Combat (01/31/2017)

“No people ever recognize their dictator in advance. He never stands for election on the platform of dictatorship. He always represents himself as the instrument [of] the Incorporated National Will…When our dictator turns up you can depend on it that he will be one of the boys, and he will stand for everything traditionally American.”

-Dorothy Thompson, 1935, As quoted in (Brioch, 2016)

Ministry of Truth

    • Alternative Fact: It is “almost impossible” to start a new business today.”
    • Actual Fact: “The creation of new US Businesses has climbed since steadily since 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
    • Alternative Fact: Cutting funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is part of a “serious effort” to decrease the federal budget.
    • Actual Fact: The total budget of these three programs, $744.7 million, represents only .000179% of the $4.15 trillion federal budget. Cutting this funding does nothing to “seriously” address the federal budget or reduce it. The biggest impact is likely to be on rural citizens whose communities lack the big private donors that make the arts and public news possible in big cities.
    • The original “Alternative Fact”: “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period.”
    • The original “Actual Fact”: Ariel photographs demonstrated a much smaller audience than Obama’s 2009 inauguration and the Washington subway system reported 193,000 riders by 11 am, more than two times less than the 513,000 by that time on inauguration day 2009.
    • Alternative Fact: News Media reporting accurate estimates of the number of people attending the presidential inauguration and protests over the weekend represents a “running war” with the White House and an “attack” on President Donald.
    • Actual Fact: News Media reporting accurate estimates of the number of people attending or participating in an event is, quite literally, the job of a journalist and one of the purposes of the news media. Almost any event or protest that is reported on reports estimates of the number of people involved, if that information is available or easy enough to obtain. It’s part of the fourth estate’s public duty to be a witness to history.
    • Alternative Fact: The CIA supported and responded with laughter and clapping to Donald’s dangerous remarks and statements that he desired to commit war crimes by seizing oil from Iraq.
    • Actual Fact: The cheering and clapping was not from CIA staff but from a group sycophants Donald has started bringing along to press conferences to provide a “laugh track” of a sorts. What? Ugh.
    • Alternative Fact: Using a private email account while serving as a federal staffer is a crime that deserves being locked up in prison.
    • Actual Fact: Donald’s staffers are using private email accounts
    • Alternative Fact: Illegal Immigration is a huge problem and is getting worse.
    • Actual Fact: Undocumented immigration has decreased to half of what it was from 1980 to 2008. This actually marks a 50-year low in undocumented migrants trying to cross the border. There has also been a change in the nature of undocumented migration – instead of people seeking economic opportunities, far more are Central Americans seeking humanitarian protection from dangers in their own countries.
    • Alternative Fact: Donald J. Trump is the world’s greatest negotiator.
    • Actual Fact: President Donald is a terrible negotiator and doesn’t understand that international relations is not the same as business.
      • Lawrence O’Donnell does a great job of breaking down how President Donald has already flubbed his first negotiation – to meet with Mexican President Nieto and discuss “The Wall.” Furthermore, he demonstrates why the skillset of business negotiations is fundamentally different than the negotiation and diplomacy skillset of a head of state.

Damage Report Updates

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Taking Perspective

  • How Journalists Covered the Rise of Hitler and Mussolini
    • Many newspapers celebrated the rise of Fascism, crediting it with saving Europe from anti-capitalistic leftists. Some even saw Mussolini as “restoring normalcy.” With Hitler, they saw him as a joke and a “nonsensical screecher.” Beyond this, there are so many similarities to the press coverage surrounding President Donald and his supporters, it is slightly terrifying. Many media outlets also thought Hitler would be moderated or outmaneuvered by mainstream politicians, in part because the lack of substance in his policies and pronouncements would become clear.
    • While media outlets such as NY Times even fell for fascists, some media outlets were critical from the get-go and remind us that they have long traditions of good journalism, such as the New Yorker and Harper’s Magazine.
  • What is the legal reality of the emolument’s lawsuit and the Muslim Ban?
    • The podcast “Opening Arguments” explained the legal precedent and constitutionality of the current emoluments lawsuit and the Muslim ban on their most recent episode. Really enlightening about what might factor into the way the judicial system will treat these legal challenges to Donald.

Inspiration and Comedic Relief


Brioch, J. (2016, December 13). How Journalists Covered the Rise of Mussolini and Hitler. Retrieved January 29, 2017, from


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