Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Articles and Editorials:


The major pieces of Trump news this week were:

  • Putin’s alleged tactics with Trump are nothing new for the former KGB officer
  • Congressional Budget Office estimates impact of “Repeal and Replace”
  • Worldwide uncertainty about the incoming Administration
  • Trump’s Inauguration
  • Trump Administration argues with press over Inauguration crowd size
  • 2.9 million women respond to Trump’s Inauguration with the largest one-day protest in U.S. history

Prostitutes and Hidden Hotel Cameras Not a New Tactic for Putin

Important video in which MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow walks through the uncanny similarities between how Putin rose to power in Russia and what US intelligence officials believe is credible evidence of alleged Russian “kompromat” on Trump. This Russia expert believes Trump is already being blackmailed by Putin (Full Article – Minnesota Public Radio). The FBI was first informed of Russia’s alleged compromising material in June or July, 2016, by a source whom they deem credible (Full Article – Mother Jones). If true, the allegations dwarf any national security danger posed by Hillary Clinton’s e-mails.

Even without Putin’s likely help in getting Trump elected, a Huffington Post writer lays out the case for a domestic disinformation strategy among Trump associates that helped deliver the needed votes for Trump (Full Article – Huffington Post).


Impact of “Repeal and Replace

The bipartisan Congressional Budget Office has released its report on the likely impact of Republicans’ most recent proposal for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). The verdict: 27 million people without health insurance and skyrocketing premiums for everyone else (Full article – Business Insider).


Uncertainty About Trump is Causing Anxiety for People Across the US and World

Donald Trump’s reactive behavior, which often seems petty, vindictive, and demonstrating a childlike emotional maturity, is causing uncertainty and worry around the country and in other nations (Full Article – New York Times). Some further wonder at the lack of alarm among Trump’s supporters (Full Article – New York Times).

Aside from physical and policy concerns, there is worry about preserving fact and history in order to prevent its distortion or elimination. A couple weeks ago, climate scientists took the unusual step of backing up their data in Canada out of fear that it would be purged by the Trump Administration (Full Article – BBC). A man posted this on Facebook:

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And a woman posted this in response to a blog entry by John Paplovitz:

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Trump’s Inauguration

On Friday, January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. During the Inauguration – an event at which he had hoped to have a showing of tanks and missile launchers  (Full Article – Business Insider) – Trump swore the following Oath of Office: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” (Footage – YouTube). Numerous U.S. Congresspeople chose to boycott the Inauguration (Full Article – CNN), because they believe that he has no intention of living up to that oath.

After being sworn in, President Trump delivered his Inaugural address, which included a harsh criticism of the Obama Administration’s economic stewardship of the country, and a strongly delivered vow that  “this American carnage stops right here and stops right now” (Annotated Full Transcript – New York Times).

 


Trump Administration Uses “Alternative Facts” to Attack Media for Accurately Reporting Inauguration Crowd Size

On Friday, a Time Magazine journalist inaccurately and irresponsibly reported that a bust of Martin Luther King had been removed from the Oval Office. The report was repeated by other news outlets including Huffington Post. On Saturday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press conference to scold the media for that report, and to then go on to scold the media for not reporting that Donald Trump’s Inauguration was the largest Inauguration crowd ever (Full footage – CNBC). Spicer’s claim of crowd size was provably false (Full Article – Fortune Magazine).

Photo published by Fortune Magazine comparing crowd size at 2009 Obama Inauguration and 2017 Trump Inauguration:

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On Sunday (today) MSNBC’s Chuck Todd confronted Kellyanne Conway about Trump’s decision to communicate easily provable and seemingly petty lies to the public for Spicer’s first official interaction with the press. Conway asserted that the Trump Administration merely uses “alternative facts” (Full footage – MSNBC).

All of this sets a worrisome tone for the beginning of the Trump Administration’s relationship with the press, and shows that media must be up to the challenges that they will be presented with in reporting the truth (Full Article – Brookings Institution).


Women’s Marches Set Historic Record in United States and Beyond

On Saturday, 2.9 million women (and men) took part in Women’s Marches in more than 600 cities nationwide. It was the largest one-day protest in U.S. history. Not one person was arrested. Solidarity marches took place in countries around the world (Photos – New York Times) (Photos – Mother Jones).

Some Trump supporters believe that these protesters should just “get over it” like they did when Obama was elected. That assertion may include a bit of revisionist history.

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Cartoons, Images & Videos


Saturday Night Live from 1/21: a message from “Vladimir Putin.”


Cartoon by Michael de Adder, Halifax Chronicle Herald:

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Artwork attributed to Tim O’Brien posted on Boing Boing’s Facebook page:

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Artwork posted by Andrea Levin:

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Photo of Women’s March on Washington posted by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders:

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Women’s March in St. Paul (photo by rob rünt):

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Women’s March in St. Paul –official crowd size estimate: 90,000-100,000 (photo by rob rünt):

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Posted by The Other 98%:

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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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