There’s reportedly an old Chinese curse that your wish for your enemy is that he may live in interesting times. Even if it’s not really an old Chinese curse, it is a nice bit of irony that’s finding a growing application today in President Bannon’s America. One example: more people who were staunch opponents of President George W. Bush, and plenty who thought he was/is an imbecile, are finding themselves agreeing with ol’ Shrub as he grows into his post-Washington wisdom phase. Especially the many folks who read and re-tweeted this short item from New York Magazine.
Effectively dissing Donnie…attaboy, Georgie.
In many parliamentary systems of government there is an official “shadow government” composed of members of the parties not currently in power who are assigned to keep a close eye on the government ministries: it’s done to maintain a watch on the activities of their political opponents and to keep the “outs” ready to assume official roles in case they win the next election. The United States hasn’t had anything quite so formal.
Today I ran across the informal and unofficial shadow government in the U.S. of A., and so can you: @ShadowingTrump is the Twitter home of the Shadow Cabinet that has launched to try to keep America accurately informed in the face of the disinformation, shall we call it, that’s been coming out of the Trump White House and Trump Twitter account, etc.
The first tweet is a fun kickoff…
…the second explains what this group is trying to do…
…and the third announces who they are:
This part answered my first question about them: this is not going to be a home for anonymous sniping at the new president and his government, but one for considered rebuttals from some pretty prestigious folks (assuming you’re into reasonable and verifiable information and opinion, that sort of thing).
There are already a half a dozen posts from members of the advisory board that can give you a taste of what might be found here in the future. I’m going to follow it, and hope it will prove to be worth my time and theirs.
Three weeks in; time to take a breath and assess the new administration in Washington, D.C.
Donald Trump asked Americans to trust him to do what’s right for America; 46% of those who bothered to vote (roughly 27% of Americans who were eligible to vote) took him up on his offer, and that was enough to give him the ticket to the Oval Office. But so far he’s made it plain that he doesn’t respect this country and what it stands for; the only thing he’s interested in is what financially benefits Donald Trump. This is a partial list of some of the fun so far, just off the top of my pointy head:
- the new president tries to make good on a campaign promise to keep Muslims from coming into the country, stabbing at the heart of the great American belief in freedom of religion while playing on the irrational fears of many of the people who elected him…
- and after losing in court, for a second time, his retort is—of course—see you in court
- he succeeded in placing a racist in charge of enforcing civil rights laws…
- an effort highlighted by the Senate voting to silence one of its members when she tried to read into the record a letter that’s already a public document…
- before then allowing at least two other members to go unsanctioned for reading that same document into the record
- a top administration official glibly violates the law but gets just a rap on the knuckles…
- although that shouldn’t be a surprise since the president is happily making a mockery of government ethics by retaining his business interests and turning a profit…
- while the First Lady goes to court seeking damages for not being able to monetize her new position
- the president is still massaging his insatiable ego by repeating the unfounded allegation of a voter fraud that, if true, is so massive as to be unbelievable…
- and making a promise to have his government investigate said claim, a promise that lays dormant (to put in charitably)
- he made good on a promise to nominate a Supreme Court justice from his pre-election list of approved candidates…
- and then by not keeping his Twitter thumb quiet and insulting a judge who had the temerity to disagree with him, Trump forced his high court nominee to blandly chastise his benefactor
Jack Shafer thinks the president of the United States is a child throwing a temper tantrum because he doesn’t get everything he wants; Josh Marshall offers a short list of reminders to help us figure out motivations in the Oval Office; Bill Moyers tries to look past the policies and realize that the chaos which Trump (and President Steve Bannon) are creating is an intentional part of a plan, and Eliot Cohen argues that Trump is behaving exactly as many people (many people) predicted.
Any good news? Yes, there is:
- the judicial system is proving it is not afraid of the new president (unlike damn near every Republican in the House and Senate) and is living up to its responsibility of interpreting the law and acting as a check on the executive (and legislative) branches…
- if new subscription rates are any indication, Americans are being reminded of the value of a free press serving as watchdog and are making their individual contributions to support the effort…
- we have even been able to take a little joy from watching the president’s childish reaction to being criticized. Any president, or anyone who’s ever performed public service at any level, would know to expect disagreement, but this president has apparently lived in a bubble where people do not criticize him, and he doesn’t get it that the world at large doesn’t accept his every utterance as gospel just because he said it. He has no sense of humor about himself, it seems, takes the unimportant stuff way too seriously, and can’t seem to stop himself from feebly trying to parry each thrust from outside the bubble—thank you, Twitter. I giggled when I read that Trump took it out on press secretary Sean Spicer because a woman comedian satirized his briefings on “Saturday Night Live,” so I’m eager to see out how he reacts if it should come to pass that his long-time nemesis Rosie O’Donnell gets a chance to take the role of President Bannon.
What’d I miss? Oh yeah: a New York congressman has “filed a ‘resolution of inquiry’ that amounts to the first legislative step toward impeachment.” And there’s much more. As Crash Davis said to his coach when the coach came to the mound during a game to inquire as to the cause of the delay, “We’re dealing with a lot of shit.” And as my dad would say from time to time, to reinforce that you really didn’t think about what you were doing or saying just then, “How do you like America?”
Posted in American Values, Civil Rights, Elections, Intellectual Dishonesty, Politics
Tagged Bill Moyers, Bull Durham, Crash Davis, Daniel Levine, Donald Trump, Eliot Cohen, GoComics.com, Heavy.com, Huffington Post, IMDB, impeachment, Ivanka Trump, Jack Shafer, Jerrold Nadler, Josh Marshall, Kellyanne Conway, Melania Trump, Michelle Goldberg, Moyers & Company, Neil Gorsuch, Nordstrom's, Norman Solomon, Politico, President Bannon, Rosie O'Donnell, Ruben Bolling, Saturday Night Live, Sean Spicer, Slate, Steve Bannon, Talking Points Memo, The Atlantic, Tom the Dancing Bug, Twitter
Despite the serious nature of some (most?) of the actions taken by our new president in his first week in office, I’ve been pleased to see that everyone hasn’t lost their sense of humor, and of the absurd. I particularly liked this photo, reportedly from an anti-Trump protest in Cardiff, Wales, because of the sign on the far right:
What would move a group of Welsh women to make signs to protest an action of the American president? Well, now we know the answer to that one.
Another I very much enjoyed was this short, simple statement to remind us all just who, perhaps, is really behind what’s coming out of the White House (be sure to check out some of the comments on this one):
And remembering what we’ve learned about the maturity and patience of our narcissistic chief executive, I had an idea:
So whaddya say–how about let’s see if enough social media references to “President Bannon” will have an impact. If you agree that this social science experiment is worth a little effort, try to work the phrase in as much as possible when you post and let’s see if it catches on. This one here should be considered an instant classic of the genre:
Congratulations, Jeff Bagwell: the Houston Astros’ all-time leader in homers and RBIs and chin hair was voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame today, leading the field with more than 86% of the vote on his seventh time around!
I say he deserves it: some of his power numbers don’t reach the level of obvious Hall of Famer, but they’re damn close…but he was also an all-around player, a great fielder and baserunner, and a respected team leader. This Astros fan will be proud to watch him join the best of the best in Cooperstown this summer.