Weekly Newsletter

Vol. 22: Spies Like Trump

April 16, 2017 – Day 158 Post Election

The TrumpShaker Top Three
April 16, 2017 – National Eggs Benedict Day – Day 158 P.E. (Post Election)
The Richard Cheney (Unfortunately Not) Memorial  “If I Only Had a Heart” Award

Like Dick before him, Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III has emerged as the ringmaster in this circus of fools with a winning combination of competence and moral bankruptcy. Sessions is quickly transforming the Department of Justice from the agency that protects the most vulnerable to the agency that attacks them. In the past two weeks, Sessions has ticked off just about everything on the dystopian ruler checklist except starting a Robocop program.

Recently, Sessions proclaimed his desire to relaunch the failed war on drugs, protect the homeland from immigrant invaders, and review (read: eliminate)  reform agreements with police departments that exhibit patterns of racial discrimination and excessive force.

This week, he reached another low, eliminating the National Commission on Forensic Science. Established under the Obama administration, the Commission makes recommendations to the Department of Justice on the validity of and proper procedures for forensic science. The Commission plays a vital role in ensuring that people are not convicted due to junk science. Unfortunately, junk science and Weird Science are the only sciences still tolerated by this administration.

 Policy is Foreign to Trump
Trump’s scattershot approach to foreign policy continues to resemble that of someone playing Risk . . . who is in fourth grade . . . and who is bad at Risk. Case in point – -He’s currently engaged in battles on multiple fronts, with no  overall strategy or apparent plan to resolve any of them.Europe (5)
In the world’s most closely watched will they or won’t they, Trump and Secretary of State Tillerson continue to play hard to get with our longstanding allies.

On January 15, Trump declared NATO obsolete. But wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, after being in office for almost three months, Trump fixed it! This past week, Trump said, “I said [NATO] was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete.” Tillerson is also having commitment-phobia with NATO. After initially saying he couldn’t make a NATO summit because something suddenly came up, Tillerson changed his mind and figured he could be bothered to at least go through the motions of the job he doesn’t want.

Tillerson wasn’t done making allies upset/roll their eyes, though. Last week at the G7 (U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the U.K) meeting, Tillerson decided to play Trump’s devil’s advocate and ask, “Why should U.S. taxpayers be interested in Ukraine?” The short answer is that the U.S. benefits from and should support Europe’s stability, which includes its border security; no good for the U.S. comes when Russia throws its weight around by invading and annexing land at Europe’s border.Something tells me Tillerson’s invitation to future foreign minister events might get lost in the mail.

Asia (7)
Last week, all everyone could talk about was how Trump became “Presidential” by bombing a runway in Syria. It’s been more than a week since the attack and as feared, there does not seem to be any coherent policy. Eric Trump said the strike was put in motion due to a “heartbroken”, Violet Beauregarde Ivanka Trump who really wanted her Daddy to buy her a missile launch.

The only significant U.S. action in Syria since the missile attack has been an air strike that ended up killing 18 allied troops.

4,648 miles to the east, Trump has decided to pick a fight with the only world leader less predictable than he, Kim Jong-un. The U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier strike group to the Korean Peninsula.  What Trump plans to do next, no one knows. At first, he was thinking big, but then “After listening to [Chinese President Xi Jinping] for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy.”

When finally confronted with something that – after 10 whole minutes – didn’t present an easy solution, Trump relied on the tried and true technique of international diplomacy as brought to you by the WWE. Trump tweeted, “North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.”

Trump finished the week by bombing yet another country in Asia, Afghanistan. He dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal (referred to as MOAB – which either means the “Mother of All Bombs” or the “Massive Ordnance Air Blast” bomb) on Afghanistan which killed less than 100 enemy combatants. This bomb had never been used in combat before. As best I can tell, the real purpose of this blast seems to be allowing Donald Trump Jr. to tweet out:

As The Tяump TurnsSpies Like Trump

Your weekly reminder that the Trump administration is being investigated by the FBI for treason.

This week on As The Tяump Turns:
Probable Cause – The Washington Post reported that the FBI received a FISA warrant last year to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page after establishing “there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia.”

Seriously, Another Foreign Agent – During the February sweeps episodes, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned and registered as a foreign agent since he had been getting paid by the government of Turkey. This week, former manager of the “America First” Trump campaign, Paul Manafort also registered as foreign agent over past work with a foreign client. In totally unrelated news, the day Manafort resigned from the Trump campaign last summer, Manafort set up shell companies that received $13 million in “loans” from two businesses related to Trump including one tied to a Ukranian billionaire.

Going to the (laundro)Mat – House Intelligence Committee Member Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL)made a trip out to the Russian money laundering haven of choice, Cyprus. No word yet on what he found. In totally unrelated news part II, Manafort has multiple accounts in Cyprus. In totally unrelated news part III, Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was vice-chairman of the Bank of Cyprus.

Easter Morning Greetings to Your and Yours
from the President of the United States
Quick TrumpShakes

La Resistance Lives On – On Tuesday, Democrat James Thompson nearly did the impossible. He barely lost (46% to 53%) a special Congressional election in Kansas District 4, a solidly Republican district. Trump won there by 29 percentage points. A victory would have been amazing, but this significant shift in deep red Kansas, will make swing district Republicans very nervous. La Resistance has another shot this week as 30 year-old Jon Ossoff carries Democrat hopes and dreams in Georgia’s 6th.

Trust No One – Remember way back in January when nuclear war wasn’t an imminent possibility and Trump showed us those large stacks of folders to prove that he had separated from his businesses and was running the country for the people and not himself? Oh, how we long for those days of innocence.ProPublica reported that between January and early February, Trump revised his trust to allow him to take money from it whenever he wants and that he doesn’t need to disclose it. This will allow Trump to monitor the performance of his “blind” trust in almost real time.

Oooh Love Hurts – Trump’s people and policies are so beloved, that administration appointees are demanding extra security; even as they try to gut funding from their departments. The Education Department has agreed to pay the U.S. Marshals Service $8 million to protect Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos through September, and EPA Chief Scott Pruitt has put in a request for 24/7 protection against, according to his former EPA transition lead, “the left” and his own employees.

The Texas Two Strike – Although I mentioned earlier that Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is on a roll, not everything is coming up burning crosses for him. A second federal judge in as many months ruled against Texas’s voting laws. Last month, a court ruled that the state’s gerrymandered districts were intentionally discriminatory and this month that Texas’s voter ID law “was passed with a discriminatory purpose in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.” Sessions had changed the Department of Justice’s position from opposing Texas (under President Obama) to supporting Texas’s unconstitutional position.

Fore! – Actually, until Trump no recent president had golfed even four days at this point in his presidency. Sunday marked day 19 of golf for Trump in his first 85 days of a job he has no idea how to do. For those of you scoring at home, or at least having your caddy score for you, at this point, W and Obama had golfed 0 days and Clinton had golfed 3 days.

Who Were the Policy Wizards Who Came Up with That One? – Trump boldly overturned another Executive Order. The difference this time though, was it was his. He lifted the federal hiring freeze he put in place on his first day in office. I was pro-impeachment, but maybe we just let him run with it and he’ll just undo all of his own work.

I’m Too Sexy to Stay in Business – Trump Models is shutting down, which according to most recent financial disclosure Trump owned 85% of the agency and likely 100% of the sexual harassment. No word if laid off employees received a Trump steak, a bottle of Trump vodka, free classes at Trump University, and an ambassadorship as severance.

Too Many Secrets – The Trump Administration announced they will keep the White House visitor log secret, reversing an Obama Administration policy (stop me if you’ve heard that before). Look for a Kickstarter soon to fund The TrumpShaker webcam to watch who comes and goes. In case you’re wondering why Trump did it, maybe you should ask 2012 him:

This Week in GOP Analogies – A North Carolina GOP state legislator compared Lincoln to Hitler, a GOP commentator on CNN said Trump was the Martin Luther King Jr. of health care, and Sean Spicer said that Assad is worse than Hitler (saying incorrectly that Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons at the“Holocaust Centers”). The winner this week though is Trump advisor Anthony Scaramucci who compared Jared Kushner to Alexander Hamilton and apparently not because Kushner is a bastard or because Donald Trump Jr pines for him like Angelica Schuyler.

Signs from the Tax March – Saturday, April 15
Featured Articles of the Week

The Pulitzer Prizes were awarded this week. Eric Eyre of the Charleston Gazette-Mail won the Investigative Reporting Prize for his story on how “Drug firms poured 780M painkillers into [West Virginia] amid rise of overdoses”.

Earlier today, in a 51% to 49% vote, Turkey, under Recep Tayyip Erdogan, basically voted to install a dictator. If your friends ever ask you what you fear might happen under President Trump, tell them to take a look at the once thriving secular democracy of Turkey. The BBC provides an excellent overview of how democracy crumbled under Erdogan.

Action Center
Missed the Tax March last Saturday or ready to hit the streets again? Then don’t miss the March for Science on Saturday, April 22. Hopefully this action by the people will have the equal and opposite reaction of forcing Trump out of office. If you want something cool to wear, here are science knitting patterns!
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