March 6 – 12, 2017

March 6 – 12, 2017

 


Articles & Editorials:


Main Stories


Russia


Unexpected Deaths of Six Russian Diplomats in Four Months Triggers Conspiracy Theories
(The Independent – 2/27/17)

State Department Bars Release of Russian U.N. Ambassador’s Autopsy
(NBC News – 3/10/17)


Russia Investigation


US Spies Have ‘Considerable Intelligence’ on High-Level Trump-Russia Talks, Claims Ex-NSA Analyst
(The Independent – 3/6/17)

CIA Providing Raw Intelligence as Trump-Russia Probes Heat Up: Congress Has Entered a New Phase in its Investigation
(Politico – 3/7/17)


Trump’s Mental Health


White House Rejects FBI’s Denial of Trump’s Wiretapping Claims
(Huffington Post – 3/6/17)

McCain Calls on Trump to Clarify Wiretapping Claim
(CNN – 3/12/17)


Other Stories That You Should Know About:


Michael Flynn


Michael Flynn Was Paid to Represent Turkey’s Interests During Trump Campaign
(New York Times – 3/10/17)


Preet Bharara


U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara Says He Was Fired After Refusing to Quit
(New York Times – 3/11/17)

After Firing Preet Bharara, President Trump Beware
(CNN – 3/11/17)


Keeping Track of the Basics:


Editorials


Donald Trump’s Wiretap Tweets Raise His Risk of Impeachment
(Chicago Tribune – 3/6/17)

The Trump Experiment May Come to an Early Tipping Point
(E.J. Dionne Jr., New York Times – 3/5/17)

Hey, It’s a Problem the President Believes Things That Aren’t True
(Vice – 3/6/17)

Trump Knows the Feds are Closing in on Him
(Foreign Policy.com – 3/6/17)

How to Escape Your Political Bubble for a Clearer View
(New York Times – 3/3/17)

Believe it or Not, Science Deniers Aren’t Stupid
(Big Think – 1/3/17)

A Philosopher’s 350-Year-Old Trick to Get People to Change Their Minds is Now Backed up by Psychologists
(Quartz – 9/11/16)


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.


Listening to Trump Voters with ACA Coverage: What They Want in a Healthcare Plan
(Kaiser Family Foundation – 2/22/17)


Cartoons, Images & Videos


Chart on Trump’s Russia ties prepared by US Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA)

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Source: Unknown

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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


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday, January 15, 2017

 


 The major Trump news this week was:

  • There will be protests in cities nationwide on Friday and Saturday – to find one near you, click here
  • The public release of a dossier compiled by a former British intelligence officer about incriminating material that Russia has allegedly collected on Mr. Trump
  • FBI Director James Comey reveals a possible double standard in his pre-election handling of incriminating evidence against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
  • Trump’s first press conference in over five months, announcing plans to eliminate his conflicts of interest
  • The confirmation hearings for Trump’s Cabinet picks, many of whom are controversial
  • Washington DC prepares for protests

Articles and Editorials


Russia’s “Kompromat” on Trump

On Tuesday, CNN reported that the CIA’s briefing to Donald Trump and President Obama on Russian hacking included a two-page summary of a dossier compiled by a former British intelligence officer about incriminating financial and personal material that Russia had gathered on Donald Trump over the past five years– material which, if it does exist, Russia could presumably use to blackmail Donald Trump as President (Full Article – CNN). Online news source Buzzfeed later published what they asserted to be the entire contents of the dossier (Full Article and Alleged Dossier), which they admitted that they could not verify as factual.

The former British intelligence officer was initially hired by one of Trump’s Republican primary opponents, and was later paid to continue his work by an anonymous Democrat (Full Article – BBC). The former British spy has since gone into hiding, which MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow speculated Friday was out of fear of experiencing the same kind of high-profile London assassination as other individuals who have angered the Kremlin like Georgi Markov and Alexander Litvinenko.


Comey’s Double Standard?

Shortly before the election, FBI Director James Comey took the unprecedented step of notifying Congress shortly before the election that he had reopened an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. Although he informed Congress immediately before the election that he had again closed the investigation, many Democrats consider his earlier announcement to be a factor in Trump winning the election.

On Friday, January 13, members of Congress were given a classified briefing by Comey and other intelligence officials regarding Russia’s influence on the Presidential election. Although the members of Congress could not elaborate afterward due to the classified nature of what they had been told, many Democrats left the meeting enraged, stating that Comey had lost credibility (Full Article – Huffington Post).


Trump’s Press Conference

On Wednesday, January 11, Donald Trump held his first press conference since July, 2016 (Full Transcript and Video – New York Times). After weeks of vehement denial, Trump admitted during the conference that Russia probably did interfere with the US election which has resulted in his impending Presidency. However, when questioned about the dossier, he angrily denied any truth it, pointing out that the Kremlin had just offered reassurance that they do not have such information (Full Article – Washington Post). It should be noted that such documents and videotapes would be of far more use to Russia after Mr. Trump has been officially sworn into office on Friday, January 20.

At the press conference, Mr. Trump also announced his plans for ensuring that he will put the interests of the American people above those of his businesses. His plan consists largely of turning his businesses over to his sons while he is President, along with an assurance that he and his sons will not discuss the businesses for the duration of his Presidency. Many ethicists believe that this plan does not address conflict of interest issues (Full Article – Tha Atlantic). A true resolution to his conflicts of interests would involve Trump selling his businesses and putting the cash in a blind trust, to be invested in a way that he has no knowledge of during his Presidency.


Confirmation of Trump’s Cabinet Picks

With vetting of most Cabinet members still unfinished, the Senate packed numerous Cabinet confirmation hearings into a very short time period – unusual particularly given how controversial many of Trump’s Cabinet selections are (Schedule and Links to Coverage – Politico). Also unprecedented was the decision by three African American Congressmen to present testimony against their colleague, Senator Jeff Sessions, who has a questionable record on civil rights, but whom Trump has chosen as Attorney General (Full Article – Politico).

Many of Trump’s selections expressed differences of opinion with him on significant issues – building the wall, the Muslim registry, etc. (Full Article – NPR). While this may be reassuring to some, it should also be noted that Trump’s Cabinet picks could simply have made these statements to ensure that they could get through the hearings, fully aware that they can always “change their opinion based on new information” later.


DC Prepares for Conflict

What do you get when put Donald Trump’s most passionate supporters and most passionate protesters together in the same city – in adjacent hotel rooms, eating at the same restaurants, overhearing each other’s conversations, and finally turning out in force in the streets to express themselves? We’re about to find out. Tens of thousands of supporters and protesters are expected to arrive in Washington DC for Trump’s Friday Inauguration Ceremony (Full Article – Politico), with another 1,200 busloads of protesters expected to come to the city for a Women’s March on Washington scheduled for Saturday. (Many cities around the country will also be having local protests on Friday and Women’s Marches on Saturday).


Cartoons, Images & Videos


Cartoon originally published by Norwegian news outlet VG, and falsely rumored to have been banned from Twitter and Facebook:

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Video of Donald Trump playing the accordion posted by Inga Love Belfast:

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Events & Actions


Resources & Organizations