership information to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

       A “beneficial owner” under the BOI Rule is defined as any individual who, directly or indirectly, either exercises substantial control over a reporting company or owns or controls at least 25% of the ownership interests of a reporting company.

 

Fact Sheet for Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Rule (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, 9-29-22) Under the rule, a beneficial owner includes any individual who, directly or indirectly, either (1) exercises substantial control over a reporting company, or (2) owns or controls at least 25 percent of the ownership interests of a reporting company. The rule defines the terms “substantial control” and “ownership interest.”


Small Entity Compliance Guide (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Version 1.1 December 2023) Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Requirements (BOIR requirements). FinCEN's
Select the filing method that works best for you: File PDF BOIR


Updates on U.S. Corporate Transparency Act Beneficial Ownership Reporting Requirements (Sidley, Anti-Money Laundering Update, 12-14-23) "This unprecedented collection of information by the government is intended to curtail the deliberate misuse of legal entities and deter illicit financial activity and national security threats that result therefrom."

      'The BOI Rule includes 23 categories of exemptions from the definition of “reporting company” from the CTA for entities already generally subject to substantial United States federal or state regulation under which beneficial ownership may be known. These exemptions include, among others, banks, insurance companies, public companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), broker-dealers, certain investment funds, investment advisers and pooled investment vehicles, certain tax-exempt entities, subsidiaries of certain exempt entities, and a category of “large operating companies.” '

[Back to Top]
Be the first to comment

Indie Author Conferences in 2024



The Women In Publishing Summit

    Virtual, March 6-9, 2024


BookMARCon 2024

    Virtual, April 5-7, 2024


Pikes Peak Writers Conference

    Colorado Springs, Colorado, April 25-28, 2024


Inkers Con 2024

    Dallas, TX June 7-9, 2024

     Attended by several hundred people, perhaps 75% new authors. If you can't attend the live conference, pay for online access (good for 6 years or so) at Inkers Con Digital Conference (July 20 to August 2, 2024). Bestselling author Pamela Kelley says "InkersCon is fantastic. A smaller conference, about the same size as NINC around 400-450 or so people and a good range of workshops. It's held in Dallas I think. I do the virtual every year and it's about $200 and well worth it--as we have access for six years. Some really great sessions."


The Self Publishing Show LIVE!

    Live, London’s South Bank, June 25-26, 2024


Killer Nashville

    International Writers Conference, Nashville, Tennessee, August 22-25, 2024

    For writers in all genres incorporating mystery, thriller, action, or suspense elements


NINC 

    Novelists, Inc., TradeWinds Island Grand Beach Resort, St. Pete Beach, Florida, September 18-22, 2024

      Writes bestselling novelist Pamela Kelley: "NINC is for more experienced authors, both trad and indie, and meets yearly in St. Pete, Florida. I don't go for the workshops, I go for the networking with vendors and to see my author friends. NINC is the one I never miss and the only one I attended in-person last year."
Moonlight & Magnolias

    Romance Writers conference, Atlanta, Georgia, October 3-5, 2024


Self-Pub Con

    The Self-Publishing Advice Conference, a free online author conference run in association with the Alliance of Independent Authors (three days, October 21-24, 2024)


Author Nation

    Las Vegas, NV, November 11-15, 2024

     Taking over from the 20Books conference, last held in 2023.  On YouTube: 20Booksto50k[R]-Live Events, check out 20Books sessions from past years, free). Author Nation has the same location and general timing as 20Books, but is different. Listen to past events here.

       Writes popular novelist Pamela Kelley in 2024: "I went to Author Nation a few years ago when it was 20books. It only changed hands this year because the organizer retired from doing it--it's a huge project--close to 2000 attendees in Vegas. It's a great conference, very inexpensive and there are sessions for all levels. It's probably about 75% newer authors so new people shouldn't feel intimidated--they will be in good company as it's a friendly, inclusive conference. And all the sessions from past years are up for free on Youtube. I don't know if that will continue now that it's Author Nation, there may be a fee attached to the videos going forward, possibly."


 

ROUNDUP ARTICLES
Eight Indie Author Conferences to Attend In 2024

     (Clayton Noblit, Written Word Media, 1-24-24)
5 Amazing Conferences For Indie Authors To Attend in 2024 (Mackenzie Harrison, BookBrush)
A Guide to the Best Author Conferences (Self-Publishing.com, 5-3-23) Not necessarily indie author events.

[Back to Top]
Be the first to comment

Good books about motherhood (both fiction and nonfiction)

THE FICTION LIST*


Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson

     "In a hilariously charming domestic memoir, America’s celebrated master of terror turns to a different kind of fright: raising children."
The Dept of Speculation by Jenny Offill.

      "If I tell you that it’s funny, and moving, and true; that it’s as compact and mysterious as a neutron; that it tells a profound story of love and parenthood while invoking (among others) Keats, Kafka, Einstein, Russian cosmonauts, and advice for the housewife of 1897, will you please simply believe me, and read it?” ~Michael Cunningham
The Millstone by Margaret Drabble.

     The story of an upper-middle-class unwed mother in 1960s London, from a novelist who is “often as meticulous as Jane Austen and as deadly as Evelyn Waugh”
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

      "Doris Lessing's real achievement in this book, I think, was simply in her matter-of-fact her handling of controversial matters (controversial in the period between World War II and the sixties, at any rate). She writes about the life of a divorced woman with a child, her relationships with that child, with her best (woman) friend, with her lovers, her comrades in the English CP, her body, the political world, etc., in ways that are remarkable for their straightforward candor."
The Women's Room by Marilyn French

      “An important fictional account of a whole generation of women . . . Arresting, very real and poignant.” ~ The Cleveland Plain Dealer
The Nursery by Szilvia Molnar

      "Molnar's debut, about the first few sleep-decimated weeks in the life of a new mother...brings this particularly mind-eviscerating state of affairs into startlingly sharp relief in this uncompromising novel. And yet this is also an oddly affirmative novel, alive with a dangerous self-aware humor." ~ Daily Mail

      NY Public Library: Struggling with postpartum depression, a new mother, ill at ease with this state of perpetual giving, carrying, and feeding, strikes up a tentative friendship with her ailing upstairs neighbor, but they are both running out of time, and something is soon to crack."
Soldier Sailor by Claire Kilroy (to be published in 2024)

     "Anyone who has endured “the blurred days and the blurred nights” of early motherhood – or indeed anyone contemplating the possibility of embarking on them – be warned. You’re looking at a book-length panic attack....There were times when quite frankly I couldn't read on because it was the descriptions were so raw and jarringly close to home. A brilliant book but not an easy read."~Sarah Crown, The Guardian
Reproduction by Louisa Hall (to be published June 2024)

     A lucid, genre-defying novel that explores the surreality of pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood in a country in crisis
The Green Road by Ann Enright

     Spanning thirty years, The Green Road tells the story of Rosaleen, matriarch of the Madigans, a family on the cusp of either coming together or falling irreparably apart.
The Wren by Ann Enright

     "This is a powerful, thoughtful book by one of the great living writers on the subject of family. Speaking about love in terms both domestic and transcendent, Enright coos through newly connected wires." ~ New York Times

      "The power of Enright's novel derives not so much from the age-old tale of men behaving badly, but from the beauty and depth of her own style. She's so deft at rendering arresting insights into personality types or situations."~ Maureen Corrigan, NPR
Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

      "Taffy Brodesser-Akner updates the miserable-matrimony novel, dropping it squarely in our times. . . . Brodesser-Akner has written a potent, upsetting and satisfying novel, illustrating how the marital pledge—build our life together—overlooks a key fact: There are two lives.”—The New York Times Book Review
Beloved by Toni Morrison.

       “A triumph.” ~Margaret Atwood, The New York Times Book Review
Night Waking by Sarah Moss

       This one might be tough to read.
Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder

      In this blazingly smart and voracious debut novel, an artist turned stay-at-home mom becomes convinced she's turning into a dog. • "A must-read for anyone who can’t get enough of the ever-blurring line between the psychological and supernatural that Yellowjackets exemplifies." —Vulture
Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman

      "Dense to look at, challengingly epic, the novel is built around one Ohio housewife’s monologue, flowing with dazzling lightness and speed. The detritus and maddening complexity of domesticity unfold in one breath, over a thousand pages. Shards of film plot and song collide with climate change anxiety; the terrors of parenting, healthcare and shopping lists wrestle with fake news and gun culture."~Booker Prize judge, Joanna MacGregor
After Birth by Elisa Albert.

       Acclaimed for its insight, outrageous humor, and power to spark fierce debate, After Birth is a daring and transformative novel about friendship, history, and the body.
Crazy by Jane Feaver.

       Funny, philosophical, sobering and wise, Crazy is crammed with insight and laced with great sentences~Claire Kilroy, Guardian
Hey Yeah Right Get a Life (short stories by Helen Simpson)

      This collection, Simpson's third and best yet, is a loosely linked set of stories about women - at work, at home and on holiday - that is poignant, perceptive, often sad and frequently funny.

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

       "A classic for a reason. My mind was warped into a new shape by her prose and it will never be the same again." —Greta Gerwig
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

     If the first time you read it you loved the stories about the girls, read it again focusing on Mrs. March's role in the story.

 

THE NONFICTION LIST*
Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution by Adrienne Rich,

      'In order for all women to have real choices all along the line, ' Ardrienne Rich writes, 'we need fully to understand the power and powerlessness embodied in motherhood in patriarchal culture.'
The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan (the 50th anniversary edition)

      "Brilliant…[Friedan] succeeded where no other feminist writer had. She touched the lives of ordinary readers." ~ Louis Menand, The New Yorker
Making Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood a book of essays by Ann Enright.

     "Making Babies is a collection of short essays, some of them stream of consciousness, that move chronologically through the landmarks of motherhood. She writes with brutal candor and irreverence about the things that the feel-good baby books don’t tell you."~ Moira Hodgson, Wall Street Journal
A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother by Rachel Cusk.

     "A funny, moving, brutally honest account of her early experiences of motherhood. When it was published it 2001, it divided critics and readers. One famous columnist wrote a piece demanding that Cusk’s children be taken into care, saying she was unfit to look after them, and Oprah Winfrey invited her on the show to defend herself."
Toddlers: The Mumsnet Guide: A Million Mums' Trade Secrets by Mumsnet and the Mumsnet Mums Morningpaper.

      Sensible, funny, "a breath of fresh air" (print on demand)

 

* SOURCES:

When I read the following two pieces, I realized that although I had read some of these novels and nonfiction accounts of motherhood, I had missed a lot of them. So this re-assembled list is a reading list for me (to refer to at the library) as well as for you, or parents you might want to give a book to. I have added quotes from other sources. Let me know of any book about motherhood that you would add to the list.
---Top 10 novels about motherhood (Claire Kilroy, The Guardian, 5-10-23) From Elena Ferrante to Taffy Brodesser-Akner, writers have captured the pressures that being a mother can inflict on marriage and on the creative self.
---Eleanor Birne's top 10 books on motherhood (Eleanor Birne, The Guardian, 3-30-11) From Anna Karenina to Anne Enright, here are 10 striking portraits of motherhood from fiction and non-fiction books.

The Guardian publishes a roundup piece on this topic every now and again; do a search and you can find a bunch of them online.

[Back to Top]
Be the first to comment