Weekly Newsletter

Vol 2 – Day 18 P.E.

On this Thanksgiving weekend, we’re thankful for your support of The TrumpShaker. It’s our goal to provide an easily digestible amount of fairly terrible information for you each week. If you just survived a Thanksgiving dinner full of painful political conversations over yams, and think your family and friends could use a weekly helping of The TrumpShaker, please tell them to sign up!

The TrumpShaker Top Three
November 26, 2016 – Day 18 P.E. (Post Election)

Trump Inc. – New and Improved: Now Chock Full o’ Nuclear Weapons!

Every president since LBJ has put his business interests in a blind trust during his term to avoid potential conflicts (except Obama, but he only had mutual funds and t-bills – such is the life a community organizer). A blind trust is an arrangement in which an independent trust manages the President’s business interests and the President does not know how the assets are managed. Trump, shockingly, refuses to follow suit, saying “The law’s totally on my side, the President can’t have a conflict of interest.”

While he’s sorta kinda correct as The Washington Post explains, because Congress had exempted the VP and President from traditional government conflict of interest rules. However, I’m thinking he’s not exactly acting in the spirit of the law. I do give him credit for using “totally” though when discussion a Constitutional crisis.

The real concern is that foreign and domestic policy decisions will be made with what is best for Trump rather than you know, the citizens of these United States.

It only really took a week to see these concerns realized. Foreign dignitaries are running to the new Trump hotel in DC, hoping to curry favor. Trump brought Ivanka (likely the leader of the Trump businesses) into his initial meetings with leaders of India and Japan.  Most troubling though was his chitchat with Argentinian President Macri. Macri called to congratulate Trump and possibly discuss major geopolitical issues. Instead, Trump had another idea, focusing on a stalled $100 million building project associated with Trump in Buenos Aires.

You’ll never guess what happened next. The Trump-branded tower was approved three days later (although Buenos Aires officials are now backpedaling, saying the building will need to resubmit paperwork). Oh, oh, and guess who sat in on this call between world leaders? Ivanka.

This was so much of a big deal that Reagan’s speechwriter, Peggy Noonan, came out of cryogenic freeze where it’s always Morning in America, to tweet, “Presidents. Can’t. Do. This.” C’mon, Peggy, the law’s totally on his side.

More Information:
Talking Points Memo on Argentina
San Francisco Chronicle on List of Trump Conflicts
Washington Post on Dangers of Conflicts

All The President’s Media

2016 has seen the unfortunate passing of those that helped us understand our world – Muhammad Ali, Prince, Leonard Cohen, and most recently and tragically, Florence Henderson. Unfortunately, this election put the news media on life support as well.

Trump has gone 18 days since the election without a press conference (breaking WJC’s record of 9 days). He continues to simply bypass the media to get his message out unchallenged. This past week that meant lashing out at the media 12 times and the cast of Hamilton 4 times on Twitter and delivering a 100 days vision via You Tube that had a real laid back Supreme Leaderish vibe.

The Fourth Estate hit a new low last week when the TV news folks agreed to attend an off-the-record meeting with Trump in Isengard Trump Tower. Apparently, since they haven’t been following the election the past 18 months, the TV media thought they were going to a nice little meet and greet, maybe to do a trust fall and nosh on a delightful crostini appetizer, who knows? Instead, Trump spent the time lashing out at them for their unfair coverage.

Media intimidation will continue to be an emphasis of this Presidency and it’s unclear the news media can handle it. Something to watch for is that Time Warner and AT&T need government approval for an $85 billion merger. Trump spoke out against the merger during the campaign and especially singled out Time Warner subsidiary, CNN, during the aforementioned tongue lashing. So will CNN be pressured by Time Warner to take it eas(ier) on Trump to facilitate the approval? I usually bet on the side with billions riding on the outcome.

More Information
The New Yorker on the TV Exec Meeting

The TrumpShaker Classifieds: 
Run a Federal Agency. Learn on the Job! No Experience Necessary.

At least in his cabinet selections, Trump is pro-federal job retraining programs as it’s looking like he’ll pick three people with no experience in their departments.

Betsy DuVos, Secretary of Education – is an advocate for charter schools and vouchers, but has no experience working in public schools. However, her brother founded the mercenary firm Blackwater (now Academi) and her father-in-law runs Amway, so she’ll have some good-hearted folks to bounce ideas off of. For those of you really worried about her selection, the “good” news is that the GOP was so annoyed by Obama’s first Secretary of Ed, Arne Duncan, that Congress effectively stripped the Secretary of much of its already limited power. Education is still largely a state/local issue.

Nikki Haley, UN Ambassador – is the Governor of South Carolina, which I don’t think has had a foreign policy since King Charles II owned it. In the grand scheme of things, not a terrible appointment. I don’t agree with her on much, but she appears reasonable (a high bar so far for the administration) and having a daughter of an immigrant at the UN representing the US is positive. Unclear why Nikki Haley wants this job, she has limited power, has to be the mouthpiece for someone who just six months ago she despised, and was well positioned to have the NeverTrump GOP rally behind her in 2020.

Ben Carson, Housing and Urban Development Secretary – just this week said through a spokesperson that he didn’t have enough experience to run a federal agency (note: Did anyone tell him what the President does before he ran for that job?). He did live in an urban area once though, so he’s got that going for him.

On the Other Hand, Maybe Experience is Overrated

Kris Kobach, Department of Homeland Security – has a lot of experience in Kansas and elsewhere being, for the lack of a better word, evil. His hobby is writing new illegal laws to harass Latinos. His first attempt at securing our homeland failed last week when the whole world saw his anti-Muslim plans because he forgot to put his notes in a file folder when he was holding them for a photo opp. 

Jeff Sessions, Attorney General – was denied a federal judgeship by his own party 30 years ago because of racist language (called a African American US attorney, “boy”) and for describing the ACLU and NAACP as “un-American”. His turn-offs include voting rights, due process, and gender equity. Also, for all of you celebrating the recent legalization of marijuana in four states and/or your Gary Johnson protest votes, I hate to tell you but Alabama Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is more of a “I support states’ rights only when I don’t control the federal government” kind of guy.  He waxed, “I think one of [Obama’s] great failures, it’s obvious to me, is his lax treatment in comments on marijuana. It reverses 20 years almost of hostility to drugs that began really when Nancy Reagan started ‘Just Say No’.”

The silver lining here is maybe he’ll bring back the Just Say No campaign and Melania will show up on Fuller House like Nancy did on Diff’rent Strokes

Mike Flynn, National Security Advisor – spends his spare time giving speeches claiming that the Florida Democrats voted to approve Sharia law and accidentally retweeting anti-Semitic tweets (happens to the best of us, amirite?). In his prior work life, Obama appointed him head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA motto – we’re just one letter away from the CIA!)  and a short time later fired him. Why, pray tell? A former NSA officer commented, “Flynn’s tenure as DIA director was frankly disastrous . . . it drowned in a mixture of naiveté and arrogance.” A mixture of naiveté and arrogance? Sounds like we may have our first finalist for the descriptor of the Trump Presidency.

Oh and I forgot, he was also paid to be a speaker for a celebration in Moscow for Putin’s propaganda newspaper, Russia Today.

Is it just me or are there more questions about racism, anti-Semitism, and Russian puppets than usual in this year’s cabinet member discussions?

Quote of the Issue

From the “We’re really going to miss this guy” file:

What I say to them is that people are complicated. Societies and cultures are really complicated . . . This is not mathematics; this is biology and chemistry. These are living organisms, and it’s messy. And your job as a citizen and as a decent human being is to constantly affirm and lift up and fight for treating people with kindness and respect and understanding. And you should anticipate that at any given moment there’s going to be flare-ups of bigotry that you may have to confront, or may be inside you and you have to vanquish. And it doesn’t stop . . . You don’t get into a fetal position about it. You don’t start worrying about the apocalypse. You say, O.K., where are the places where I can push to keep it moving forward?

– President Obama on what he told his daughters about Bizzaro Obama being elected

2 Million and Counting

On November 23, Hillary’s popular vote lead grew to over 2 million, with a lot more votes still to go since California takes forever. I don’t care what you’re counting, 2 million more of something is a lot. Even if I have 2 million more grains of rice than you, that’s still a lot of rice (about 68.9 lbs if you’re curious, which you’re likely not).

We’ve been hearing that some of you have your hopes up about irregularities in WI, MI, and PA. Unfortunately our real life Mr. Spock, Nate Silver, has calculated that you are only seeing what you want to see.

But for those of you who are really holding out hope/cheering for a civil war (since let’s imagine what happens if Hillary is now declared the winner), I’ve got good news. Green Party and anti-vaxx-curious candidate Jill Stein has raised $2.5 million on the way to $4.5 million to pay for a recount in those three states. That’s nice of her to do, although if she was really concerned about who was going to be President, there might have been something she could have done before people cast 1.2 million votes for her.

But Wait There’s More! 
It’s not just the Electoral College that is broken, I’ve found another fun anti-democratic election quirk. In North Carolina, the incumbent governor (remember, the guy who was so insistent on making sure everyone was using the bathroom that god intended), lost the election and he’s disputing the results. The neat-o twist is that in NC, the legislature has the power to determine who won the election and there is no recourse to the courts. So they could just say, “Ahh, we looked at it, and the results were wrong.”  Shine on beacon to the world!

Founding Father-related Tweet of the Week

Featured Article of the Week

None of the Old Rules Apply by Dave Eggers – From The Washington Post election night party to rural Pennsylvania to a gay Detroit Trump voter, Eggers shares his thoughts on America.

Featured Article Runner-Ups

Voting Rights in The Age of Trump – NY Times opinion piece by Ari Berman, who has been doing tremendous work tracking voter suppression this election.

‘Please, I’m Out of Options’: Inside the Murky World of DIY Abortions – The Guardian shares emails sent by American women to Women on Web, a Dutch non-profit that answers abortion questions.

The “Take a Breath”
Stat of the Week

Number of People at the Neo-Nazi Trump Rally in DC vs 2016 BronyCon*
*Bronys are adult male fans of My Little Pony

Action Center

Organization of The Week
With our lead story on the weakness of our news media, we wanted to bring your attention to ProPublica. ProPublica is a non-profit news organization “that produces investigative journalism in the public interest . . . that shines a light on exploitation of the weak by the strong and on the failures of those with power to vindicate the trust placed in them.” Check them out and see if what they do is worth making a donation in someone’s name for the holidays (and if you do, as a reward, you can keep the McDonald’s Gift Certificates stocking stuffers you already purchased for yourself.)

Don’t Just Sit There in A Food Coma

Clean out Trump’s Cabinet. Call your representatives! Appointees need Senate Approval, so let the Senate know how you feel and that you’re watching. Find your federal representatives atwhoismyrepresentative.com.Keep plastic bottles out of National Parks. Reps friendly to the plastics industry have introduced language into the House Interior and Environmental Appropriations bill that would make it illegal for National Parks to ban bottled water, as 22 already do, on the belief that it’s just un-American to not see a plastic bottle floating down the Grand Canyon or drop one off of Yosemite Falls. Contact your rep today.

Support Native Americans. I would be remiss on this Thanksgiving weekend, if I didn’t bring attention to the protests by Indigenous Nations against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Learn more about the issue and even if you don’t have time to get up to speed on it, consider supporting their right and ability to protest by making a donation here and signing here.

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