The Guardian is reporting (heavily sourced) that the “mass resignations” of nearly all senior staff at the State Department on Thursday were not, in fact, resignations, but a purge ordered by the White House. As the diagram below (by Emily Roslin v Praze) shows, this leaves almost nobody in the entire senior staff of the State Department at this point.
[intense_blockquote] “Yesterday was the trial balloon for a coup d’état against the United States,” writes Yonatan Zunger on Medium. The “administration is testing the extent to which the DHS (and other executive agencies) can act and ignore orders from the other branches of government. This is as serious as it can possibly get: all of the arguments about whether order X or Y is unconstitutional mean nothing if elements of the government are executing them and the courts are being ignored.”
The article points out another point worth highlighting: “In the past, the state department has been asked to set up early foreign contacts for an incoming administration. This time however it has been bypassed, and Trump’s immediate circle of Steve Bannon, Michael Flynn, son-in-law Jared Kushner and Reince Priebus are making their own calls.”
The seniormost staff of the Department of State. Blue X’s are unfilled positions; red X’s are positions which were purged. Note that the “filled” positions are not actually confirmed yet.
On Wednesday, Reuters reported (in great detail) how 19.5% of Rosneft, Russia’s state oil company, has been sold to parties unknown. This was done through a dizzying array of shell companies, so that the most that can be said with certainty now is that the money “paying” for it was originally loaned out to the shell layers by VTB (the government’s official bank), even though it’s highly unclear who, if anyone, would be paying that loan back; and the recipients have been traced as far as some Cayman Islands shell companies.
Donald Trump’s incoming administration is planning “dramatic” federal budget cuts, according to a report from the Hill this morning. The article’s estimates of the dollar amount of the proposed damage are way overblown, but several large programs and entire chunks of federal agencies are definitely on the chopping block.
Donald Trump’s incoming administration is planning “dramatic” federal budget cuts, according to a report from the Hill this morning. That includes all 25 of the grant programs managed by the Office on Violence Against Women, housed in the Department of Justice. The grants, established by 1994’s Violence Against Women Act and other federal legislation, go to organizations working to prevent domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and elder abuse:
The proposed elimination of these grants is cruel, and it neatly sums up Trump and his cohort’s dismissive view of women who come forward with sexual and domestic violence allegations. “A man with a well-documented history of sexually assaulting women is about to take over the federal government so it is sadly not surprising that he is gutting programs vital to protecting women from violence,” Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of women’s-rights group UltraViolet said in a statement. “With these cuts, Trump is also making it harder for law enforcement to protect women from predators like himself and members of his senior staff.”
And these planned grant cuts look even more unconscionable when viewed alongside the other entities Trump wants to purge from the Justice Department. He’s proposed drastic cuts to the divisions that work on civil rights and the environment, and he wants to completely axe the Legal Services Corporation, which administers grants for low-income Americans who can’t afford legal assistance. Trump’s plan also eliminates the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, a small but important advocate for a more just and effective system of U.S. law enforcement. Taken together, the cuts Trump has proposed to balance his budget send a clear message: the most vulnerable and the most in need of justice come last in Trump’s America.
In his eulogy for Reverend Pinckney at Mother Emanuel in Charleston, South Carolina, President Obama said “to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and house the homeless is not just a call for isolated charity but the imperative of a just society.”
In tragedy and crisis, President Obama led the nation well. Not perfectly. But few of us would doubt he believed in that “imperative of a just society.”
Today, Donald Trump will be sworn into office.
By now, we know what that will mean. He’s going to take away healthcare from the sick, kick poor people out of their homes and tear apart families in mass deportations.
For those people, grace, amazing or otherwise, will seem a long way off.
We don’t control Donald Trump, the House or the Senate. But we do control our own hearts, our intentions and our actions. That can’t be taken away by an election. On this, we have all the power and will never relent.
Stop asking what it’s about. Stop asking what I think it will accomplish. Stop trying to undermine a gathering of women by belittling them with questions you’d never ask a man. Stop thinking women have to explain their actions to you, rather than acknowledging you know full well what it’s about. Maybe you don’t.
I march because I’m scared, but not helpless. I march because I want to demonstrate that I can be scared and brave at the same time. I march to show little girls, including the one I used to be, that they can, despite elections, rejections, attacks, and punishments, do anything.
I march because I just don’t want to stay healthy, I want all women in this country to stay healthy. Especially those who, due to economic disadvantage and poor access to healthcare, are more susceptible to not being healthy. I march because a “pussy” isn’t a grabbable object. It isn’t just there for a man’s sexual pleasure. Goodness knows it’s vilified for ever being a part of a woman’s sexual pleasure. It is not something that in one breath you can desire and in the next take away safe, affordable care from. It’s a part of the human body that requires medical attention like any other part of you. It’s why you’re here, and it deserves more respect than ignorant, controlling, punishing regulation.
Eight years ago, the artist Shepard Fairey made the iconic image that captured a period of HOPE in America. Today we are in a very different moment, one that requires new images that reject the hate, fear, and open racism that were normalized during the 2016 presidential campaign. So on Inauguration Day, We the People will flood Washington, DC with NEW symbols of hope.
Much of Washington will be locked down on Inauguration Day, and in some areas there will be severe restrictions on signs and banners. But we’ve figured out a hack. It’s called the newspaper! On January 20th, if this campaign succeeds, we’re going to take out full-page ads in the Washington Post with these images, so that people across the capitol and across the country will be able to carry them into the streets, hang them in windows, or paste them on walls.
Every dollar you put into this campaign will buy six ads printed and distributed for us.
Amplifier will also distribute these images as large placards throughout DC at Metro stops, out the back of moving vans, at drop spots to be announced in the coming week via our social media feeds, and, on January 19, as free downloads for you to print and share as you like.