A Bit O’ This And A Bit O’ That …

Today I have a few of those mini-stories … things that have not enough substance for an entire post, but that deserve mention … on which to opine.

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Last week … or was it the week before … we learned from Kellyanne Conway of the non-existent terrorist ‘massacre’ in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  We all had a bit of a head-shaking and a chuckle, as we recalled what she earlier said about ‘alternative facts’, and then we went on to other things.  Now this week, Sean Spicer has also informed us about a terrorist attack that never happened … this one in Atlanta, Georgia, where the only terrorist attack was in the 1990s, long before 9/11, and perpetrated by a Florida-born domestic terrorist with no foreign ties. He said it not once, not twice, but a total of three times in a two-day period.

When Kellyanne was trying to justify her faux pas, she first said she made a mistake, could have happened to anybody, and the press do it all the time.  Then later she said she meant to say ‘masterminds or terrorists’ rather than massacre. Bumbling excuses, but she did win the Idiot of the Week award, so what do you expect?  But the White House Press Secretary should be able to concoct a better, more credible excuse, right?  I mean, he is supposed to be a wordsmith of sorts.  In an email to ABC News, Spicer said that he clearly meant Orlando”.  Oh, silly us … of course we should have known that in the world of ‘alternative facts’, Atlanta, Georgia really means Orlando, Florida!

Another interesting thing to note on Spicer’s alt-fact is that even if he meant Orlando, the perpetrator of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando last year was an American citizen, born in New York, so it is a poor example to use in attempting to justify Trump’s travel ban.

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Last week I wrote a post about the boycott taking place of Trump-branded products.  The Power Of One  A number of stores have heard the call of their customers and are committed to taking Trump products off their shelves, including Nordstrom department store.  Most of us are applauding their decision, but one person isn’t very happy.  Trump himself went on a Twitter-tantrum to note:  “My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!”  No surprise … just about what we all expected.

However, it raises ethical questions. Since the president is exempt from conflict of interest provisions to which other federal officials must adhere, his rant is unlikely to result in any charges, but it is inappropriate at best, and can have the effect of intimidation.  Lawrence M. Noble, general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center and formerly the top lawyer at the Federal Election Commission:

“It is a total misuse of presidential power. He is really bringing to bear the whole weight of the office of president on a business decision. Take another company that is considering whether or not to drop her line — they obviously are going to ask themselves if they want to be attacked by the president.”

conwayThen, as if that weren’t enough, Kellyanne Conway, who is not exempt from conflict of interest provisions, jumps into the fray when, during an interview Wednesday morning with Fox News, she urged the public to “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff is what I would say. I hate shopping, I’m going to go get some myself today. I’m going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today everybody, you can find it online.” Federal ethics rules state that an employee of the government’s executive branch “shall not use his public office for his own private gain, for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity.” Clear enough?

Ordinarily, such conduct would be handled with a letter of reprimand, though it could lead to termination, or in rare cases, it could be referred to the Justice Department for civil or even criminal penalties.  On Thursday morning, in response to questions during the White House press briefing, Sean Spicer said, “Kellyanne has been counseled and that’s all we’re going to go with. She’s been counseled on that subject, and that’s it.”

spicer

Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer on SNL

Spicer also defended Trump’s tweet, saying, “For people to take out their concern about his actions, or his executive orders, on members of his family, he has every right to stand up for his family.”  But then, Spicer himself urged people to stay at Trump’s hotel, saying, “It’s an absolutely stunning hotel. I encourage you all to go there if you haven’t been by.”  He said that on January 19th, the day before the inauguration, else perhaps he would be ‘counseled’ along with Kellyanne.

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kristofAs I have mentioned before, Nicholas Kristof is one of my favourite Op-Ed writers for the New York Times.  In a post on January 23rd, Kristof invited readers to “submit their poems about Donald Trump and his administration.”  His reason?  “Trump is the issue of the moment all over the world: there’s an awful lot written but not much that is new. So maybe poetry can offer a new prism through which to examine reality.”

The results have been quite creative!  So as not to be in violation of copyright law, I will share only a small sample here, but be sure to check out his latest column that contains many … some humorous, others serious   I guarantee you some much-needed laughter!  He said he received some 2,000 entries, most of which were … shall we say, not favourable to the prez!

Just as loggers might swing an alternative ax
And fell a great tree with alternative whacks
When the truth won’t cooperate, try some new tacks
We live in an age of alternative facts! – Dan Letwin, history professor at Penn State

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And on that note, I shall leave you for a bit and proceed to writing the next post, folding laundry, rolling cigarettes (yes, I roll my own and save well over $1,200 per annum), and all the other mundane but necessary things that come along in the course of a day.

18 thoughts on “A Bit O’ This And A Bit O’ That …

  1. Dear Jill,

    I love this fun post.

    For a little bit more of this and that, DT is on a hunting mission to find out who are all the leakers in his administration. The problem is, if he finds them, there won’t be be anyone left to run his WH.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Gronda! Yes, never have I heard so many leaks coming out of the WH so quickly. I cannot even keep up with them. I wouldn’t want to be in any leaker’s shoes when/if Trump confronts them, though! Perhaps he would reprimand and fire them via Twitter??? 🙂 Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Of course they don’t … protocol is a 3-syllable word! 🙂 I imagine rolling cigarettes has changed since you did it for your grandmother! I have a nifty machine, and instead of papers, you get tubes … stick a tube on one end, fill the little hopper with tobacco, pull the handle and … BINGO … a perfect cigarette! It still takes a bit of time, but with a carton costing $62 at the store, and I go through 2 of those a week … I am saving a month’s rent or more. 🙂

      Like

  2. Nice summary of the inanity in the news. Real issues are less relevant, when we have a White House that can make the media spin in circles over a whole lot of nothing.

    Trump reacts well to sycophants, so visitors will unfortunately feel obligated to stay in his hotel to tell him they did and suck up to them. I read in The Guardian today that Intel is giving Trump credit for a US manufacturing investment that they actually announced when Obama was President. So, even CEOs are becoming sycophants with the man.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fools from the House of dis-enlightenment still not checking facts but hoping repetition will be enough to convince people. Of course that may be true of many of ‘Big T’s’ followers but isn’t it good that some people check their facts first.
    xxx Humongous Hugs xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, more people need to stop being lemmings, believing everything they read, no matter the source. I read today that, even though it has been widely publicized that the “Bowling Green Massacre” never happened, 51% of Trump supporters still say it justifies the travel ban. Sigh. Hugs, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

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