Weekly Newsletter

Vol. 10 – Day 75 P.E.

Special Collector’s Women’s March (and Inauguration, I guess) Edition

Yes, it happened. The Gatekeeper met the Keymaster and just 40,000 voters across Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania have chosen the form of the destructor: a giant misogynistic candy corn with tiny hands. Donald J. Trump is officially the 45th President of the United States.  

Choose or and Lose
It happened. The Gatekeeper met the Keymaster and just 40,000 voters across Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania have chosen the form of the destructor, a giant misogynistic candy corn with tiny hands. Donald J. Trump is the 45th President of the United States.

Something else happened this week as well. An estimated 3.3 to 4.5 million people around the world took to the streets to say this is not normal and this is not okay. We’ve got a tremendous battle ahead, with long odds, but now know you’re not alone.

This week’s edition of The TrumpShaker is a bit truncated as I’m writing this from a sheep farm on an island off of Australia. Internet quality here is what you’d expect from a sheep farm on an island off of Australia. Alas, I’m not Trump-free. My efforts to be as far from the Inauguration as possible were thwarted when immediately upon my arrival a local farmer pulled up with a “Trump: Make America Great Again” hat. This virus has spread far and wide.

The TrumpShaker Top Three
January 23, 2017 – National Handwriting Day – Day 75 P.E. (Post Election)
When God Closes a Door, He Opens a Gate to Hell
President Obama exited the White House this week in the same manner he treated his entire Presidency, with dignity and respect. Trump then galloped in and riding on the other three horses were Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, and Reince Priebus. This week, Trump finally reached the end of his 18 month quest to make America great again. Here are the steps towards greatness he has taken so far:

  • Changed the White House website to remove pages dedicated to Climate Change, the Affordable Care Act, LGBT Rights, Native Americans, People with Disabilities, and Civil Rights. To be fair, this is Trump actually following through on his campaign pledge — he thinks America was great when it ignored all those issues. Oh, he did add something to the White House website: a plug in Melania’s bio for her QVC jewelry line (since removed after complaints).
  • Shut down the National Park Service Twitter account after it sort of mocked the small turnout for the Inauguration.
  • Visited the CIA on his first day on the job to tell them that “[The media] are among the most dishonest human beings.” He also said it looked like 1.5 million people attended the Inauguration (The New York Times  estimated 160,000). He then casually suggested that “maybe we’ll have another chance” to invade Iraq, but this time keep their oil (which would be a war crime). Finally, he built a bridge to the CIA by letting them know that all the talk about Trump having an issue with the intelligence community was a media lie. Trump never mentioned or apologized for comparing the CIA to Nazis and implying falsely that outgoing CIA Director John Brennan leaked the dossier about Trump’s Russian entanglements.
  • In the days leading up the Inauguration, his team floated a budget that would:
    • Eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities and privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting – that is PBS and NPR. He must really hate pledge drives. Cutting and privatizing our federal investment in the arts would save a whopping .016% ($741 million) of our federal budget, an amount slightly lower than what the citizens of Nevada will be giving to build a football stadium for the Raiders or equal to 5.7% of 1 new aircraft carrier.
    • Slash funding for the Department of Justice divisions on Civil Rights and Environment and Natural Resources.
    • Eliminate the State Department initiatives on Climate Change as well as the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

These cuts would need to be approved by Congress. Unless we have another Mr. Rogers ready to give beautiful testimony, federal funding for the arts may be on its last legs.

More Information – I’m featuring The New York Times and Foreign Policy for the articles on the CIA briefing as they both take the important step of saying that Trump is lying. It’s this unequivocal naming of falsehoods that we need from the media. Saying that Trump and the thinking world merely have different opinions on whether the sky is blue is what got us into this mess.

The New York Times: With False Claims, Trump Attacks Media on Turnout and Intelligence Rift
Foreign Policy: Trump Goes to CIA to Attack Media, Lie About Crowd Size, and Suggest Stealing Iraq’s Oil
Vanity Fair: Here’s What Donald Trump’s Arts and Humanities Cuts Would Cost America

So the Once-ler, Homer Simpson, Cher from Clueless, and Scrooge McDuck Walk Into a Room
And ha ha, the joke is on us because it’s a room for a Senate confirmation hearing.  Lowlights from this week’s confirmation hearings:
EPA – Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (aka The Once-ler) has sued the EPA 14 times on behalf of polluting corporations. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) pointed out to him that he didn’t sue anyone over the 10% of kids with asthma in Oklahoma. Pruitt, whose stated main reason for suing the EPA is federal overreach into what he sees as state jurisdiction, would not agree that under his watch the EPA would let California maintain its more stringent car emissions standards. In other words, he’s for federal overreach when he’s doing the reaching. Pruitt also stated that human activity only “impacts”, not causes, climate change.
Energy – Former Texas Governor and former Dancing with the Stars loser Rick Perry (aka Homer Simpson) once famously forgot the name of the Department of Energy when he said he wanted to eliminate it during a GOP primary debate. Turns out, he also didn’t know what the Department of Energy does. Reports are that Perry accepted the nomination thinking he got to pal around with his gas and oil buddies. Instead he’s in charge of our nuclear security. Apparently, he only found that out five weeks ago. D’oh!
Education – After having her hearings postponed for a week so she could prepare for and then be examined under delicate conditions set by the GOP that allowed only 5 minutes per committee member to ask questions, Betsy DeVos (aka Cher from Clueless) still failed her test. She could not answer the most basic questions about education reform policy nor was she aware of major responsibilities of her department such as access for students with disabilities or student loans. The Los Angeles Times said she “displayed astonishing ignorance.”
Treasury – Former foreclosure king Steven Mnuchin (aka Scrooge McDuck) apologized for not disclosing $100 million in assets located offshore before the hearing. I mean, who among us has not forgotten about $100 million we left on an island once? It’s so tough to figure out how to change the money back to dollars, so why bother? Mnuchin’s reasoning was that all the darn government paperwork was difficult to figure out. I’m sure it’s as difficult as the paperwork that his former bank, OneWest Bank, used that allowed it to foreclose on a 90 year-old woman whose payment was off by 27 cents or another who had her house foreclosed because she didn’t pay by certified check, a requirement that was not in her loan modification agreement. I’m sure he’ll face similar repercussions for his paperwork difficulty. Fun foreclosure fact that might help you get extra rations in the reeducation camps: Mnuchin’s bank foreclosed on Octomom’s house.
Lies, Damned Lies, and What Sean Spicer Says
Sean Spicer is the new White House press secretary. He kicked off his term by blatantly lying, telling the media what they should be covering, and not taking questions.

In his statement, Spicer accused the press of intentionally minimizing the turnout for the inauguration and saying it “was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” Both are lies.

Besides the Trump team’s continuing practice of intimidating the media, this was a scary interaction because if the administration is willing to lie about something so trivial  and which has ample evidence showing it’s a lie, then what will they not lie about? The best reasoning I found for this strategy was in atweet from @rascouet. To summarize the benefits of shamelessly lying:

  1. Stating a lie like this forces the 1/3 of country who support Trump to choose between Trump and the media. They will choose Trump and make him the sole arbiter of what is true.
  2. Create uncertainty that there are facts. Make it confusing and hard to know the truth. The result will be that 1/3 of the population will support Trump no matter what, 1/3 will call him on his lies and 1/3 will just give up because it’s too hard.

On “Meet the Press” this Sunday morning, Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway described what Sean Spicer said as “alternative facts.” Since we’ve now gone, as The Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan puts it, “full Orwell”, let’s end this section with something from George himself:

The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears.
It was their final, most essential command.
– 
George Orwell, 1984
Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs at the Women’s March
Quick TrumpShakes
These Are Not the Returns You’re Looking For – After saying for months that Trump would release his tax returns after the audit was complete, Kellyanne Conway said on ABC this morning that Trump “is not going to release his tax returns. We litigated this all through the election. People didn’t care.”
But A Low Score in Golf is Good – PolitiFact examined all of Trump’s statements and rated just 4% of what he has said thus far as being 100% true.
You Forgot Ugly, Lazy, and Disrespectful – National land is now officially worthless. Yes, Republicans in Congress have changed the rules for the House of Representatives to declare 640 million acres of national land worthless. This designation will allow Republicans to take national land away from all of us and give it back to states. States can then do what they want with our national birthright, like build subdivisions on it or drill for oil.
He Shoots, He Scores – Although we’re Warriors fans here at The TrumpShaker, we’re kind of rooting for the San Antonio Spurs to win the NBA championship to see what coach Gregg Popovich says to Trump at the White House ceremony. Pop discussed his support for the Women’s March and his horror at “thin skinned” Trump.
This Week in Actual, Not Alternative, Numbers

Inauguration
The Washington DC Metro ridership figures as of 11am on Inauguration Day – 193k in 2017; 317k in 2013; 513k in 2009; 197k in 2005

DC Hotel Association estimates on hotel occupancy for Inauguration Day – 40% full in 2017; 60% in 2013; 90% in 2009

Women’s March
There were a reported 670 marches worldwide! Estimated total turnout was as high as 4.6 million. Turnout totals in selected cities: Washington, D.C. – 500k (3x more than the Inauguration); Los Angeles – 750k; Chicago – 200k; Bay Area – 185k; Seattle – 130k; London – 100k; Sydney – 10k; Birmingham, AL – 10k

Featured Article of the Week

Charles Pierce captured both the darkness of the Inauguration and the light of the Women’s March as only he can.
Today Was Just the Beginning. The Reckoning Will Come.

This Was Bigger Than All of Us

Featured Article Runner-Ups:
Mark Morford in The San Francisco Chronicle finds no silver lining: The Day Democracy Died: An Epitaph
Ruth Ben-Ghiat in The Atlantic dives into the frightening world of Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Politics of Memory

Action Center

Organization Worthy of Your Attention

Kids 4 Planet Earth

Brought to our attention by a loyal reader of The TrumpShaker, Kids 4 Planet Earth is working to get 1 million kids to send postcards to Trump about climate change. The next generation will be most impacted by the horrible policies of this administration. It’s not too early to get them involved in the fight. Learn more.
Make Your Voice Heard!
Lifehacker.com put together an excellent guide on How to Make Your Voice Heard in Politics Between Elections. I don’t ask you to actually read much that I send you, but read this and do something. Seriously. Nothing will change unless you make it change.

 

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