As I’ve said over and over, it is critically important that we don’t let our guard down and “get used to” Donald J. Trump being president of the United States.
This situation is not normal, and we must not for a moment act as though it is. We must remember that for 240 years this country had qualified leaders who were, to varying degrees, worthy of our respect. We must keep our expectations high so that, at some point in the not-too-distant future, we can return to normalcy, and get back to being an example for other nations, rather than a country that other countries are embarrassed to be seen with.
Because I believe that, I’m grateful to Amy Siskind, who right after the election started publishing a weekly list of all the things happening that are not normal.
Each week, she kicks off the list with the same headline:
Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
Over the weekend, she posted the list for Week 34. She started this way:
This is arguably the most alarming weekly list so far. A plot that has played out week-by-week as Trump alienated our allies while cozying up to authoritarians, followed by his embarrassing behavior at the NATO and G7 meetings, culminated this week at the G20 with US isolationism. This videohttps://goo.gl/VR1zxi, which traces weekly not normal items, explains why Putin is the winner in this new world alignment.
This week Trump amped-up his assault on the media, including encouraging violence. With this, Trump has distracted the country and media, and taken back the narrative. In the atmosphere of chaos, this week also stands out for the number of important stories that received little or no media coverage.
The list follows. So you’re probably thinking there will be three or four items, with things like the CNN-bashing video and Ivanka taking her Dad’s seat at a summit.
No. There are 96 items on last week’s list, and she’s right: Many of them will have escaped your notice. So those among us who wish to be good, vigilant citizens should probably make a note to check in on her list regularly, in order to stay informed, and avoid complacence.
Here are some of the 96 items. Some of them make note of what is different about things you’ve already heard about. Other items may be new to you:
1. As more and more states refused to comply with what Trump described as his “very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL”, he questioned, “What are they trying to hide?”
9. On Sunday, Trump tweeted a video created by a Reddit user from both his personal account and the official @POTUS account, showing him violently wrestling down a person whose face is the CNN logo.
10. The Reddit user was named “HanAssholeSolo” and his posts were full of anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic and other white supremacists materials.
11. The Reddit user later apologized, but Trump did not. The parents and wife of the CNN reporter who covered the story received around 50 harassing phone calls. Allegedly, CNN did not defend the reporter.
13. Following Trump’s tweet, three media watchdog groups have started to do something they never imagined: documenting violent threats and actions against the media in the US.
14. Maine’s Governor LePage said he makes up stories to mislead the press. LePage also called the media “vile” and “inaccurate.”
18. Maddow reported that TRMS was sent a forged NSA document. Maddow speculated this was an attempt to trick her show into reporting a false story, and hence weakening her credibility and dulling that storyline.
20. POLITICO reported on the Trump regime’s obsessive crackdown on leaks from the intelligence community, which has led to an “increasingly tense and paranoid working environment” in the national security community.
22. NBC reported that in Trump’s first 168 days in office, he spent 50 days at Trump properties and 36 days at Trump golf resorts.
23. NYT reported that while working with industry players, not EPA staff, Pruitt has moved to undo, delay or block 30 environmental rules, a rollback larger in scope than any other in the agency’s 47-year history.
32. Female journalists were banned from the Speaker’s lobby, a room area where reporters speak to members of Congress, because their sleeveless dressed were not viewed as “appropriate attire.”
33. In a 53 page memo to the court, Trump attorney Kasowitz argued for the dismissal of a sexual harassment lawsuit against Trump, claiming Trump cannot be sued in state court while in office.
36. The KKK plans a rally in downtown Charlottesville today, and warned that many of its 80–100 members and supporters will be armed.
40. On July 4, NRP tweeted the Declaration of Independence, and was attacked by Trump supporters who called it “propaganda” and “spam.”
43. While his predecessors Clinton, W. Bush and Obama celebrated July 4th by visiting troops, Trump spent the day on a Trump-branded golf course. McCain, Warren and Graham visited troops in Afghanistan.
44. Despite his recusal, Sessions spoke to Fox & Friends about the Trump-Russia probe, offering advice to Mueller on hiring practices and tempo.
45. WSJ reported the OGE will release an additional two dozen ethics waivers just filed for Trump regime members working on issues they handled in their private-sector jobs. Trump has already granted as many waivers to WH officials as Mr. Obama did in his eight years in office.
47. In a survey of 35k employees in the State Dept and USAID, workers said they were concerned about the future of their agencies and the lack of support from the Trump regime and Tillerson.
50. One of the DOJ’s top corporate crime watchdogs, Hui Chen, resigned, saying holding companies to standards the Trump regime wasn’t living up to was “creating a cognitive dissonance that I could not overcome.”
53. CREW filed an ethics complaint against Kushner, saying he failed to make the required disclosure of his ownership interest in Cadre. The online real estate investment company has a value of $800mm.
58. Matt Tait, who is cited in the WSJ story on possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia on Hillary’s deleted emails, wrote an op-ed, “The Time I Got Recruited to Collude with the Russians,” to tell his story.
63. CNN reported that Russia is stepping up spying efforts in the US post the US elections. Officials cited said Russia feels emboldened by the lack of a significant retaliatory response by Trump and Obama.
71. In their campaign for the upcoming election, Merkel’s party has dropped the reference to the US as a “friend.” Four years ago, her party referred to the US as Germany’s “most important friend” outside of Europe.
73. Pew Research found that 17 of the 19 G20 countries in their survey look to Merkel, not Trump, to lead in world affairs.
74. Guardian reported Trump considered a sneak visit to Downing Street in order to avoid massive UK protests en route to or from the G20 summit. After the story broke, the WH said Trump would not visit.
78. At a news conference in Poland, Trump said he thinks meddling in the US election was done by Russia, but “it could have been other people in other countries” and that “nobody really knows for sure.”
79. Also on his trip to Poland, Trump continued to dismiss and belittle US intelligence, saying, “Do we even have seventeen intelligence agencies?”
82. LA Times reported that in preparing Trump for his meeting with Putin, aids had written a list of “tweet-length sentences,” which summarize the main points.
84. Friday, without provocation or reason, Trump tweeted a random lie about Podesta: “Everyone here is talking about why John Podesta refused to give the DNC server to the FBI and the CIA. Disgraceful!”
85. At the G20, Trump and Putin met for 2:16 hours off-camera, behind closed doors. The meeting was originally scheduled to last 30 minutes.
95. The US abstained from signing onto the G20 communique on climate-related issues, the sole country at the summit to do so.
96. As the summit came to a close, leaders feared for that the G20 summits may be ineffective while Trump is in office. President Macron said, “Our world has never been so divided.”
Yeah, that’s a lot, but I left out some pretty important things as it was…