Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Day 40: A Speech

So, tonight Trump gave a speech. I can summarize it for you quickly (with thank to an unnamed colleague):

"Fear, fear, lies, fear, nationalism, fear, lies, nationalism, lies, fear, cherrypicking, lies."

(Seriously, the guy's been speaking for more than an hour. I've just saved you a lot of time!) I'll post some links to analyses tomorrow. Most of what I heard was repetitions of previous dubious claims and misinformation, embedded with shallow promises and over-inflated self-congratulatory remarks.

Today was otherwise a fairly depressing day. Here's what I've seen:

Monday, February 27, 2017

Day 39: A wild budget appeared!

Something something Oscars something something Moonlight something La La Land something something. Surely nothing important happened?

Today's administrative news was dominated by their budget proposal. Let's have at it.
Apparently George Dubbya broke his silence today to make some thinly-veiled remarks about the media and politics. Just in case you're feeling nostalgic for the days of dubbya, here's an analysis to remind you of the shit that his administration got up to regarding the media.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Day 38: Calm Before the Storm

We're expecting a budget outline this coming week (expect it to be bad), as well as a new immigration order (expect it to be worse). Finally, we're getting Trump's first speech to congress on Tuesday (expect it to be disastrous). So, buckle your seatbelts! As usual, I'm not posting rumors, just actions.
And finally, because Texas can't figure out what transgender means, a transgender boy has been required to participate in girl's wrestling. He won the state championships, which has ruffled a few feathers. Maybe they'll learn something from this? That might be a hard ask...

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Day 37: Health insurance for none!

It's Saturday, so less political news than usual. However, there was an election!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Day 36: The End of the Free Press

So, Trump gave a speech today, at a conservatism event. He's railing against corporate Washington, whilst simultaneously giving corporations their biggest gifts in years (without a fucking trace of irony). He claimed that people were lining up for blocks to hear him speak. They weren't. Nothing else he said was worth paying attention to (and honestly, nor were these statements). Oh, and did you know that Facebook was bankrolling that little event?

In other news:
If you want to groan a little more, ask yourself: which bathroom should Laverne Cox use? People tearing down transgender rights are really just revealing themselves as prejudiced bigots.

Today's news felt like a rough end to the week. Go and have a drink. You probably need it.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Day 35: Private Prison Lobbyists Earn Their Paycheck

Another day at work, another half-dozen ways the administration is trying to kill us. Where to even begin?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Day 34: Recess is when you play

Congress is still in their recess, which means a slow news week, politically speaking. Highlights from today include the following:

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Day 33: Deportation Central

Trump, who ran on an incredibly antisemitic platform and has frequently used antisemitic imagery, slogans and policy, has recently come under attack for encouraging people to be antisemitic. Especially since he gave no statement yesterday condemning repeated bomb threats against Jewish communities and the desecration of a Jewish cemetery. So, today he gave a weak-as-water statement saying "antisemitism bad", obviously written by somebody else, because you know, optics. I love this response: The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect described Mr Trump's response as "a pathetic asterisk of condescension".

In other news today:
  • New deportation rules have been announced. This is all dehumanizing and absolutely horrible. Trump promised a deportation force, and that's what we're getting. Of particular note is the expansion of expedited removals, which removes court hearings for people who've been here less than two years. A society is measured by how they treat their most vulnerable, and the US has just jumped into the mud pits to wrestle with the worst of them.
  • So, Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the new National Security Adviser? Seems to be liked in the army, but has zero experience in politics, Pentagon or Washington DC. Looks like he'll fit in just fine with the rest of the clown car.
  • Ties between Trump and Russia just keep on turning up...
  • How is Trump spending his time? Golf: 25 hours. Tweeting: 13 hours. Intelligence briefings: 6 hours. Your President.
In good news, Texas' latest round of abortion restrictions got thrown out of court.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Day 32: Not My President's Day

Today saw protests across the country against the administration. Otherwise, it was a reasonably quiet day.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Day 31: Trump invades IKEA

Last night at Trump's "I need to feel like the people love me" rally, he claimed that Sweden had just had an extremist attack. The world was briefly confused, before realizing that this was the perfect opportunity to mock Trump once again.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Day 30: Stand by your public broadcaster

A slow news Saturday. Trump continues to be terrible.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Day 29: Mourning the EPA

The EPA got it's new administrator today. How long until climate change causes irreparable harm? I shudder to think.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Day 28: A press conference

So, today was dominated by a press conference. Here's what the press thought of it.

What wonderful times we live in, folks!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Day 27: Get your house in order!

Not only did Flynn resign, but one of the nominations was scarpered today. Things look grim in DC.

I read up on Watergate last night. This administration is strongly careening that way, turning the Whitehouse into a criminal enterprise.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Day 26: Aftermath

The story of the week continues: what happened with Michael Flynn? Lots unfolding today. Here are the highlights:

Monday, February 13, 2017

Day 25: The first Russian casualty

Oh boy, are we making up for having a quiet weekend!

What I fear about the terrible executive cabinet that we are getting (apart from their terrible policies) is that they make a lot of executive decisions that don't get reported on, and due to this, it will be difficult to hold them publicly accountable.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Day 24: North Korea enters the negotations

Only one major headline today: North Korea launches missile test. Trump issued a statement saying that the US stood by its ally Japan. I hope a similar statement regarding South Korea is released soon. I'm curious what the response to North Korea will be, as this is almost definitely a deliberate attempt to provoke Trump.

Plenty of other rumors, proposals, comments, etc today. I'll report on them as they lead to concrete action.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Day 23: The Weekend is for Resting

I haven't been paying a huge amount of attention today, but it appears to have been a quiet day for the administration regardless.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Day 22: Anybody else feel like they're rapidly aging?

No stand-out news today, although the first one here is really awful.
I've added a new "Resistance" page on the right, in case you are interested in touching base with local activists.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Day 21: Roosters come home to nest

It's a snow day in New England, so I'm on top of things early! Of course, we're only halfway through the day, and already so much destruction is occurring. Let's wade into it...

Along with the usual bucket of excrement today, there were three new executive orders.
  • One was a national version of the "Blue lives matter" law, which basically took a group of people (law enforcement) who are already highly protected by the law (remember that these guys are almost untouchable in the court system), and significantly increased penalties for "attacks" against them. "Resisting arrest", which the police apply indiscriminately, is now a felony in Louisiana, for example. This is a big step towards turning America into a police state. There was, of course, no mention of the hundreds of people killed by police each year.
  • Another tasks the Attorney General with creating a task force to reduce crime in America.
  • The text of the third hasn't been released, only its title: "Enforcing federal law with respect to the transnational criminal organizations and preventing international trafficking". [Update: Here is the text.]
I haven't found any analysis of the second or third yet. I expect them both to be terrible. The third appears to be a thinly-veiled crackdown in immigration. While not explicitly mentioned, one gets the strong sense that that's going to be the end result.

In other news:
 I'll update this page below if I see anything else from today.
If you're interested in reading why DeVos was such a bad candidate for Secretary of Education, here is an excellent writeup.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Day 20: A racist attorney general for a racist president

The steamrolling over American rights and values continues apace today.
In a twist of good news, Obama's climate action plan is working really well! (too bad Republicans want to kill it!)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Day 19: Who Needs Public Education?

The assault on all that's decent continues. In today's edition:
  • Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Secretary of Education. Despite a huge resistance movement, the vote came down to 50-50, with Pence breaking the tie. Republicans are firmly in Trump's pocket, if they couldn't muster opposition to a truly abominable nomination.
  • Media outlets around the country defended their record against the administration's list of "under-reported terrorist attacks". Outlets pointed out that whoever wrote the document can't spell, made up attacks that didn't happen, cared only about Muslims attacking white people, didn't care about Muslims attacking Muslims (the majority of terrorist attacks), and didn't care about White people attacking anybody. Furthermore, the vast majority of attacks received coverage by multiple outlets, sometimes dominating headlines for a week. Those that didn't were typically very small affairs. The whole thing is a farce that some poor staffer was lumped with.
  • Trump met with sheriffs who support his wall idea today. He claimed that the murder rate is the highest it's been in 47 years, which is demonstrably false (it's a smidgen higher than last year, but lower than every year before that). He also offered to "destroy" the career of a state senator who a sheriff disagreed with. Petty and vindictive. Not a presidential combination.
  • The US Army Engineers told congress that they will award the easement required for the Dakota Access Pipeline. =( I've nothing else to say.
  • The Federal Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit heard from lawyers on the immigration ban. A ruling is expected within a week or so.
  • A House committee voted to eliminate the Electoral Assistance Commission, the only body in the country tasked with ensuring the security of elections in the country. Amidst claims of electoral fraud and vote-rigging, of course, eliminate a commission whose sole purpose is to ensure free and fair elections.
  • 'Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, said Monday that the administration will continue using the term "fake news" until the media understands that their "monumental desire" to attack the President is wrong.' Wow. Just wow. The administration truly believes that it is above criticism, and continues to work to erode trust in the media.
  • The House of Representatives voted to repeal a variety of laws today. We'll see if the senate takes those bills up.
  • Trump continues to attack any institution that opposes him. Opening paragraph: "President Trump appears to be laying the groundwork to preemptively shift blame for any future terrorist attack on U.S. soil from his administration to the federal judiciary, as well as to the media."
A healthy democracy requires an independent judiciary in addition to a free and respected press. The "founding fathers" understood this. For a party who claims to cling to the constitution, the Republicans seem to be sorely in need of a lesson in civics.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Day 18: Oh look, a wild Monday appeared!

And you know what that means? The administration has to make up for not doing anything for two days!
  • Trump spent the weekend (and today) tweeting. You can look them up if you like, but I'm warning you - they're utterly bullshit and not worth wasting your time on.
  • The appeals court asked for submissions regarding the immigration executive order, due today. Here's a short take from the submission against the order, and the Justice department's submission in favor of the order.
  • Both Trump and the Press Secretary suggested that the media is purposefully not reporting or under-reporting terrorist attacks. Don't believe a word they say, because they're both pathological liars. Even better: they said they'd release a list of terrorist attacks that were suppressed by the media. Don't hold your breath though.
  • Trump has no fucking clue what he's doing, and signs anything that's put in front of him without reading it. Pence is having a field day, and Bannon managed to insert himself into the National Security Council without Trump reading the fucking thing he was signing. The rest of the article goes into detail about Trump's lonely new life moping around the Whitehouse, watching Fox news.
  • Protestors at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline are being rounded up, arrested, and shoved into metal cages. This includes any journalists in the area. This is utterly, utterly abhorrent.
  • The senate confirmation vote on Betsy DeVos, the wildly unqualified nominee for Secretary of Education, is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. Democrats are unified against her, and even two Republicans have said they will not vote for her. That leaves a 50-50 split, with Pence holding the casting vote. Tomorrow we will find out if any other Republican senators have a spine. Democrats are currently holding the floor of the senate for 24 hours to speak out against her.
  • Trump has no idea what he's doing in international relations. The following paragraph is buried in this article: "national security aides have sought information about Polish incursions in Belarus, an eyebrow-raising request because little evidence of such activities appears to exist". The administration is literally trying to manufacture crises to take advantage of.
  • Discontent with the fact that nobody likes the administration, they're claiming that all protestors are paid protestors in it for the money. No, literally, that's what they're claiming. This is something that cannot go unquestioned. Step #1: Deligitimize the press. Step #2: Deligitimize protests. Step #3: Embrace totalitarianism.
I've been pointed to this awesome webpage, which is compiling a list some of Trump's lies, along with fact checks. There is obviously far more garbage than one news organization can keep up with, because Trump's statements, once you disregard the nonsensical ones, are primarily comprised of lies.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Day 17: Sing-a-song-of-Mike-Pence

A quiet Sunday today. Most political news resolved around talking up the court action over the immigration order.
No other concrete action today that pertains to the administration, insofar as I can tell.

Day 16: The Administration is Not Happy

It's Saturday, so news is a bit slower today. The primary story for today is the repercussions of last night's nation-wide stay by a Seattle judge on the immigration order.
  • This time, the State department and CBP was quick to act on the judicial order. Some sense of normalcy has returned to international travel. The visas that were "provisionally" revoked are being reinstated. While this is a good thing, there is definitely a sense of fear that it's only going to be temporary.
  • Trump has been fuming. Not only was the official response "outrageous", but Trump's tweets this morning were aimed at discrediting the judiciary. An emergency appeal has, of course, been filed. Note that Trump's tweets put the appeals court in a tough position: oppose the administration and bring the judiciary and the executive head to head, or agree with the administration in discrediting their own. Neither sounds appealing, pun intended. There is a good reason why past presidents have not taken aim at individual judges.
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs officers called in to remove protestors at Standing Rock. Well fuck. These guys have spent their careers supporting the protestors (in principle). A heinous act, aimed at sowing discord and dispersing opposition to the pipeline.
  • The FCC chair is already dismantling net neutrality. I haven't seen this widely reported, but we really should be making more ruckus about it.
  • In Trump's conflicts of interest this weekend, he has two events planned at his own resorts. How is this not exploiting the presidency for personal gain?
  • Finally, the US has upped the ante against Iran, escalating the conflict of words by declaring Iran the biggest state sponsor of terrorism. This is not going to end well.
  • I said yesterday that the Republican's plan consists of one word: repeal. And here we go: a document titled "Roadmap to Repeal". Note that a lot of the repeal energy is coming from the Koch brothers and the oil and mining industries, who have spent large sums of money lobbying congress. These repeals are not for the benefit of the people at all, they are for the benefit of large businesses.
Any chance we can repeal this congress and start again?

Friday, February 3, 2017

Day 15: Republicans reveal their agenda

It seems that the agenda can be summed up in three words: repeal, repeal, repeal. Nobody in the GOP is having an original thought other than "repeal". All of the legislation they're pushing (except for Religious Freedom fuckery) is based around undoing protections for consumers, workers, the environment, and the economy. None of it is based around any meaningful desire to improve anything, and none of them have an original thought in their head.

There's been a lot of talk happening this week, and today was when talk solidified into action. Here's what I've found.
Two weeks down, and already 40% of people want Trump impeached.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Day 14: Adventures in Diplomacy

The news today mainly focuses on the diplomatic aspect of the administration. Overall, a reasonably quiet day.

(Headline from Bloomberg)
I should add that there was plenty of posturing, rumouring, threatening, and terrible legislation drafting happening today. If any of that belligerence actually materializes into something concrete, you'll see it here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Day 13: Republicans Rewrite the Rules

The administration continues to reveal that it has no idea how international relations work, and Republicans demonstrate that they are willing to rewrite the rules when it suits them.
  • A bizarre statement on Iran from the administration (original text). Iran is "officially on notice", which is completely meaningless. Apparently this is in response to an Iranian missile test. Here is the BBC's analysis, and CNN's analysis.
  • Trump threatens to invade Mexico in phonecall. This includes a reference to "bad hombres" by Trump. I am disgusted with the administration's approach to diplomacy.
  • Congressional committee rules require a quorum for votes. Democrats were denying that quorum for cabinet appointments, so Republicans decided to suspend the rules to ram through a vote. Democrats requested further questioning and investigation, but were being denied. Republicans have the gall to call this "unprecedented obstructionism", like they didn't obstruct any Obama appointments for longer than two days (*cough* Garland *cough*). Note that the inconsistencies in the appointee's confirmation hearings would typically be enough to scuttle an appointment. As a colleague of mine said - "If the Democrats had suspended senate rules to push through committee votes, the Republicans would have cried dictatorship".
  • The White House is refusing to have interviews with CNN. This is incredibly petty. Particularly when you are happily granting interviews to fringe outlets.
  • CBP continues to defy court orders; US Marshals not responding when requested. This appears to be from an on-the-ground journalist; I have not seen any corroboration yet.
  • Standing Rock protest camps against the Dakota Access Pipeline were raided today. It's hard to get good news from Standing Rock, as mainstream media are swamped with the rest of GOPresidential fuckery. I read eyewitness reports that construction in the area has started. Everything is sounding terrible, and media coverage seems sparse. If you have a good link, please let me know in the comments.
  • Tillerson was confirmed for Secretary of State today. The final vote count was 56-43, the lowest ever vote for Secretary of State. An oil executive is now in charge of our diplomatic relations. How can this possibly go bad?
  • Trump gave an speech on Black History Month (to an audience of his friends). The speech was widely panned as "rewriting history", "rambling", "off-topic" and "disgraceful". Trump talked up a black activist, seemingly thinking him alive (he died in 1895). Afterwards, the press secretary doubled down on the statement with possibly the most inept response I've ever seen.
  • The raid yesterday? 8 year old American girl killed. Navy SEAL killed. Can you imagine getting a phone call from Trump saying "I'm sorry, your son is dead, but he's a huge hero, the greatest hero"? The guy doesn't have an empathetic bone in his body.
  • The President of Liberty University is going to head up a federal task force on education policy. For those who don't know, Liberty University is the largest Christian university in the US, and is "explicitly anti-feminist and anti-gay, and has a Civil War 'mourning room' that contains among its decorations a cross made from the hair of dead Confederate soldiers". The president of Liberty University promotes carrying concealed weapons on campus, to "end those Muslims before they walk in".
  • The confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos is in peril, after two Republicans have stated they will not support her. I implore you to call your representatives to urge they vote against DeVos (that goes for both Republicans and Democrats).
If you want something a little more uplifting, an excellent case for why we shouldn't "wait and see" what happens with Trump.