Day 89: Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln…

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Aside from the fact that Sessions is still dismantling civil rights enforcement and giving local law enforcement the green light to go full Ferguson, that Scott Pruitt is handing the EPA over to industry, that Trump continues issuing sweeping executive orders, that Tillerson is still rattling sabers at North Korea and Iran (despite misplacing an aircraft carrier fleet and actually certifying Iran’s compliance with the Obama Administration’s pact), that Betsy DeVos is trying to privatize education

Aside from all that: noted White House lawn super spy Jason Chaffetz will not run for reelection in 2018, Bill O’Reilly has been fired from Fox News, and Jon Ossoff got pretty darn close to winning the GA special election without a runoff.

Keep an eye out for these other special elections (including Jeff Session’s Senate seat).

Day 88: From the Great State of Iowa

You, sir, are an ass. (office #)

Vox weighs in on the perennial incompetence/malevolence debate firmly, taking a strong stand for idiocracy theory. Matt Yglesias points out that not only has DJ been criminally  ignorant, he’s so dim he doesn’t even know enough to hide his ignorance. He’s in a constant state of shock at how complicated things like health care, foreign policy and macro economics have proven to be. Who knew, right?

Worse yet, even as he seems to be moderating some campaign positions under influence from the slightly less irrational wing of his advisory team, he still displays what we might call a metacognitive deficit–not knowing what he doesn’t know or how to learn it.

Day 87: Show and Tell

Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff (D-CA) made an appearance at the Institute of Politics at U of C today. He’s come into the the limelight lately as Committee Chair Nunes has taken a much needed step back from investigating Trump/Russian collusion/meddling in the 2016 election. While your humble narrator was too late to make the show, my esteemed collaborator (and proof-reader) was able to attend and report back. The Congressman reassured the audience that the investigation has been ‘reset’ after the Nunes affair, and that the Committee has a unique history of bipartisanship.  He was very concerned about the continued capabilities of Russian hackers, and warned they may next time extend their tactics to even more disruptive approaches like forging elements of emails. If you are interested in supporting a thorough investigation be sure and let these Republicans or these Democrats know they are on your mind.

Day 84: Ethical Hinterlands

I guess we now know the location of Sean Spicer’s bridge too far when it comes to completely making shit up. After nearly three months of non-stop prevarication, he’s now making the mea culpa rounds on national TV, after trying to argue that Bashar al-Assad is worse than Hitler because Hitler never gassed his own people. Apparently being a lying ignoramus is fine for most topics, but not this one. If you are keeping track of the far reaches of Spicer’s ethical borderlands (and the offended constituencies that live there), he has also apologized for accusing a British intelligence agency of spying for President Obama.

Days 82-83: Not Quite So Special Election

houusIt was a bad/good news day as Republican Ron Estes won the US House special election in Kansas (53 to 46). The race had become surprisingly competitive in the last few weeks with the wave of Democratic activism. Hope had grown that the seat might be flipped, not only giving Dems another seat, but presumably indicating a more significant turn in next year’s midterm elections. So, no win on that front, but I think we can take heart in the graph above from The NYT. It shows the dramatic shift this vote represents for this historically red district. There are still a few more special elections coming up, here mapped, along with state level races, by another new resistance website called flippable).

 

Day 81: Voltage/Current

The Nation recently offered up a guide to some of the many resistance organizations that have sprung like mushrooms from the shit pile of our current political situation. I’ve mentioned some of the listed projects here before, but it’s still worth reading through to get a sense of the ingenuity people have brought to this new landscape.

Days 78-79: Missile Management

tomahawk

Nothing gets the blood up like a president deploying his hot throbbing Tomahawk cruise missile. Even CNN’s Fareed Zakaria seemed to get all dreamy-eyed over just how presidential Trump’s tone was in his speech justifying the attack.  The New York Times also seemed to be going with the Grinch-growing-a-heart narrative of how the Bulbous Doofus was moved to act after seeing video of suffering Syrian children after Assad’s sarin attack. Malevolent Mastermind Theory would point out that this attack has little chance of changing the overall course of the war (though it could deter further use of sarin, which ain’t nothing), but a much greater chance of accomplishing several political objectives: increase the president’s dismal approval ratings by appearing, you know, potent; counter the Russia collusion narrative by showing that he doesn’t mind pissing off Moscow (as opposed to, say, paying prostitutes to piss in Moscow); and distract from the investigation of that collusion  (as well as other palace intrigue). The conspiratorially minded have suggested that the whole operation could have been a sort of hoax in which the US warns the Russians in time for them to remove their assets, Putin makes a show of outrage, and our miraculous weapons manage to leave the airbase operational anyway. Bumbling Dimwit Theory, on the other hand, would suggest that flipping a major element of your foreign policy because you saw something bad on TV might not be the most prudent approach to governing. The fact that Trump is completely incapable of maintaining a consistent, principled point of view has also come as somewhat of a surprise to his band of rah-rah pundit-trolls like Ann Coulter… “Your winnings, Sir.”

Of course, the irony of attacking an airbase in Syria while denying entry from Syrian refugees is presumably lost on the president. Still, support for refugee advocacy can be an approach we take. In addition to RefugeeOne (which I’ve mentioned before),  here’s Jezebel’s list of organizations that help immigrants and refugees.

Day 77: Another Very Special Election

be040114_custom-021add15dafd8ec07cd08992739eff5cf2c36414-s900-c85This week I sense some desperation to read the 2018 midterm tea leaves as something less apocalyptic than our liberal electoral meltdown last year. The prognostication mostly focuses on the spate of special congressional elections to replace those MoCs that have joined the Trump cabinet. Huffpo for example seems to have a serious case of the vapors over news that the National Republican Congressional Committee is pouring last-minute cash into what should be a lock in a deep red state. I wouldn’t bet my retirement on the gossamer thread of a possibility that Democrat James Thompson would beat the GOP candidate in this district that went for Trump with a 27 point margin, but the party split for early returns indicates an unprecedented Democratic surge in early voting, a category typically dominated by Republicans. Still, we can hope, can’t we? And we can also donate.