From The Washington Post
There are many words that could describe the President Trump-ridiculing billboard that went up in Phoenix on Friday — menacing, hateful, apocalyptic.
But there’s one adjective that’s particularly vexing to the people who live on Grand Avenue near Fillmore Street: enduring.
The billboard lampoons Trump using a medium more common for advertisements about lite beer and HVAC companies. And the people who designed and erected it say it will glare out over the streets of Phoenix for at least as long as Trump is president.
Trump leers out from the billboard and is flanked by mushroom clouds and Swastika-style dollar signs. It’s a not-so-subtle dig at where Karen Fiorito, the artist who created the image, sees the country going if the president is left unchecked.
“I hope that people feel inspired to stand up and speak out and to not be afraid,” Fiorito told The Washington Post. “I hope that people come together and unify and stand up against what I think is a very dangerous path that we’re on.
“And if we don’t do something … then the powers that be will just continue on this path toward total annihilation.”
There are more digs at Trump in the details, which the people on the north side of Phoenix will certainly have ample time to examine. The mushroom clouds are in the shape of laughing clowns. And Trump is wearing a flag pin on his lapel — but it’s a Russian flag.
The anti-Trump message was commissioned by La Melgosa, a Phoenix gallery that owns the billboard and has commissioned artwork on it before, Fiorito said. It is on a business-filled street that leads to Phoenix’s downtown.
Fiorito says she’s used billboards to tackle other political topics in the past: one that criticized President George W. Bush in 2004 and an anti-Fox News billboard a year later. She has also launched billboards about the California drought.
“For me as an artist, billboards are the best platform you can have to get your message out to as many diverse people as possible,” she said. “You’re talking directly to the public. You’re not showing in a gallery — you’re going out to reach every Joe Schmoe.”
Reactions to Fiorito’s billboard have varied. Some people are upset that they have to see Trump’s face every day for at least four years. Another neighbor said poking fun at the president was disrespectful.
“I thought swastikas are very crude and violent,” neighbor Jeff Whiteman told Phoenix CBS affiliate KPHO. “We have a leader of our country and we should respect him whether we agree with him or not.”
On Sunday, two days after the billboard went up, Fiorito posted on Facebook saying Trump supporters “keep calling me every five minutes, leaving harassing messages, sending threatening emails, and trying to hack all of my accounts (Facebook, Gmail, etc).
“But that wasn’t enough so now the scumbags are signing me up for things online … for donations of clothing and weird s— like that. Who knew they were so thin skinned?”
(Ripped from the pages of The New Yorker)
When the White House released its unconscionable budget on Wednesday, which includes plans to abolish the National Endowment for the Arts, my first thought was of militants destroying statues with sledgehammers in Iraq’s Mosul Museum—of the extermination of culture as a vile form of propaganda. The argument for the sweeping cuts, which also include the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, is that they pave the way for a fifty-four-billion-dollar increase in defense spending. In 2016, the N.E.A.’s budget was a hundred and forty eight million dollars, a mere .003 per cent of the federal budget, which is forty-six cents per capita. You pay three cents more for a first-class stamp. Trump might as well have named his budget “America First, Art Last.”
This isn’t the first time that the N.E.A. has been in the crosshairs of conservative politics. Ronald Reagan planned to make America great again by defunding the endowment when he took office. (Never mind that his son was then in the corps of the Joffrey Ballet, one of the first organizations to receive N.E.A. funding.) Fortunately, a special task force convinced him against it, and he settled for cutbacks of six per cent. In a 1987 speech, Reagan said, “We honor the arts not because we want monuments to our own civilization but because we are a free people.” Just how free we were was called into question in 1990, when four performance artists had their grants recalled on the grounds of indecency. (The endowment’s chair was feeling the heat of congressional scrutiny after Andres Serrano’s notorious photograph of a crucifix submerged in urine enraged the religious right.) One of the artists, Karen Finley, was going to perform with her body covered in chocolate, which now sounds about as scandalous as a Kardashian spa day. But the firestorm led the N.E.A. to end support for individual artists in all funding categories except literature. For evidence of the inestimable value of the N.E.A.’s work, look no further than the fiction and poetry pages of The New Yorker. To name just two contributors who’ve received creative-writing fellowships: the U.S. poet laureate Natasha Trethewey; and the magazine’s incoming poetry editor, Kevin Young. Or, for that matter, look at your program for “Hamilton”—the N.E.A. helped hatch it.
Trump’s proposed annihilation of cultural funding has tripped an alarm, and I’m not just talking about the impassioned op-ed that Julie Andrews and her daughter, a theatre producer, wrote yesterday for CNN. In January, pen America began circulating a petition, which has now been signed by nearly a quarter of a million concerned citizens, including such essential American artists as Jasper Johns, Cindy Sherman, and Richard Serra. But the hard truth is that the “America First” budget cuts won’t harm the global art world they occupy, which generated forty-five billion dollars in sales last year. Yes, the N.E.A. helps support shows at such major museums as the Met, but that institution also has David Koch on its board to kick in funds when it needs sixty-five million dollars for a new pair of fountains. The N.E.A. funds programs in all fifty states. The communities that will be hardest hit by this disastrous decision are those in places like Berea, Kentucky, which received thirty thousand dollars last year to fund a program in which artists and early childhood specialists work with children in rural preschools, and with their parents during home visits, to close the achievement gap as they head into kindergarten. Or the Hydaburg Cooperative Association, whose members belong to the Haida tribe in Alaska. The H.C.A. used its forty-thousand-dollar grant to pair master carvers with apprentices to create totem poles, as the Haida people have been doing for thousands of years. It strikes me that a budget that claims to put America first should, at the very least, fund the first Americans.
March 17, 2017 – In what has become another alternative crazy quote in the alternative crazy universe that President Donald Trump’s mind resides in, he quoted his favorite Irish Proverb, to… wait for it… the Prime Minister of Ireland.
“As we stand together with our Irish friends, I’m reminded of a proverb — and this is a good one, this is one I like. I’ve heard it for many, many years and I love it,” Trump said. “Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue, but never forget to remember those that have stuck by you.”
Waitaminute. A quick Google Search (something that Mr. Trump seems to be incapable of) reveals that this is not an Irish proverb. It’s not an Irish quote. It’s not Irish in any way, shape or form.
No. It appears to be the work of a Nigerian poet, who is also a Muslim.
[Insert insane laughter here]
Of course we’ve all grown weary of the weirdness coming from our nation’s capital these days. And today is no different.
March 17, 2017 – In the latest salvo in the Trump Administration’s War on The Poor and Middle Class, Donald Trump has announced his plans to gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
If you haven’t heard of it, the CFPB enforces a wide range of consumer protection rules imposed on banks, payday lenders, mortgage brokers and other financial institutions. The agency says it has delivered $11.7 billion of “relief to consumers” since its creation, including $3.6 billion in direct compensation to consumers and $7.7 billion in principal reductions, canceled debts and other consumer relief.
But to Trump and his posse of oligarchs and billionaires, the long-suffering middle class, poverty-stricken, and unemployable people of the United States don’t matter in the least.
In fact, if it were up to the Trump/Bannon administration, AND, you make less than $300,000 a year, it’s time for you to buck up and just die off already. Jeesh. What a drain on proper society!
Consumer protection? Why would the fine people of Ohio need that? They don’t have any mortgages or credit cards anyway. They DO NOT need protection from predatory lending and collection practices, according to the Trump administration.
Grow up, is their message. Can’t afford health insurance, your mortgage, rent, or groceries, because your job went away? Just die off already.
Or, as someone put it so succinctly. “Let them eat cake.”
March 17, 2017 – During his first joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Trump reiterated his deep praise for former ruler of Nazi Germany, Adolph Hitler.
Calling the former murderous dictator a “strong leader” who “knew how to get things done” and “keep the trains running on time,” Trump observed that “the jury is still out” on whether the Holocaust actually took place, because the “Mainstream Media” has been trying to “cast the Alt-Right community in a bad, bad, very bad, light.”
He went on to call [Joseph] “Goebbels, a very, very, excellent minister of propaganda” and noted that the “Lying Press – a huge, huge, pack of very, very, very, very, bad, bad, bad, lying dudes and dudettes” should take a few lessons from Goebbels, citing his groundbreaking work in the brainwashing of hordes of frothing-at-the-mouth supporters, the constant fabrication of state lies, and deep distrust for the truth and the rule of law.
It’s uncertain whether Angela Merkel had anything to say, because no reputable media outlets were allowed to attend the press conference. President Trump’s jack-booted private security prevented anyone without a Breitbart, Fox News, or Drudge Report badge from entering the venue.
March 17, 2017 – Newly installed Minister of State Secretary of Oil, Rex Tillerson, warned that North Korea could be invaded next week. Although he feels there “isn’t enough oil there for it to be of interest,” his constant need for War Profiteering compels him, nonetheless, to go ahead and invade North Korea anyway.
Although Mr. Tillerson is surely old enough to remember what a complete disaster the first Korean War was, he feels that US lives are worth the extra money in his pocket.
He said, “Listen, these guys volunteered to go to war, so we should just go ahead and send them to their deaths in this rugged, mountainous landscape…” Adding further that “You never know, there might be some oil we can take once we get bogged down.”
Citing President Trump’s endless appetite for chaos, he seemed to indicate that it would be worth a “few ten thousand of our brave men and women in uniform to go ahead and die” so that his employer, Exxon-Mobil, can continue to spew CO2 into the atmosphere.
March 17, 2017 – Today White House Spokesman Sean Spicer announced that not only did Obama wiretap Trump Tower during the campaign, but also, and more importantly, an ancient alien civilization was the true inspiration and major driving force behind President Trump’s stunning Electoral College victory.
Mr. Spicer went on to say that Zorgan, the Great Almighty Ruler of the Sirius dog-star radio system, had his subordinates install radio transmitters in Steve Bannon’s earlobes. These earlobe transmitters were broadcasting every utterance recently made by Dolly Madison, the inventor of the cupcake, directly into Melania Trump’s head.
He then went on to explain that an extremely small (and very, very smart) alien controller, named “Zultan,” was living inside Melania’s tiny brain cavity, manipulating the first lady’s anthropomorphic android body, using instructions encoded in every utterance made by Dolly Madison.
When asked why Zorgan chose Dolly Madison as his surrogate, Mr. Spicer replied, “Dolly Madison is a HUUGE food scientist, and a major figure in the founding of this great nation. Her nationalistic way of thinking, as inventor of the glorious cupcake, is clearly on a par with the head chef of Mar-A-Lago, where Trump has been spending an unprecedented amount of time hacking up the golf course, and sharing classified information with his dining guests.”
No further comments were given by Mr. Spicer, other than to say his surname is actually a code word for scrambled eggs with ham and cheese.
March 17, 2017 – President Trump announced today that his administration will not eliminate funding for Meals on Wheels. Instead he plans to issue an Executive Order that “All Meals on Wheels vehicles will be directed to no longer deliver meals to hungry, impoverished, seniors… Instead, Meals on Wheels vehicles will actually drive over all hungry, impoverished senior citizens, starting immediately.”
The first wave of drive-overs will begin in the flyover states of Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky.