Weekly Index is coming to you from Canada today, amidst celebrations of Canada’s 150th anniversary as an independent nation. The CBC day-long celebratory broadcast is co-hosted by a second generation Indian-Canadian and a member of the Ojibwa nation, and their commentary, their interviews, and the cultural offerings and historical discussions on display are as inclusive, thoughtful, multicultural, and transparent about dark histories and systemic injustice as one might expect.
Meanwhile, south of the border, time remains elastic inside Trumplandia, like Twin Peaks‘ atomic bomb sequence (which I suppose means that Donald is Bob, spawned forth in horror by humanity at its most ignorant, barbaric, and destructive). Thoughtful and tolerant Trump’s America is not; violent and venal it is.
To recap, over the past couple of weeks, our President:
- Briefly celebrates the new Senate Republican healthcare bill that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would remove healthcare from 22 million people over the next decade.
- Then, after Senate leader Mitch McConnell delays a vote on the healthcare bill because he didn’t have sufficient Republican support, backs off, saying, “This will be great if we get it done. And if we don’t get it done it’s just going to be something that we’re not going to like. And that’s OK…”
- Reacts in a Tweetstorm to news that he himself is under investigation in the Russia inquiry; sends out surrogates to deny this and denounce all claims of Russian interference as bogus. But after news breaks in a landmark Washington Post story that Obama’s administration could have reacted more bullishly against Russian interference, Trump & Co. appear to change their stories, blaming Obama for failing to prevent Russian interference. His pivot does not go unnoticed.
- Celebrates as the Supreme Court agrees to take up his immigration ban in their next session and as they partially reinstate his ban in the meantime.
- Promptly undermines this victory by unleashing a Tweetstorm against the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, including derogatory comments about the IQ and appearance of co-host Mika. Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee-Sanders suggests that Trump is merely “fighting fire with fire,” and positions him as being perennially “bullied by the liberal media.” Others suggest that Melania’s anti-cyber bullying campaign should start at home–immediately. There is universal outcry, even from among Republicans, about the inappropriateness of his misogynistic and venial tweets. Huckabee-Sanders responds, “if you’re looking for a role model, I suggest God.” Morning Joe’s hosts issue a statement saying that they have long been friends with Trump, but that in recent years they have noticed several worrying changes in his personality, concluding that he is no longer mentally fit to watch Morning Joe.
- Hosts Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and gives him a low-key relatively cold welcome. Hosts Panama President Juan Carlos Varela and gives him warm welcome. Hosts South Korean president Moon Jae-In and gives him warm welcome, although they are expected to disagree on tactics for dealing with North Korea.
- Holds a fundraiser for his 2020 campaign at the Washington DC Trump hotel. Critics say that this violates ethics against self-dealing, and also that he should perhaps think about actually trying to govern in the present.
In other news,
- The Senate finally shines a light on its proposed healthcare bill. It includes tax cuts for the rich, slashes Medicaid funding, ditches the individual mandate, and would allow insurance companies to charge the elderly jillions more than the young. It has been universally derided, including by Trump voters. And despite Trump’s earlier request for a Senate healthcare bill that was less “mean” than the House package, it is mean: devastating to those with preexisting conditions, those who are older, and those who, generally, are not wealthy.
- Protestors–many of whom have disabilities and are wheelchair bound–gather outside of Mitch McConnell’s Capitol Hill office for a “die-in.” Capitol Police arrest several, dragging some from their wheelchairs. Not. Great. Optics. (Or great democracy.)
- Mitch McConnell refuses to meet with March of Dimes–who once funded his own polio treatments–to discuss the healthcare bill.
- Kellyanne Conway reappears on the news circuit to talk about healthcare, saying that the administration doesn’t see the cuts to Medicaid as cuts. She also suggests that “able-bodied” people should just find jobs if they lose coverage.
- Refugees and immigrants from six majority-Muslim nations are yet again experiencing uncertain and turbulent times, after the Supreme Court partially lifts the ban on Trump’s immigration executive order, leaving refugees and immigrants without “a close business or family connection” to America in the lurch. The State department interprets this narrowly, ruling that those who have siblings or parents in the US can come, but those who have grandparents or fiancés in the US cannot. Hawaii complains, asking a federal judge to clarify what “close family” means, and asserting that grandparents should be included.
- Johnny Depp asks a crowd assembled for his latest movie release, “What was the last time an actor assassinated a President?” He later apologizes; in a Tweet, Trump calls the outburst “Sad.”
- The 600 jobs that President-Elect Trump negotiated to save at an Indiana air-conditioning manufacturer will, despite his early press conference to the contrary, still be lost and outsourced to Mexico.
- Democrat Jon Ossoff was defeated in the most expensive House race in history, catalyzing much handwringing and dire predictions about the fate of the Democratic party. Many call for the resignation of Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.
- There are murmurs that Trump may try to fire Robert Mueller, who’s leading the investigation into
- An NRA ad goes viral that suggests that its members resist, in a generic sense, with the “clenched fist of truth.” Its militancy and vague fascism causes wide alarm.
- Secretary of Energy Rick Perry says that climate change is most likely caused by the ocean.
- The Supreme Court rules in favor of a church school requesting state funds for its playground upgrade, causing some to worry about the separation of church and state now that Gorsuch has joined the court. The court also announces that, in addition to taking up the Muslim immigration ban next term, it will hear the case of a Coloradan baker who refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding and, perhaps even more worryingly, a case about the extent to which states can gerrymander.
- The heartbreak and anger around the execution of Philando Castile continues to mount, with anger against the NRA for its silence, and against the judicial system for its failure, once again, to distribute justice.
- A woman kills her baby’s father live on YouTube: he had suggested they use their encyclopedia to see if it would stop a bullet, in a stunt designed to increase their following. She has been arrested; her partner died instantly.
- In Detroit (per headline), “Cops comb area for bald man who swiped Rogaine.”
- The Washington Post reveals that many of Trump’s golf clubs feature false Time Magazine covers featuring Donald and celebrating his successes on “The Apprentice.” Late-night hosts delight at this real news of fake news, and The New Yorker trolls Trump brilliantly:
Week Twenty-Three | Readings
Just a smattering of readings for you this time around.
- The New York Times has catalogued each of Trump’s lies. Refresh your memory here, and bookmark this page.
- From Berkley professor George Lakoff, why we shouldn’t underestimate Trump.
- A much-shared Huff-Po piece about the fundamental lack of empathy coming out of American conservatives at present.
- A must-read piece on the charming, brilliant Sherman Alexie.
- Of all the sources, Cosmopolitan‘s piece on the NRA’s silence in the execution of Philando Castile is very good.
- An alarming Politico piece about liberal Portland’s nut-job militants, and how violence might escalate.
- Following news of Oliver Stone’s interviews with Putin? No? Us neither. Here’s why you shouldn’t.
- Warren Buffet, talking Trumpcare and telling it like it is.
- And more on Trumpcare’s barbarity here.
- A tribute to the amazing Simone Veil, Holocaust survivor and the woman who fought for legal abortions in France.
- Did you catch the news about the EPA trying to bully a scientist into sticking to their talking points in her testimony?
- A short video reminder that despite the political turmoil, and renewed ban on refugees, at home in America, the refugee crisis remains unabated and as desperate as ever.
- And a funny/not-funny video take on gun violence and vigilantism in America.
Happy Fourth of July. And happy Canada Day, too. No harm in dreaming northwards right now.