Last week, we bid farewell to the greatest American president of our time. On Friday, we watched the unthinkable happen. The popular vote didn't save us. The electoral college didn't save us. The alleged kompromat, conflicting business interests, and unreleased tax returns didn't save us. Donald Trump took the oath of office and delivered a jarring, 16-minute inaugural address; a "new decree," in his own parlance, "to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power." He declared that "from this day forward, a new vision will govern our land." He may be right, but that vision is not his alone. If Trump lives up to his campaign promises, we must make it our mission to keep the likes of him and his menagerie of misanthropic nativists away from seats of power in this country. We have come too far in such a short time to have that progress undone by a cadre of kleptocrats. We cannot buy into Donald Trump's dark caricature of "this American carnage," nor can we stand idly by as the tiny hands of a plutocrat close in on the throat of the fourth estate.
This week's reading list is a sampling of articles from the past two weeks.
The Obama Years HISTORY presents an oral history of the Obama administration in nine parts, told by the former President and his closest friends and trusted advisers. An immense body of work in its own right, this piece pairs nicely with a mug of mulled wine as you attempt to calm your post-inauguration anxiety. Bring tissues.
Life at 1600 Last week, we bid farewell to a man of unshakable belief; the President America so desperately needed during a convergence of crises that threatened the economic stability of the United States and the world. Eight years ago, the Obama Administration inherited a government on the brink of catastrophe. Now, they hand off a much different American to the incoming Trump Administration. TIME Magazine's Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy present a compilation of interviews with former Obama Administration staff that provide a look inside the Presidential transfer of power during a transition that has been characterized as highly irregular.
This is Why You Hate Me Dave Pell really knows how to cut to the heart of an issue. His January 12th appraisal of the current American political climate in the digital age is a poignant reminder that social media has not been the panacea of tolerance that many would have hoped. Rather, we seek out the same protected communities online as we have in real life. We are an America divided, both online and off, with little understanding of those we continually define as the opposition.
The GOP's crusade to defund Planned Parenthood nationwide, explained Vox gets into the nitty gritty of the Republican war on reproductive health. This article is a must read after this weekend's Women's March on Washington. As Trump's anti-establishment cabinet sets to work realizing its goal of shrinking the government so that it can fit into your bedroom, conservative male lawmakers feel vindicated in their ongoing attempts to remove access to reproductive care for millions. Clearly, the GOP has learned nothing from Texas, where the mortality rates for women with complicated pregnancies have nearly doubled in recent years, due in part to a lack of affordable reproductive care. Help fight the war on choice by making a donation to one of the many reputable members of the National Network of Abortion Funds.
Na zdorovie, Donald When Moscow's political elite raise a glass to the newly inaugurated leader of the United States, you should be concerned. While many Trump supporters and conservative Americans have shrugged off the kompromat allegations surrounding the unconfirmed Trump dossier published on BuzzFeed News on January 11th, The Economist Europe provides some insight into the reception of The Donald in the country that allegedly helped bring him to power.
Who Wore it Better?
In the months since the election, I've waited in constant suspense for someone in the Trump cabal to spill the beans on how the entire campaign was an elaborate hoax meant to satirize the political process in America. In a way, it was, and Trump's cabinet picks these past few weeks have only served to kindle the fires of hope that this all must be an elaborate attempt to up the ratings of some political reality TV show in which we are all unwitting participants. I mean, Rick Perry for Department of Energy, Ben Carson for Housing and Urban Development, and Betsy DeVos for Education is akin to giving a child nothing but a hammer and putting them in charge of cleaning your finest porcelain flatware.
Alas, it appears that none of this was the perverse joke for which we had hoped. Trump and his cast of plutocrats are here to stay, but that doesn't mean we can't derive endless hours of entertainment from their idiocy. That said, someone needs to tell Kellyanne Conway that she won a political campaign, not the Camden County annual bake-off. WIRED gives us a look inside who wore it better this inauguration.
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MILO on Real Time
The downfall of Milo Yiannopoulos this week was a vindicating spectacle to behold. Following the release of videos by the Reagan Battalion depicting Milo condoning pedophilia (or perhaps ephebophilia), Milo's CPAC rescinded his speaking invitation, Simon & Schuster canceled his book deal, and Milo himself resigned from Breitbart amidst a liberal advertising boycott campaign and calls among Breitbart staffers for his resignation. You would almost feel bad for the guy if he wasn't such a bastard.
In case you're asking, "Does Milo really deserve all of this?" take a look at his panel discussion from Overtime earlier this week and decide for yourself.