As the 2016 campaigns went along, performing their roadshow antics all across the country, I felt a lot of frustration. When the conventions were over, I thought the circus would ‘leave town’. Of course it didn’t – it just shifted into high gear.
I increasingly needed to get my thoughts out on what I was seeing. Every 4 years we say it can’t possibly get worse and every 4 years, it seems, we’re proven wrong.
It’s now been one week since Donald Trump was inaugurates as our 45th President. I can’t even pick on something he’s done that I don’t like because there has been so much… The circus may have ended it’s road show, but it’s put down roots and is being run form the Oval Office.
This is a summary of this past, crazy, hard-to-believe week…
Thursday, January 19
It started even before it started. The night before his inauguration, Trump said he was going to cut funding for seventeen federal agencies. The link takes you to a list of those agencies, what they do, and what they cost the average American.
Friday, January 20
Who knew the Big Story coming out of today would NOT be THAT we swore in a new President, but that the size of the crowd would be the issue? The National Parks Service re-tweeted pictures comparing Trump’s crowd to Obama’s and they ended up being deleted with gag orders apparently being issued. That might not have been so bad had it not been for Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisting that Trump’s inauguration was the most ‘seen’ ever – despite all the hard evidence to the contrary. Spicer seemed to start his job off by doing his best Baghdad Bob impression.
Tucked away behind that noise were some more important items that have already been almost forgotten. Trump’s inauguration speech said that he was going to be for American’s first and that power was returning to the people. His first executive order, however, was to start targeting the ACA (Affordable Care Act – aka Obamacare) for elimination, therein taking away health insurance from up to 30 million people (between the mandates and the Medicare/Medicaid expansion).
His second act didn’t deviate from that path. He cancelled a planned rate reduction in mortgage insurance on FHA mortgages that will affect some 750,000 homeowners, costing them more money each month. It’s estimated that up to 40,000 buyers will now fail to qualify for their mortgages.
Saturday, January 21
Today was the Women’s March. The crowds dwarfed those from the previous day’s inauguration. One of my daughters made the trip from Philadelphia. I was quite proud of her. Trump, on the other hand, seemed a bit miffed as he sent Sean Spicer out to complain about media coverage.
Trump also went to Langley to give a self-congratulatory speech to the CIA (which he compared to Nazi Germany) and, just for good measure, brought his own people to applaud for him. The actual people IN the CIA, however, might not feel like applauding.
Sunday, January 22
Sundays should be quiet, right? Well, Trump’s senior counselor, Kelly Anne Conway, introduced us to the concept of “alternative facts”. Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up.
Monday, January 23
Trump actually did something I liked. He signed an executive order withdrawing us from the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership – a trade agreement that appeared to be a corporate sellout). So that was something good, right? Maybe the last couple of days were an aberration?
Not so fast…
He signed another executive order reinstating the ‘Mexico City’ rule which basically cuts funding to any foreign organization that so much as TALK about abortion. This may be more Mike Pence talking than Donald Trump.
Another executive order instituted a federal hiring freeze. …but hired his son-in-law. Oh, and it freezes wages for federal employees as well. …again. This is the fourth or fifth freeze in my memory.
And, just for good measure, later in the day, he repeated his voter-fraud lie when he met with Republicans. Who was it who coined the term about repeating a lie to make it seem like the truth? …called it “The Big Lie”
Umm.. How long ago was it when the Republicans were complaining about executive orders being ‘overreach’?
Tuesday, January 24
If you thought yesterday was bad, today would be even worse.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer doubled-down on the claim that Trump’s inauguration was the most-watched. This, right after he claimed he would never knowingly lie.
Then word leaked out that Trump declared his inauguration as a “National Day of Patriotic Devotion”. The mind just boggles at that. But, then, this is the guy who redecorated the Oval Office in gold. When I looked up information about that, I was rather surprised. A pro-Trump website said the office was decorated with brand new curtains. Shortly thereafter, TMZ discovered they were Clinton’s. Me? I think they look like Obama’s “Muslim Prayer Curtain” that turned out to be another bogus meme.
That wasn’t the only executive order he signed. He signed five, altogether that covered clearing the way for progress on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, making sure they’re built with American materials. In addition, it appears that proper public review of infrastructure projects may be in danger with two orders signed – one to reduce the ‘burden’ of regulations and expedite energy and infrastructure projects , the other to cut environmental reviews and speed up approval of ‘High Priority” infrastructure projects.
It started to sound even more like 1984 when a net-neutrality foe was named FCC chairman, the EPA was hit with a gag order and journalists got hit with felony charges for covering protests!
The ripples from Trump being in power continued to be felt – because it’s not just Trump, but what he inspires in others and how they now feel emboldened to act… South Dakota’s GOP will declare a State of Emergency so as to repeal a voter-approved ethics bill, Minnesota’s House just passed a bill that allows insurance to skip covering common procedures – and look at the list – #1 is maternity benefits! They can refuse to cover your pregnancy – and if they do cover it, they can refuse it if you’re unmarried!!!
Wednesday, January 25
By the end of this day, Slate seems to have had the same idea I have about trying to summarize events as they unfold in Trumpistan. This article contains details on the following:
- Trump calling for a major investigation into nonexistent voter fraud.
- Trump directing the DHS to build ‘the wall’.
- Trump will have us start publishing a weekly list of aliens who commit crimes.
- A start to referring to human beings as “removable aliens” because of the creation of the “Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens”
- Trump is preparing a draft of “Auditing and Reducing U.S. Funding of International Organizations” – meaning cutting aid to refugees through the United Nations.
- Trump signed an executive order specifying a “Moratorium on New Multilateral Treaties”. In their mind, treaties are between two nations and that’s it.
- Trump announced that refugees aren’t welcome – especially Muslims and woe be to any city that believes otherwise.
- Trump plans to let a law lapse that allows illegal immigrants who were brought here as children to stay. No “DREAM” for you.
- Oh, and not for nothing, Trump signed an executive order authorizing torture and reopening CIA “black sites”.
And as if that wasn’t bad enough, how about this blast from the (not so distant) past? It turns out that Reince Priebus, Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner, Sean Spicer and Steve Bannon are all using a private email server (rnchq.org). This is the same organization that “lost” 22 million emails but got NO investigations from the House of Representatives.
We also learned that Lamar Smith (R-TX) said we should get our ‘unvarnished’ news from Trump himself. This dovetails with Spicer’s “alternative facts” quite well.
President Trump also want to enlist local law enforcement for immigration duties. Can anyone say “Your papers, please?”
…and, because, what’s a news day without government censorship, the White House directed the USDA and EPA to shut up. All communications will now be vetted through the White House.
Thursday, January 26
We start off with a swath of senior management resigning en mass from the State Department. It’s not like there’s any analog in the private sector form which you can draw upon to replace the experience that just took a hike.
Then we go on to the proposed 20% import duty on Mexican goods. This is supposed to pay for the wall. Then there’s some backpedaling because people start to notice that it would be AMERICANS paying the tax – just like how Trump asked Congress for tax money to build the wall…
But, most incredulous of all, Trump’s chief strategist, Steven Bannon (the guy from Breitbart) says the media should just ‘shut up and listen’. I wonder how he would have reacted if Obama said that to Breitbart…
And, in a measure that should surprise nobody by now, we were downgraded from a ‘Full Democracy’ to a ‘Flawed Democracy’. What with gerrymandering, a President who lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million and a House of Representatives having a party with a commanding lead that also got fewer votes – it’s no surprise…
….and that’s just the first week.