Sunday, January 22, 2017

Week 57: Alternative Facts (January 22, 2017)

Dear Readers,

Donald Trump has now sworn in as president. Reminder that newsletters and more are always available at

Trump’s Inauguration

This friday, Donald John Trump was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States. His inaugural concert featured such legendary musicians as 3 Doors Down and Toby Keith. An estimated 10,000 people attended, while 400,000 attended Obama’s. Trump’s inaugural address, the shortest since Carter’s in 1977, described the “American carnage” under President Obama and copied a line from a speech by Batman villain Bane. The crowd of about 200,000 people was lower than the average of 692,000 and much lower than Obama’s total of 1.8 million. However, Trump’s Press Secretary Sean Spicer denounced this as a lie, somehow, at a press conference, during which they made no mentions of...
...The millions of people protesting at women’s marches around the country, as the biggest protest in United State history. While Trump later tweeted about it (and contradicted himself), it’s clear where the new administration’s sights are focused - proving they’re the best, not actually addressing the needs of the American people.
Another thing Donald thought it was influential enough to tweet about was the amount of people watching the inauguration on TV - 31 million, he said, better than Obama 2012! News flash, Mr. President - nobody cares about a second inauguration. Less people watched this than watched any president's inauguration in many, many years: more people watched Jimmy Carter in 1977!

Trump’s Cabinet Confirmations

The first two members of Trump’s cabinet were confirmed this friday. General James Mattis was confirmed 98-1 for Sec. of Defense (the lone dissenter was Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and John Kelly (for Homeland Security) was confirmed 88-11, with all eleven dissenters being Democrats. Dates haven’t been set for the rest of the cabinet, but the only ones who I could see possibly being rejected are Tillerson and Mnuchin, so it doesn’t really matter.

Alternative Facts

Remember when I talked about Sean Spicer denouncing the facts about the crowd size? Well, Kellyanne Conway (Trump’s campaign manager/Counselor to the President) had an airtight defense for that:

“You’re saying it’s a falsehood. And Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that,”

Now, enough has been written about this that I don’t need to go into depth, but in English we have a word that means “alternative fact.” It’s called “lie.” The term itself recalls images of 1984, or Stalinist Russia. And the ramifications are very large - if the government has the authority to define facts, then that paves the way for a totalitarian state.

No, Donald, Don’t Take the Oil

While addressing the CIA this week, President Trump repeated a bizarre claim that the US should have stolen Iraqi oil during the Iraq War (which he was opposed to, remember?). Even more troubling, he stated that “OK, maybe we’ll have another chance.” It’s likely for the Iraqi government to see this as a declaration of war, which is bad for obvious reasons. In addition, this entire claim violates international law and makes no sense. He says that if we had taken the oil, ISIS would never have been created, which is obviously false - for starters, ISIS has existed in some form or another since 1999, before the Iraq War.

Donald Trump Will Not Release Tax Returns Ever

Well, of course. Kellyanne Conway has stated that Trump will never release his tax returns - not even an excuse about being under audit (even though that still would fall below Richard Nixon’s ethical standards), just a straight up denial. What does Donald have to hide? Clearly something. For now, we should assume the worst and use that to slander him because that’s exactly what Paul Ryan would be doing to Hillary Clinton right now in an alternate universe, anyway.

This Week In World News

Canada: PM Justin Trudeau is in a huge conflict of interest scandal over a vacation he went on to the island of the Aga Khan, a major Canadian donor and billionaire. It’s not the first time this has happened to a world leader, as Bahamian Prime Minister Earl Deveaux was forced to resign over a similar scandal. On the one hand, Trudeau has a more important job than Deveaux did. On the other hand, the Aga Khan is a family friend of the Trudeaus. It’s unclear how this story will go over.

Thanks for reading! Remain vigilant and keep your eye on the administration, and don’t forget to reply and comment!

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