Day 26: Russia Trouble

It’s starting to look like Trump and his ilk were far more deeply entangled with Russia than just the Michael Flynn fiasco. Now, to be fair, that’s something we’ve already kind of known for awhile, but in the wake of Flynn’s exposure the evidence against Trump being cozy with Russia and Russian intelligence before the election even is starting to stack up.

For those just tuning in or waking up and realizing that they made a massive mistake voting for Trump, Russia carried out cyber attacks related to the election. These attacks were targeted against Hillary Clinton and the DNC. As a part of the investigation into these attacks investigators are finding contact between Trump associates and Russian intelligence. During the campaign. Before the election. It is entirely possible that Trump’s people may have participated and colluded with the Russians in an attempt to influence the election. It’s also possible that it’s all a really messed up coincidence, but at any distance this is bad. Russia is not an American friend. I grew up at the end of the Cold War. I had a college friend who had horror stories about growing up in the USSR. If Trump is playing in Russian interests he’s not working towards ours. And he’s the President. Our interests are all he should care about.

It will be interesting to see how this house of cards falls.

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Day 25: Mr. Miller, the President’s authority absolutely WILL be questioned.

The one Sunday I elect not to watch all the Sunday news programs and something really chilling happens. If you haven’t seen it or read about it yet, Trump’s senior advisor Stephen Miller was all over the place yesterday running his mouth like the misinformed authoritarian zealot he is. Mr. Miller seems to fundamentally be confused about how the government is set up and works. Specifically, it appears he slept through the lesson in ninth grade civics where we learned that the government has three branches and that those branches exist as a set of checks and balances. This means that despite Miller’s assertion that judges have gone wild, they’re just doing their job. More than that, though, Miller emphatically claims that the President’s authority will not be questioned.

It’s one of the very fundamental elements of our government that the President’s authority is constantly questioned. Someone please buy Mr. Miller a copy of the Constitution and highlight the pertinent parts.

The truly terrifying thing is not what he’s saying. We’ve been hearing some version and variation of that for a long time. What’s scary is how rabidly he believes it. Truly, Miller looked like he was about to start foaming at the mouth on a number of the programs he was shouting at people from. Trump is just a puppet for those he puts around him and this rabid dog of a dictator fanboy is a little too close.

In more positive news, however, Michael Flynn, Trump’s National Security Advisor, resigned today amid revelations of his more serious ties with Russia. I suppose it’s too much to hope that he might end up charged with sedition.

Day 13: I’m going to miss the Constitution

It has been clear from even before the November election that Donald Trump and his ilk do not care about the truth, the law, or the American people. It’s also been clear for awhile that while the mainstream and mostly reliable media has its faults it is also determined to point out the lies and chaos of the Trump administration. What’s now become clear is that, bit by bit, the Trump administration — as run by racist, Nazi pieces of garbage like Steve Bannon and manipulative liars like Kellyanne Conway — is trying to destroy the United States as we know it. Their weapon, even more than the gas lighting and bullying, is the undermining of the media.

Yesterday, they went after CNN.

I have a weird relationship with CNN. I love to watch it. I had it playing nearly nonstop in my hospital room while I was in labor and had I not ultimately needed a c-section my son probably would have been born to the sounds of the overnight broadcasters reporting on the then-upcoming election. I also loathe Don Lemon (in my book he is not a journalist) and go through fits of yelling at CNN for not being real journalism. Too many pundits, not enough journalists. But what I love about CNN is that I can rely on it. They cover a story until its threadbare and lately, they’ve been calling out Conway and the rest of Trump’s idiot puppet brigade for their bullshit. And by bullshit I mean that Conway is a lying sack of shit. That’s not an “alternative fact.” That’s the truth.

But even if CNN is not my number one choice of news, they are important. And now Bannon and Co. have decided they aren’t going to speak with CNN anymore, at least in regards to having people come on air. Why? CNN doesn’t “promote the Trump agenda.”

Read that again and slowly. The Trump administration is not having people speak to a member of the media because that member of the media refuses to promote/endorse them.

I went to journalism school. I have a degree in journalism. I worked as a newspaper and radio journalist for three years. I covered 9/11 and still have nightmares about how wild the AP wire went that day. I was once reprimanded by a supervisor for not “going easy” on a local politician when they spoke openly, but foolishly, about an issue. I still live by the principles I was taught: a journalist’s job is to tell the truth, even if it’s uncomfortable, and give the public a chance to see the information and decide for themselves. The journalist is the Fourth Estate. The government has checks and balances but the media has the job of keeping a light on those checks and balances as a fail safe. We’re the torch. We light the dark corners.

Journalism’s job is not to promote anyone’s agenda. It’s not it’s job to be partisan (which is why I don’t consider Fox News to be “news”.) Journalism is not to tell people what to think but to give them information so they can think for themselves. We are, in a real sense, passionate researchers who live to have people take what we find and use it. Human wastes like Conway, Spicer, Bannon, and Trump don’t like real journalist and the media because when we’re doing our job we’re exposing them for what they are: wanna be dictators and fascists with no interest in making anything great again. And since they can’t shut us, specifically CNN, up the plan is to shut us out in favor of those outlets willing to sell their souls to be propaganda.

It’s all part of the plan: undermine America by taking away the truth. Chip away at the truth and our rights. Disregard our government and our governing documents. Eventually, they’ll start removing our freedoms because they’re starting with freedom of the press. And what’s the end goal? Overthrowing the Constitution? I’m starting to worry that that’s the case.

CNN doesn’t need them to come chat in order for CNN to keep reporting. And people like me are going to keep shouting about these almost crimes. They may be trying to take away our freedoms but I’m not letting go without a fight. Resist Trump and Bannon and these liars. Read and consume a diversity of news sources. Spout truth at every opportunity. Do not let them replace facts with propaganda. Do not let them shut us down.

Day 11: Make no mistake, this is about religion and race.

I’ve seen some people trying to justify Trump’s travel ban by claiming it’s not religiously or racially motivated. To those people I say this: you are stupid and probably racist. Full stop. I can’t come up with any other reason that someone would look at the specifics of who is targeted by this ban and somehow think it’s fair and equitable.

In other notes for this horror show, Trump fired the acting Attorney General today because she wouldn’t defend his illegal order. He also got Steve Bannon installed on the National Security Council, a spot reserved for qualified generals (which Trump got rid of so that he could install this Nazi. And yes, Bannon is a Nazi. What the hell do you think “alt-right” is code for? In Canada, someone opened fire on a mosque and murdered six.

But let me get back to the idea that the ban is racially and religiously motivated. The people the ban covers are from Muslim nations in parts of the world where people aren’t “white”. Trump himself said Christians will get entry priority. People holding visas from countries like, say, Sweden, aren’t being blocked.

Christian priority.

Muslim-predominate countries.

Sweden is okay.

It doesn’t get any more clear than this.

If you aren’t outraged you aren’t paying attention and if you aren’t paying attention, God help you.

Whatever you believe God to be.

Day 9: This is how Nazi Germany began

There’s a “rule” of sorts out there that if an argument goes on long enough someone will inevitably invoke Hitler. This rule or adage is called Godwin’s law and according to Godwin himself, the intent of this rule is that those who would just casually toss out Hitler references pause and think a bit more critically about the situation. Godwin’s law, generally, seems to be meant to be a way to be more intentional about arguments than just resorting to hyperbole.

For the past several weeks, even in the lead up to Inauguration, I kept applying Godwin’s law to myself. There were so many times when the thought blipped into my head that Trump is Hitler and similar such things. I kept convincing myself that because I was angry I was lapsing into hyperbole. Being angry, I reasoned, did not justify me shouting that someone is a fascist. I needed to think more critically.

Then yesterday, Donald Trump signed an executive order suspending the admission of all refugees for at least 120 days. The order also gave priority entrance to the United States to Christians, the implication being that Muslims are bad people. This is no longer hyperbole. This is no longer a worst case scenario. This stopped being a bad dream several exits back. If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to live in the run up to Nazi Germany you have your answer now.

This is not exaggeration. Last night, migrants and refugees who have valid, active, and appropriate visas to enter the United States were stopped at JFK and San Francisco International Airport and denied entry. In other parts of the world, legal US permanent residents and green card holders who have been outside of the United States and who have legal right to return have been banned from flights heading back to the US. These cases, of detainment and denial, include people who have worked to aid the US Army in Iraq and were given status and visas because of the work they did to aid our nation. America made a promise to protect these people and now, after they’ve risked their lives to help us, we’re reneging on our promise.¬†He’s also calling for total bans from countries he says are the source of terrorism. However, none of the countries banned are Saudi Arabia, which happens to be the country that formerly classified documents state assisted the 9/11 hijackers. In fact, not a single home country of any of the 9/11 hijackers appear on Trump’s list. This ban isn’t about protecting America. It’s about being a racist piece of shit.

But Nicole, you might say, how does any of this make us like Nazi Germany? Glad you asked. Earlier this week, Trump said that he was going to publish a weekly list of crimes ¬†committed by immigrants living in so-called sanctuary cities. This list is an echo of the records and files kept in Nazi Germany about crimes committed by Jews. And Trump still wants Muslims to register, just like Hitler did the Jews. We also shouldn’t forget the censorship that Trump is imposing on various agencies as well as his attempts to discredit the free press. These things are all parts of a greater playbook circa 1930s Germany and unless you’ve been living under a rock or are from another planet we all know how well that went, not only for Germany but for the world.

The thing that haunts me the most, though, is that because of Trump we are turning our back on those desperately seeking help and safety. People do not flee their homes, nations, countries, and cultures lightly. They do it because even the risk of death on the journey or hardship where they go is better than the hell they are living through. They don’t do it to take from the system. They don’t do it to cause trouble. They do it to save the lives of themselves and their children. They do it for the same damn reasons our grandparents and great grandparents and others before us came to the US: they come for the hope of a better life and by turning them away we are condemning them, sometimes to death. We’ve done it before. Anne Frank and her family were refugees. They fled Germany to the Netherlands in an attempt to escape Hitler and then, from the Netherlands, tried to get to the United States as refugees for safety. We turned them away, leaving the majority of the Frank family, including Anne, to die in concentration camps. Wait, let me rephrase that. The majority of the Frank family, including Anne, were murdered by the Nazis. Not enough for you? In 1939 the German ship St. Louis arrived in the United States with 936 Jewish refugees seeking safety. We turned them away. Other nations ended up taking in these refugees, but unfortunately among those welcoming countries were several that Hitler’s Nazi forces also took over. By war’s end 254 of those refugees had died either in concentration camps or in hiding.

We’ve gone down this road before and where this road ends is horrific. And perhaps the worst and most awful part? None of this actually helps protect the nation. Germany and the Germany people were nearly destroyed because of their actions and World War 2. Nationalism doesn’t protect. Nationalism kills. It’s a long, disgusting form of national suicide that strips us not only of our freedom, our lives, and our decency, but it takes our souls and anyone standing near us down with it.

This has to stop. We’re Americans. We’re supposed to better than this.