Politics

TRUMP’S LATEST TWEETS: RHETORIC TOWARDS WOMEN AND THE CONNOTATIONS OF “CRAZY”

Beyond simply ignoring or sidestepping questions about Trump’s Twitter actions, his communications staff, like Sarah Huckabee Sanders and First Lady Melania Trump, are endorsing it.


On Thursday morning, President Trump sent out a series of tweets directed at two of the co-anchors of Morning Joe, the MSNBC morning show, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. In the tweets, he accused the “poorly rated” show of talking badly about him and coming to Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach golf club. In the last tweet, he made a particularly low attack towards Brzezinski, saying that she was “bleeding badly from a face-lift.”

Continue reading

Standard
Politics, Thinkpiece

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

Header Image Source: CNN


Public figures like Caitlyn Jenner and Ivanka Trump are shying away from disclosing their political activities.

While promoting her new book, Secrets of My Life, Caitlyn Jenner sat down with Andy Cohen at Sirius XM Radio for a town hall-style meeting Wednesday, April 26. Jenner made headlines when she came out as transgender in 2015. In their discussion, Cohen steered the conversation towards politics—Jenner is famously a conservative Republican. Jenner said that she had been making trips to Washington, D.C. but that her influence in politics would be private and unseen.

It was a reiteration of the point she made the night before on CNN with Don Lemon. She said that she would not take up President Trump’s offer to go golfing after he revoked the former administration’s protection for transgender students. However, Jenner said she would go golfing with President Trump in private, because if she did it in public, her community would “go nuts” and ostracize her.

Besides the puzzling contradiction of going on public television to say that you will golf with President Trump in private, Jenner’s statement that much of her involvement in politics would be behind closed doors is troubling at best and dangerous at worst.

Jenner is markedly tone-deaf when it comes to issues of LGBTQ equality. On The Ellen Show, she did not express complete support for same-sex marriage, and that it was an issue that she used to be completely against as a self-identified “traditionalist.” Instead, she said that if “the word marriage is so important to you, then I can support that.” She claimed that the hardest part of being a woman was picking out “what to wear.”

These can be dismissed as tragically unfortunate choices of words, but the root of the issue is that Caitlyn Jenner is a person of immense privilege who wants to speak for, represent and negotiate on behalf of arguably the most disenfranchised and least privileged subsection of the U.S. population.

According to a 2016 Reuters article, “almost 60 percent of transgender Americans have avoided using public restrooms for fear of confrontation, saying they have been harassed and assaulted.” According to the Office for Victims of Crime, one in two transgender individuals are sexually abused or assaulted in their lifetime. 13 percent of African-American transgender people surveyed were sexually assaulted in the workplace, and 22 percent of transgender homeless individuals reported assault whilst staying in shelters.

And while Jenner is transgender, it cannot be denied that for 65 years she presented as a white, privileged man. And after she transitioned, she had unfettered access to the best surgeons and doctors, a private Malibu estate for recovery and no monetary restrictions. Some transgender people choose to not go through surgery, but for those that would like to the costs are usually prohibitive.

Jenner has also been largely isolated from the daily discomfort that many queer people experience every day—catcalling, harassment and discrimination. All of these things, combined with her inexperience with politics and her position as a conservative Republican who voted for Trump, make me uncomfortable that she might be the touchstone for Republicans and the representative of the LGBTQ community. That she would do it with no cameras, at private dinners and meetings behind closed doors is even more concerning.

It’s a sentiment echoed by Ivanka Trump in her interview with Gayle King for CBS News. “I don’t think that it will make me a more effective advocate to constantly articulate every issue publicly where I disagree,” she said. “And that’s okay. That means that I’ll take hits from some critics who say that I should take to the street. And then other people will in the long-term respect where I get to. But I think most of the impact I have, over time most people will not actually know about.”

This idea of silent impact does a few things. Firstly, it absolves people like Trump and Jenner from any responsibility. If you don’t know what they’ve done, you can’t blame them. Secondly, it’s impossible to hold them accountable for anything. If they never pledge any sort of action, it’s impossible to keep them in line. Lastly, it’s difficult expect them to operate within a rational, ethical framework because you have no idea what they’re doing.

And lastly, as a person with unparalleled influence and platform, you don’t get to be private. If Ivanka wanted to operate as a private citizen, she shouldn’t have moved to Washington, D.C. and taken a position in her father’s administration. When she made that deal with the devil, she gave up the right to be private. When you’re operating from the most powerful building in the world, the American public deserve to know what you’re up to. If Caitlyn Jenner wanted to remain private, she shouldn’t have dropped the tantalizing tidbits that she was taking meetings in Washington.

You can’t have it both ways. If you want public power, then you don’t get to wield it privately.

Standard
Politics

YES, IVANKA TRUMP IS COMPLICIT

News has broken that Ivanka Trump, the First Daughter with security clearance and an untitled job in the West Wing, met secretly with Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, in what Richards described as an “explainer” meeting. According to Politico, the First Daughter has been doing several of these meetings, having “quietly met with other leaders of the progressive women’s movement.”

 

In a recent interview with Gayle King, Ms. Trump has this to say about her critics: “If being complicit is wanting to, is wanting to be a force of good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit…I don’t know that the critics who may say that of me, if they found themselves in this very unique and unprecedented situation that I am now in, would do any differently than I am doing.”

The “complicit” of it all refers to the Saturday Night Live sketch were Scarlett Johansson played Ivanka in a perfume ad (“Complicit: The fragrance for the woman who could stop all of this—but won’t.”).

Ivanka assured Gayle and the public at large that just because she hasn’t been vocal doesn’t mean she hasn’t been active. “I would say not to conflate lack of public denouncement with silence,” she told King. “I think there are multiple ways to have your voice heard.” And how has Ivanka made her voice heard?

 

Since Trump has been in office, he has rescinded federal protection for transgender students re bathrooms, defended Bill O’Reilly (who is accused by multiple women of sexual harassment), accused President Barack Obama of wiretapping, voiced his support for the American Health Care Act and even tried to dispense with maternity and pediatric care as a bargaining chip, and told Planned Parenthood that he wouldn’t defund them if they stopped performing abortions.

If Ivanka Trump is truly a “moderate” influence on her father, then either she’s doing a horrible job of it, or he’s way more batshit than we think and this is him “moderated.”

Either way, make no mistake—Ivanka is complicit. Because to not be complicit would be to actively speak out for what she believes in. “Complicit” looks like secret meetings with Planned Parenthood or quietly reaching out to women’s movements—when you arguably have one of the biggest platforms in America right now, and unprecedented access to the president and the private sector.

I find issue with organizations like The Hill who tweet out headlines like “Ivanka Trump: “I don’t know what it means to be complicit”.” Yes, that is a quote, but it’s taken out of context. And in addition to being misrepresentative and clickbait-y, it paints Ivanka Trump as an idiot. And the dangerous part—she’s not an idiot. She’s deadly smart. That’s why she’s dangerous: because she’s incredibly smart and savvy and still won’t do anything. In the same way that Kellyanne Conway is portrayed as ditzy—it’s a mistake to underestimate them. Kellyanne Conway is incredibly smart—she was able to see something in Middle America that everyone else, including (and especially) the Clinton campaign, did not.

Don’t let her off the hook because in comparison to everyone else in the White House, she’s moderate and progressive. Because she’s pretty and slim and wealthy and white. Because she’s a “working woman.” She’s not your friend, she’s not my friend. She’s not with us.

Yes, Ivanka Trump is complicit because “quietly” and “secretly” meeting with progressive feminists does not seem to be mitigating her father’s harmful rhetoric and policy. Because when you’re the First Daughter (and de facto First Lady) and your husband is a senior adviser to the President, you don’t get to do anything secretly and quietly. Everything you can be doing needs to be loud and outward. Because while you quietly chat with Cecile Richards, who later blasted Trump on her silence, women are having their bodies debated over by cisgender, privileged white men, and trans kids are holding in their pee to avoid physical assault, and your father is protecting the reputations of those accused of sexual harassment.

If this is your moderating force, it’s not going that well.

Standard
Politics

TRUMP’S 2005 TAX FORMS ON THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW AND WHY THEY’RE IMPORTANT

 

I didn’t watch The Rachel Maddow Show live when it was revealing Trump’s 2005 tax returns—because I don’t have a TV and also I probably wouldn’t have anyway—but I was scrolling through Twitter in the hours before, during and after, and from what I gathered, it was a bit of a letdown. After months of intense wondering about what Trump’s tax returns would reveal, the paltry two-page report from 2005 did not live up to the hype.

Celebrities tweeted that the reveal was unimpressive, and journalist Joe Scarborough suggested that Trump himself could’ve leaked the returns to distract from his current agenda, as well as to silence those still asking for the full receipts. David Cay Johnston, the journalist who first received the 1040, offered up that same theory as one possibility as well.

But just because the 2005 Form 1040 didn’t have any explosive revelations doesn’t mean that it’s not incredibly valuable in understanding Trump’s finances.

Because I care—about our country, and about you—I did some research so you don’t have to. I literally know nothing about tax returns, so I did some digging around to see what the hullabaloo is about.

The 1040 is the basic tax return system, documenting Trump’s annual income, his losses in income, and the amount of money he filed in taxes. Against an income of roughly $153 million, Trump reported $103 million in losses, which according to the Washington Post could include depreciation and sums carried over from previous years, and paid $38 million in taxes.

Here’s where things get interesting. Trump paid that $38 million in taxes because of something called the Alternative Minimum Tax, a parallel tax system that, according to the Wall Street Journal, is “designed to make sure that high-income individuals can’t use legal deductions and credits to avoid all income taxes.”

From what I’m able to understand, the AMT recognizes that, for most people, having roughly 67 percent of your income in loss (the $103 million loss against the $153 million income) would be detrimental. However, the AMT is designed for wealthy individuals, and forces them to pay taxes accordingly. Without the AMT, Trump would, due to his losses, paid a little over $5 million, according to David Cay Johnston—the investigative reporter who first had the tax returns dropped in his mailbox. $5 million is 3.5 percent of Trump’s income, which is less than half of what people who make $33,000 a year pay in taxes.

So the AMT prevented Trump from taking advantage of his losses and paying next-to-nothing (for him) in taxes. And the most interesting part is that Trump proposes to cut the AMT in his upcoming tax plan. Republicans in Congress, like Speaker Paul Ryan, want to get rid of the AMT in their next goal after healthcare. I don’t really understand why they would pursue tax cuts for the extremely wealthy, except that it would be a harkening back to Reaganomics.

In my VERY preliminary research—so if anyone has more information, please let me know—Reagan gave cuts on federal income tax and capital gains tax, along with a decrease in government regulation and government spending, with the idea that—with more capital—companies would invest more money into their spending, their workers and infrastructure. This is also called supply-side economics, which argued that economic growth comes from investing in capital. Reagan was dealing with stagflation, and from what I’m able to understand, his economics brought an end to that recession. And while Reagan saw a decrease in poverty, the level shot up after he left office to higher than before, and Reaganomics—while it did increase GDP—did not benefit the middle class in the way that it promised to. While still impressive, job creation under Reagan was lower than under Clinton and Carter.

But this isn’t an economics class, and even though when I wear a turtleneck and glasses I look like an economics professor who was Seventeen Again-ed, I’m not an economics professor.

 

So let’s focus on why Trump’s tax returns are important, even if they weren’t as flashy as one might’ve hoped. They’re important because they show us his motivation. Trump would’ve saved $33 million if the AMT were eliminated. That’s a pretty impressive amount. And while Trump has already claimed that utilizing tax loopholes makes him very smart, that’s still capital that is being lost in the economy. The GOP says that even with the elimination of the AMT, closing other tax loopholes will make up for that loss. But when we have a president who won’t release his full tax returns, how can we trust anything they say?

Releasing full tax returns would show exactly how much Trump has given to charity (he claims to be very charitable, and giving to charity is a tax write-off), from where he gets his income, and exactly what entities he might be beholden to. Since we don’t know any of this, we don’t know what policies Trump makes that would be beneficial to his benefactors or his businesses. We know nothing. Every presidential candidate since 1976, besides Gerald Ford who only released summary tax data, has released their tax returns. The Clintons have released tax information dating back to the 1970s. It alerts people to possible red flags and conflicts of interest. By withholding his own, Trump is hiding his own possible conflicts.

Johnston, towards the end of his interview with Maddow, said, “I’ve been at this for 50 years…Every time some high-level politician wants to hide something, it always turns out there’s a reason. They’ve got something to hide.”

Standard
LGBTQ, Politics

MEAN

Trans Lifeline

On Wednesday night, the Trump administration withdrew Obama-era advisement that schools that received federal funding allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that corresponds with their gender identity.

The measure was a joint effort by the Departments of Justice and Education, the heads of which are Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary Betsy DeVos, respectively. According to insider Republicans, DeVos was against rescinding Obama’s protections but eventually bowed to the combined pressure of President Trump and Attorney General Sessions.

President Obama made his guidance based on his interpretation of Title IX, which bans discrimination in schools on the basis of sex. In Trump’s letter to federally-funded public schools, there was no new guidance on how to handle the issue but simply stated that there was not “extensive legal analysis” on Obama’s interpretation of Title IX and retracted the advisement.

In a statement, the White House said that the issue should be left at the state-level for decisions. The letter comes weeks before the case of Gavin Grimm, a transgender student from Virginia who was denied access to the boys’ bathroom in his high school and had to use the bathroom in a converted janitor’s closet, would reach the Supreme Court.

As a senator, Jeff Sessions had a record of voting against the expansion of LGBTQ rights. In 2000 and 2002, Sessions voted against including sexual orientation in the definition of hate crimes. In 2006, he voted yes on a constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. DeVos, according to several sources, was privately pro-LGBTQ rights but has not publicly voiced support to avoid going against her family, who have contributed financially to several anti-gay groups.

I had actually written an article about the possibility of Trump rescinding federal protection of transgender students a few hours before the official word came. I looked at the voting records of Sessions and Pence in their political careers. I looked at the promises Trump made during the campaign, saying that he was the LGBTQ community’s best option.

I looked at the effects bathroom bans have on transgender students. According to data, LGBTQ youths are four times more likely than their heterosexual peers to attempt suicide. 40 percent of transgender adults have attempted suicide, and 92 percent have attempted it before the age of 25. According to a survey, when transgender youths are denied access to places like bathrooms and housing, suicide attempts spike. Out of over 1000 youths surveyed for a particular study, a third had been denied access to bathrooms—60.5 percent of those denied access have attempted suicide.

Bathroom bills are purportedly for the safety of cisgender (that is, non-transgender) students. There are no reported instances of any transgender person assaulting a cisgender person in the bathroom. However, over 70 percent of transgender people have experienced being barred from using a bathroom, verbally assaulted or physically assaulted. Transgender students who are denied access to bathrooms that correspond to their gender identities have reported health issues such as kidney infection, dehydration and urinary tract infections. Those health issues can lead to missed classes and days of school.

Villainizing queer people is nothing new. Gay men were characterized as pedophiles, and homosexuality was only declassified as a mental illness from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1973. Prior to 2003, same-sex sexual activity illegal in 14 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and the military.

Rescinding the protection of transgender students goes beyond name-calling or petty villainizing. It condemns them to health problems, physical and verbal assault and suicide. It condemns them to death.

There aren’t many ways I’m able to process this. I can use facts and statistics to paint a picture of why this is wrong. I can look into the voting records of Sessions and Pence and the ilk. I can point to those things and say, “Do you see? Can’t you see?” But this reaches a place deeper down in me, someplace raw and unhealed.

There are no words that encompass the illness roiling around inside me. The abject cruelty. The first time I was called “faggot.” The red heat in my cheeks as I was harassed in my high school locker room. The shoves into the lockers. The cruel, fondling hands. There are no words to describe being treated as subhuman. Because that’s what it comes down to: they don’t see queer people as human. You can’t rationalize it as any other way.

It’s mean. I guess that’s the simplest way I can break it down. The most juvenile, childish word, but the one that makes the most sense. It’s mean. It’s mean because it makes no sense; it comes from no logic, no wisdom, no statistics, no facts. Because if you look at any of those, you would realize that transgender students are amongst the most vulnerable minorities in America. At every turn, they are scorned, harassed and maligned. They are treated as subhuman. We should be offering our protection to them, not protecting against them.

It’s mean because Jeff Sessions doesn’t actually care about protecting cisgender students. He knows that there is no threat that a transgender teen poses when they’re just trying to use the bathroom. But Jeff Sessions wants to curtail the expansion of LGBTQ rights. That’s the logic I can find—in his voting records. In the way he views us. It’s mean because Trump, no matter what he said on the campaign trail, is as bad as Sessions in his ambivalence. And ambivalence is as deadly as hate because it’s still the same victim mangled in the maws of government. It’s still that teen. That teen is who asking nothing more than the barest, most threadbare human dignity.

“These bills are not about bathrooms. They’re about whether trans people have the right to exist in public space.”

-Laverne Cox on her recent CBS This Morning appearance.

Also published on The Buzz website 

Standard
LGBTQ, Politics

ACCORDING TO SOURCES, TRUMP TO RESCIND FEDERAL GUIDANCE ON TRANSGENDER STUDENTS USING BATHROOMS OF THEIR GENDER IDENTITIES

According to reporting done by the New York Times, the Trump administration is drawing up paperwork to rescind former President Obama’s order that transgender students can use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was in opposition to Attorney General Jeff Sessions over the issue of leaving the choice up to the states. However, the Department of Education ruled in 2014 that protecting transgender students falls under Title IX, a federal law that prevents discrimination on the basis of sex.

DeVos, despite her family’s prominent donations to anti-gay organizations, apparently opposed the order. However, President Donald Trump sided with Sessions, who has a history of opposing the expansion of LGBTQ rights, and wanted DeVos to drop her objections.

Apparently there is pressure to move the paperwork along so as to avoid confusion with upcoming cases. The issue comes right before the case of Gavin Grimm, a Virginia boy who is transgender, will be brought to the Supreme Court. Grimm sued his school county when they refused to let him use the boys’ restroom and instead offered him a separate one converted from a janitor’s closet. The Obama White House rejected accommodation like that as unconstitutional and discriminatory.

According to insider Republicans, DeVos was uncomfortable with the idea of revoking protections for transgender students. This is in direct opposition to what Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a White House news conference that DeVos was “100 percent” on board. And apparently privately, according to several sources, DeVos is quietly pro-gay-rights.

This directive needs the joint support of the Education and Justice Department, meaning that Sessions needed DeVos on board to move forward.

According to the website, OnTheIssues.org, Sessions has a history of voting against LGBTQ rights expansion. In 2006, he voted yes on a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, limiting the definition for marriage to between one man and one woman. In 2000 and 2002, he voted against adding sexual orientation to the definition of hate crimes. He was rated 20% by the ACLU, indicating an anti-civil rights voting record, and 0% by the HRC, indicating an anti-gay-rights stance.

On the campaign, Trump was tentatively pro-LGBTQ rights. He said that the issue of same-sex marriage was settled when it was legalized and that he would not go back on that. He famously invited Caitlyn Jenner, transgender former Olympic athlete, to Trump Tower and that she could use whichever bathroom she wanted. In April of 2016, Trump spoke against North Carolina’s bathroom ban, saying that people should use “the bathroom they feel is appropriate.” However, when the Obama administration issued guidance that all transgender students should use the bathrooms corresponding to their gender identities, Trump said that it should be left up to the states.

Vice President Pence, when he was the governor of Indiana, signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which protected business owners who discriminated against LGBTQ people on the basis of religion. Pence was also critical of Obama’s repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” saying without it, the military would be a “backdrop for social experimentation.”

Even if Trump himself doesn’t personally hold any opposition to the expansion of LGBTQ rights, by dropping down the impetus to the states to decide what protections to offer transgender students is deeply troubling. These are children who are just trying to go to school. When transgender students are barred from using the bathrooms that correspond to their gender identities, suicide rates increase and health issues arise—dehydration, kidney infections and urinary tract infections. The health problems alone can lead to missed days of school and increased levels of stress.

That Trump himself doesn’t bear any ill will against the queer community does not translate to protection of LGBTQ rights. He totes himself as “the least anti-Semitic person you’ll ever meet” and “the least racist person you’ll ever meet” but if you’re not taking active steps towards the protections of these marginalized groups, you are in effect leaving them to be crushed under administrative oppression and discrimination.

Standard
Politics

WILL YOU WATCH THE INAUGURATION?

“Will you watch the inauguration?”

It’s a question I’ve posed to friends, a question that’s been rolling around in my head.

There are a lot of people who argue for watching something, anything else. It’s a compelling argument. Bill Scher of the New Republic said that viewing, even tacitly, boosts Trump’s ratings and engorges his influence. It’s a fair argument: Trump’s actions garnered him so much free press through unrelenting media coverage. According to a Nov. 9 CNBC article, Trump’s campaign team spent $238.9 million, compared to Hillary’s $450.6 million.

And so if this was still the campaign, I would agree with the argument of looking away for ratings’ sate. But this isn’t. He will be inaugurated. He will be our president. The Trump presidency looms over all of us with the iron heaviness of a train about to hit. But much like looking away at the train comes near, not watching Trump’s inauguration won’t make his presidency hurt any less.

In a great Vulture piece (@Vulture, hire me), writer Kathryn VanArendonk said that this does not apply to any “puff piece” spun around the Trump family. Feel free to boycott everything else the Trump family has touched.

After the election’s results came out, everyone was in shock. It was palpable in the air, heavy and tumultuous. And so for the next three months, we’re been in a purgatory of pseudo-normality. It’s lulled us back into relative complacency. Not anyone’s fault—because to remain in a continuous state of fear and anxiety is completely destructive. But much like having a bad dream, when we had that respite of waking up, we wanted to sink into that comfort.

But this is like the bad dream of giving a presentation in class—you wake up, sweaty and panicked, having just come from a dream where you forgot your laptop and your pants. You flop back against your pillows, your heartbeat stuttering. It’s just a dream. Your eyes flick to the chair, where your pants are, and your desk, where your laptop charges. It was just a dream. But you still have that scary presentation, so your relief is tainted by the awareness that it is temporary.

I’m going to try to watch the inauguration. I might not be entirely successful, but I want to witness of it as much as possible. For a lot of reasons.

Trump used the media to his advantage. He provided soundbites, he acted the part, he fed the media’s ravenous hunger for “scandal” and “drama.” Don’t let the media filter the inauguration for you. Witness it yourself. For as much as it will be a Roman Triumph of Trump, it will also be a testament to his rampant incompetence. Witness it in its fumbling glory. Don’t take your eyes off him for a second because the moment you do, you allow him to contradict himself and change the narrative. Hold him accountable.

Like the great Oprah once said: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

This incoming administration has shown us who they are. Betsy DeVos had her confirmation hearing without completing an ethics review on how she would avoid conflicts of interest in her business when she came into the position. According to CNN, 14 of the 21 nominees still must have their hearings, and only five of them have finalized their required paperwork. The Senate made a middle-of-the-night movement to begin repealing the Affordable Care Act. Sen. Mitch McConnell painted himself and the GOP as the victim when he said that Democrats said they would block any Trump nominees to the Supreme Court—something the Republicans did just a few months ago, and something the GOP has been doing throughout the entire Obama presidency.

Watch everything. Watch how they address fact that dozens of representatives are boycotting the ceremony. Watch how they introduce Trump. Watch the Women’s March the next day. Watch how the two differ, how from the ground up there is a strength rising that belies the gilded falsities Trump is trying to make us believe.

Watch everything. Witness everything. Don’t let anyone take your right to knowledge away from you. Take it into your own control.

Standard
Politics

PROTECT THE PRESS: SHOW YOUR TEETH

I can’t really write about Russia right now because diving into that is like diving into a swamp (pun intended) wearing a lifejacket made of bricks.

But I watched Kellyanne Conway’s interview with Seth Meyers on Late Night and I saw Donald Trump refuse to answer from CNN’s White House Correspondent, calling CNN “fake news.” First of all, we need to retire that term. “Fake news” refers to legitimately false clickbait news, typically churned out by Facebook, that says things like Hillary Clinton running a sex ring out of a pizza shop. Fake news is a nasty phenomenon, but it is not whenever you don’t agree with the news.

Media is taking a huge hit right now. We’re being called biased, fake, unreliable, vindictive. We are supposed to be the bringers of truth, the backbone of the country, and we’re becoming a target.

Conway was saying in the interview that the media is not giving Trump a fair shake, that we’re taking him at his word when we should be reading his intentions. The problem with that, Kellyanne, is that there is no way of reading his intentions. He has no intentions. He flip-flopped on every issue, lied about things in plain sight, shut out the media, ranted on Twitter, built his campaign on the backs of issues targeting immigrants, Muslims and other minorities.

So if we’re reading his intentions and his words, both have negative implications towards the media, minorities, and America.

In her speech at the Golden Globes, Meryl Streep could’ve thanked her fans and her team, something soft and fluffy. But she didn’t. She said that Hollywood, foreigners and the press belong to the most vilified groups in society right now. She said that disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. She spoke on the handicapped reporter whom Trump made fun of—something he denies ever happened, despite video proof.

The reporter was someone Trump outranked in every capacity. He has a habit of doing that; humiliating someone who cannot fight back properly. He has that—excuse my language—trump card over all of us. He holds the highest position in the country. No one is able to fight back. And so that is why we need the press. We need the press to shine light into dark places, to unveil corruption, to show abuses of power.

“We need the principled press to hold power to account…Join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we’re gonna need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.”

Streep ended with something that Carrie Fisher told her.

“Take your broken heart, make it into art.”

And that’s beautiful and poignant. But there was something that Meryl said that caught my ear. It was when she was discussing the reporter and Trump.

“But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good; there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh, and show their teeth.”

The last three words: “Show their teeth.”

The phrase is an idiom that refers to animals, typically wolves. They bare their teeth when they are angered, when they are showing their true nature.

When they are about to attack.

And even though she said it in connection to the hateful, hating people who laughed with Trump, I can’t help but think of it as something that we—the media, minorities, Americans—need to take onto ourselves.

But animals bare their teeth in other moments, not just attacking. They show their teeth in the defense of something.

Show your teeth.

The media has been under attack for months, but it’s heated up. Trump shut down the CNN reporter, the one person who is allowed access to him. He wouldn’t take his question because he didn’t like CNN. We are being shut out; we are being prevented from doing our jobs.

If the urge in the face of the Trump regime is to normalize him, get on his good side—resist that urge. Don’t normalize. Show your teeth.

We have to be vicious. We have to be fearless. We must continue doggedly in the pursuit of truth. Don’t let yourself be distracted by the petty squabbles he lobs into the media, letting it distract them while he does something even more nefarious. Get angry. Stay angry. Be smart and passionate and educated. Information is not a luxury; it is a necessity.

Show your teeth. Bare them, and don’t back down. Because if we do, everyone suffers. We are the protectors of the truth. Propaganda is a staple in dictatorships; a lack of freedom of the press means that nothing is free. If we don’t have freedom of information, we have nothing.

Do like Meryl; don’t let yourself sit in the softness and sweetness. Push forward; use your voice. Don’t get complacent.

Show your teeth.

Standard
Politics

NASTY WOMEN GET SHIT DONE

Written while being inspired by a Nasty Woman!!! #ImWithHer

I haven’t said it in so many words on this blerg, but if you noticed, I haven’t really talked about the presidential election here. I write about it pretty consistently for The Odyssey, but by and large, I’ve just run out of things to say. Unless I want to pick up a different language, there are only so many ways I can say, “Trump is a horrific bigoted misogynist and why won’t you just vote for Hillary so we can get this over with?”.

But the third and final debate was held last night in Las Vegas—btw, it would’ve made the debate 125% better if they had walked out to Elvis Presley’s “Viva Las Vegas” because some classique Hillary “boogie-ing down” would’ve brought some much-needed levity to what would undoubtedly be 1.5 hours of pain for Trump, and us—and I feel like even though I might not have anything crazy-brilliant to add, I just want to talk about it.

This debate marks the third time that Hillary has won against Trump. Three-for-three, people—mark it down. And this debate, compared to the madness of the first one and the weirdness of the second one, was possibly the most honest I’ve seen both candidates. Trump was in fine form, accusing Clinton of paying people to get into fights at his rallies, accusing her of rigging the election, of controlling the media, of going into abortion clinics dragging almost-to-term pregnant mothers behind her and forcing them to get abortions.

First of all, let me just say this: If Hillary has done all these things—started ISIS, rigged the election, controlled the media—girl, I do not want to get on the wrong side of her. Let her have this election; she’s a certified witch. And I don’t mess with no witches.

But, of course, she has done none of these things. She supports late-term abortions on a case-by-case basis, when the life and health of the mother is at risk. Donald said that he would appoint a Supreme Court Justice to overturn Roe v. Wade. Hillary has not paid people to get violent at Trump’s rallies. Trump has encouraged violence at his rallies. HILLARY DID NOT CREATE ISIS. I REPEAT, HILLARY DID NOT FOUND THE TERRORIST GROUP ISIS.

This debate made it all the clearer that Trump is intensely focused on being nasty, rude and ignorant. When the candidates were asked—in two minutes—to outline their economic policies, Hillary talked about bolstering the middle class, creating a comprehensive education plan, creating larger taxes for the 1%. Trump used the first 1.5 minutes to talk about Japan, China and Saudi Arabia, before briefly mentioning free trade.

Trump kept twisting Hillary’s words. When she mentioned that she was for late-term abortions—with conditions—he said, “Hillary wants to rip your babies out in the ninth month, the day before they’re due.” Which, honey, is basically just a C-Section. So no, Hillary isn’t sacrificing to-term babies to get to the Presidency. When moderator Chris Wallace brought up a paid-for speech Hillary did in which she mentioned “open borders,” Trump jumped on it saying that she would let the borders loose and there would be hell. Hillary gently reminded everyone that the full quote refers to “open borders re clean energy grids.” So, like, remember context maybe??

At this point, I officially don’t care if you think Hillary is a crook or a war criminal or from the goddamn moon. These are the facts: Hillary is wildly competent, wickedly smart, and incredibly savvy. She has thirty years of experience. She is dedicated to her work. She has cohesive plans that she wants to put in place. She has the stamina to withstand having to be in the same room with Donald Trump.

Donald Trump has no plans. He relies on bigotry and violence. He has said that he will “surprise us” on whether or not he will accept the outcome of the election, i.e. he hasn’t decided on whether he is for democracy. He treats women horribly. He is volatile. He has no stamina. He is mean; he is childish. He is a bully.

So stop pretending that both are terrible outcomes. One person might be someone you might not like. But the other person will be horrific for our nation. I’m tired of your bullshit “apolitical” opinions. To not pick a side at this point is to pick the side of Donald Trump. Do you really want to be on that side of history?

I’m a journalist, so I’m supposed to be “impartial” and “unbiased” or whatever. I don’t care. I’m smart; I’ve looked into these issues. That also doesn’t matter. You should know by now who is going to steer our country in a healthy direction.

Stand on the side of that “nasty woman,” who has worked tirelessly, endured your shit and disrespect and judgment for thirty years, all for the love of the country that you so easily disregard while you whine. Imagine that kind of love: the kind of self-sacrificing that Hillary has done, the amount of hours she’s logged, out of a desire to be a public servant. Other opinions aside, you can’t deny that. You can’t deny her deep love and devotion to our country.

I want that kind of perseverance in the Oval Office. I stand with her, fully and forever. I stand behind her, and I’ll follow her, because I trust in the direction that she will take us. Please, join me. Register. Vote. Support. Be passionate. Care.

*****

And to end on a light note, let’s focus on the true leader of America that’s already been crowned.

Standard
Humor, Life, Politics, pop culture, Things Happening RN

THINGS THAT ARE HAPPENING RN: DONALD, OBAMA, AND SHAWN MENDES

Some days I am bursting with ideas, and I feel as if I could write for hours. Other days, I stare out of the window—waiting for my husband to return from war—and just can’t get anything done. I can’t actually tell which type of day this is because all I’ve been doing is watching YouTube videos—so it might be the latter—but I figure that I could comment on things that are already happening, thus cementing my position as someone without any creativity but with a lot to say. People love that, right?

WHAT’S HAPPENING RN:

1). Donald Trump vs the Khans: This is kind of already been discussed, but Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a deceased U.S. soldier, spoke at the DNC against Donald Trump and his treatment of Muslim-Americans. The Khans’ son, Capt. Humayun Khan, was killed in Iraq in 2004. Khizr called The Donald out on his lack of empathy and also his disgraceful conduct. In true Trump fashion, rather than respond gracefully, Donald attacked Ghazala Khan, who did not speak at the convention, implying that, because of Muslim tradition (??) she was not allowed to speak. Ghazala wrote a piece for The Washington Post, saying that she was too overcome with emotion to speak at the DNC and that as a parent, Trump should have had more empathy for someone who has lost a child.

Interestingly, this is one of the few things that is really sticking with Trump. Maybe it’s the combination of misogyny and criticizing a U.S. solider who gave his life for his country and him illustrating exactly what the Khans were talking about, but even some Republicans have criticized him. This, however, has not stopped them from endorsing him, which President Obama completely called them out on.

Obama asked if this is someone that Republican leaders have repeatedly strongly spoken out against, but still continue to endorse, what it said about their party as a whole. Yet again, another reason why Obama is a total rockstar and I am weeping at the thought of him leaving the White House.

2). The Olympics: I’m not like #sporty, so I haven’t been watching the Olympics and I missed the opening ceremonies because I was at a party, but apparently the Olympic Village (which I keep wanting to call “Victor Village” a la Hunger Games) is less than impressive. After maintenance attempted to run a “stress test” to see if the Village could cope with actual Olympians living in it and that test resulted in major issues, some athletes have been relocated to hotels and the US basketball teams are living on a docked cruise ship.

Side bar: They have basketball in the Olympics??

Coupled with the Zika virus issue, this is shaping up to be a little tough for the Olympians. But seriously, they’re all so hot that I doubt any of them have time to do anything other than stare at each other and compete.

3). I had a burger yesterday: I’m writing this on Sunday, and yesterday I went with my best friend and his girlfriend (we are also friends, but I need her to understand her place in the food chain) to this dive near their house and it was so good omg. Sometimes it makes me remember that good food doesn’t need a lot of accoutrements and embellishments. This has been reflected in my style and is also a general theme in my life right now, so I’m glad it’s being reflected in my food. Something great is usually also something simple. Except for me: I’m a complex diamond of a human person.

4). The Cursed Child: The script for the play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” was released in book-form, and I can’t decide whether or not I want to read it. It’s not written by J.K. Rowling (more like J.Slay Rowling amiright ladeez) and I’ve already read all the spoilers—NOT PLEASED—so idk if I should. It’s interesting that this is a year of Harry Potter revival, with The Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts coming out close together. but while Fantastic Beasts doesn’t bother—it won’t affect the original seven books and it gives us a canonized lewk into the American wizarding world (nerdgasm)—The Cursed Child totally bothers me because it RUINS THE EPILOGUE. THINGS AREN’T SUPPOSED TO EXIST PAST THE EPILOGUE.

5). Kylie’s Birthday Surprise: Just shy of her nineteenth birthday, Kylie Jenner released her Birthday Special Surprises for her cosmetics line. An eyeliner—new for her—a new gold metal matte, an entire eyeshadow kit, a new gold gloss, two cream eye shadows, a new matte, and new mini-mattes. She’s, like, a fucking mogul, you guys. Like, we’re all just watching Kylie Jenner take over the world.

Also also also do you think that Kylie will release a highlighter and call it “KyLighter?” Because I might’ve just thought of her newest product. Fucking missed opportunity if she doesn’t, and also a missed opportunity if she doesn’t hire me as Media Consultant/Product Punnist/Thinspirationist.

*****

Shockingly, I don’t have much to say. Well, I have a lot to say, but I don’t know how much of it I can put online without regretting it later. Isn’t it ironic, after all the bullshit I put on this blog, that I have boundaries and standards? I don’t believe it either. Also, like, besides the Olympics—which I’m too busy to watch—and the DNC/RNC—which I’m too dumb to understand—there really hasn’t been much going on. It’s almost Kylie Jenner’s birthday.

Actually omg you know what I have to say? Remember how when everyone was freaking out in anticipation of Kylie Jenner turning eighteen and being #legal?? And it was basically all about how we knew that Tyga and Kylie were together but to avoid the whole “statutory rape” thing, they had to keep it on the DL until she was legal. Ew, I just realized how gross that is, that a 26-year-old left his girlfriend and their son to be with a literal 17-year-old. For some reason, this has made me completely understand Blac Chyna in a way I never did before. My eyes are opened.

Anywayanywayanyway. Well, today is Shawn Mendes’ eighteenth birthday and I feel like it’s a similar thing for the gays that I know. Because he’s literally so hot but I was literally like “Ew he’s literally 17” but now he’s not. This is my Kylie moment. He’s my inspirashawn. OMG THAT’S BRILLIANT I’M A FUCKING POET.

#INSPIRASHAWN

Standard