This is How Politics Works: We Pressure Other Countries

This is How Politics Works: We Pressure Other Countries

“I have news for everybody: get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy. That is going to happen. Elections have consequences, and the foreign policy is going to change from the Obama administration to the Trump administration.”

Mick Mulvaney
White House Chief of Staff
(Press conference on 10/18/19)

It is absolutely true that the United States pressures other countries to enact policies that we agree with. We often use financial pressure and “carrot and stick” tactics. The difference here is that those actions are taken for America’s national security interest, not for an individual’s personal interest.

“I found the July 25th phone call to be unusual, because in contrast to other presidential calls I had observed, it involved discussion of what appeared to be a domestic political matter.”

Jennifer Williams
Official at the State Department detailed to Vice President Mike Pence

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was probably an element of shock, that maybe in certain regards, my worst fear of how our Ukraine policy could play out was playing out, and how this was likely to have significant implications for U.S. national security.”

U.S. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman
National Security Counsel Ukraine Expert, Director for European Affairs

“In retrospect for the Ukrainians it would clearly have been confusing. In hindsight, I now understand that others saw the idea of investigating possible corruption involving the Ukrainian company Burisma as equivalent to investigating former Vice President Biden. I saw them as very different — the former being appropriate and unremarkable, the latter being unacceptable. In retrospect, I should have seen that connection differently, and had I done so, I would have raised my own objections.”

Kurt Volker
Former US Special Envoy to Ukraine

For more info, visit Trump-Ukraine Central

– rob rünt

March 13 – 19, 2017

March 13 – 19, 2017


Articles & Editorials:

Main Stories


The Definitive Trump-Russia Timeline of Events
(Politico – 3/3/17 – updated as new information comes out)

Trump Reverses Pledge To Mandate U.S. Steel For Keystone Pipeline. A Direct Beneficiary Is A Russian Oligarch With Close Ties To Vladimir Putin
(Huffington Post – 3/6/17)

Russian Spy Ship Returns Off U.S. Coast, Near Sub Base
(CBS News – 3/15/17)

New Web Site Dedicated to Ongoing Tracking of Trump-Russia Connections
(US Representative Eric Swalwell)

Trump’s Budget

“America First” – Trump’s Proposed Budget
(The White House – 3/16/17)

What Trump Cut in His Budget
(Washington Post – 3/16/17)

If You’re a Poor Person in America, Trump’s Budget is Not for You
(Washington Post – 3/16/17)

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney justifies cuts to programs like “Meals on Wheels” and school lunch for low income kids because the programs are “just not showing any results.” Apparently feeding someone who can’t afford to
(CSPAN – 3/16/17)

Fact Check: Budget Director’s Claims That Programs Don’t Work
(New York Times – 3/17/17)

White House Cites Satire Column to Tout Budget
(The Hill – 3/17/17)

Mental Illness

In a Repudiation of Trump, a Senior House Leader Rejects Wiretap Claim
(New York Times – 3/15/17)

Trump Says Obama Wiretapping Accusations are Based on Some News Reports
(Washington Post – 3/16/17)

Spicer says Trump ‘stands by’ unproven allegation that Obama ordered wiretapping of Trump Tower
(Washington Post – 3/16/17)

British Complain After Trump Spokesman Cites Wiretapping Report
(Bloomberg – 3/16/17)

US Makes Formal Apology to Britain After White House Accuses GCHQ of Wiretapping Trump Tower
(Telegraph, UK – 3/17/17)

White House: No Apology to British Government Over Spying Claims
(CNN – 3/17/17)

Ahead Of House Hearing, Committee Head Says No Evidence Of Collusion Or Wiretapping
(National Public Radio – 3/19/17)

Trump Says Merkel Meeting was ‘Great,’ Then Blasts Germany for NATO Bills
(Los Angeles Times – 3/18/17)

German Defense Ministry Contradicts Trump, Says it Doesn’t Owe U.S. Money for NATO
(Washington Post – 3/19/17)

In One Rocky Week, Trump’s Self-Inflicted Chaos on Vivid Display
(New York Times – 3/18/17)

Other Stories That You Should Know About:

Conflicts of Interest

Kushners Set to Get $400 Million From Chinese Firm on Tower
(Bloomberg – 3/13/17)

Hate Crimes

Temple De Hirsch Sinai Vandalized With Anti-Semitic Graffiti
(KOMO News – 3/10/17)

Internal White House Dynamics

‘People are Scared’: Paranoia Seizes Trump’s White House
(Politico – 3/15/17)

“There was an article that week that talked about how you can surveil people through their phones, through their — certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways. And microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera. We know that is just a fact of modern life.”

– Kellyanne Conway
    Counselor to the President

Keeping Track of the Basics:


Trump’s Mental Health:“The Elephant in the Room”
(MSNBC, 2/23/17)

Ready or Not, Here Come Trump and North Korea
(Bloomberg – 3/19/17)

When the Fire Comes
(Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winning economist, New York Times – 2/10/17)

Alternative Facts from an Alternative Universe

Self-selecting our news sources, a reluctance to hear opposing ideas, and the choice by many of us to surround ourselves only with like-minded individuals has resulted in many Americans becoming oblivious to the beliefs of those with whom they disagree. This bubble helped create the world of “alternative facts” in which Donald Trump could become President.

To counter this, each week I will present a little of what Trump’s supporters are thinking. Their reality may be very different from yours. Please listen/read to the end, and consider what respectful questions you could ask to better understand and have a conversation, rather than seeking to prove them wrong as quickly as possible and shut them down. We can’t change minds if we can’t talk to each other.

Why the Poorest County in West Virginia has Faith in Trump (Video – 10:32)
(The Guardian – 10/13/16)

Cartoons, Images & Videos

Cartoon by Tom Toles, Washington Post:


Source: Unknown


Source: Unknown


Posted by @vicsepulveda


Posted by Occupy Democrats:


Footage of Irish Prime Minister delivering St. Patrick’s Day address calling attention to Trump’s immigration policies as Trump stands feet away from him:

John Oliver of “This Week Tonight” describes the Republican replacement for ObamaCare
(Warning: some profanity)

Posted by US Senator Bernie Sanders:



Source: Unknown



Source: Unknown



Source: Unknown


Source: Unknown


Events & Actions

Two major nationwide protests coming up:

  • Saturday, April 15, 2017: Trump Tax Day Marches nationwide to let President Trump know that it’s not just reporters who care about his undisclosed tax returns – find your nearest march here!
  • Saturday, April 22, 2017: Scientists and people who believe in and support science will be having marches nationwide to encourage the use of science and facts in creating government policy – find your nearest march here!

Resources & Organizations