HYPOCRISY OF TRUMP (Pence Edition)

To begin, here’s the picture that’s been floating around the internet of Hillary Clinton on a plane reading about Mike Pence’s emails.

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As those of us know who have been following the news lately (but frankly, I don’t blame you too much if you aren’t… it’s not for the faint of heart), there have been a couple of scandals already in the Trump Administration. This time, I would like to call attention to our Vice President, Mike Pence, who was recently discovered to be using his private email server to send office emails while he was the governor of Indiana, some of which contained classified information about national security.

Let me repeat that: while serving as the governor of Indiana, Mike Pence used his personal email server to send classified, government emails.

This is EXACTLY what every pro-Trump supporter blamed Hillary Clinton of doing. Because of the hype (and with help from Comrade Putin and FBI director Comey), it cost her the election.[1]

Here’s a quotation from Mike Pence about Clinton and the emails…

“And with regard to classified information, she either knew or should have known that she was placing classified information in a way that exposed it to being hacked and being made available in the public domain even to enemies of this country.” [USA Today]

I have a few questions:

  1. Why was this just brought up NOW?!
  2. Why isn’t the Republican Party calling to “Lock him up!”? (Hint: the patriarchy)
  3. Why are people claiming that this is nothing like the Clinton email scandal? In my eyes, it’s exactly the same. Government secrets are government secrets. If I can hack into a lower level office, I (the hacker) am one step closer to the “big league.

The Trump campaign criticized Clinton not for the express content within the emails (because the content was actually primarily correspondence between Clinton and her personal assistant), or focused on any kind of coverup (as Clinton did not try to cover-up her email usage, as she did not explicitly know that what she was doing was against the law – and furthermore, she took full responsibility and apologized for her actions), but rather, the witch-hunt against Clinton – to use one of Trump’s favorite sayings – was done against her so that Trump could become President.

It. Was. A. SCAM.

Hey Trump supporters? Y’all been duped.

Attacking Hillary Clinton for her emails wasn’t about the emails! It was about the fact that she was a woman, and Donald Trump doesn’t like when women have more chutspa than he does. So he will go to any lengths to bring that woman down. Patriarchy at it’s finest.

Notes:
[1] While there were definitely more factors involved than just the emails, the Clinton campaign openly blamed Comey’s November reopening of the email case for costing Secretary Clinton the election. The case was opened without probable cause, and just days before the election. Furthermore, no new information was dug up, and the FBI came to the same conclusion that it had come to before: that Secretary Clinton had done nothing outside the letter of the law, and that no charges were to be brought up against her. It was a critical time, and it cost.

And here’s a good Politico article that details the course of the investigation and the “rules” Clinton violated.

  • Note how, in the article, they distinctly point out that although using private emails is officially not permitted, ” the State Department’s culture uniquely embraced… employees turning to private emails to conduct business.”)
  • Also note how they clearly mention that because of this common practice, people had actually forgotten (not realized) that it was illegal in the first place. And so the Clinton team did not actively seek to cover any of their tracks – they had no reason to think that they should.

77 (Painful) Minutes of The Donald

As you know (those of you reading this probably wouldn’t be here unless you already knew), a week ago our King President gave his first solo press conference since being inaugurated. After many pauses for my own mental sanity (honestly, how does anyone listen to that whiny voice for longer than 20 minutes at a time??), I finally got through the entire thing. Honestly, I took like three pages of notes, but I just started to get frustrated with everything he was saying. And while there are many things that I learned about the way this man intends to run this country, there is one overarching concern that I can’t seem to shake: the fact that Donald J. Trump is in love with himself.

First, he gave a speech about the “fantastic” things he’s done as President in his less-than-one-month in office, where he bragged about his popularity in the (Rasmussen) polls[1], repeatedly gave passive aggressive swipes at the “dishonest press” and the Democratic Party, and spat out a few straight-up lies, before opening the floor to questions from the Press. It was his responses to these questions that gave me a true insight to who Donald Trump is.

1) He really has no idea what he’s doing/talking about. He knows it, and we know it. So he blames everyone but himself.

The craziest thing was that he seemed to be completely at ease with just flat out lying about things ranging from the “horrible inner cities” to the stipulation that he “inherited a mess” from the Obama administration[2]. And when confronted with the truths – like when Trump claimed that he had the biggest electoral win since Ronald Reagan and was immediately called out on it – he refuses to own his lies, preferring to blame others!

While this conference was initially convened in response to the sudden resignation of Michael Flynn about withholding information from the President and VP about conversations with Russia, he refused to stay on topic. With increasing fervor, he blamed everyone from the Obama administration (lol) to the “dishonest media” for the incidents with Russia (through his adamance that he had/has had no contact with Russia), accusing them of falsifying information because they’re all sore losers… even though there is evidence that he does/has had (indirect) ties to Russia for years.[3] This man would probably say that he believed all illegal immigrants were actually Russian spies, if it made him look good. Now this is a funny analogy (at least I thought was…), but it’s much much less funny when national security is potentially compromised, and people’s livelihoods are being made fun of by someone who thinks he can do their jobs better than they can (when I’m not entirely sure this man can read…).

Here was my favorite instance where he literally had no idea what he was talking about: Uranium. (10 seconds)

Donald Trump has had ample time to google “what does Uranium do?” since he first brought up Clinton’s dealings in uranium, but he seems to think that the only important part of the entire exchange is bashing Hillary Clinton to make himself look big. The point is that he doesn’t care what the truth is, as long as it makes him look good.

Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau up there in Canada can explain quantum computing to a think-tank full of quantum physicists…(worth the 1 min 14 seconds!)

Hey, Canada? Wanna make a trade? It’ll be a terrific trade – the best trade you’ve ever seen in your entire life.

2) He is a bully to those whom he perceives as weaker.

Trump spent the majority of the press conference reminding everyone about how the media is dishonest and doesn’t report on the truth. Not only is this a falsity, but it is just straight up rude: here is the President of the United States standing in front of a room full of reporters – for whom he is there in the first place – telling them that they are “fake” and “dishonest”… meanwhile, he’s standing there, painted orange, having spent every weekend of his presidency up to this point on vacation at his golf course, lying his head off about facts that are easily verifiable with a google search. It’s not only an insult to the Press Corps, but an insult to anyone who possesses a brain and access to the Internet….

I had started my notes on the conference with a list of things to look out for. Because I had read a few articles about the various things he had said at this conference, I wanted to be prepared to find those instances to talk about them in this post! Needless to say, I shouldn’t have been worried. By the third minute, had had already insulted the press and the Democratic Party, and claimed that there’s “never been a presidency that has done so much in such a short period of time.” (Yep. Minute 3, people.) He spends just about the entire conference teasing and goading the press, saying things like this (transcript screenshot below), when reporters try to ask serious questions:screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-7-36-00-pm

As the questions kept coming, Trump was visibly getting more and more frustrated because the press wasn’t asking questions that were going to make him look good. When he felt threatened, he became a bully, often teasing the press about whether or not he was going to let them continue speaking, treating them like school children who were being unfair to him as he demanded that they ask “nice questions.” When they didn’t ask “nice questions,” (questions that he deemed as acceptable because they made him look powerful), he shut them down immediately.

The most despicable instance was when he shut down Jewish reporter, Jake Turx, mid-question, firstly accusing him of lying, and then claiming that his question was not “easy” or “nice.” Turx was trying to address the rising incidents of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic violence that has been occurring throughout our nation, but before he even got to his question, Trump interrupted him and claimed he already knew the reporter was going to ask him if he was anti-Semitic (hint: that’s not what the reporter was asking). He then proceeded to pronounce himself “the least anti-Semitic person you’ve ever seen in your entire life.” Yeah. I’m not making that up. Now not only is this rude, but it is a demonstration that he does not stand for anyone who does not fit his white, Christian view of acceptability. By shutting down this Jewish reporter (who’s New York based magazine catered toward the Orthodox community – a conservative community that has previously supported Trump!) he demonstrates to the nation that he does not believe that Jewish voices deserve to be heard. He shows the people that Jewish voices (and subsequently, other minority voices) are just “complaining” and that they don’t understand him; but most of all, that they are predictably misinformed. In 30 seconds he demonstrates that actions are more powerful than words – he may say he’s not an anti-Semite, but the way he treats the Jewish reporter begs to differ.

3) He is a narcissist – everything is about him, and if it is not he’ll make it so.

I’ve heard a bunch of people talk about how Donald Trump is a misogynist… and while I do believe that to be true, it’s pretty clear to me that he’s a misogynist by default – it’s not just women he hates… he dislikes everyone who’s presence does not benefit him. And you can only be a benefit to him if you are A) successful, and B) respected. Every person he mentioned in that conference, including his daughter and his wife, were accompanied by Trump saying they were “well-respected,” “fantastic,” and/or “successful.” (Also, weird weird weird, that he would call his wife successful, but his daughter “fantastic.” This guy is seriously creepy.)

There were two moments that particularly stuck out in my mind: the instance I mentioned above about the Jewish reporter, and when he asked a black reporter if the Congressional Black Caucus members are “friends of yours,” then asking her if she can set up a meeting. Seriously, you can’t make this shit up! Also, bear in mind, that just 10 minutes earlier, he also said he said that he’s “the least racist person… you’ve ever seen in your entire life.” Again, in this instance, Trump demonstrates – just as he did with the Jewish reporter – that his actions say more about his character than his words. He may say he’s not racist, but he acts upon a racist assumption that this woman of color knows all other people of the same color. How is this racist? Well, this is an assumption about someone purely based on the color of their skin, rather than the quality of their character. Racism at it’s finest.

Moral of the Story:

Trump’s bullying tactics were all based around making himself seem more powerful- bigger. When his masculinity and personhood feels threatened, he blows himself to look bigger than he is, primarily by bringing others down. Someone who bolsters his own self-esteem by belittling others is not someone I want in my life. Someone who puts himself before others, is NOT someone I want as the President of my country.

Notes and Sources

[1] He seems to love the Rasmussen polls because they show him as ahead. However, Rasmussen is not considered to be reliable by most people in the polling industry because of the way that they obtain their information – ie, randomly automated phone calls in 4-hour time periods (seriously, how many 20-somethings actually listen to those random automated calls for more than 3 seconds before hanging up?! Then compare that to your little grandmother who picks up the phone each and every time…) – which gives a bias toward conservative Republican responses. (Description of Rasmussen Polling Here!) No credible news agency uses these polls anymore – they’ve become a kind of joke in the polling and political industry. Super embarrassing that a PRESIDENT would use them.
[2] Ok, this just pisses me off, because it’s arguable that Obama’s greatest gift to Trump was the rising economy (link here!). Unemployment has been halved since Obama took office, and there have been 75 consecutive months of job growth (link here for report) – that’s 6.25 years. Furthermore, he goes onto complain that “ISIS is spreading like cancer – another mess I inherited…” but this is false, because ISIS was beginning to lose hold in Iraq, Syria, and Libya (fact checking story CNBC).

[3] For the Politifact article on the claims of political and business connections between Russia and Donald Trump, check out this article here! (Note: although Politifact plays it safe and says that these are unverifiable claims, it IS verifiable that Russia aided the Republican Party in the election season through hacking and selective release of information – aka, only releasing the Hillary Clinton emails, and not any of the “dirt” on the Republicans they hacked).

⇒ For the transcript I consulted for this article, check out this NY Times article with the video, by clicking here!

THE HYPOCRISY OF TRUMP (Phone Edition)

I’ve looked it up on multiple (reliable) resources, and it seems to be true: Trump is still using his RealDonaldTrump twitter handle, along with the android phone he uses to tweet from. Obama was the first president to have a smartphone, but with that power, came great responsibility. (I had to.) Not only does the phone have do be secured via hardware and software, but everything accessed on the phone needs to be secured as well: twitter, facebook, etc. The @POTUS and @WhiteHouse twitter accounts have undergone that kind of security scrutiny, but it is unclear if Trump’s personal twitter has been secured appropriately.

Luckily, this has not gone completely unnoticed. Senators Tom Carper and Claire McCaskill wrote a letter to the Defense Secretary raising the issue. That letter can be found here. In short, they ask the DOD to look into DT’s usage of his personal twitter handle to issue “statements” that, by law, must go into the presidential record, and more importantly, to check into the usage of his unsecured Android phone (as this poses an obvious security risk, for it’s so easy for a hacker to get into an unsecured phone, and the last thing we want is another WikiLeaks incident where people’s lives are put at risk, or where confidential emails are hacked leading to Russia winning the U.S. Election… but I digress).

Need I mention how one of Trump’s main campaign platforms was on HILLARY CLINTON’S EMAILS? This is just the beginning of the hypocrisy posts about Trump, but I figured I’d start with the most obvious. Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency was ruined because people couldn’t let go of emails (**also because she’s a goddamn woman, but that’s another story altogether), but why is it OK for DT to do it? (***HINT: male superiority).

Call your senators, call your representatives, call SOMEONE. Tell your representatives that Donald Trump is not only risking the security of our nation by using his personal device and personal twitter, but that he is doing exactly what he scolded Hillary Clinton for doing. She owned her mistakes. Don’t count on Trump to acknowledge any of his though… the most we can hope for is to cause enough discord that something is DONE to get him OUT.

So that’s exactly what I’m doing. Causing discord. Faxing Reps. Snail-mailing Reps. Persisting.

“Nevertheless, She Persisted.”

I figured I’d start out this blog by writing about the thing that inspired me to actually put this blog (previously no more than a whimsical thought) into action: the silencing of Elizabeth Warren on the Senate floor.

On Tuesday, February 7, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) stepped onto the Senate floor and began to read a letter penned in 1986 by Coretta Scott King (widow of the Civil Rights legend, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) in which King expresses the opinion that Jeff Sessions has a history of racial discrimination, and thus, should not be “rewarded with a federal judgeship”[1]. However, evoking a rarely used Senate rule to prevent what can be simplified as, “badmouthing your Senate colleagues,” Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, insisted that Warren had violated Rule 19, and thus, was required to sit down.

What is Rule 19? According to Congressional Rules, “no Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.” If he or she is found in violation of any clause of Rule 19, the Senator may be asked to sit down. [2]

By evoking Rule 19, Senator Elizabeth Warren is no longer allowed to speak when the topic of Jeff Sessions is brought up in Senate meetings. From now on, Senator Elizabeth Warren is no longer permitted to speak on the Senate floor “so long as the topic is Senator Jeff Sessions. I’ve been red-carded on Senator Jeff Sessions. I’m out of the game. I don’t get to speak AT ALL,” Warren told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow immediately after the incident [3].

The silencing of Elizabeth Warren – to prevent her from speaking negatively about Sen. Sessions – is as bad as it looks. The Senate, one of the three most elevated levels of authority in American government, has just told this woman, and people everywhere, that her voice is not valid. Actually, to be more accurate, that the voice of Coretta Scott King is not valid, as, after all, Warren was reading King’s words, not her own. When Senate Republicans shut down Sen. Warren, they sent a clear message to the people of the United States: those who speak out against the GOP will be silenced. Dissenters will not be tolerated. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the first step toward fascism in the United States.

Secondly, by silencing Senator Warren, the GOP sent a message that women around the globe are familiar with: women are less valuable than men. For generations, as long as history can recount, women have been told to sit down, shut up, because their voices don’t matter – because they don’t matter. In modern history, where the law demands that women and men are equal, society dictates that women are less equal – and less valuable – than men in equal positions of authority. Elizabeth Warren was silenced and told to sit down and shut her mouth, because the “men” in the room felt threatened by female voices.

I’ve seen people say, “oh, they didn’t censor Sen. Warren because she’s a woman!” To that, I call attention to the three Senators who stood up on Wednesday. Each of these Senators read King’s letter out loud to the Senate – not one of them was silenced. Senators Tom Urdall (D-NM), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and former Democratic nominee, Bernie Sanders (I-VT) were each able to stand in front of their colleges and read King’s rebuke of Jeff Sessions without being interrupted by Republicans. They were each able to read this letter – but Warren was not. The GOP just made this about women.

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted,” Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell said about the incident.

So, McConnell. Can you name these women who were warned, given explanations, and persisted?

womenwhopersisted
Just a few women making their voices heard…

Sources:
[1] Click Here to read the scanned original of King’s letter to Senator Strom Thurmond, opposing the nomination of Jeff Sessions to the federal court.

[2] Click Here to read United States Senate Rule XIX.

[3] Click Here to listen to Maddow’s brief interview with Sen. Warren.

[4] For more information on Fascism and Fascist regimes, check out the Wikipedia page here. For a simple definition on Fascism, just google it (or click here)!

This is What Democracy Looks Like

In an effort to declutter my Facebook and to consolidate my political musings, I set up this nifty blog! As a full time graduate student pursuing two simultaneous Masters’ I’m finding it hard to go out and protest and make my voice heard – as much as I LOVED Marching on Washington on the 21st of January, the workload-catch-up period was rough. So this is how I raise my voice against the current Administration. Just as I’ve been doing like a crazy person on FB, I’ll post my political thoughts on this page. This page will consist of only REAL facts (and some opinions!) – none of that “alternative” crap. Through this blog, I hope to entertain you, to inform you, and maybe even inspire you to pick up your pen (or phone, or feet!) in protest of the backward policies (more consistent with 1950’s America, don’t you think?) that have assumed control of our government.

Here’s my main disclaimer: As a historian of American race relations, I am well aware that the sentiment expressed by our current Administration and its public supporters is not a new phenomenon. You’ll find me saying this again and again. This. Is. Not. New. But it seems that 2017 has emerged as a culmination of all these insecurities that were previously silenced because of, you know, Civil Rights laws. In 2017, racism and sexism and xenophobia have reared their ugly heads again, and this is why I write.

I write to fight the patriarchy. To fight the systems of oppression, just as our Civil Rights heroines and heroes fought for since the beginning of our nation’s creation. To fight FOR the next generation of citizens, both boys and girls and all in between, so that they know they are loved and appreciated. I write and I fight for EQUALITY.

Bring it on, Donald Drumpf. I can’t wait.