By Doug Porter
Here we are, just over one month into the Presidency of Donald J. Trump, [Insert your favorite descriptive phrase here]. Things aren’t going well for the current administration.
It’s leaking so much that ‘false leaks’ — like the story about the National Guard being mobilized to aid in deportations — are now part of White House strategy designed to portray the press as the “enemy of the American people.”
Based on a misunderstanding of a Fox news show, our government is now at odds with the government of Sweden. Rather than admit the error, the administration is doubling down on it. (If they want to declare war, I’m willing to negotiate terms of surrender!)
Most importantly, resistance against the policies and proposals of the administration and its Republican allies continues to spread.
— West Wing Reports (@WestWingReport) February 20, 2017
The Leaks: Drip, Drip, Drip
Back in the good old days on the campaign trail, Donald Trump simply loved leaked information.
Here’s Paul Waldman at The Week telling us how much Trump loved them:
In the last month of the campaign, he publicly praised WikiLeaks, which was releasing emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Democratic officials, no fewer than 164 times. But now that the leaks are coming from inside his government, he’s changed his tune. “Leaking, and even illegal classified leaking, has been a big problem in Washington for years,” he tweeted. “Failing @nytimes (and others) must apologize!”
The president assumes much of the leaked information is coming from disgruntled employees in the intelligence community. In fact, it’s coming from everywhere.
That’s just part of Trump’s leak problem. Even more acute for him is all the leaks coming from his White House, which is a direct consequence of the chaotic situation he has created. Not only did Trump have no experience in government, most of his inner circle didn’t either. The result is a West Wing beset by inefficiency, unclear lines of authority, and factional infighting. The more unsettled that atmosphere is, the higher the incentives everyone has to use the media to press their own advantage, whether it’s about pushing out a rival or elevating their policy priorities.
And there may never have been a White House that started off not just leaking so much, but leaking so much that was so unflattering to the president. White House leaks have portrayed him as ignorant, confused, and erratic — and those are coming from the people he hired.
Tragedy in Sweden: Almost as Big as Bowling Green
Surrounded by sycophants, haunted by images of mass protests, and limited to media appearances to communicate, the President took off for Melbourne, Florida to hold a rally, the first of his 2020 re-election campaign. That’s right folks, he’s running for a second term already.
From Mother Jones:
On Saturday, just one month into his presidency, President Donald Trump held the first rally of his 2020 presidential campaign.
Trump was introduced by several Florida congressmen before making a dramatic entrance. To the soundtrack of the movie Air Force One, the presidential aircraft pulled into the airplane hangar where the rally was being held. Earlier this week, the White House said in a statement that they would not use the plane in the background as a prop, something Trump did often during the campaign with his own airplane.
In addition to pushing his themes about ‘Fake News’ pushed by a ‘Dishonest Media.’ the president took the opportunity to gin up fear of immigration with a ham-handed regurgitation of an already factually challenged Fox News story about Sweden.
“You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden,” Trump said. “Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.”
Many observers assumed he was referencing an imaginary terrorist attack.
Trump is so eager for a terrorist attack to politically exploit for his agenda that he keeps making them up.
— Murtaza Hussain (@MazMHussain) February 19, 2017
The Fox News story at the heart of the president’s claim was actually more along the lines of a made-up immigrant-fueled (based on the testimony of a law enforcement officer investigated for hate-crimes) crime wave in the Scandinavian country.
According to government figures (thru 2015, the last year complete figures are available), there’s been no increase in murders/rapes in last 8 years of available stats in Sweden. That hasn’t stopped various right-wing ‘news’ organizations from running stories suggesting imagery of (white) women being brutally attacked by (brown) immigrants.
From New York Magazine:
Sweden, which admitted more refugees per capita in 2016 than any other country in Europe, has not suffered an Islamist-inspired terrorist attack since 2010, years before Europe’s migrant crisis began. All told, the country of 9.5 million has accepted more than 250,000 asylum seekers since 2014, including many from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. There have certainly been problems resulting from the influx of refugees, but also some economic benefits. The alleged crime wave at the center of the Tucker Carlson segment, which has been frequently cited by right-wing news sites, seems greatly exaggerated at best, and a conspiracy theory at worst. Last May, the Globe and Mail’s Doug Sanders dug into the crime-wave claims, and discovered a much more complicated picture than any anti-immigrant Facebook posts would ever admit…
In fact there has been one area that has seen a significant spike in recent months: hate crimes motivated by Islamophobia.
Nationwide Protests Continue
Locally and around the nation, demonstrations and political actions covering a multitude of issues related to the policies of the administration continue unabated.
Several thousand people rallied at the San Diego County Administration Building on Saturday, and marched through downtown, stopping at the Federal Courthouse and City Hall in solidarity with immigrants and refugees. (See additional coverage here.)
In New York and Los Angeles, there were also protests over the weekend focused on the administration’s immigration policies.
New Yorkers by the thousand, representing myriad backgrounds and faiths, converged on Times Square on Sunday, heeding a music mogul’s calls to let Muslims know their fellow Americans stood by them.
The demonstrators —
many of them hoisting placards featuring a woman in an American flag hijab with the caption “we the people are greater than fear” — gathered at one of the world’s most famous public places to denounce what they see as threats and pressure aimed at Muslim communities.
The rally, dubbed “Today I am a Muslim Too,” was billed on social media as “a day of solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters in reaction to the vicious attacks by (President Donald Trump).”
Missing in Action: Darrell Issa and Duncan Hunter
There are a half-dozen rallies and protests aimed at congressional representatives in San Diego this week. (See our Protest Calendar for details).
Of particular importance are efforts targeting local GOP flat-earthers, Darrell Issa and Duncan Hunter. In addition to picket lines at offices in El Cajon, Temecula. and Vista, there is a town hall sans Issa on Tuesday and a “Where’s Duncan?” rally on Thursday.
Issa is having nothing to do with it. From the Union-Tribune:
In San Diego County, the focus on Issa has been especially pointed — hundreds of people have protested weekly outside his office, and have organized their own town hall in Vista set for Tuesday night, raising $6,000 for a full-page newspaper ad urging Issa to be there.
Issa spokesman Calvin Moore said Wednesday the congressman is busy that night with a “long-standing obligation” to tour a local homeless shelter. He said Issa held a recent telephonic town hall that drew 6,000 participants and that he’s planning another one later this month, but no large in-person forums are planned in the 49th district in the near future.
Protesters say the phone meetings are ineffective, and that a face-to-face gathering is the best way for Issa to gauge what’s important to his constituents.
This is part of a nationwide push against Republican schemes to derail health care reform in the congress this year.
From Joan McCarter at Daily Kos:
It’s the first long “district work period”—recess in less euphemistic terms—for Congress, the first chance they have to come back home and face constituents after a month of this new, disastrous Trump administration. In a reflection of just how bad things are going, more than 200 Republicans are hiding out this week, refusing to meet with their voters, and it’s largely because of Obamacare. Because even if they’re unwilling to look voters in the face when they tell them they want to take their health care away they’re feeling the heat.
Charles Gaba at the ACA Signups blog has done a great job of breaking down the impact by congressional district of both total and partial healthcare reform repeal schemes currently being floated.
We’re lucky: it turns out that California is one of the few states where partial repeal hurts less people than total repeal. Having said that, the local numbers are just sad, as the snippet below indicates.
Looking for some action? Check out the Weekly Progressive Calendar, published every Friday in this space, featuring Demonstrations, Rallies, Teach-ins, Meet Ups and other opportunities to get your activism on.
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