In lieu of Rebel Art: Rebel Writers, Rabble Rousers, and Righteous Reportage

It’s been a long week, and I just didn’t have it in me to do a Rebel Art Friday post on Friday. There are links to past RAF posts below, and please, check in next week, as I’ve got a doozy banging around in my brain!

Perhaps because I dropped the ball on RAF, I woke up Saturday morning feeling a little frisky, and endeavored to do a big compilation post – pulling together articles, well-written think-pieces, little fragments of nightmare from Monday that I’d forgotten by Tuesday – that GTFUP’s loyal and esteemed readers might peruse over their Labor Day coffee.

Every time I set out to do this type of post, it’s impossible not to be overwhelmed – it’s been a really bad few weeks, and it’s getting worse.

But compilations like this – I try, as often as possible, to read Amy Siskind’s weekly List – can be instructive, a reflection of the sheer mass of this assault on America. If this is a snapshot of a week or two, imagine what a snapshot of the past 3 years might look like?

This list is certainly incomplete – I’m sure I left out a lot – but to the extent there’s something that GTFUP’s readers did miss in these dog days of summer, I hope I captured it below!


I’ve been pondering for the past week on Dahlia Lithwick’s sad, powerful piece on “The Demoralizing Reality of Life Under Trump.” I hope to have more to say on this piece in the near future, but in the meantime, it is very much worth a read.

And another excellent piece that spoke to me – one that captures the madness of our aberrant President – was James Fallows’ in the Atlantic, imagining “If Trump Were an Airline Pilot

Meanwhile the prolific WaPo columnist Jennifer Rubin argued that “Trump’s obsessions, delusions and irrationality put Americans at risk in many ways,” and that Democrats would do well to “keep score” and focus “on just how aberrant his conduct is.”

And there is no political writer I admire more, whose voice and clarity I am constantly trying to emulate, than Greg Sargent with the Washington Post, and his piece yesterday about Trump’s relationship with Fox News, and the notion that “the impunity is the point,” got at some essential broader truths about this presidency that I think it is worth paying attention to.


If there is an honest history to be written of these times, I fear it will reflect that our eagerness to turn Bob Mueller into a bold, visionary, patriotic hero – and his eagerness to utterly shrink from that role – will prove to have been fatally misguided.

Because while bad faith right wingers crow about Mueller’s inexplicable timidity, it remains plain, as Jonathon Chait argued after the G7 summit, “that Trump is deeply committed to advocating for the man who helped get him elected.”

Indeed, the President is still bending over backwards to do Putin’s bidding, most recently blocking critical aid to Ukraine

And it is impossible to understate just how disturbing it is that the President, on the world stage, is constantly carrying Putin’s water, most recently in a stunning manner at the G7 summit.

The Washington Post summed up the President’s bizarre fealty to the autocratic Putin – in a roomful of leaders of the world’s democracies – as follows:

But having such a forceful advocate for an authoritarian leader inside the room of democracies profoundly shaped the overall tone of the summit, one senior official said.

“The consequence is the same as if one of the participants is a dictator,” the official said. “No community of like-minded leaders who are pulling together.”

The President’s disgraceful and bizarre display at the G7 summit prompted another salvo of statements from former U.S. intelligence officers that THIS PRESIDENT ACTS LIKE HE’S A RUSSIAN SPY.

“What in God’s name made Trump think it would be a good idea to ask to bring Russia back to the table?” the FBI agent told Insider. “How does this serve US national-security interests?”

And on a final note on the Russian/autocracy front, Thomas Wright wrote about the Greenland debacle, and echoed similar concerns to GTFUP’s last post about “America’s Empty Chair” – and did so in a far more knowledgeable and articulate manner than we ever could – in his piece “Trump Defects to the Autocrats.”


In just the past week, the President made news by:

When it comes to the Trump Administration’s purposefully cruel efforts to harm immigrants, this headline really says it all:

Screen Shot 2019-08-30 at 5.59.54 PM

And in other news, there was reporting last week of ICE arresting an undocumented worker who was in the middle of giving a deposition against his abusive employer.

This is an under-reported side effect of an institutional assault on any community, immigrant or otherwise: those under attack go underground, they fear any contact with the institution that is out to get them, and accordingly, crimes, discrimination, horrific abuses, all go unreported and unpunished, all of which is unequivocally BAD for an ostensibly functional society.


The President tweeted out a campaign video produced by supporters that prominently featured a Trump/Pence Logo that originated with ugly hate groups.

It may seem like a small thing, but…

All the while, the President continued with ugly, dog-whistle language directed at American Jews, continued his unhinged, punitive attacks against a Muslim Congresswoman, and his campaign sent out an email reminding supporters that when it comes to persons of color (specifically citing Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), “this is our country, not theirs.”

And under the Trump Administration’s policy of “no marginalized minority group left behind,” there was an anti-gay hate rally in Boston yesterday that turned out to be – surprise! – a Trump rally:

We all got a good chuckle about these miserable people, but it’s important to be very clear that this is all coming from the same place: there is a radical hate movement in the United States that is aimed at every marginalized community in this country, that is growing rapidly, and that is increasingly proud, and comfortable exposing itself to the light of day. That radical hate movement is supported wholly by the President of the United States.

And with the Boston anti-gay hate rally in mind, because words are always accompanied by vile action, it’s probably worth noting that the Trump Justice Department issued a broadside against LGBTQ rights in a brief to the Supreme Court last week…


The Economist ran a great piece a few days ago about the absurd number of times Trump has run to SCOTUS for emergency relief – 21 times in 30 months, compared to 8 such requests by W. and Obama combined, over 192 months – and the way that the right-wing ideologues on SCOTUS appear to be dangerously subservient to this dangerous President.

It cannot be overstated just how devastating the radical-right-wing seizure of our courts is, and how long we are going to be fighting an entirely corrupted judicial system. This piece from PBS about the 9th Circuit had some nice tidbits on that front.

And as if on cue, just yesterday, a Trump-appointed judge issued a decision stalling Democrats’ efforts to review the President’s tax returns … that was absolute nonsense. Even in the best possible scenario, it’s going to take years to dig out from this folks!



Three pieces of Internet ephemera that legitimately tickled me the past few weeks:

The backstory of Chuck E. Cheese is dark, sure:

Chuck Cheese

But dig deeper than Wikipedia (go to the library, and cut a path direct to the annals of People Magazine) and it’s also inspirational as hell: Chuck just loves birthdays, loves the song “Happy Birthday,” and he always has, even when he was at the orphanage (pre-pizzeria), even though he was one of the few orphans who didn’t know his own birthdate (also, presumably, one of the few rat-orphans). And when Chuck got stage fright the first time he was supposed to sing for his supper at the Pizzeria? It was a wee boy in a birthday crown that gave him the strength to unleash his pipes…

If that’s not a healthy outlook, I don’t know what is.

Meanwhile, Kristin Gillibrand was never in my top tier of favorite 2020 candidates – far from it, to be honest – but I was still surprisingly disappointed to see her go so soon.

And I’ve gotten endless laughs by exclaiming to Mrs. GTFUP, out of the blue, “Gay Rights!” as an homage to the Senator from New York…


Finally, in general, nothing the President does is funny anymore – the stakes are too high. But this clip – this clip – is, as the social media person who flagged it in the past few weeks put it, pure comedic gold:

“Rebel Art Fridays” will be back next week, but until then…check out previous editions, from past Fridays, here:

8.23.19 – Radical Decency in the Face of Fascism

8.16.19 – Anna Akhmatova’s quiet defiance of Stalin’s Great Purge

8.9.19 – Malvina Reynolds, Nina Simone, and the importance of being “nice”

8.2.19 – Agnes Humbert – A diary of Resistance

7.26.19 – Richie Havens’ “The Klan”

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