War Mustache Goes to Washington

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Barf BagWelcome to Barf Bag, a daily politics roundup to help you sort through the chaotic Trumpian news cycle.

Love to wake up to an early morning performance of (deeply unconvincing) masculinity.

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Here’s all the shit we couldn’t cover today:

  • John Bolton was spotted on his way to the West Wing. Bolton, a man eager to war and large of mustache, is rumored to be “waiting in the wing” to replace National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. [Twitter]
  • John Kelly is furious!!!! [Politico]
  • Jared Kushner has a friend. Or, at least, a Saudi prince who brags that Kushner is “in his pocket.” Truly a beautiful friendship. [The Intercept]
  • John Dowd, Donald Trump’s leading attorney on the Russia probe, has resigned. [Politico]
  • Speaking of goodbyes, Rex Tillerson said some of his own. “This can be a very mean-spirited town,” Tillerson said. “But you don’t have to choose to participate in that.” Strange last words from a man who willingly took a job in the Trump administration. [Talking Points Memo]
  • Before Tillerson was fired via tweet, he ensured that charges against 11 members of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security team were dropped by federal prosecutors. The men were caught on video beating Turkish dissidents in Washington, DC. The decision was made to “ease one source of tension” between the United States and Turkey. [Wall Street Journal]
  • After blaming his wife for the mahogany table scandal rocking HUD, Ben Carson finally took responsibility. “I take responsibility,” Carson told a Senate subcommittee after he was asked to take responsibility. He also clarified that the $31,000 wasn’t just for the cost of the table but for “17 pieces of furniture.” Like many Americans, I appreciate that clarity. [New York Times]
  • Republican Senators are reportedly considering the “nuclear option” to push through Trump’s nominees. [The Hill]
  • The House managed to pass its $1.3 trillion spending bill. [CBS News]

Here are some tweets the President was allowed to publish:

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DISCUSSION

Hi, dears.

Our Muqaddimah of Code 45* is still banned, alas. A bright point in my own days feels notably dimmed. For those of you who didn’t read (or quite ‘get’) Code 45*; it was a hallucinatory tour into the subconscious of Donald Trump as evidenced by the odd and illogical punctuation of his disordered tweets. Code 45*, like a creative, and slightly mad psychotherapist, attempted to wrest vestiges of meaning from the morass of Trump’s brain salad.

I loved it.

A few days, ago, in a satire of Jeff Sessions, Muck used an archaic term that was common in the 1950's to refer to African-Americans as something that Jeff Session, in his antediluvian and, alas, antebellum thinking, might still use.

Commenters were understandably upset. People protested and they were exactly right to do so. From there we could have had a fruitful discussion as to that which are implicit/explicit blind spots; the reasons for which an entire community might feel wounded or hurt by this terminology; and the inferences therein.

This conversation wasn’t allowed to happen.

Muqaddimah was summarily banned and had no way of explaining his intentions. (This is no fault of the commenters at all.)

It gave us (and gives us) no opportunity to hash things out at all and come to consensus. It merely gags. Muck, to be clear, was no troll. He was an admired commenter, here, who took time to create a thoroughly unique portrait of the president so that we might have a laugh in the midst of the madness.

His comments on the Slot have always been progressive and elucidating.

The staff took no notice of his history or intentions but simply shut him out.

We can have that discussion here but is ‘disappearing’ someone without giving them a moment to explain or right the situation the way we wish to go? This makes no sense to me. This does not feel that it represents whom we are as a community. We could have used everything as a ‘teaching moment’ and squandered that opportunity.

To be clear, Muqaddimah is upset that he caused anyone any hurt or offence. This was in no way his intention. His intention was to profile the backwards, racist attorney general we have today.

He has told me repeatedly that he does not wish that I ‘go to bat’ for him, but, to me, this goes beyond one person. This goes to whom we are as a community if we summarily banish commenters of longtime good standing without engaging in discussion, we are nothing.

He also doesn’t believe that his ethnic background should play any role in this but I have been receiving so many responses assuming that he is white (as has happened so often to myself, as well) that I do feel constrained to clarify that Muqaddimah is a person of colour. That may not be here or there, but we might cease to make assumptions as to people’s racial backgrounds.

He also doesn’t wish that this become a big thing. He’s more focused on his political work, right now, and it is righteous (though that is my word not his own), and feels that there are far more pressing issues in the word than Code 45*. He would miss writing it as a little spark in his day but has a lot more on his plate, right now.

But this bugs one jinni, very much, so I’m going to keep it up for discussion.

Any and all thoughts welcomed in this. Thanks, jinni.