TOWOIT #37

February 22, 2017… Day 34

The Trump administration officially rescinds the Obama order that protected transgender students and allowed them to use whichever bathroom they were comfortable with. Word is that Betsy DeVos was against signing off on the change, but was steamrolled by both Sessions and Trump. Also that she was cut out of the conversation on the future of DACA, and is in general being marginalized as a weak woman.

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The press asked Sean Spicer about this issue, and also asked about whether cabinet members were tired of Trump micromanaging their hiring process.

We know Rex Tillerson didn’t get the second in command he wanted because of Trump. Headlines to the effect that alpha-male Rex Tillerson has been marginalized as Secretary of State and is looking for ways to “raise his media profile.” 

Pence went to that Jewish cemetery in St. Louis. He spoke and there were photos of him helping out with the clean up. The reactions are very mixed among liberals, with people wanting to approve, begrudgingly approve, warily approve, approve with qualifiers, be angry that he’s trying to take the photo op and look like a good guy, or just cynically say “looks like somebody is running for president against Trump.” 

CBS Headline: Dakota Pipeline Protesters Pray, Set Fires Ahead of Camp Closing.

Washington Post has been doing great work but writes a bad headline. The use of “female” as a standalone noun here seems unnecessary and dehumanizing. The fact that we are talking about Native Americans with their backs agains the wall just makes it that much more cringe-worthy. How about “woman” or “person”? Same number of letters.

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Badly done, WAPO

According to my role model, Rachel Maddow, Turns out that the Ukrainian oligarch guy in Vienna has been arrested on a SPANISH warrant, so Jeff Sessions has a reprieve on the whole “will he still prosecute for bribery” thing.

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Thank you, Maxine. I would not have wanted to miss that.

Kellyanne Conway’s recent absence from television noted. Last week we heard that a couple of shows didn’t want her anymore. She said herself that she was trying to be on TV less. And then today the scuttlebutt was that the administration didn’t want her to go on TV because she’d gone off message one too many times.

One hundred dorks in Minneapolis got “She Persisted” tattoos. 

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I prefer the hundreds of women who have got NC for Non-Compliant tattoos in the couple years since Bitch Planet came out.

President ignores large bombing in Pakistan, because the victims were brown Muslims. Underscoring the administration’s preference for white, Christian-ish victims. 

Republican Senator Susan Collins said she was open to demanding Trump’s tax returns as part of Russia investigation.

Republican congresspeople continued to have a bad time at town halls. Whether they attended, or whether a large room full of people shouted down a cardboard likeness.

A woman in my hometown is steamed because one of her senators is zipping through town but is only making time for a paid dinner. She made her complaint a post on Facebook and about six comments down, her landlord wrote “I’ll deduct the price of your ticket from next month’s rent. Just go!” 

Trappist-1 Solar System — NASA found seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a dim star 40 light years away! They could support life! The world let out a collective “holy moly” and it was just what we needed. Good to be reminded of how small we are and how big the universe is. Good to be amazed at what science can accomplish. The NASA press conference coincided with Sean Spicer’s daily White House press bitching.

White House press briefing without Sean Spicer:

  • Can you give us an update on the administration’s plans on transgender bathrooms in schools? Can you confirm that there has been disagreement between Secretary DeVos and the attorney general on this issue?
  • A report out today said some cabinet secretaries are bristling at what they see as the White House micromanaging hiring at the sub cabinet level. To what degree does the White House think it should impose its hiring approvals at that level? Is some of this at least partially driven by cabinet secretaries wanting to appoint people who aren’t necessarily aligned with the President’s thinking?
  • And does the White House believe that it needs to have final approval, or can you trust your cabinet secretaries?
  • Is the approval process somehow slowing down the approval of important staffers?
  • I got a Bloombergian question for you. The President just said to us that the tax plan is nearly finalized but it can’t be submitted until the health care is. So I wanted to clarify is, is the White House doing a health care proposal or was he talking about Congress and not the White House?
  • There’s gonna be a budget plan that you guys are going to present on March 13? There’s going to be a health care… something from him and something from them? And then the tax plan? Is that the way it works?
  • You were talking about the President fulfilling his promises. As you know, he promised during the campaign a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering this country. There were a lot of people in his party who thought that was a very good proposal. Can you explain his evolution in backing down from that–and can you also say whether he regrets using that rhetoric since it ended up hurting the court case.
  • But when talking about fulfilling his promises, can you explain why he decided to back down from that one?
  • The Oscars are Sunday night. Will the President be watching? If there’s a Meryl Streep kind of moment, how do you think he’ll react? And why do you think this happens?
  • The President will have a big audience next Tuesday in his joint address to Congress. Does he have a specific set of goals in mind and will we see some specific policy roll outs as part of that speech?
  • Is the tone going to be optimistic?
  • Just piggybacking on that–past presidents immediately hit the road after the State of the Union or something like the State of the Union, to sell policies. Since he said it would be more of a vision, will he–
  • It feels like we haven’t seen as many executive orders. I know there’s one coming out this week. Are we in a different phase now, that he’s sort of done the executive orders he wants to d0–
  • But is it more of a legislative emphasis right now?
  • I want to ask about the Town Halls — the President referred to “s0-called angry crowds” — is he suggesting this is manufactured anger? Is he suggesting this isn’t real anger?
  • Does the President doubt that there’s real anger and real concern, besides just a few agitators? That people are concerned they’ll lose their coverage?
  • Do you think they’re making it up?
  • But what is the plan? We haven’t seen the plan.
  • The issue of transgender bathrooms wasn’t one we heard a lot about during the campaign. The President said at one point that Caitlyn Jenner can use whatever bathroom she wanted to at Trump Tower. Why is this a priority for him now?
  • To be clear, Secretary DeVos is on board with this?
  • Second question is on Mexico–obviously there have been tensions. Is this a clean up job for the Secretary of State?
  • On Syria, General Votal indicated that the U.S. needed to take a larger share of the burden and perhaps send troops. Has the President spoken with his national security team about this?
  • President Trump and the Canadian Prime Minister launched the U.S. and Canada Council for advancement of women entrepreneurs–what’s the status on that?
  • To follow up on an earlier question–Does the White House not have confidence in its cabinet secretaries if they are looking over their shoulders? Does the President not trust his cabinet secretaries?
  • We’re coming up on a week away from the deadline the President set for his Isis strategy–what’s the status on that?
  • As far as the second executive order is concerned, what is the White House doing differently–in terms of consulting with various departments to ensure the second order passes constitutional scrutiny?
  • Are you concerned that the president’s prior remarks as it relates to the judiciary will allow him to get a fair hearing?
  • I wanted to ask about the President’s budget priorities–where is he increasing spending, where is he decreasing–
  • Thank you very much. Back to Mexico–the officials have said that they will not take anyone who is not a Mexican immigrant. What are you gonna do–
  • The President has talked a number of times about millions of illegal immigrants casting votes and said you would look in it. It seems there has been no mention of that in any of these executive orders–
  • Where does that stand though?
  • Yesterday you said we have to go after hardened criminals first. But during the campaign, the President said DACA was an unconstitutional use of presidential power, does he still feel the same way about DACA?
  • Given all of the push on deporting illegal immigrants, I want to see whether this White House has any interest in curtailing legal immigration?

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