One Year of Shaking
It’s been just over a year since a minority of Americans elected Donald Trump president. In the weeks after the election, I channeled my fear and frustration into creating this newsletter. I’ve since written approximately 130,000 words, trying to summarize the madness emanating from the new administration. I thought things would slow down after the first month or two. I was very wrong.
Many of the fears I had after the election have unfortunately been realized, including the scapegoating of immigrants, the rejection of science, the stacking of the judiciary, and the elimination of a common understanding of reality. Shockingly, Trump has brought forth things that never even crossed my mind in the dark hours of the night. I never expected that in 2017 there would be debates about the merits of white supremacists, slave owners, child molesters, and Russian spies.
I am grateful for the millions of Americans who have fought back against the constant assault on democracy, freedom of speech, the environment, multiculturalism, human rights, and the norms of civil discourse. A proud, tireless resistance has saved health care for millions, helped reunite a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy recovering from surgery with her parents, and removed the filth of Steve Bannon and Tom Price from the White House.
At this one-year anniversary, I am deciding to put The TrumpShaker on hiatus through at least January 1. I am going to use that time to reflect on how best I can continue the fight, whether that means a new look for The TrumpShaker, a fancier website, or another vehicle. Thank you so much for reading and sharing The TrumpShaker this past year. Your supportive comments helped me keep going during some particularly tough times and will be fuel for me as I figure out what is next. I also owe a big thank you to my wife, who, besides helping to find time for me to write, is an amazing editor. Without her, you’d be reading a newsletter filled with typos and dozens of run-on sentences, rather than just the 1 or 2 she allows me to keep, such as this one, I hope.
My best wishes for the happiest of holidays to you and yours. Don’t shy away from political discussions with your family over the holidays. The last year has shown us what we have to lose when we are not strong in our convictions, allow others to dictate the values of our society, and cannot find common ground with our loved ones.
The TrumpShaker Top Three
November 12, 2017 – National Pizza Day with The Works Except Anchovies Day – Day 369 P.E
Yes, Virginia, There Is a Resistance
Breaking news: there was actually good news this week! On Tuesday, voters turned out in force to repudiate the direction of the country. New Jersey and Virginia have two new Democratic governors, the District Attorney in Philadelphia is a civil rights attorney who represented Black Lives Matter, Ravi Bhallaovercame a racist campaign to be elected the first Sikh mayor of Hoboken, and Maine voted to expand Medicaid in its state through the Affordable Care Act. Virginia featured two results of special interest. Pending a recount, the Democrats flipped 16 seats in the Virginia state legislature, leading to a 50/50 tie. These are heavily gerrymandered seats, created to give Republicans more than 60 seats, so the Democrats’ success signifies is a dramatic shift. One of those seats was won by Danica Roem, the first transgender state legislator in America. Roem defeated Republican Bob Marshall, who once described himself as Virginia’s “chief homophobe.” Just two years ago, Marshall won his seat by 13 percentage points. After this week’s victory, Roem managed to both take the high road and get in a nice dig at her rival. When asked about Marshall, she said, “I don’t attack my constituents. Bob is my constituent now.”
Mo’ Moore Mo’ Problems
Week after week I have wondered what it would take for Republicans to denounce Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. Moore has declared that homosexuality should be illegal, argued against seating a Muslim to the House of Representatives, ignored an order from The Supreme Court, and was kicked off the Alabama Supreme Court twice. This week, The Washington Post reported that when Moore was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney, he picked up a 14-year-old girl while her mother was in the courthouse for a custody hearing. Three other women went on record to say that Moore pursued them when he was in his thirties and they were between 16 and 18, including one who met Moore when she was 14 and a Santa’s helper at the mall. Surely, the deeply religious Republicans of Alabama would draw the line at molesting children and abandon Moore. Alas, no; apparently there are now “both sides” to adults dating eighth graders.Reactions from Alabama Republicans:
- “Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.”- Jim Zeigler, State Auditor (R)
- “Other than being with an underage person, he didn’t really force himself. I know that’s bad enough, but I don’t know. If he withdraws, it’s five weeks to the election . . . that would concede it to the Democrat.” – Riley Seibenhener, Geneva County GOP Chairman
- “I would vote for Judge Moore because I wouldn’t want to vote for Doug [Jones]. I’m not saying I support what he did.” – Jerry Pow, Bibb County GOP Chairman
- “If [the women accusing Moore] believe this man is predatory, they are guilty of allowing him to exist for 40 years. I think someone should prosecute and go after them. You can’t be a victim 40 years later, in my opinion.” – Ed Henry, Republican member of Alabama legislature
The words from elected Republicans in Washington D.C. have been less supportive of Moore, but fall short of the usual reaction that, let’s say, you or I would have if someone who prays on teenage girls wanted to join a club we belonged to. Outside of strong words from a few Republican senators such as Bob Corker (TN) and John McCain (AZ), most have couched their condemnation with the caveat “if true” and have only asked Moore to step aside, rather than take stronger action such as pledging to not seat him if elected.
Trump has largely been restrained from wading into the scandal, except issuing a statement that would have made Tom Hagen proud, “If these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.” Trump may not be too anxious to dive into this as there is the small issue of 15 women accusing Trump of sexual assault, including multiple contestants of the Miss Teen USA pageant who stated that Trump walked in on them while they were changing.
The effect of this news on the special election is unknown. The first poll coming out actually showed the democrat Doug Jones up 4%. However, that same poll showed that the charges made 29% of respondents (and 37%(!) of evangelicals) more likely to vote for Moore. That is, if there is still an election. Some Republicans have been openly proposing delaying the election, giving them more time to push Moore out and replace him with another candidate. The governor of Alabama has the power to do this, but she has said that she would not do so. Just the fact that we are asking if the party in power is considering moving the election because it may lose, is a very trouble sign for the health of our democracy.
Since the accusations have not been proven, I guess I should give Moore the last word. Take it away, Roy: “I don’t remember dating any girl without the permission of her mother.” Okay, I promise to never call you a rude predator, Roy.
Sadness is a Warm Gun
Another week, another mass shooting – this time 26 people were murdered at a Texas church. The tragedy knocked Columbine out of the top ten mass shootings in the U.S. In response, Senate Democrats introduced an assault weapons ban. The Republicans have had a different response, which was primarily to do nothing except offer thoughts and prayers. This approach contrasts sharply with their swift calls to limit immigration dramatically after the terrorist attack two weeks ago in New York. Some of the standout responses were:
- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) thinks that arming parishioners is the solution. “This is going to happen again. All I can say is in Texas at least we have the opportunity to have conceal carry. And so … there’s always the opportunity that gunman will be taken out before he has the opportunity to kill very many people.”
- In her interview with Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Fox & Friends Host Ainsley Earhardt said, “We’ve been reporting this shouldn’t happen in a church. But I was downstairs talking with some people that work here that we all talk about our faith and we share the same beliefs. We were saying there’s no other place we would want to go other than church.” It’s such an exciting time for America, we can all now add “favorite place to be shot” to our dating profiles.
- In Japan, Trump declared that the Texas shooting was not a “guns situation” but a “a mental health problem at the highest level.” In March, Trump nullified an Obama-era rule that made it harder for people with mental illness to purchase guns. Trump may have wanted to ask his Japanese hosts for assistance on how to deal with this issue. In 2014, Japan had 6 gun deaths. In the same year, there were 33,599 gun deaths in the United States.
Presidents . . . They’re Not Like Us!
How Trump Celebrates Veterans Day
“Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’ Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!”By siding with a hostile foreign power over U.S. Intelligence
“I mean, give me a break, [former U.S. intelligence leaders] are political hacks . . . I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper and you have Comey . . . So you look at that and you have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had nothing to do with them. Every time he sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I believe, I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it.”
Mental Harakiri – Apparently, the in-flight movie on Trump’s flight across the Pacific was Gung Ho. In his first presidential trip to Japan, Trump told Japanese automotive executives, “Try building your cars in the United States instead of shipping them over. Is that possible to ask? That’s not rude. Is that rude? I don’t think so.” What is rude is berating someone about something you don’t understand. 53% of Japanese cars sold in the U.S. are already made in the U.S. (75% in North America). Toyota’s largest manufacturing plant in the world is in Kentucky. Rather than lashing out at Japanese automakers who are expanding operations in the U.S., perhaps Trump should talk with Carrier Corporation. Carrier is laying off an additional 215 employees from its Indiana plant, adding to the 340 they laid off just months after Trump claimed to have saved the factory.
Sue-icide – Trump’s Commission on
Voter Suppression Election Integrity is being sued by . . . one of its own members. Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap (D) sued his own Commission because “despite diligent efforts to gain access, Secretary Dunlap has been, and continues to be, blocked from receiving Commission documents necessary to carry out his responsibilities.”
It’s Not Easy Not Being Green – I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that the time we have to live in Trump’s world is getting shorter. The bad news is that time is short because Trump is doing all he can to destroy the world’s environment as quickly as possible. What is left of Syria just joined the Paris Climate Accord leaving the United States as the only country unwilling to take the first small step towards limiting the effects of global warming. I’m not optimistic that Trump’s pick to chair the Council on Environmental Quality, Kathleen Hartnett White, will turn things around. Besides having less science knowledge than provided by a typical Schoolhouse Rock short, Hartnett White believes that signing the climate accord would be a “tragic event in mankind’s history” because “we’re not standing on a cliff from which we are about to fall off.”
Doogie Howser J.D. – Trump continues his dramatic remaking of the judiciary to be very young and very conservative. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination this week of Trump’s latest nominee, Brett Talley, for a lifetime federal judgeship. Talley is 36 years-old, has only practiced law for three years, and has never made a motion in court, let alone tried a case. The American Bar Association rated him, unanimously, “Not Qualified”. He is a blogger though, who following Sandy Hook pledged to “support to the NRA; financially, politically and intellectually.”
As The Tяump Turns
In this week’s episode, more of Trump’s closest advisers find themselves in the borscht.
- The New York Times reported that Commerce Secretary and fake billionaire Wilbur Ross “retained investments in a shipping firm he once controlled that has significant business ties to a Russian oligarch subject to American sanctions and President Vladimir V. Putin’s son-in-law.”
- At Trump’s request, CIA Director Mike Pompeo took a meeting with a conspiracy theorist who claims the hack of Democratic National Committee emails was not from Russia, but rather an inside job. No word if Trump also has Pompeo investigating Ted Cruz’s father’s role in the Kennedy assassination.
- Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether fallen foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos told supremacist prodigy and White House senior adviser Stephen Miller about his Russian contacts and their claims of having dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Turduction – There is so much insanity that the news that the former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and his son Michael Jr. – the good ol’ Flynn boys – are being investigated for plotting to abduct a cleric living in the U.S. and bring him to the Turkish government in exchange for $15 million is a) not a major story and b) something that actually is happening and not a Coen brothers movie plot.
Bowling Green Massacre – We all made fun of Kellyanne Conway for making claims about the non-existent Bowling Green Massacre. It turns out the joke was on us and that Kellyanne is a precog, telling us about a future crime. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) was assaulted last week in Bowling Green by his neighbor, resulting in five broken ribs and bruised lungs. Curiously, no one knows why the fight took place. Perhaps we’ll find the answer in Kellyanne’s next set of rambling lies.
Few More Fingers on the Button – Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) announced that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing next week on “the executive’s” (shhh, he means “Trump”) authority to launch nuclear weapons.
Featured Articles of the Week
The Republican Tax Plan, which benefits the very very rich while raising the national debt, punishing blue states, hurting higher education, and setting the stage for future cuts to social security and Medicare, is moving forward. Use this tool kit to share your concern with key representatives.