Daily Melange

I can’t stop thinking about Sean Spicer.

America’s newest patron saint of live-televised fuck-ups elevated his game to historic levels this week.

After incorrectly saying that Hitler did not use chemical weapons in WWII, President Trump’s thumb-headed mouth piece referred to a concentration camp as a “Holocaust center.”

I’ve wondered about the actual intelligence level of Spicer for some time now.

I get it.

Not everyone in the Trump Administration is stupid, but surely that doesn’t disqualify Spicer from being a few fries short of a happy meal.

This is a guy who’s used the height of two separate stacks of paper as a core talking point.

Remember his first interaction with the press?

It’s gotten to the point where one can easily argue that Spicer at the very least is grossly incompetent.

And I don’t want to hear about him being a diversion. Likening concentration camps to giant Nazi Targets with “Holocaust Center” in block letters emblazoned on the front of the building is so laughably absurd that I literally had to make sure I was not tripping acid before accepting what he said as reality.

Personally, I think Trump has kept Spicer around to appease GOP brass and not look weak by firing his administration’s senior media White House official.

There’s also the possibility that Spicey’s clung to the gig so long because his gaffes are distractive explosions across all platforms of media.

Remember when Neil Gorsuch was sworn in to the Supreme Court?

Will this outrage override the revelations regarding Paul Manafort?

Regardless, I think if you have to call Sheldon Adelson and try to apologize to the entire Jewish people, you are probably going to be fired.

My guess is Trump gives him the axe within the next week.

Heads are already rolling and you might as well cut ties and distance yourself from a guy who you already are concerned looks too much like Melissa McCarthy anyway.

I will miss those sketches though.

Then again, the spice must flow.

 

A World In Crisis, The History Of Anti-Fascist Punk, And More

The world is a terrible place.

The world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since the United Nations was founded in 1945 with more than 20 million people in four countries facing starvation and famine, the U.N. humanitarian chief said Friday.

Stephen O’Brien told the U.N. Security Council that “without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death” and “many more will suffer and die from disease.”

He urged an immediate injection of funds for Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and northeast Nigeria plus safe and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid “to avert a catastrophe.”

“To be precise,” O’Brien said, “we need $4.4 billion by July.”

Pitchfork threw together a history of anti-fascist punk. My favorite is Los Pinochet Boys, who played a role in the overthrow of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Since Julian Assange is back in the news, why not dig into Andrew O’Hagan’s longform profile of Assange from a couple years back?

The president has started closing off his schedule to the press.

Kek will never be anything other than dumb, yet if you, a normal person, insist on understanding what those sub-basement dwelling fascists are memeing about, have fun!

Paste makes the case for Starship Troopers as prescient satire.

Some liberals buy into the idea that there’s an alt-left. The same people who thought faithless electors would appoint Hillary Clinton as the rightful commander-in-chief.

Something something Marxism.

How can you avoid getting your undocumented friends in trouble? Hint: don’t be self-righteous, self-centered.

This isn’t a bad departure point for inclusive movement building, either.

What would America look like without gerrymandering?

What do six dead Russian diplomats have in common? A man like Putin.

So. President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte kills children. Thousands of them.

I often wish the articles about trolls I came across were taking about Scandinavian trolls of the kind John Bauer used to draw.

See? Much better.

SXSW is just, like, about chill vibes and the music, man.

And now for some things that are the opposite of awful:
1) Send cryptograms to your friends!
2) Finding Fairytales in Everyday Russia.

It’s day fifty-one of year zero in Trump’s America…

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…

No Rest For The Weary

From bad to worse: Who fed the Associated Press the National Guard memorandum? Was that a trial balloon, a way to dampen the reaction to the real and confirmed expansion of Trump’s anti-immigrant initiative?

In a pair of memos, Kelly offered more detail on plans for the agency to hire thousands of additional enforcement agents, expand the pool of immigrants who are prioritized for removal, speed up deportation hearings and enlist local law enforcement to help make arrests.

President Trump is costing America more than just its sanity and standing in the world…

Timothy Snyder thinks we have a year or less to defeat TrumpGeorge Prochnik by way of Stefan Zweig seems to think that’s too charitable a timeline.

The Deep State war rages on. Emphasis on rages.

In Russia, Stalin’s popularity is at a 16-year-high.

Donaeld The Unready is a medievalist’s delight.

Should we shut up and listen to the anarchists?

It may have fallen off the mainstream press’s radar, but Standing Rock protesters are taking a “last stand” against DAPL construction.

Millennials are not the problem. Except Stephen Miller, who is near the heart of The Problem.

50 years later, Black Panthers are still fighting for freedom.

Know your gun rights, comrades!  It’s safe to say the Black Women’s Defense League already does.

Paul Manafort’s cell phone was hacked and its contents have been distributed. Maybe.

Now more than ever you need to be careful with your data transmission devices or your data will betray you.

Oh the fascists you’ll kill! The Atlantic on the complicated relevance of Dr. Suess’s political cartoons.

And now for something more upbeat: Meet Yukio Shige, Japan’s cliffside suicide vigilante.

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

Spice-r Up Your Life

House Republicans voted yesterday to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission. The EAC “helps states run elections and is the only federal agency charged with making sure voting machines can’t be hacked.” The NAACP and 37 other pro-democracy groups strenuously object.

Brain-warping video of the day: Following the Elizabeth Warren incident, Sean Spicelord performs verbal back flips to convince us that Coretta Scott King would have wanted shitbird Jeff Sessions to run the Department of Justice.

Hate ISIS? Great! Everyone hates ISIS! But Antifa activists have actually been shooting at them in northern Syria. Maybe that’s because they’re highly reasonable people.

Women’s March organizers have called for a general strike on February 17th. Alex Gourevitch says we’re nowhere near the point where a real general strike can be called.

This demand for a general strike looks less like that intensification and more like an attempt to leapfrog all the hard, long-term political work that goes before. At least some of those arguing for the general strike seem to sense that there is an element of bad faith here. For instance, Francine Prose added the qualification, which I have seen repeated in a number of places, that only those “who can do so without being fired” should go on strike. This must be the first time someone called for a general strike but exempted most of the working class.

BuzzFeed is doubling down on their antagonism of the new administration.

The Koch Brothers are concerned about the country’s slide into authoritarianism. They did their part to help get us to this place, but better later than never?

And now for something completely different: The Habits of Highly Erotic People.

According to a French audience member in her twenties, there is no French translation for a date, as in the official dinner/movie outing, which she clearly thought sounded deadly.

(Year Zero/Day Twenty)