QUICK NOTE: Hello from the future! It has taken me a while to actually get around to writing these posts (for reasons we’ll talk about in a mental health post soon). When I finally sat down to start writing about these hearings, trying to write about them in the past tense just felt weird. So, I’m going to write what I would have written had I been able to write up each hearing on the day it happened and then backdate them here on the blog. I realize that I probably could have just done that anyway without telling you but that felt like a shady thing to do. Just thought you should know! Onward!
After weeks of closed-door depositions, the House Permanent Select Committee for Intelligence (House Intel Committee) held it’s first public Impeachment Inquiry hearing today. First up at the table were Bill Taylor and George Kent.
Bill Taylor was obviously the main “get” for today. He’s currently serving as the Acting US Ambassador to Ukraine. He was brought in to replace Marie Yovanovitch (whose hearing is tomorrow). Yovanovitch, you probably already know, was ousted because she wouldn’t roll over when Trump wanted to, well, be Trump.
It’s important to understand that, though Taylor is technically currently serving as a political appointee, he has served his country for literally his entire adult life. He started in the military in 1969, served in Vietnam, has held a variety of important federal positions and served as the as an Ambassador in NATO and was originally appointed to be US Ambassador to Ukraine by George W Bush in 2006 and served in that role until May of 2009. In other words? Dude is not a Trump toady by, like, a loooooong shot.
Taylor is the star of today’s hearing because he was the one who not only realized that Trump was up to no good but communicated about the shenaniganry via text and email. He made sure that there was a paper trail to back up every claim he made to his superiors and, eventually, to the Committee.
George Kent is also important (though he was clearly the sidekick in today’s hearing). He started serving in the State Department in 1992 and is currently the official Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs. TL;DR? Also not a Trump toady.
What makes Kent an important witness is his long history of dealing with and rooting out corruption in Eastern Europe, particularly in Ukraine. He’s the person who raised the alarm about Rudy Giuliani running “shadow” foreign policy for Trump.
As for the hearing itself? It wasn’t super eventful. Since the cameras were on, the GOP members of the committee did their best to compete for first place in the Best Stooge Olympics. Today’s heat was won by Rep John Ratcliffe, which left Jim Jordan feeling very pouty, I’m sure.
One of the promises I made for my fundraiser was to write at least two mental health updates each week. By my count, that means I’m now about 4 behind. I will catch up. Oh yes, I will catch up.
To be honest, I haven’t been having a great brain…you know, I was going to say “couple of days” but really, it’s been longer than that. I switched my med schedule right when I was starting this project (not dosage, just timing) and, like, for the first few days things were GREAT. I thought maybe I had figured out at least an important piece of this blasted brain chemistry puzzle. And then, on the fourth day, I forgot to take my meds altogether. Missing a dose isn’t the hugest deal in the world as long as I definitely remember to take the next dose on time–which I did. Even so, it did put a little bit of a stumble in my step. And then, on the ninth day, I forgot again. Getting used to a new schedule is hard, yo.
I still feel like the new schedule is an important step forward. I have more energy during the day when I need it and get tired at night when I’m supposed to. That’s huge for me. It’s still a fight, but I’m working on it.
I also remembered to turn in my OHP renewal on time, so hopefully I won’t have any gaps in coverage. I’m due to check in with my doctor in another week or so and that’s when I think we’ll start working on stuff like getting me set up with a psychiatrist and tests and all that jazz.
In the meantime, I have to keep reminding myself this is a marathon, not a sprint. Or whatever other sports cliche floats your boat.
You might notice that it has taken me a touch longer than usual to get this particular post up. That’s because I was struggling with how to approach it.
Obviously, last night there was a Trump Keep America Great rally. Trump invaded the Monroe Civic Center and, about 45 minutes after he was scheduled to start speaking, he actually took the stage. 45? Get it?
The speech itself was more of the same. Lots of lies and bull-pucky talking points. Most of the first 2/3 of his speech seemed to be improvised, though he did bring a visual aid. Nothing forces home your message like holding up a computer printout, amirite?
It was at around the 2/3-finished mark that it started to become very clear that Trump was not feeling well. His words started to become increasingly slurred. He started sweating off his makeup. Near the end of his speech he had even begun to complain about the temperature in the arena, flapping his suit jacket open and saying that it felt like “it’s 120 degrees in here!” His face was also an alarming shade of red. By the time he was done? He looked like this:
Now look, I am clearly not a fan of this man. I think he is the worst thing to happen to our world in ages. Still, it felt (and feels!) gross to make fun of a man who was so clearly in distress. I stopped live-tweeting toward the end, instead watching fearfully as he speed-read through the speech that was on the prompter, worried that he might not make it all the way through.
Thankfully he made it through his speech without passing out from heatstroke or whatever was happening and will live to be mocked another day.
If you want to read the twitter thread, it still exists and you can find it here, but re-posting it feels more like punching down than anything else.
Trump held a Keep America Great Rally in Kentucky today. The official reason for the campaign stop was to stump for the GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Matt Bevin and the other Republicans running down-ticket.
Before we get into that, though, can we talk about how everybody on the dais behind Trump is wearing the same shirt? In many instances, the shirt has been put on over other clothes. Because there’s no way that was a planned stunt, right? I mean look:
Okay, back to the “substance” of the rally:
For those who aren’t familiar with Bevin, Vox has dubbed him “among the country’s most unpopular governors.” Bevin seems to hate teachers and Medicaid recipients but loves him some Trump. During today’s rally, Trump returned the love by describing Bevin as “a total pain in the ass, but that can be a good thing!”
In terms of substance, this rally wasn’t all that different from Friday’s rally in Mississippi. He hit all of the same talking points. I am slightly bitter that we didn’t hear anything about California’s Governor refusing to fight forest fires by “cleaning up the leaves.” For me, that’s right up there with his previous explanation of clean coal: “They take the coal and they clean the coal and you have beautiful clean coal!” We did hear about how Trump is saving us money by yanking us out of the Paris Accords (it won’t) and how he (not his team, he) defeated ISIS (he didn’t) and how he saved Iran and made it into a totally different country (nope).
Today’s Tweet Thread is a little short. I was a few minutes late to the live feed of the rally. Then, near the end I got a phone call. Before writing this post, though, I did go back and watch the tail end of the speech that I missed and here is what I would have tweeted:
Trump is praising Lou Dobbs for saying that he [Trump, not Dobbs] is the greatest President in the history of the country including George Washington and Abe Lincoln. I call BS.
Did…did Trump just claim he invented the word “loophole”?
We will always protect you with pre-existing conditions and we will protect you with pre-existing physicians! I’ve never said that before! I just thought of that! It’s true! Hooooo boyyyyy.
Democrats have launched an unrelenting assault on people of faith! *Goes on to brag about how he made it okay for adoption agencies and foster programs to discriminate against LGBTQIA+ parents.
Trump is bragging that he “fixed” Iran. Oh honey.
Trump: We’re going to land on the moon so we can go to Mars! $10 says dude thinks that’s where Astronauts have to stop to use the bathroom.
Trump: The people who founded Kentucky loved their families, loved their country— Me: The country they ran away from? That one?
Oh! Also, I figured out Wakelet and was able to turn today’s rally thread into a “story” over there. Here it is for those of you who want to read the thread without having to deal with Twitter.
Finally, I want to send shout outs to Chris, Josh, Glenn, and Jim for donating to my fundraiser! I love you glorious humans to pieces and am incredibly grateful for your support!
If you’d like to contribute to my fundraiser so I can keep writing these things and taking care of stuff, here’s a link to the GoFundMe page I set up for it. If GoFundMe isn’t your thing, I also take Kofi, Venmo, CashApp, and PayPal. Those links are over on the support page.
There was a MAGA/KAG rally in Tupelo, Mississippi today. Trump was scheduled to start speaking at 8pm EST. He didn’t actually start speaking until about 8:45pm EST. This is not unusual. He almost always starts speaking late. I know that running a little behind schedule is typical for big events like this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if these speeches started so late because of tantrums or because dude wants to really hammer home the “45” thing. Or both! Probably both.
Originally I was going to copy my live tweets over here for a blog post because I know that not everybody loves going to Twitter, but wow. There are a lot of tweets.
The short version is: there was nothing new in this speech. It was his usual complain, lie, lie, lie, complain, lie, lie, forget where he was, forget what he was talking about, try to riff, lie, lie, lie, LOCK HER UP, lie, lie, brag about himself while lying, forget where he was, forget what year it was, forget who his opponent was in 2016, decide he ran in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and potentially 1988 and won every last one of those races “easily, so easily”, lie, lie, lie, lie, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, wander around clapping for himself. [End Scene]
If you want to read the tweet thread, you can do so on Twitter. You don’t need an account or anything to read through the feed because my account is public–though if you wanted to create an account for yourself and then follow me, I wouldn’t be sad.
Hopefully by Monday I’ll have time to find a good Storify replacement. Remember Storify? I miss it. I’ve heard good things about…Wakelet? Is that what it’s called? I’ll play around with it a little bit tomorrow and see if I can figure it out.
Oh, and before I forget, thank you to Taylor, Kelli, Kevin and my Mom for donating to my fundraiser! I appreciate it so much!
Hi there. For those of you who are new here, my name is Erin. I’m trying to raise money to cover expenses for the next couple of months while I try to help you all make sense out of the increasingly chaotic mess that is our government, impeachment(s) happening within it, and work with my doctor to get my mental health back on track (as on track as it can be, anyway).
Here’s the long version (or you can skip ahead to the plan and the rewards info):
I adopted the politics and policy beats during the 2016 Presidential Campaign. The goal was to inform and analyze in a way that readers would find entertaining…and, okay, I wanted them to understand the policies at play behind all of the shouting. After the election I turned my attention to the administration that took over the White House and did my best to keep up with all of their shenanigans so that people who voted for them could understand why the rest of us were freaking out so hard.
It didn’t take long for the administration to spin so far out of control that keeping up with them was near impossible, especially when I had to do it around my freelance writing/editing schedule and school.
I’m currently a student at Penn State, majoring in Law & Society. Okay, technically I’m a student on hiatus for the fall term because it turns out I couldn’t quite swing the tuition in time to start classes. But hey, that just meant there was more time to churn out freelance stuff and keep up with all of the Trumpian hoopla that has exploded all over our government, right?
You’d think, but you’d be wrong.
As Trumplandia has gotten more intense and chaotic and life has gotten more expensive, freelance work has been slowing down. This always happens at this time of the year. I’m still doing as many projects as I can, but it’s not nearly enough to cover the bills on a good day and it’s even worse now that my brain chemistry has gone wonky again.
This is the part where we take a minute to talk about brain weasels.
I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in 2015 and started on a medication regimen right away. For the most part, the medication did its job and I was able to wrangle my brain weasels successfully without hampering my productivity.
I’m not exactly sure when my meds stopped working. My doctor and I have adjusted my dosage level but it’s clear that I need to switch to something new. Doing that involves multiple trips to the doctor, a referral to a psychiatrist, testing, all sorts of time and energy consuming stuff.
So. What does this have to do with you?
I need to prioritize if I’m going to make it through the rest of the year. What I’d like to do is focus on two things for the months of November and December.
My Mental Health
My Political Writing
In order to do this, I need help.
Professionally what I’d like to do is focus on being awesome for the couple of regular clients I have right now and put the rest of my work energy toward building a portfolio of current political/policy writing that I can use to help bolster my marketability next year when the clients are hiring again. (And, yes, build that Patreon some of you have been after me to start for years.)
Personally, I’d like to have the freedom to be able to schedule doctor’s appointments and tests and give whatever meds we try a chance to really work so that I can be a productive member of society again.
To accomplish these goals, I need to find a way to pay for my bills over the next couple of months. This is where I’m hoping you can come in.
In order to stay financially in the black through the end of 2019, I figure I need to raise $2500. Obviously, a percentage of that (I figure it will be around 4%) will go toward GoFundMe fees. The rest will cover the rent for my storage unit, my car, gas, and insurance payments, and my phone bill, with a bit of a cushion in case of emergencies or expenses that pop up (like changing the oil in my car, which I forgot about until just now). Here’s how it all breaks down:
Obviously, since it’s the end of October, this is going to be a rolling fundraiser. That’s one of the perks of using GoFundMe—I don’t have to have a definite deadline. If I can get $300 by the end of Halloween (that’s today!) I’ll be able to jump into the work 11/1 and start showing you some progress toward my goals. The more I bring in up front, the more of the project will be committed to the books for those who might want to wait a bit before investing/donating.
If I actually reach my goal, here is what I can promise you:
Tweet threads of all of the rallies, Congressional hearings, floor debates, official speeches and pressers I can get access to.
Consolidation Blog Posts for those of you who don’t want to deal with Twitter
3x week Political/Policy Blog Posts through the end of 2019
2x week Personal Blog Posts through the end of 2019
However many Videos get commissioned
YOU GET STUFF!
I don’t want you to just give me money. I want you to get something in return. When I’ve done fundraisers in the past, I’ve had good luck with offering rewards like doodles, haikus, etc. I’d like to do some of that again, but I’d also like to involve you in my writing/publishing process as much as possible. I’d like you to feel more like investors than donors. What does that look like?
3 x 5 B & W Doodles
Electronic delivery: $5
USPS delivery: $7
Haikus (electronic delivery)
Written & Illustrated $10
Haikus (USPS delivery)
Written & Illustrated $12
Snail Mail Letter $5
Monthly Snail Mail Letter (November, December, January) $10 (Limit 10)
Investments (each comes with a bio and a link to a site/cause of your choosing)
Blog Post Sponsorship: $50 (Limit 30)
Blog Post Commission (topic of your choosing, though I’m retaining the right to veto): $100 (Limit 15)
Video Blog Post Commission (5 minutes max): $200 (Limit 6)
Everything will be mailed by 12/31/2019 (except for the January monthly snail mail letter, which will be mailed by 1/10/2020)
THANK YOU for reading all of this! Thank you for any help you can spare to send me. The world is literally on fire right now and you choosing to support me when there are so many others who are in worse predicaments is humbling and I will be forever grateful.
Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!
Wow. It’s been like a year and a half since I updated this space. At which point do I just rip it down and start all over? Or maybe put up alllllllllllllllllllll of my archives and just go on from there?
I don’t know what to do. I do know that I’m getting the itch to write and get excited and make things again–an itch I haven’t felt in a long time–so that’s good, right?
Anyway, here’s an update! Let’s hope it won’t be a year and a half before the next one.
Also, wow. WordPress is suuuuuuuper weird now. I think I might like it?
You know how you have a blog and you want to write on the job but then things happen and you don’t write for many many months and when you come back you feel like you have to write a long explanation of everything that has happened since your last update?
One of my biggest issues with our current socio/political environment is just how f*cking fast everything happens. I’m working on a few larger stories but in the meantime on this here blog? Even the crickets have gotten bored and moved on.
This, as you all already know, really bugs me. I’m super active on Twitter but when it comes to sitting down and taking the time to type out more than 140 characters at a time? Somehow that never ends up happening. I mean, if I’m writing I might miss a breaking development! There are, like, half a dozen a day now! I have to keep up!
Okay, look: I know I really don’t. And I’m working on cutting the cable news cord a little bit at a time. It’s sort of like trying to cut through a super well-done steak with a plastic spoon but I’m trying.
…I feel like there could be a super witty marrying of that simile and the spoon theory but I probably won’t think of it until about an hour after I hit publish on this.
Last night I realized that, like so many projects I take on, I am making all this way harder than it needs to be. I’m stressing out about creating original content on Twitter. And original content on Medium. And original content here.
WTF, Self. Why not just work once, post thrice?
One of my current favorite Twitterers (Tweeters?) is @AlexandraErin (and if you’re not following her you really need to fix that. She’s amazing). She writes primarily on Twitter, creating these awesome threads full of insight and information. Sometimes she writes long-form too but she’s very open about her preference for Twitter.
I spend most my time on Twitter too, but I’m also very conscious of the fact that Twitter is not everybody’s jam. So, I’m going to try something out for the next couple of weeks: I’m going to try creating posts out of the things I tweet. Sometimes it will be pretty basic, like what you’re about to see. Other times I might add some context, summation, long-form friendly stuff. I don’t really know yet. Let’s see how this goes first. Ready?
Here is my Twitter coverage of today’s White House Daily Briefing via Storify because I wanted to try that out and see how it went.