An exercise. These are bizarre unconventional times, with an avalanche of trumpeting tweets, executive orders trouncing over diplomatic politics, alternative facts which don’t matter – or do they?, no time to draw breath, let alone digest, assimilate, protest, as the next arrow arrives. Effective strategy? Action of a sane man? Protectionism gone rampant? Uncomfortably similar to Hitler and rise of Nazi Germany (I think of Sugata expelled from Sweden as a retaliation to Hilter expelling foreign nationals in Germany in order to make Germany Great Again)?
Saturday Jan 21 – Crowd numbers and Climate change off
The major issue for discussion was the contradiction on crowd sizes, Obama v Trump.
Meanwhile there was a Woman’s March on Washington, which drew hundreds of thousands around the world all the way to the Arctic
Web site altered – Climate Change disappears, as does Environmental Protection
Sunday, Jan. 22 – Alternative Facts
Trumps spokespersons doubled down on false claims about crowd size and more. Trump counsellor Kellyanne Conway argued on NBC’s Meet the Press that Spicer had simply provided ‘Alternative Facts’ when making his arguments
Monday, Jan. 23 – Executive Orders begin
Just hours after taking the Oath of Office and before heading out to his inauguration balls, Mr Trump signed an executive order on the Affordable Care Act that directed government departments to scale back as many aspects of the Affordable Care Act as possible. During his campaign he described Mr Obama’s signature policy, that provided healthcare for 20 million previously uninsured Americans, as a disaster.
Trump’s second executive order reinstated the “Mexico City” policy, a global gag rule prohibiting international nongovernmental organizations that provide or talk about abortion services from receiving federal funding. Obama had ended the ban in 2009.
Trump’s third executive order that day instituted a federal hiring freeze on all except for the military.
Trump’s forth executive order was a withdrawl from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, an action which he described as “great thing for the American worker”. Since the United States alone is responsible for almost 60 per cent of combined TPP nation GDP, this is almost certainly the end of the TPP in its current form.
Numbers continue to rattle: Trump claimed that between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes cast in the 2016 election caused him to lose the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.
Meanwhile, Spicer re-itterated the numbers insisting that Trump’s was the most-watched inauguration ever, though given difficulty in counting streaming numbers, that’s hard to back up.
Phew, end of first day
Tuesday, Jan. 24 – re-instated Dakota Access pipeline
Trump approved construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, which had both been stopped during the Obama administration amid outcry from environmental groups. Trump promised to curb regulations on US industry, saying environmentalism had grown “out of control”.
Meanwhile Spicer repeated Trump’s unfounded assertions that there was widespread voter fraud during the U.S. elections but provided no further proof of why the president believed that.
Wednesday, Jan. 25 – keep out Mexicans and Syrians
Trump’s executive order of the day was ordering the U.S. government to begin construction of a wall along the Southern border with Mexico. He asserted that while the U.S. government would have to front the money, Mexico would pay it back through an aggressive 20 per cent tax on all its exports to the United States. (Mexican leaders have said they will not.)
Trump directed the Homeland Security and Justice departments to withhold federal funds from Sanctuary Cities.
In his first interview as president, Trump railed against voter fraud. “You have people that are registered who are dead, who are illegals, who are in two states. You have people registered in two states. They’re registered in a New York and a New Jersey. They vote twice. There are millions of votes, in my opinion,” he told ABC’s David Muir. No evidence of such.
On torture Mr Trump announced that he “absolutely” believed torture worked and that the US should “fight fire with fire”.
Thursday, Jan. 26 – views
Trump addressing Congress promised Obamacare repeal, to crack down on violent crime, and touting his executive actions on immigration and trade.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto canceled a planned trip to the U.S.
Trump gave his second interview, to a friendly source, Fox News’ Sean Hannity, boasting of his crowd sizes during his inauguration and talked about the (still unproven) allegations that there were millions of illegal votes cast in November.
He also told Hannity he continues to believe waterboarding works, wanting to bring it back although it is outlawed in the U.S. as torture. His new defense secretary, retired Gen. James Mattis, has said he does not believe waterboarding is effective and has reiterated it is illegal, as have top GOP congressional leaders such as Speaker Paul Ryan.
Mr Spicer announced on Thursday that Mr Trump will sign an executive action to commission an investigation into widespread voter fraud, raising the prospect of a federal government probe into a widely debunked claim and sparking alarm among experts and Democrats.
Friday, Jan. 27 – Banning the Seven Muslim countries
Executive order blocking travellers from seven countries, all of which are Muslim-majority — Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia — from entering the U.S. for 90 days. New refugee admissions are suspended for 120 days, while Syrian refugees are banned indefinitely (except minorities, ie Christians). Confusion at airports. Protests began at airports as travellers were detained.
Theresa May, first foreign visitor. At a joint news conference, May said Trump had reaffirmed his support for NATO — questioned by Trump in the past.
Saturday, Jan. 28 – Bannon
Protests continued at airports across the country amid confusion over Trump’s travel ban. Immigration attorneys began offering their services pro bono.
Trump reshuffled the National Security Council, elevating controversial chief strategist Steve Bannon to be a permanent member of the Principals Committee. The director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who are typically permanent members, will now only attend when pertinent issues are being discussed.
Trump called several foreign leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin. He also had a tense call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the two clashed on the Obama administration’s deal to accept refugees from the country.
Trump signed several executive orders — an ethics order banning administration appointees from ever lobbying foreign governments and from federal lobbying for five years after they leave office. He also directed the administration to develop a “comprehensive plan to defeat ISIS.”
Sunday, Jan. 29
A U.S. Navy SEAL was during a raid in Yemen targeting al-Qaida militants, the first military casualty of Trump’s administration. Later in the week, over how the operation — which also is believed to have killed several civilians — was carried out.
Air port protests continue
END OF FIRST WEEK
Monday, Jan. 30 First head rolled
Trump fired Attorney General Sally Yates after she announced she would direct Justice Department lawyers not to defend Trump’s travel ban.
More Republicans continued to speak out against Trump’s travel ban, voicing concern over its implementation. Obama broke his silence since leaving office, saying through a spokesman that “American values are at stake.”
Trump singed an that says for every regulation the executive branch proposes, two others must be repealed.
Tuesday, Jan. 31 – Supreme Court Neil Gorsuch
Trump nominated federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court seat. Conservatives praised his pick, which was a major campaign issue after Senate Republicans refused to take up former President Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland.
Wednesday, Feb. 1
National Security Adviser Michael Flynn made a surprise appearance at the daily press briefing to announce that the Trump administration was putting Iran “on notice” after the country conducted a ballistic missile test.
Trump and daughter Ivanka travelled to Dover Air Force Base for the return to the U.S. of the remains of Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens, who was killed over the weekend in the Yemen raid.
During a call with Mexican President Nieto last week, Trump threatened to send in the U.S. military to stop the “bad hombres down there.” Mexico denied the remarks.
Thursday, Feb. 2 – Church and State linked and low brow reality show antics
Celebrity Apprentice creator Mark Burnett introduced Trump at the annual National Prayer Breakfast. During his remarks Trump called out the low ratings of the NBC reality show he once hosted and criticized the new host, action star and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. “And I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings, OK,” the president said.
Trump pledged to repeal the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits tax-exempt groups, including religious ones, from wading into politics. Separation of Church and State bluring.
Friday, Feb. 3 – the Seattle challenge and Dodd Frank revoked
At last – a federal judge in Seattle temporarily halted Trump’s executive order on immigration and travel from some Muslim-majority countries.
New sanctions were announced against Iran.
Trump signed two executive orders directing the review of the Dodd-Frank financial regulations and halting implementation of another federal rule that mandates financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients. Reverse or revise financial regulations put in place by the Obama administration and seen by Trump and his advisers as onerous and ineffective.
The president of the nonprofit Wall Street watchdog Better Markets issued a statement blasting Friday’s actions.
“The American people trusted candidate Trump when he said he was going to protect them from Wall Street’s recklessness, but President Trump has betrayed that trust,” Dennis Kelleher’s statement says. “He is unleashing Wall Street on Main Street, which is exactly what the financial protections of Dodd Frank were put in place to prevent.”
A second directive would call on the Department of Labor to defer implementation of an Obama-era rule, known as the Fiduciary Rule requiring financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients in retirement planning.
“Dodd-Frank is a disaster,” Trump said. “We’re going to be doing a big number on Dodd-Frank.”
Saturday, Feb. 4
Airlines resumed allowing travellers once affected by Trump’s travel ban to come to the U.S.
Trump tweeted “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” Because of the “terrible decision,many very bad and dangerous people may be pouring into our country.”
Meanwhile Orwell and Arendt
Meanwhile – George Orwell’s 1984 novel about a dystopian future under an authoritarian regime is back as a bestseller and being reprinted decades after it was written. Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism, became popular again.