Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Marty Merzer's 'I'm-not-making-any-of-this-up midday Minority President update ™' (the Tuesday edition)


Day 11. America continues to be held hostage by a petulant 10-year-old boy trapped in a 70-year-old man's body...

With that .... here from his well-stocked, fortified bunker somewhere in northern Florida, is retired Miami Herald staffer Marty Merzer with Tuesday's "I'm-not-making-any-of-this-up Minority President midday update.™"


By Marty Merzer

President Obama weighs in. Hypocrisy at high levels; questionable media decisions and practices....

Here is Tuesday’s I'm-not-making-any-of-this-up Minority President midday update:

- Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions stands on the cusp of being confirmed as the Minority President’s attorney general. Acting Attorney General Sally Yates was just sacked in the Monday Night Massacre for refusing to enforce what she believed was an illegal order from the White House. Less than two years ago, Sessions told her to do precisely that.

- Sessions to Yates during her 2015 confirmation hearings: “You have to watch out, because people will be asking you to do things that you just need to say no about. Do you think the attorney general has a responsibility to say no to the president if he asks for something that’s improper?” Yates to Sessions: “Senator, I believe that the attorney general or the deputy attorney general has an obligation to follow the law and the Constitution, and to give their independent legal advice to the president.” 

- CBS and presumably other networks plan live broadcasts of the Minority President’s 8 p.m. announcement of his Supreme Court nomination. I do not know of any previous time when broadcast networks turned over prime time for such an announcement.

- Political commentator Keith Olbermann this week urged the networks to stop live coverage of serial liars such as the Minority President and to stop interviewing serial liars such as White House Propaganda Minister Kellyanne Conway and Deputy White House Propaganda Minister Sean Spicer. “Use a delay, employ a team of fact checkers, play his [the Minority President’s] rants. Each time he lies, stop the tape, state the facts,” Olbermann said. “Do not participate in the Trump propaganda game…. Your market and your obligation are identical – to identify the lies and refute them twice as often as they are told.” H/t Rick Oppenheim.

- Also media-wise, because things already aren’t bad enough, Oprah Winfrey was named Tuesday as a “special contributor” to 60 Minutes. New York Times reporter Sopan Deb retweeted the CBS announcement and added this comment: “YOU GET A TIGHTLY FRAMED INTERVIEW SHOT…YOU GET A TIGHTLY FRAMED INTERVIEW SHOT…

- Only 10 days after leaving office, former President Obama felt compelled to weigh in on the Minority President’s refugee and immigration bans – and on the protests that have flared around the country and the world. Obama “fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion…,” a spokesman said. “Citizens exercising their constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake.” (The attached photo regarding the warning signs of fascism comes from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; the other photo (above) is of a family detained and handcuffed at a U.S. airport.)

- The Washington Post reported at 10 a.m. today that Betsy DeVos, the Minority President’s magnificently unqualified nominee as education secretary, appears to have plagiarized several written responses to questions from senators.

- Possibly contradictory reports emerged regarding the White House stand on LGBT rights. The confusion could be based on a disconnect between workplace protections within companies that do business with the federal government and a new policy regarding the “rights” and behavior of federal employees.

- The New York Times quoted the White House as saying that it would not rescind an Obama administration order creating workplace protections for LBGT people within companies with federal contracts.

- But Washington Post columnist Josh Robin and others reported that a draft executive order being considered for or by the Minority President would allow federal employees, "on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs," to refuse service to LGBT Americans. These "beliefs" would include that marriage is between a man and a woman and that birth gender cannot be changed. Obviously, that could set a precedent for other limitations: religion, race, political persuasion, left handed vs. right handed, etc.

- Well, they certainly did find an expert. The man cited by the Minority President as a voter fraud expert – Gregg Phillips, who repeatedly has made the unsubstantiated claim that 3 million illegal voters cast 2016 ballots – was registered to vote in three states last year, according to the Associated Press.

- Politico reported that the Minority President is urging disgraced health-care executive and Florida Gov. Rick “Fifth Amendment” Scott to run for the U.S. Senate. (The AP’s Gary Fineout reported today that Scott’s proposed budget, though larger than last year’s, cuts payments to hospitals and, again, does not include across-the-board pay increases for state employees.)

- Conservative columnist David Brooks, who has repeatedly taken principled stands against the Minority President, wrote Tuesday that many prominent Republicans are selling their souls to the devil. “Sooner or later, the Republican Fausts will face a binary choice,” Brooks said. “As they did under Nixon, Republican leaders will have to either oppose Trump and risk his tweets, or sidle along with him and live with his stain.” A link to the New York Times column is posted below as a comment.

- Nobel prize winner and editorial columnist Paul Krugman on Twitter today, referring to current or future members of the Minority President’s administration: “Either you're going to go down with a disgraced president, or you're going to be complicit in the death of democracy. Just say no.”

- Constitutional lawyer Laurence Tribe on Twitter today: “To my friends and relatives around the world: The soul of America is better than this. Trump and his outrageous order are not who we are.”

- The Minority President on Twitter today: “Nancy Pelosi and Fake Tears Chuck Schumer held a rally at the steps of The Supreme Court and mic did not work (a mess)-just like Dem party!” [The microphone did work.]

- Melania Trump, who is an immigrant, did not file for divorce Tuesday.

And so on…

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