THE MAIN EVENTS
- Syria has agreed to allow UN observers into Aleppo, where tens of thousands of civilians and rebels have already been successfully evacuated. Operations appear to be going off as smoothly as can be expected. A tiny ray of hope pierces the choking cloud of tragedy.
- Officials in Austria's far-right ethno-nationalist Freedom Party (FPO) sign a pact with Russian President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party, and publicly announce that they have already secretly met with members of Trump's entourage, including right-wing conspiracy monger Michael Flynn, for some as yet unexplained reason.
- With Brexit and Trump's election already in the bag - and after having successfully funded far right and far left organizations throughout Europe over the last decade - Putin appears to be setting his sights on disrupting next year's German elections. As if the fact that Breitbart starting up a German language edition wasn't sufficient evidence of that!
A DEEPER DIVE
- Compare President Obama's treatment of despicable fecal golem Trump to North Carolina's Republican governor Pat McCrory's post-defeat pseudo-coup in North Carolina for an education into how the GOP has reached the final stages of morphing from a political party into a dangerous fascist/totalitarian cult. Scientology's got nothing on "movement conservatism".
- For the fiscally minded, Paul Krugman takes a look at Trump's "gathering of goldbugs" and wonders if the markets might be reacting to expectations about Trumponomics re: potential infrastructure investment that aren't very likely to be met. Among numerous key findings? "What we’re really looking at is a combination of tax cuts and spending cuts. Overall, this will surely increase budget deficits. But the tax cuts will go to the wealthy, who won’t spend much of their windfall, while the spending cuts will fall on the poor and struggling workers, who will be forced into sharp cutbacks in spending." He also takes a look at how some in Trump's current fiscal orbit proved to be dead wrong in their predictions about the effects of President Obama's fiscal policy, once again supplying proof positive that, in every way that matters, right-wingers live in Bizzarro World.
- Actor Tom Arnold claims he is in possession of a videotape of outtakes from The Apprentice in which Trump says, well... "It was him sitting in that chair saying the N-word, saying the C-word, calling his son a retard, just being so mean to his own children." He also claims former California governor Arnold Schwarzenthingy called and implored him to make the tape public, but Arnold refused. Something to do with either the 5 million dollar nondisclosure penalty, or the fact that Arnold thinks the tape would have made people even more likely to vote for him. You decide which is more realistic.
- Back when I was an Internet famous "professional" writer, my proudest moment was when a reader wrote in to let me know that he'd run across Hunter S. Thompson at Denver International Airport and, when he asked the man for some recommendations on contemporary writers whose work was worth reading, was told: "there's this porno thing... the Daily Dirt." You'd better believe if I had that exchange on video, I would still be dining for free off the footage. Anyhoo, that was the memory that sprang to mind when I came across Susan McWilliams' piece for The Nation, in which she writes: "
- Seen at Daily Kos (with apologies for the interpolated paragraphs): "There are times when the ancient or traditional views may lend some insight into contemporary society. Perhaps, the traditional concept of wétigo (soul sickness) can help us understand some of the problems which currently exist in the United States" ... "When the Anishinabe first encountered Europeans, many of the people thought the Europeans were windigos. They saw the Europeans as exploiting the environment, consuming it with little regard for the next seven generations. The Anishinabe were concerned about the European obsession with private property and their seeming inability to share." Well worth the read.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"There are terrible truths about this nation that the public cannot be allowed to know, lest it act on them in ways that disturb the horses. It was this terror out of which the Warren Commission was formed. It was this terror that kept Lyndon Johnson from revealing Richard Nixon's treason to the world and to Hubert Humphrey. It was this terror that engendered Nixon's pardon. It was this terror that allowed the Reagan campaign to dodge how it may have fudged the release of the hostages in Iran, and it was this terror that allowed Reagan himself to skate on Iran-Contra. It was this terror that welcomed the meddling of the Supreme Court in the Florida recount of 2000. It was this terror that allowed the Bush administration to elude its accountability regarding the events of September 11, 2001, or to be called to account entirely for how and why it ran the country into war in Iraq. It is this terror from which comes the impulse to look forward and never back."
- Charles B. Pierce, writing for Esquire, about the sad, sorry, ultimately tragically predictable farce of the Electoral College handing the Presidency over to someone so manifestly unfit to serve. It's a short essay, you should read the whole thing.
- Read all about the Zodiac Killer, the first trial by jury, the Louisiana Purchase and more, in today's edition of the Paracultural Calendar, over at our sister blog, Useless Eater.
- Read about young Canadian auteur Matt Johnson's ode to Stanley Kubrick and those moon landing conspiracy theories at the Kubrick U Blog.
- Watch a two-part documentary about the passing of Toronto's irreplacable Suspect Video and Culture over at Kubrick U as well.
It is becoming increasingly clear that this historical moment is all about Russia. Read up on your post-Cold War history. Also read your Dostoyevsky and your Tolstoy, then familiarize yourself with Bulgakov and Strugatsky. Maybe watch a few Tartovsky films. If you're young, start learning how to speak and read Russian. Come on... hop to it!