Weekly Newsletter

Vol. 5 – Day 39 P.E.

A coup in the Tar Heel state, the Trump Grill in NYC has flaccid dumplings, and both the CIA and the FBI saw Putin kissing Santa Trump

Greetings and Salutations
In this issue, there’s a coup in the Tar Heel state, the Trump Grill in NYC has flaccid dumplings, and both the CIA and the FBI saw Putin kissing Santa Trump. Yep, that’s our world. At least there are only two more weeks in this lovely year that Stephen Colbert and bald Gandalf Santa who has given up retired David Letterman Michael Stipe sum up so well in this salute to 2016.

The TrumpShaker Top Three
December 18, 2016 – National Roast Suckling Pig Day – Day 39 P.E. (Post Election)
Another 80’s Remake
Besides Celebrity Apprentice, it seems Trump will be an Executive Producer on another reality show while President: a real life remake of “Amerika”, an 80s miniseries in which the Russians take over the US in a bloodless coup. In this reboot, we already know who the bad guys will be, but it’s unclear who will be cast in the Kris Kristofferson role of the rebellion leader. Right now, I’d settle for 80 year-old Kristofferson.This week’s updates from Moscow on the Potomac are:

  • The CIA now believes that Putin himself directed the hacks into the emails of the DNC and Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta.
  • The FBI finally announced they agreed with the CIA, eliminating any remaining cover for Republicans who have been saying “Maybe it’s Russia, but really who could know these things?”. The FBI knew this during the election, but Director James Comey didn’t want to say anything earlier about this because he didn’t want to influence the election. I’m not being sarcastic. Seriously.
  • A bi-partisan group of senators have called for an investigation.
  • Despite the CIA, FBI, and the White House saying it was Russia, Trump is still torn between the hacks coming from Russia, China, or “someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds” (unclear if he is trying to implicate former BFF Chris Christie). It’s frankly stunning that the President-elect is choosing to defend Russia against the advice of his intelligence agencies and that many Republicans don’t seem to care.
  • Pro-Putin Republican talking points include: “If the American people have been given more truthful information, that’s terrific” (Dana Rohrabacher – CA GOP Congressman from Orange County). I assume Congressman Rohrabacher is using this logic to submit a pardon for Edward Snowden. Another talking point is, “this wouldn’t have happened if [Hillary] didn’t have a secret server” (Sean Spicer – RNC Communications Director). Hillary’s server was not hacked; these emails have nothing to do with that server.

More Information
The New York Times: The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.
Marketwatch: Top 10 Signs that a US President is a Russian Agent 
People Magazine: Review of Amerika (1987)

North Carolina: First in Flight, Last in Democracy
While we all had a terrible 2016, the North Carolina Republican Party had a wicked one (literally). They kicked off 2016 by banning North Carolina cities from passing their own anti-discrimination and minimum wage laws because people in Charlotte wanted transgender bathrooms and non-poverty wages. This summer, a federal court struck down the NC voter ID law that “targets African-Americans with almost surgical precision” AND the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case against North Carolina’s obscene redistricting that gives the GOP a veto-proof Senate majority despite receiving less votes statewide. Finally, last week, they put the cherry on top of their oppression sundae (which already had extra nuts) by throwing the public and press out of the state house while brazenly seizing power.Let me explain the power grab. There is no time, let me sum up. North Carolina’s current GOP governor lost his reelection bid in November. After the election, the legislature called a special session to address hurricane relief (awww, aren’t they nice?).  Instead of helping hurricane victims, Republicans helped themselves. The Republicans passed and the out-going Governor signed a bill that 1) reduces the number of appointees the new Democrat Governor makes from 1500 to 300 (meaning 1200 Republican appointees remain in their jobs); 2) requires Senate confirmation of the new Governor’s cabinet members (see above re: redistricting); 3) changes the election boards from being appointed by the new Governor to being “bipartisan” with the Republicans controlling in even (i.e. election) years; and 4) eliminates the new Governor’s power to appoint the trustees of the University of North Carolina.

With this blatant disregard for democracy and the will of the people, looks like someone is making a strong bid to be the capital of Amerika.

More Information
The Charlotte Observer: A Breathtaking Dis of North Carolina Voters
The New York Times: A Brazen Power Grab in North Carolina

Never Again . . . Again
While The TrumpShaker focuses primarily on all things Trump, two tragedies this week demand attention. Collectively, we did nothing to prevent these tragedies and are not doing anything to stop them from happening again.The Fall of Aleppo
Without condemnation from the President-elect or the current President and without Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson even knowing what it is, the city of Aleppo in Syria fell to forces supported by Russia, Iran, and President Assad. Tens of thousands of civilians have been slaughtered.

Listen: The words of US UN Ambassador Samantha Power

Read: The Washington PostThe Bloodbath in Aleppo Will Haunt Humanity

Look: Photos (graphic) in The Atlantic

Sandy Hook
This past week was the fourth anniversary of Sandy Hook. Since that day when many said, “enough”, there have been 200 more school shootings.

Photos of all of the victims

This Week in Numbers

Say No Evil – It’s been 145 days since Trump’s last press conference. Highlights from that July 27 presser include then candidate Donald complaining about Hillary not doing a press conference in a long time, asking Russia to get Hillary’s emails, saying he’d look into Crimea being recognized as Russian, telling NATO countries they better pay up if they want protection, and noting casually that he believes in torture because it works. Quick reminder, all of the above were said by the guy who won the United States presidential election.

As background on press conference norms, between Election Day and today in 2008, Obama had done 9 press conferences.

We’re Still All Good with Separate but Equal, Right? – Setup: Ohio has 88 counties. 2 counties have more than 1 million residents. 5 have more than 500,000 residents. 39 have less than 50,000 people. Democrats tend to be in the larger counties. Punchline: Each county only had 1 early voting location.

Solid Gold Cabinet – Trump’s 17 cabinet appointees have $9.5 billion in combined wealth, equal to more than 1/3 of the least wealthy American households combined. He has several more cabinet members to appoint, so half the country’s wealth is in sight!

Quick TrumpShakes

Department of Wait Don’t Tell Me – Trump nominated former Texas Governor Rick Perry to lead the Department of Energy. Perry is so passionate about the Department of Energy that he wants to eliminate it and he once forgot it existed.

He is not without some relevant skills, though. He was on Dancing with the Stars and, as we all know, stars are a source of energy. He also wears professor-like glasses which is more than Denise Richards did when she was nuclear scientist in a Bond film. Also in his undergrad major in veterinary science, he got a D in a class called Meats. Perry’s talks with Obama’s appointees, Dr. Steven Chu, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics, and Dr. Ernest Moniz, a professor of Physics at MIT, will definitely be illuminating.

Cancelled Conflict Conference – Trump cancelled his scheduled press conference on how he was going to deal with the myriad conflicts between his business and his new 4 year part-time gig.  This press conference has been rescheduled for later – or more likely never. He did tweet though that he would put his two boys in charge. In related news, later that week those two scamps were at Trump’s meeting with high tech executives. Avoiding the appearance of conflict is off to a great start.

“Trump Grill Could Be the Worst Restaurant in America” – While Aleppo was being bombed and the CIA accused Putin of attacking the United States, Trump tweeted about another threat to the world: Vanity Fair magazine. It took only minutes to figure out why. Vanity Fair had just published this amazing review of Trump Grill and its “flaccid, gray . . . dumplings.” See more on Trump’s bullying of the press in The TrumpShaker vol. 2.

когнитивный диссонанс

Republicans are dealing with their internal conflict about Russia (boo!) helping Trump win (yeah!) by deciding that Russia is now good (yeah!!!)

As shown in the chart above, Putin currently has a net favorability rating of -10 (favorable minus unfavorable) among Republicans. That’s up from -65 two years ago. For comparison, Hillary’s current net favorability among Republicans is -77 and Obama’s is -64. So if seems that Republicans would prefer to be ruled by Putin than a moderate Democrat.  It’s because they would.

Featured Article of the Week
Reflecting on Obama’s legacy begins with this excellent piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates in The AtlanticMy President was Black.Nerdy Featured Article Runner-Ups
UCLA Sociology Assistant Professor Aliza Luft on what Vichy France can teach us about the normalization of state violence.

Foreign Affairs explores how democracies fall apart.

Reader Nominated Article of the Week
A reader sent this great article from The Washington Post on what Democrats should be doing next.

Can’t Say They Didn’t Tell Us
Quote of the IssueRepublicans want to ensure that Trumpism “eradicates the FDR government and becomes a permanent fixture in American politics.”

– attributed to Newt Gingrich at the Heritage Foundation, December 13, 2016

Action Center
Change Organization Worthy of Your Change
Doctors Without Borders
In their own words, “Founded in 1971, Medecins Sans Frontieres [Ed: the translation is literally in the logo] is an independent international medical humanitarian organization. We endeavor to provide emergency medical assistance to people caught in crisis around the world, and bear witness publicly to their plight.” One place they are currently bearing witness is in Aleppo and throughout Syria.
Act in Solidarity with Your Profession

Tech Workers – Sign your name to the NeverAgain.tech pledge to state you are not willing to build a database to track Muslims.

Scientists – Download all relevant government information that you fear Trump may eliminate.

Track Trump Lies
The Washington Post has created a Chrome extension that will fact check Trump’s tweets in real time.
Educate Yourself
Former Congressional staffers have created “Indivisible: A Practical Guide to Resisting the Trump Era”. This provides effective advice for the common person who wants to make a difference. Read it today!
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