Just another day in the Trump White House

White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony on Tuesday of Trump’s obnoxious behavior of throwing food and dishes and overturning all the content of a table when he is displeased reveals more than that of an adult who is childish. It also shows the utter contempt he has for people, such as the valet for his private dining room, who have to clean up after him. Needlessly creating work for those who work for you and having no concern for them is a sign of a narcissistic personality. But of course, we already knew that about Trump.

I notice that in all the attempts by Trump supporters to discredit her testimony, this description of Trump’s behavior has gone unchallenged, perhaps because it is so believable from what we already know about him.

The greedy British royal family

Long time readers know of my antipathy towards any monarchical system. The relics of feudal systems seem to me to have no place in any Democratic society and the British royal family is a prime example of an institution that should no longer exist. Its members tend to think of themselves as above the law, as indeed they often are, using their wealth and privileged position to shield themselves from the consequences of the most shameful behavior.

For an example, one needs to look no further than the Queen’s son Andrew and his disgraceful role in the whole ugly Epstein-Maxwell affair. The latter has just received a sentence of twenty years in prison for her role but Andrew managed to settle with Virginia Giuffre the person who brought charges against him that she was forced to have sex with him while she was underage.
[Read more…]

Latest bombshell hearings reveal an even darker side of Trump

The sudden scheduling of yesterday’s hearings with no clue as to what to expect made some observers think there would be something explosive. I for one thought that it might turn out to be anti-climatic but I was wrong. The two-hour session featured just one witness Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. I, like many others, had never heard of her before these hearings began so her sudden prominent role took me by surprise. She occupied the office right next to Meadows and just down the short corridor from the Oval Office. In her role, she was often the conduit for people who wanted to reach the president. They had to to through Meadows which meant that she was the person whom they often first contacted. As such, she was in the thick of things. Her account of the events that led up to January 6th was a must-watch occasion.

We already knew that Trump has the temperament of a petulant two-year old. What she revealed was that he has the temperament of a violent, reckless, and petulant two-year old who has been thoroughly spoiled by his parents and has a tantrum and throws food and dishes when things do not go his way.

Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Donald Trump was outraged with former attorney general William Barr for refusing to go along with the president’s lies about widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

In December 2020, Barr told the AP in an interview, “To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”

Trump was so enraged by Barr’s comments that he threw a plate at a wall in the White House, Hutchinson said. She walked in to the room where Trump had eaten lunch that day to see a porcelain plate shattered on the floor and ketchup smeared on the wall.

When asked whether this was a common occurrence for Trump, Hutchinson said, “There were several times throughout my tenure with the chief of staff that I was aware of him either throwing dishes or flipping the tablecloth.”

[Read more…]

Hearings? What hearings?

I am following the he congressional hearings on the causes of the riot on January 6, 2021, the latest of which is taking place today. Jordan Klepper talked to some people who were attending a Trump rally in Mississippi s asked them for their response to the hearings so far. Many said that they had not watched the hearings at all (unsurprising), some said that they were not even aware that hearings were going on (surprise), and some even said that they had no idea what the term ‘January 6th’ refers to and did not know what had happened on that day in 2021 (incredible).

When he showed them clips of Trump’s own attorney general Bill Barr saying that the election fraud claims were “bullshit”, they claimed that it might be doctored video. When two women said that they only believed Trump and his family, he showed them the clip of Ivanka Trump saying that she believed Barr when he said there was no fraud. Their response? That it was not Ivanka at all but possibly a clone. That actually is plausible. There is something curious about Ivanka’s stiff affect. She looks like a Barbie doll with a voice synthesizer installed.

Is Prince Charles daft?

I was surprised to read that Prince Charles had accepted large amounts of cash from a billionaire Qatari, apparently to go towards his charity.

Claims in the Sunday Times that Charles accepted three donations between 2011 and 2015 from former Qatari prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani – known as “HBJ” – were described as “shocking” by critics. One donation, totalling €1m, was reportedly handed over in a small suitcase and another was stuffed in a carrier bag from upmarket department store Fortnum & Mason.

The cash, allegedly then counted by Charles’s aides and subsequently collected by Coutts bank, was paid to the Prince of Wales’s charitable fund which aims to “transform lives and build sustainable communities” through awarding grants.

[Read more…]

Next January 6th hearings suddenly scheduled for tomorrow

The committee probing the events made the surprising announcement that there would be another hearing on Tuesday, June 28th at 10:00 am ET to present new evidence. Since they had previously said that there would be no more hearings until July, this took observers by surprise. Despite questions as to the reasons for the change, none were given, increasing the suspense.

You can see the hearings on many news sources with C-Span being my preferred source for video and NPR for audio.

‘Country Queers’: On being LGBTQ+ in rural America

The radio program On The Media talked to Rae Garringer, the creator of the oral history project Country Queers that seeks to challenge the stereotype that the LGBTQ+ community can only find acceptance in urban areas and face unrelenting hostility is rural ones.

All across the country this month, people are celebrating queer and trans pride with parades, cookouts, dances, and family gatherings. And yet the future of the community feels darker than it has in a long time. Threats from Proud Boys and elected officials seem to reinforce the idea that LGBT people cannot survive or thrive in places outside a few coastal cities. But a study from the Movement Advancement Project in 2019 revealed that at least 3 million queer people live in rural America. And many have no interest in fleeing to big cities for protection. This week, Annalee Newitz sits in for Brooke, and talks to Rae Garringer about their oral history project, Country Queers. When Garringer was attending college in the early 2000s, the only queer rural representation they saw was in crime stories. Country Queers features LGBT people who are living in rural parts of the United States, in small towns and remote farms, and they’re often taking great joy in it.

[Read more…]

Trump’s anger shows that the January 6th hearings are hurting him

Congressional hearings are generally a confused mess, especially when they deal with issues on which there are strong partisan feelings. This is because there are a large number of people on the panel and, being politicians, they tend to make speeches to impress their base back home rather than ask questions that might elicit information or clarify issues. Furthermore, those who want to confuse the matter can introduce red herrings, filibuster, engage in endless repetition, raise points of order that are not points of order, and in so many ways sow confusion.

The current hearings into the events of January 6th are remarkably different. They have put out a clear timeline of events, interweaving live testimony with pre-recorded ones and supplementing those with documents and other forms of evidence. This is because each day’s questioning is largely led by a single designated person and they clearly had carefully planned goals in mind for each session. The hearings are playing out like a TV mini-series, including cliff-hangers for the episodes to come.
[Read more…]

First Pride Parade in Sri Lanka

When it comes to LGBTQ+ issues, Sri Lanka was very much in the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ era. We all knew gay people and they were usually welcome in families and institutions and did not suffer any major overt discrimination, as far as I was aware. It was well known that many prominent politicians were gay without it being a factor in their public life.

But there were few people who were out. That seems to have changed recently. As is often the case, in times of instability and chaos, old taboos start to crumble and this week saw the first Pride Parade in Colombo that was organized (I think) by the people involved in the mass demonstrations against the government.