That question is becoming more and more acute for the rest of the world, in reference to President Donald Trump versus the rest of the Trump administration. If you were the foreign minister from a country in Europe, for example, would you believe what Trump says about American policy towards Europe and Russia, or would you believe his minions, such as the Vice President Mike Pence or Secretary of State Rex Tillerson? This dilemma could become a sort of low-level ongoing crisis, since Trump's comments are so far removed from what others in his administration are saying. Who are you going to believe? The boss, or the underling who is making much more sense? That's a pretty risky geopolitical gamble to make, no matter which side you choose to believe.
Archive of Articles in the "Elections" Category
There are two things currently happening in the world of Democratic and progressive politics, which are happening independently of each other, for the most part. This weekend, the Democratic National Committee will meet to elect a new chair. Meanwhile, out in the hinterlands, the progressive wave of energy and resistance to Donald Trump and his agenda shows no signs of abating. But I would extend a word of caution to whomever becomes the next D.N.C. chair: Don't attempt to corral or co-opt the burgeoning Indivisible movement -- instead, just do your damnedest to fulfill their expectations.
Since it is Presidents' Day (or whatever else you call today, apostrophized or not), I thought I'd take it easy on our current president, and take a break from the regular ridicule I've been heaping upon him since he was sworn in. Today's supposed to be a noble holiday, after all, so I thought I'd make an extra effort at evenhandedness, and take a look back through history at some of the rocky starts various American presidents have had on the job.
President Donald Trump gave a press conference today, in which he uttered more than one blatant falsehood. The fact-checkers are, once again, going to have to pull an all-nighter just to keep up with them all. But while they're busy disproving the weightier of these lies, I thought I'd concentrate on just the easiest to debunk. Call me lazy if you will, but this one is just so laughably wrong that it would be downright hilarious if it weren't so obvious that Trump has such a deep-seated need to believe in it.
But we digress. Donald Trump's Muslim ban, signed into existence as we were writing last week's column, was certainly the biggest story of the week. Spontaneous protests sprang up at international airports across the country as the chaotic implementation made it plain that this executive order just wasn't thought through all that much. Nobody knew what the order did cover and didn't cover, all the way from White House officials down to the border guards who were expected to somehow implement this vague and badly-defined policy. Clarifications had to be issued on a daily basis. The draft of the order simply did not go through any of the normal vetting channels, with some cabinet-level officials only seeing it hours before it was signed. The Trump administration is now starting to resemble (take your pick) either the gang who couldn't shoot straight or the Keystone Kops.
Momentarily, the Internet is inherently screaming. A whirlwind of events has occurred within the last couple of weeks throughout the U.S. such as the Inauguration of Donald Trump, the Women's March, as well as other protests towards other governmental actions that are currently being put in place. Before I reflect on the Inauguration protest, in which I witnessed both violent and nonviolent action, I want to make it clear that I am a white woman and I am aware of my privilege. With that being said, I also think that as a young adult, and as a woman, it is my duty to participate in the loud, unapologetic statement that millions of Americans are making. Throughout this rollercoaster of events, it made me realize that it's important to be vocal and to stop stooping my views to those that don't necessarily agree with me just to create a rose-colored-glasses kind of unity. There is still so much wrong with the way society views marginalized groups and contentious issues, and along with many, I have chosen not to pretend that it's not a problem. Always fight for what you believe in. So many people contemplate the idea that "protesting does nothing," but I'm here to rebut that and say: "Yes, protesting does do something."
If it weren't such a serious subject, the irony would be downright hilarious. Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tried his hand at being politically correct. Why he did so is a mystery known only to the inner workings of the Trump administration, but the eventual outcome was nothing short of utter failure -- undermined, in the end, by his own boss.
It didn't take Donald Trump long before he had a chance to use his famous catchphrase as president. He has now fired not only the Acting Attorney General, but also a growing number of high-ranking federal employees in a number of departments and agencies (the State Department, and today, the immigration enforcement agency). Whether this is a good thing for the country or even a good thing for Trump politically is debatable, of course. But no matter where you come down on the Trump firings so far, they are not in any way illegal or unconstitutional. The president has wide discretion to fire people, although only down to a certain red line.
We're going to start today with a story that sounds like an urban myth, but actually happened. The state government of Indiana, 120 years ago, was almost taken in by a crank mathematician. He got them to introduce a bill he had written that would have changed state law to state that the value of pi was what he said it was. The language of the bill is inexact at best -- it might better be described as "completely incoherent" -- and actually suggests multiple ways of calculating pi, none of which are correct. The easiest to understand was to calculate it as a ratio of 5/4 to 4, which would give 3.2. The other methods are pretty indecipherable, to be polite.
I should begin today by explaining that that headline comes from a Talking Heads song ("Making Flippy Floppy"), which was written during the years when Ronald Reagan was in the White House. It's kind of a nonsensical song and it's just one throwaway line; it wasn't trying to make some deeper point. Back then, liberals were constantly amused by pronouncements from the Gipper (such as: "trees cause more pollution than automobiles," to give just one hilarious example), so it was a common sentiment among his political opponents.