Making Sense of Trump/Bannon: February 16, 2017

Well! I've found the secret to a well-informed-about-Trump life: A podcast called The Daily. It's from the New York Times. I listened to two episodes last night -- and came away more informed than I'd been after several hours of reading. The segments run about 15-20 minutes.

I first listened to the one about Flynn. NOW it makes sense!

Then I listened to one about Jared Kushner, Israel, etc. Personally, I think the whole middle east peace thing is a snore (how 'bout we build a fucking wall around them? Let them duke it out?). But I've been baffled by what son-in-law Kushner was supposed to be doing in the White House. Now I know. And what a fascinating story it is! 

These are first-rate examples of how to do "journalism" in a digital world. I'm hooked.

Not all podcasts are equal, by the way. When I first dived into that media arena, I encountered some serious dogs. Mangy mutts. I lasted less than ten minutes before I clicked "off."

But there are some brilliant options out there. I mentioned a few specifics here. But to those I would add:

Make Me Smart, a project from Marketplace/American Public Media; War on the Rocks; Marketplace (less a news program than an explaining program, which I mentioned here.)

But I gotta say: If you only listen to one, make it The Daily from the New York Times. Each program is topic specific, so you get to choose what you're most interested in learning about.

On to other matters:


Lo and behold, Congressional Republicans have finally woken from their slumber. Nudged, as near as I can tell, by The Flynn Thing (and again, HIGHLY recommend The Daily podcast about that topic). Congressional Republicans meaning, of course, Mitch McConnell.

But I first noticed this great awakening the morning after Flynn's ouster.

Chuck Grassley, who represents me (and who has beaucoup seniority) is a longtime Tweeter. He'd been painfully silent on the topic of Trump -- but on Tuesday and Wednesday! Suddenly, he's a tweeting maniac on the topic of Russia, intelligence, Trump. 

Then I noticed that McConnell (who, for the record, is a scumbag) was, gently, prodding the White House, talking, finally, about maybe, perhaps, hey, maybe we should look at this Russian stuff.

And yesterday, the Senate made an overt power move:

McConnell informed Trump that Andy Puzder, DT's nominee for labor secretary, would not be confirmed. (Yes, I do wonder if it's because of the poor guy's unfortunate last name....) Some Republicans had already expressed opposition to him, but now it was convenient to use Puzder to convey a Big Message to DT. 

So --- the Republicans are awake, paying attention. Whether they follow through, or are seduced (or threatened) back into submission by DT and friends remains to be seen.


One fact is certain: The "media" is not giving up. Indeed, I'm astounded by the powerful, high quality flood of journalism and facts pouring out of the nation's newsrooms. Everyday, I thank Jeff Bezos for buying the Washington Post. Because it's clear he's dumping money into the newsroom.

Here's a short, incisive take on the importance of the media, or, as Steve Bannon calls it, the opposition party.


By which I mean the Boy King of North Korea. NK is the place that stands to wreak havoc, physically, in a largish chunk of the planet. He's crazy. Our president is crazy. This probably won't end well. 

Here's an opinion piece that serves up solid background for Why This Matters.

This is also an opinion piece, of sorts, written by a North-Korea-Asia expert. Sort of breezy, but the reporting is solid and if you're not scared, you're not breathing.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for standing up for the republic.