Trying to Read the News in 2017

(in Colin Farell Gifs)

Every single cabinet pick:

Each new Trump administration official who gets caught lying about their communications with Russian diplomats/business people:

“You know, the only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters, okay? They’re the only ones, I won; I mean, I became president. No, I don’t think they care at all. I don’t think they care at all. I think you care.” -DJT

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Every time Trump shakes anyone’s hand:

DJT 2011: “He doesn’t have a birth certificate, or if he does, there’s something on that certificate that is very bad for him. Now, somebody told me … where it says ‘religion,’ it might have ‘Muslim.’ And if you’re a Muslim, you don’t change your religion, by the way.”

DJT 2016: “President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period,”

DJT 2016: “I think he’s the worst president maybe in the history of our country,”

DJT 2016: “I must tell you, you know, I never met him before this. I never spoke to him before this. I really — I do like him.”

recent Mother Jones headline: “Trump: Obama Tapped My Phone, He’s a Sick Guy”

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Literally me watching the inauguration in a Starbucks 5 blocks from it:

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“Are they friends of yours?”

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The golden showers thing:

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Realizing that despite this great selection of gifs, this post is actually making it all feel worse…

Everyone in Congress who voted to confirm Trump’s cabinet picks:

“Rick Perry confirmed as Energy Secretary”

“Rex Tillerson skips State Department’s annual announcement on human rights, alarming advocates”


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“When I was young, in high school and in college, everybody used to say we never lost a war. America never lost. Now, we never win a war.” -DJT

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When Donald Trump, whose closest advisor ran Breitbart, calls actual news outlets fake news

“… the VOICE agency is expected to publish a weekly list of all crimes committed by immigrants, suggesting that anyone who has moved to the US, both documented and undocumented, could find their name on the public document.” — AJZ

Fucking everything that’s happened since Trump came down the escalator surrounded by a crowd of supporters who were probably/actually paid actors:

When you consider that maybe the Mayans were just off by 5 years:

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Cmnd+F: 1/11/2017

[For reactions, skip to the end→]

Trump and Related

The dossier, which is a collection of memos written over a period of months, includes specific, unverified, and potentially unverifiable allegations of contact between Trump aides and Russian operatives, and graphic claims of sexual acts documented by the Russians. BuzzFeed News reporters in the US and Europe have been investigating various alleged facts in the dossier but have not verified or falsified them. CNN reported Tuesday that a two-page synopsis of the report was given to President Obama and Trump.

Via the New York Times:

The memos suggest that for many years, the Russian government of Mr. Putin has looked for ways to influence Mr. Trump, who has traveled repeatedly to Moscow to investigate real estate deals or to oversee the Miss Universe competition, which he owned for several years. Mr. Trump never completed any major deals in Russia, though he discussed them for years.

“In short, there is no indication so far that his confirmation is in jeopardy.”

Climate Change

Nature Climate Change (story below)

The temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 2.9°F above the 20th century average for 2016, displacing 2015 and ranking only behind 2012, when searing heat waves hit the middle of the country.

More notable than the back-to-back second place years, Arndt said, was that 2016 was the 20th consecutive warmer-than-normal year for the U.S. and that the five hottest years for the country have all happened since 1998. Those streaks mirror global trends, with 15 of the 16 hottest years on record occurring in the 21st century and no record cold year globally since 1911.

“Any economic strategy that doesn’t take climate change into account will result in fewer jobs and less economic growth in the long term.”

“December produced the least snow in Switzerland since record-keeping began more than 100 years ago.”

“NOAA challenged idea of [the]global warming ‘pause.’ Now new research says the agency was right.”

The ash, buried as much as 6 feet below mean sea level, is “highly vulnerable to coastal hazards, including flooding, storm surge, erosion and sea level rise,” says the report from researchers at Western Carolina University’s Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines. “Further, with the changing climate in the coming decades, these hazards are only expected to worsen” at the Chesapeake Energy Center site.

On (the) Media

I think the one thing we’ve been smacked in the head with in recent years is that people don’t understand that stuff. And the most non-elitist thing we can do is to assume people don’t understand it. To relax a bit in forms of storytelling, to tell people when we witness things and observe things. To be transparent…

Readers pay our bills more than they ever have. We have to listen to them.

I went to a couple of US Uncut protests and then it died out, but a lot of the protesters at US Uncut went over to Occupy Wall Street. So, I was at Zuccotti Park the first day of the Occupy Wall Street protest, which at the time didn’t seem like it was going to amount to anything and then, of course, it blew up. And because The Nation is cool, they were like “Yeah, do that for us!” So that was really my first big journalism break.

It is dangerous to give Donald Trump, a known and habitual liar, the opportunities to attempt to paint lies as truth. In my mind it is not even so much an issue over printing Trump’s response, but that there was not an immediate refutation of his claims by the article’s author in the piece itself. These may seem like small issues, even down to single turns of phrase. But they are also the slipperiest of slopes.

The trajectory that started with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s use of the radio for fireside chats — and continued with the Age of Television — is reaching its natural conclusion with Trump and the real-time social Web…

We are living in a moment in which communications regulation, both official and cultural, is in freefall. Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey set the rules whereby heads of state communicate and the rest of us respond. Other disruptive political movements — the Brexit campaign in the UK; the Five Star Movement in Italy; and, most notoriously, ISIS — have also used the convergence of communications technologies to recruit and activate entirely new power bases.


“The SEALs believe that they can handle the discipline themselves, that’s equal to or greater than what the criminal justice system would give to the person,” said Susan Raser, a retired Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent who led the agency’s criminal division but did not investigate this mission. “They have an internal process that they think is sufficient and they are not inclined to cooperate unless they absolutely have to.” Raser, who conducted investigations into both regular SEAL units and SEAL Team 6, said that in her experience, SEALs simply didn’t report wrongdoing by their teammates.

In 2016, US special operators could be found in 70% of the world’s nations, 138 countries — a staggering jump of 130% since the days of the Bush administration… the Obama administration dropped at least 26,171 bombs. This means that every day last year, the US military blasted combatants or civilians overseas with 72 bombs; that’s three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day.

The jury of nine whites and three blacks, who last month found Mr. Roof guilty of 33 counts for the attack at this city’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, returned their unanimous verdict after about three hours of deliberations.

Despite the anger I am still coping with from my mother’s death, I don’t believe in the death penalty, even for the man who killed her. That’s my conviction because of my faith. I’ve said the same thing all along — I don’t believe as human beings that we should take away someone’s life just because we have the power to do so.

This one-sided representation of campus speech doesn’t reflect my 14 years teaching in large public institutions in Michigan, Texas and Wisconsin. In that time, no student has ever demanded that my classes include a trigger warning or asked for a safe space. But my colleagues and I have been given much more reason to worry about the ideological agendas of elected officials and politically appointed governing boards. Students can protest on the campus mall, demanding that policies be changed; elected officials can pass laws or cut resources to reflect their beliefs about how a campus should operate. One group has much more power than the other.

Reactions to President Obama’s farewell speech

Note: If you think something in this post matters, please click the link — even if you don’t (intend to) read the whole thing — to at least give the author/source a page view.

Introducing: Command+F

The/another ultimate daily reading list

Command/Ctrl + F is an invaluable tool for locating specific information in large documents. It’s the digital equivalent of using a high-powered magnet to find a needle in a haystack.

In the same way, it’s my aim to aggregate the best and most important content I find each day for this series, saving time and energy for engaged and curious — yet busy — readers.

When it comes to how often I’ll publish these posts, “daily,” may be a bit of a stretch … but it will be almost everyday.

Additionally, I intend to do a weekly (probably posted on Sundays) “This Week in Climate Change” post to recap all the important climate news of the previous week (since it’s the single biggest issue of our generation, and all).

Feel free to suggest stories, interviews, etc. in the comments. Medium also has this cool function that lets you highlight text so you can comment directly on specific passages.


  • Post/link/video/whatever
  • Excerpt/quote
  • Thoughts

Trump and related

Snyder is a historian at Yale who wrote a book about how Nazi Germany and the Holocaust relate to climate change. This interview about it is REALLY good.

7. Stand out. Someone has to. It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. And the moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.

“The Green Party scam to fill up their coffers by asking for impossible recounts is now being joined by the badly defeated & demoralized Dems,” he tweeted, adding, “Nothing will change.” But here, Trump undermined himself. If Democrats worry the votes were miscounted, and the president-elect believes that millions of people voted fraudulently, then it’s clear we need a recount to restore faith in the outcome of the election…

[A] lot of weird things Trump says later prove to emerged in the pro-Trump, conspiracy theory-corners of the internet. The problem with Trump isn’t the lies he tells as much as it’s the information he chooses to believe.

Our president-elect is almost literally your weird, absurdly racist uncle that STILL forwards you batshit conspiracy emails.

This is a little dated (Nov. 22) but highlights some good instances of Trump contradicting himself. Even though it’s par for the course, we can’t stop calling out inconsistencies and outright lies wherever they arise.

By Derek Black, the son of Stormfront founder and super white supremacist Don Black:

The wave of violence and vile language that has risen since the election is only one immediate piece of evidence that this campaign’s reckless assertion of white identity comes at a huge cost. More and more people are being forced to recognize now what I learned early: Our country is susceptible to some of our worst instincts when the message is packaged correctly…

Most of Mr. Trump’s supporters did not intend to attack our most vulnerable citizens. But with him in office we have a duty to protect those who are threatened by this administration and to win over those who don’t recognize the impact of their vote. Even those on the furthest extreme of the white nationalist spectrum don’t recognize themselves doing harm — I know that because it was easy for me, too, to deny it…

I never would have begun my own conversations without first experiencing clear and passionate outrage to what I believed from those I interacted with. Now is the time for me to pass on that outrage by clearly and unremittingly denouncing the people who used a wave of white anger to take the White House.

What makes Chomsky’s perspective refreshing is that its so original. His points on a conflict with Russia are great.


Now more than ever, it’s crucial that Americans understand how the TPP was really defeated. An organized and educated public can take on concentrated wealth and power and win. With four years of new battles ahead of us, this is a story we must commit to memory, and a lesson we must take to heart.

On (the) Media

If readers had the opportunity to visit the site, it would have become instantly apparent that this group of ostensible experts far more resembles amateur peddlers of primitive, shallow propagandistic clichés than serious, substantive analysis and expertise; that it has a blatant, demonstrable bias in promoting NATO’s narrative about the world; and that it is engaging in extremely dubious McCarthyite tactics about a wide range of critics and dissenters…

this blacklisting group of anonymous cowards — putative experts in the pages of the Washington Post — is actively pushing for Western governments to take punitive measures against the Russian government and is speaking and smearing from an extreme ideological framework that the Post concealed from its readers.

This touches on a fear of mine that I have yet to fully articulate: that in our crusade against “fake news,” we’ll inadvertently lock legitimate voices of dissent out of our news feeds (or, put another way, consciousnesses). As this perfectly illustrates, the legacy press are far from perfect themselves, and to ignore information simply because it doesn’t come from a large institution is naive in its own way.


OK this one is bizarre, hilarious, infuriating and depressing all at the same time.. and it also includes two of my favorite student activist friends.

This is an excerpt of an op-ed from Ian Ware, who is a student at UVa. The kind-of-goofy picture is Drew Shannon, who goes to UMW. The Tea Party people/person that posted it (to make fun of) fucked that up. So it’s hilarious that they’re talking shit about the wrong coddled, participation trophy-having millennial because they don’t know how to correctly use the Internet. Stereotypes abound.

This is the original op-ed (in WaPo!!!), and here’s the sad part: it’s all about feeling unsafe and the university’s failure to address a spate of hate crime-y things after the election.

But after I went home for clean clothes to find an anti-gay hate message written on my door, right next to a set of stickers spelling out “Vote 4 Hillary,” my couch-surfing took on new urgency. I was no longer searching for comfort from my peers — I was trying to preserve a sense of safety…

A Star of David and the word “Juden” were spray-painted on an apartment complex popular with students; Muslim students in a residential college noted for its progressive population came home to “Terrorist” written outside their door; several officers in the university police force used the public announcement system on their police car to blast pro-Trump statements at students walking home after the results of the election became clear.

Thirteen protesters were sentenced to five days in jail on Monday for illegally blocking traffic on Interstate 95 in Richmond during a Black Lives Matter protest on July 18.

All 13 demonstrators pleaded guilty Monday afternoon in Richmond General District Court as part of a plea agreement in which they’ll serve five days in jail for impeding the flow of traffic. As part of the agreement, charges of being pedestrians on a highway were at least temporarily dropped.

Note: If you enjoy anything in this post, especially if its from an article, please click the link — even if you don’t (intend to) read the whole thing — to at least give the author/source the page view.

What if Trump’s supporters turn on him?

Gage Skidmore

Today Donald Trump “finished” the “Birther Movement.” He only devoted about 45 seconds to doing so, despite having obsessed over it for years, riding its wave to prominence among right wing fringe groups. But hey, he’s a busy man these days.

“Now, we all want to get back to making America strong and great again,” he said ending the speech.

The Donald seemed annoyed—annoyed that the “lamestream media” was forcing him to address such an irrelevant non-issue at such an important time in history.

To be sure, pushing birther conspiracies was one of the biggest contributions to politics he’d made before entering the 2016 race. Today’s announcement was a massive flip-flop in a giant sea of absurdity, inconsistency and outright lies. There’s so much crazy, it’s impossible to sift through.

Donald Trump has been a Republican and a Democrat. More importantly, he’s been a batshit crazy conspiracy theorist that thinks the country has been taken over by a jihadist and a presidential candidate for a mainstream political party.

Donald Trump won the nomination because he promised change. He represented not just an alternative to Hillary Clinton, but an alternative to corrupt career politicians and the dominance of big money special interest groups and everything that’s been holding back the working man.

He’s already walked back his mass deportation plans, adopting a more liberal approach than many mainstream Republicans. And considering that building a 30-ft (and counting) wall across the entire Southern border is basically impossible (and Mexican leaders keep saying there’s no way they’ll pay for it), it’s seems clear that “making America great again” has some flexibility to it.

At some point — after he compromises the “alt right” revolution a few more times, president or not — some contingency of his base is going to turn against him. Then what? What happens when the people steering the Trump movement don’t have to appeal to mainstream voters and don’t care about an election?

His campaign has emboldened a lot of xenophobic, racist, potentially violent groups (see: former KKK Imperial Wizard David Duke running for Senate) but it’s also pulled a lot of otherwise uninterested people into the system. People that used to spread their ideas via email forwards are now interviewed by the dozen on national cable news networks.

We all know that Trump says offensive, inflammatory things. But even he’s not as bad as many of the people in his crowds. What will those people do after they’ve tasted some level of media legitimacy and are without a golden-haired god to rally around?

Their guy is on the national stage for once; their beliefs have never been more validated. What will they do when they’ve lost all sense of real political power?

We may very well see a shift in what the broader Republican Party looks like and stands for, like we did with the Tea Party movement. I’m worried, though, that we’ll see stronger, more violent right wing conspiracy groups outside of that.

Two terms of Obama have given us unprecedented growth in militia and “sovereign citizen” groups, including armed stand-offs with federal authorities in Nevada and Oregon. Four to eight years of Hillary Clinton is only going to continue this trend.

In today’s world, only those with real power need be concerned with ideology. The rest of us are divided primarily not by ideas necessarily, but by realities (or lack thereof).

We can’t have dialogue about how to overcome our problems because we don’t even exist in the same world.

I don’t know how to fix political polarization and this “post-factual democracy” we live in, but I am deeply concerned about what it’s going to lead to. Trump and all those who have stoked rabid conspiratorial paranoia on the right for decades have no idea what they’ve created.