Sunday News Corral

Sean Spicer is that boss who awkwardly stands over your shoulder while you try to work.

Upon entering Spicer’s office for what one person briefed on the gathering described as “an emergency meeting,” staffers were told to dump their phones on a table for a “phone check,” to prove they had nothing to hide.

Spicer, who consulted with White House counsel Don McGahn before calling the meeting, was accompanied by White House lawyers in the room, according to multiple sources.

There, he explicitly warned staffers that using texting apps like Confide — an encrypted and screenshot-protected messaging app that automatically deletes texts after they are sent — and Signal, another encrypted messaging system, was a violation of the Presidential Records Act, according to multiple sources in the room.

Frank Rich suggests the rollback on the transgender bathroom rule was just the beginning.

RedadAlertas is a new open-source app that notifies undocumented immigrants when raids are coming.

In Washington State, Governor Jay Inslee has directed employees not to cooperate with the federal government on matters of immigration.

Why does the Trump administration support state rights when it helps their anti-trans agenda but not when it comes to legal recreational marijuana? In response, the State of California and the marijuana lobby are consulting with their legal departments.

Stephen Miller wanted to clarify the public perception of his attitude on race relations.

Free from AK Press through the end of the month: A Tilted Guide To Being A Defendant by The Tilted Scales Collective.

Rather than being a how-to guide, this book offers a way of thinking about criminal charges that is based on defendants’ goals: personal, political, and legal. This book was written by dedicated legal support activists and draws on the wisdom of dozens of people who have weathered the challenges of trials and incarceration.

Support for Obamacare is at an all-time high.

What’s the difference between Tea Party protests and the liberal protests of today? State GOP lawmakers didn’t attempt to legislate their protests away.

“The Screwed Generation”? That seems about right.

The Economist is concerned the president is re-configuring conservatism.

Leftists are so swole these days.

And now for something that will preserve your anonymity online (and let you access the Deep Web, if you’re into that sort of thing): Tor Browser.

The Tor software protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location, and it lets you access sites which are blocked.

Tor can be easily and safely download here.

It’s day thirty-eight of year zero in Trump’s America…

Shortly after Japan’s invasion, American naval personnel arrived with orders to round up and evacuate Aleuts from the Aleutian Chain and the Pribilof Islands to internment camps almost 2,000 miles away near Juneau. Stewardship of the internment camps would fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USF&WS). Furthermore, orders included the burning of the villages to the ground, including their beloved churches, as part of a “scorched earth” policy. The Army’s stated purpose was to protect the Aleuts, who were American citizens, from the dangers of war. But one officer told astonished Aleuts that it was, as he put it, “Because ya’ll look like Japs and we wouldn’t want to shoot you.” That exchange is part of a documentary video called Aleut Evacuation.

With only the clothes on their backs, 881 Aleuts from nine different island villages were forced aboard the USS Delarof and transported to dilapidated abandoned salmon canneries where the roofs and walls had holes, the windows and doors were broken, and the floors were so rotten that people fell through them. There was no electricity, sanitation, or running water.

The Aleuts were interned against their will for the duration of the war, long after the Japanese were routed out of Alaska, and were largely neglected by the very government that said it was protecting them. Ironically, less than 30 miles away, over 700 Nazis who had been captured in North Africa were imprisoned at a POW camp at Excursion Bay. The Nazis, sworn enemies of America and our allies, were treated far better than the Aleuts, so much so that military historian Stan Cohen later wrote in The Forgotten War, “All in all, the German imprisonment in Alaska was quite pleasant.”

–John Smelcer, The Other WWII American-Internment Atrocity

It’s A Day That Ends With “Y”. Trump Must Be At War With One Of The Pillars Of A Democratic Society.

It’s not difficult to imagine the president sitting in his bedroom late at night, bathrobe-clad, unable to divert his attention away from picking at the scabs on his legs. He never meant to let it get this bad, and he knows he has to let them heal, but the acute relief has driven him to *pick* *pick* *pick* until blood red intermingles with the Nor-rich Blend hue of his skin.

While the vision I’ve presented may cause distress, it’s no more disturbing than the metaphorical obsessive scab-picking Donald Trump can’t seem to stop himself from doing when it comes to perceived or actual slights. Whether by the judicial branch, the Democratic congressional bloc, the Deep State, ordinary citizens practicing their right to assembly or the news media, Trump finds dissent intolerable and will do everything in his power to quell disagreement.

In the case of the media, there’s been not so much a creep as an all-out offensive against the Fourth Estate meant to neutralize any impact their reporting might have. Trump’s style, and in point of fact the preferred method of modern authoritarians, is direct communication. Hence his ruining Twitter forever, hence taking progressively bolder steps to deligitimize uncomplimentary purveyors of information by branding them “fake” and “the enemy of the people”.‡ With the media no longer able to dilute or question his message with any efficacy, his consolidation of power will be that much harder to resist.

His latest affront is in some ways his most openly boundary-pushing to date.

The White House on Friday blocked a number of media outlets, including CNN and POLITICO, from an off-camera briefing with press secretary Sean Spicer, while allowing in a select group of journalists that included many conservative outlets.

The White House had earlier planned on having an on-camera gaggle with Spicer in the briefing room, but the administration later in the day changed it to a restricted off-camera gaggle in Spicer’s office.

As the administration’s controversies proliferate at an astounding rate, their need to bottleneck the flow of communication to preserve their legitimacy in the eyes of The Movement is ever more pressing. A secondary but no less vital function of icing out their critics is that the Trump faithful eat up a “ballsy” strike against the Liberal Media like it’s a plate of grilled red meat and potatoes. As long as they’re sating their appetite for symbolic violence against the enemy, they aren’t thinking about the reporting that led to the off-camera briefing in the first place.

Acting at the behest of the White House, the officials made calls to news organizations last week in attempts to challenge stories about alleged contacts between members of President Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, U.S. officials said.

The calls were orchestrated by the White House after unsuccessful attempts by the administration to get senior FBI officials to speak with news organizations and dispute the accuracy of stories on the alleged contacts with Russia.

The Deep State war rages on…

*  *  *

‡ Not to suggest that corporation-controlled media establishments are always on the side of the American people. That their interests seem to coincide with the public so closely right now speaks more to how unusual this moment in our country’s history is.

Jackie Evancho on Trump: “I just want to enlighten him.”

Jackie Evancho, arguably most known for performing the national anthem at 45’s Inauguration despite the massive boycott against the event, has spoken up about the new administration’s decision to rollback a federal guidance aimed to protect trans students.

The guidance was issued by that last guy (Remember that guy?  Oh Holy RuPaul, where is that guy?), and ensured that transgender students would be allowed access to restrooms that matched their gender identity.  Unfortunately, our beloved citrus hobgoblin & company are taking that away.

Evancho, who has a trans sister, has tweeted Donny a couple of times, asking to meet with him, and also appeared on Good Morning America with her sister, Juliet.  “I just want to enlighten him on what I’ve seen my sister go through every single day in school and people just like her what they deal with,” She said on the program.  “The discrimination, it’s terrible.”

Evancho received a lot of criticism over her decision to sing at the Inauguration, most especially because of the expected attacks from the administration against the LGBT community.  She maintains that her decision to sing for the enemy wasn’t political and that she wanted to perform for her country.

Ten Fun Facts: Rex Tillerson Edition

You’ve seen him lampooned on Saturday Night Live and presumably know that ExxonMobil is a company that provides your car with leaded and unleaded gasoline. But how much do you really know about our newest Secretary of State?

1. You should feel sorry for Rex Tillerson. Here’s someone who’s less than ideal for the position of Secretary of State in any number of ways, and yet! he seems to want to actually run the State Department conventionally. But he can’t seem to find quality staff and his boss isn’t paying much attention to him. How is he supposed to slap a happy face on our country’s aggressive bullying of the international community?

2. Rex is married to Renda St. Clair, if indeed anyone with that name actually exists. Rumor has it that a rare condition causes his skin to smell exactly like crude oil, nauseating almost anyone who gets within 10 feet of the man. It’s whispered that Rex pays a professional actress to appear with him in public.

3. The chattering classes are always picking on poor Rex about his status as an inductee into the Order of Friendship. Just because he’s in a super best friends club with this guy

doesn’t mean they have any right to hurt his feelings. Nobody understands the deep emotional bond they share — except Vlad.

4. Despite his name, Rex is not a Latin king, or a member of the Latin Kings. He’s king of nothing at all, a source of endless shame.

5. Rex Tillerson’s net worth is only $330 million.. Compared to the wealth of some of the other cabinet secretaries, that’s just – as president Trump would say – “SAD”.

6. Rex is always having to clean up other people’s messes. Just when he thinks he’s done, he gets a page for a cleanup in aisle Mexico. You should hear his heavy sighs. They shake the walls.

7. If Rex Tillerson were any Hollywood celebrity, living or dead, he would be Rodney Dangerfield.

8. The Los Angeles Times described Tillerson’s tenure as Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil as an “essential failure.” He gets no respect!

9. Because he has the worst luck, Rex backed Comrade Jeb in the 2016 GOP presidential primaries. We all know how that turned out…

10. During his rare moments of downtime, Rex is one of three administrators for a message board where enthusiasts share fan fiction about the tumultuous inner lives of the characters in Pixar’s Cars franchise. 2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for them, as Cars 3 is scheduled for nationwide release on June 16th. Rex wrote John Lasseter from his official State Department email address asking for an advance copy of the animated feature, but has not received any response as of the publication of this article.

(Year Zero/Day Thirty-Six)