All entries by this author

He clammed up

Dec 7th, 2017 10:54 am | By

Don Junior is refusing to answer.

In a closed-door interview with congressional investigators yesterday, Donald Trump Jr. refused to divulge the contents of a phone conversation with his father — that would be the president — that took place just after news broke of Trump Jr.’s now-notorious June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with a Kremlin-connected lawyer. According to reports, investigators wanted to know whether Senior and Junior discussed what happened at that meeting and how they should respond to the news of it, but Trump Jr. cited attorney-client privilege and clammed up.

In an interview with me this morning, Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.) — the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, which interviewed Trump Jr.

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Guest post: Never mind that Renoir said he painted with his prick

Dec 7th, 2017 9:38 am | By

Originally a comment by Tim Harris on Properly Appreciated.

I think that this curious refusal to recognise what is actually there in these paintings has a great deal to do with the long tradition of pretending that in ‘high art’ (in particular the ‘high arts’ of painting and sculpture) there is no real eroticism because the erotic (and dangerous) is somehow rendered innocuous and un-erotic by the ‘aesthetic’ values of the work, and that it is the aesthetic values only that the properly high-minded lover of the arts, schooled by Kant, is cognisant of. Never mind that Renoir said he painted with his prick. Never mind all those nudes, from Rubens to Goya and Manet. Never mind the obvious … Read the rest

Early warning signs

Dec 6th, 2017 5:01 pm | By

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He should go back to making WWF videos

Dec 6th, 2017 4:16 pm | By

Not happy.

In the West Bank city of Ramallah, there were harsh words for Mr. Trump from Palestinians agitated at the idea that they were being forced into another period of conflict.

“We will never allow East Jerusalem to be taken away from us,” said a retired farmer who gave his name as Abu Malik, 54. “Trump is a crazy man who knows nothing about politics. I think he should go back to making WWF videos, rather than making these dangerous decisions that will only bring more headaches and bloodshed to our region.”

Maysa Hanoun, 20, a student at Al-Quds Open University, said she believed recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would set off a third intifada. “He

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Properly appreciated

Dec 6th, 2017 1:11 pm | By

From another piece reporting on the Met and Balthus and the petition:

In a 2013 review of the Balthus show in The New Republic, critic Jed Perl called Balthus the “last of the mystics who transformed twentieth-century art.” Perl said mystics are “by turns revered, reviled, demonized, and ignored—and at one point or another in his very long career Balthus was regarded in all of those ways.”

Perl added that Balthus’s paintings of girls “have stood in the way of a full appreciation of his achievement.” He wrote that these works “can be properly appreciated only when we accept them as unabashedly mystical, the flesh a symbol of the spirit, the girl’s dawning self-awareness an emblem of the artist’s

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Hovering between innocence and knowledge

Dec 6th, 2017 12:54 pm | By

The Met on a Balthus exhibition in 2013:

Balthus: Cats and Girls—Paintings and Provocations explores the origins and permutations of the French artist’s focus on felines and the dark side of childhood. Balthus’s lifelong fascination with adolescence resulted in his most iconic works: girls on the threshold of puberty, hovering between innocence and knowledge. In these pictures, Balthus mingles intuition into his young sitters’ psyches with an erotic undercurrent and forbidding austerity, making them some of the most powerful depictions of childhood and adolescence committed to canvas.

That’s a very Humbert Humbert sort of take. It frames the girls as budding prostitutes, gradually learning how to lure men. It also frames them as being all about sexuality and nothing … Read the rest

Trump says it’s the right thing to do

Dec 6th, 2017 12:19 pm | By

The confidence Trump has in his own judgement and rightness is astounding. He has no qualms about reversing decades of policy just because he glorious he thinks it’s an awesome idea.

President Trump on Wednesday formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reversing nearly seven decades of American foreign policy and setting in motion a plan to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to the fiercely contested Holy City.

“Today we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” Mr. Trump said from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. “This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be

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# of the year

Dec 6th, 2017 11:02 am | By

Trump won’t like this. Person of the Year:

First it was a story. Then a moment. Now, two months after women began to come forward in droves to accuse powerful men of sexual harassment and assault, it is a movement.

Time magazine has named “the silence breakers” its person of the year for 2017, referring to those women, and the global conversation they have started.

The magazine’s editor in chief, Edward Felsenthal, said in an interview on the “Today” show on Wednesday that the #MeToo movement represented the “fastest-moving social change we’ve seen in decades, and it began with individual acts of courage by women and some men too.”

Well, it began with millennia of men groping and … Read the rest


Dec 5th, 2017 5:38 pm | By

What is art? How do we know, how does anyone know? Does it become art when it’s framed and hung in a museum?

Like Balthus’s Thérèse dreaming for instance.

Is that art? Or is it a voyeur peering up a teenage girl’s skirt and masturbating?

It may be art, but it for sure is an adult man posing a teenage girl in such a way that we’re staring at her crotch.

Phillip Kennicott, probably not a teenage girl, says It’s Art.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has made the right decision, to reject the demands of an online petition calling for the removal of an erotically charged work by the Polish French artist Balthus. The 1938 painting, “Thérèse Dreaming,”

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But all of this changed in an instant

Dec 5th, 2017 5:17 pm | By

John E. Echohawk, Executive Director of the Native American Rights Fund, on Bears Ears and Trump.

A year ago, the Obama administration took the extraordinary and long-awaited step to designate Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. Bears Ears has been home to Native peoples since time immemorial, and we cherish it for its cultural, spiritual, and archaeological importance.

Indigenous people have been caring for Bears Ears for countless generations, but formal protections under American law for the entirety of the area were made permanent only with the creation of Bears Ears National Monument. Five tribes (Hopi, Navajo, Ute, Ute Mountain Ute and Zuni) worked with the U.S. Government to protect our sacred ancestral lands at Bears Ears, and it

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A desert waste

Dec 5th, 2017 4:40 pm | By

Maybe it’s his eating habits that have warped him into the monster we see today.

“Trump’s appetite seems to know no bounds when it comes to McDonald’s, with a dinner order consisting of two Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fish, and a chocolate malted.”

This 2,400-calorie meal is among the details in a forthcoming book by Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and aid David Bossie, as described in a preview by The Washington Post.

That’s unhealthy af, obviously, but it’s also…well it tells us something about him. He could eat anywhere and order anything, and he chooses that.

Maybe he can’t even detect better things. You know, the way we can’t hear higher frequencies that dogs can? Maybe he’s … Read the rest

Flipping the table

Dec 5th, 2017 3:37 pm | By

Oh and also? In case we haven’t had enough yet? The Jerusalem thing too. I guess Trump is rushing to break everything he can before the cuffs are on.

President Trump told Israeli and Arab leaders on Tuesday that he plans to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a symbolically fraught move that would upend decades of American policy and upset efforts to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

He’s told Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II, although the embassy isn’t actually packing up the dishes and books yet because they don’t have a building in Jerusalem. Middle East experts say that’s weird, because all they have to do is change the sign on the consulate … Read the rest

The wonders that exist there

Dec 5th, 2017 3:20 pm | By

A guy called Matthew Marciano on Facebook yesterday, dateline Bluff, Utah:

This is just a very small part of what we stand to lose in the Grand Staircase and Bears Ears. These are some of the most remote rugged parts of the country and that is why so many people don’t know of the wonders that exist here. Ancient puebloan ruins, unique geologic features and raw wilderness. This land belongs to all of us! Selling our lands off to private industries is wrong! Not all of these photos belong to me but I hope they inspire you.

There are 22 photos. Here are a couple.

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A small handful of very distant bureaucrats

Dec 5th, 2017 11:31 am | By

More on the “thinking” behind this No National Monuments For You move:

Trump told a rally in Salt Lake City that he came to “reverse federal overreach”

What is that even supposed to mean? How is it “overreach” to keep public land for public use? Why is that called “overreach” in contrast to handing the public land over to private developers to exploit and damage? Why isn’t it “federal overreach” for Mr Pinchyhand to bounce in and remove protections from public land?

Trump told a rally in Salt Lake City that he came to “reverse federal overreach” and took dramatic action “because some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very

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Rat shouldn’t visit party

Dec 5th, 2017 11:01 am | By

Not appropriate. Should not happen. Should be rejected. Should be turned away at door if it goes that far.

President Donald Trump will be traveling to Mississippi on Saturday to attend the opening of a new civil rights museum.

No. That’s insulting. The man is a vehemently openly unabashedly racist pig. He

  • was a “birther” for years
  • was sued for refusing to rent properties to black people
  • made a “Pocahontas” “joke” to three Native Americans in the Oval Office just last week, in front of a portrait of Andrew “Indian Removal” Jackson
  • told April Ryan to “make an appointment” for him with the Congressional Black Caucus at a press conference
  • took out a full page ad in the New
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Put up a parking lot

Dec 4th, 2017 5:07 pm | By

Mr Destroy Everything hopes people will rush out to Utah in order to mine and farm and pave over the entire state without delay. He expects a cut of the profits.

President Trump said he would dramatically reduce the size of a vast expanse of protected federal land in Utah on Monday, a rollback of some two million acres that is the largest in scale in the nation’s history.

The administration said it would shrink Bears Ears National Monument, a sprawling region of red rock canyons, by about 85 percent, and cut another area, Grand Staircase-Escalante, to about half its current size. The move, a reversal of protections put in place by Democratic predecessors, comes as the administration pushes for

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Dec 4th, 2017 4:04 pm | By

Oh gosh gee what do we have here:

A woman who reached a settlement with Bill O’Reilly over harassment allegations sued Mr. O’Reilly and Fox News on Monday for defamation and breach of contract, saying that public statements he and the network made violated the settlement and portrayed her as a liar and politically motivated extortionist.

The woman, Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, is one of six known to have reached settlements after making accusations against Mr. O’Reilly. (Her allegations did not include sexual harassment.) None of the others have said anything publicly about their claims, which involved sexual harassment.

Mr. O’Reilly has repeatedly said that the harassment allegations that led to his ouster from Fox News in April have no

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That’s not going to go well

Dec 4th, 2017 2:57 pm | By

Setting the cat among the pigeons.

In a mysterious trip last month, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, traveled to Saudi Arabia’s capital for consultations with the hard-charging crown prince about President Trump’s plans for Middle East peace. What was said when the doors were closed, however, has since roiled the region.

According to Palestinian, Arab and European officials who have heard Mr. Abbas’s version of the conversation, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman presented a plan that would be more tilted toward the Israelis than any ever embraced by the American government, one that presumably no Palestinian leader could ever accept.

The Palestinians would get a state of their own but only noncontiguous parts of the West Bank and

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Guest post: You are the fucking system

Dec 4th, 2017 11:41 am | By

Originally a comment by Bruce Gorton on Tatters.

You know, this is the thing that pisses me off with the ANC too.

For the Trumpies:

You’ve got the Whitehouse, you’ve got congress, you’ve got the Senate, you’ve got the majority of governorships, hell you’ve probably got the local dog catcher. You are the fucking system.

And you know what, this is the same thing I found a little off-putting about Bernie Sanders. Okay I thought he was the best option in the last elections, he had genuine grass-roots support, his popularity rose the longer he was in the race, and he was capable of delivering Democratic policy in a soundbite format.

It also didn’t hurt that in a nation … Read the rest

White jihad

Dec 4th, 2017 11:16 am | By

Deeyah Khan has made a film about white supremacists: White Right: Meeting the Enemy.

It focuses on the rise of nationalism in Donald Trump’s America, from the “alt-right” to all-out neo-Nazis. She spent time with various leaders in the movement, going to their meetings, including the August rally in Charlottesville where Heather Heyer, an anti-racist campaigner, was killed. She hung out with the followers of the movement, going out at night in the car with one as he leafleted a Jewish area with hate-filled flyers. She also met former neo-Nazis. “I’m a woman of colour,” she says at the beginning of the film as she sits down to interview Jared Taylor, a well-known white supremacist. “I am the

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