Let's start the conversation with Tom Tomorrow, whose overall analysis of the Trump administration pleases me mostly because it skips recurring, tired gripes to discuss overall strategies.
He is noted for his year-end wrap-up specials and this feels like a mini-version. He doesn't mention the 100 Day mark and it's not clear he had it at all in mind, but this is as good an evaluation of where we stand as anything I've seen.
Though Tom Toles brings that stupid wall into focus, with the broader question of why anyone should trust a man with a proven track record of promising payment and then reneging.
Trump came into office telling us we should evaluate his potential to lead the nation by his performance as a Captain of Industry, which would make sense if he hadn't amassed a record of bankruptcies and of cheated subcontractors and defrauded "college" students.
Is he deliberately lying, or does he believe the non-factual nonsense he puts forth?
The question is, "What difference would it make?"
Non Sequitur -- in making a more general comment about social media -- does a nice job today of pointing out the results of his penchant for chaotic nonsense without even tying it to Trump, much less labeling it a cunning plan to distract us. There's enough gullibility floating around out there that Trump is hardly the only beneficiary, nor does it take much cunning to exploit it, the latest example being the Pavarotti kerfuffle.
So Trump, an inveterate name-dropper, breaks from his prepared text to claim that he and Pavarotti were good friends and the blogosphere explodes as reporters rush off to interview the Pavarotti family and return with the scoop that Pavarotti didn't like the guy at all.
Namedroppers claim that anybody they've ever been in the same room with is a "friend." It's not a lie, it's a reflex.
If Trump says Pavarotti was a good friend, he means "he never shot at me."
Or, perhaps, that he did, but missed.
Anyway, as Wiley suggests, to distract the mob these days, you don't need a cunning plan. You only need for the Internet to exist.
Old times there are best forgotten
Dave Granlund marks the removal of Confederate statues and monuments in New Orleans, with a thumbs-up from an oft-used but in this case appropriate source.
The move was controversial enough that it is being done at night, with snipers positioned to protect workers, who are masked to conceal their identities.
I don't know why this is so little remarked in national forums, except, of course, that the precise personal relationship between Donald Trump and a dead singer is of so much more significance that mere race relations and right-wing terrorism in the United States.
Here are some things I do know:
A similar move in South Africa to strip now-integrated college campuses of monuments to heroes of apartheid stirred up a lot of contentious conversation, which I covered at length here, and I would urge you to click that because (A) it matters and (B) we should be having the same discussion but aren't.
We're not avoiding the conversation because we don't have problems. We're avoiding the conversation because we're avoiding the history.
And maybe we think that taking down these monuments to hate, terrorism and political corruption will make everything all nicey-nice.
South Africans are more honest about their issues, and accept -- however they act upon it -- that, as Bishop Tutu is quoted in that link, "Forgiveness is not for sissies."
It's probably easier to confront history when those who were oppressed greatly outnumber the architects of oppression, but facts remain facts, and this inscription was on one of the removed monuments in New Orleans.
I'm not sure when that photo was taken and this may be the inscription later covered up with some lame blah-blah about "all Americans" cited in the NOLA story above.
Nor is that history all about local governments and racist governors and hooded terrorists.
It's entrenched in our national history. The Brooklyn Eagle came up in the comments the other day, and I've quoted one of their reporters before.
Here, from his memoirs, is a little vignette from 1876, when the Presidential Election was tied and it came down to Florida and Louisiana and primarily the latter to determine the outcome.
The reporter was sent to cover the discussions, and wandered into one he hadn't expected:
In the late afternoon of that day the reporter met Rhodes carrying his grip.
“Going away ?” asked the reporter.
“To Washington, as quick as I can. Come with me to the station.”
He was silent on the way thither, but as he put out his hand to the reporter and bade him goodby, he said: “Louisiana is for sale; $250,000 is the price. I am not an agent for Tilden or for that interest, but I carry the terms of the bargain. In your own interest you will keep this to yourself.”
The reporter did not keep it to himself, but he never heard more of the matter during that exciting period.
In November, 1891, in a public speech, at Chickering Hall, in Manhattan, Abram S. Hewitt, who had been chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and, in the 1876 campaign, Tilden’s campaign manager, and, as well, member of Congress, used these words :
“The State of Louisiana has determined a presidential election. The vote of the state was offered to me for money, and I declined to buy it. But the vote of the state was sold for money."
And since the reporter read that part of Mr. Hewitt’s speech, he has often wondered if Mr. Hewitt related the end of the incident of the beginning of which, in New Orleans, the reporter had personal knowledge.
Putin would envy what Rutherford B. Hayes and the foes of Reconstruction pulled off.