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The Attendance Debate and "Alternative Facts"

                                                         Jerry Nelson
                                               6 May 2017

20 Jan 2009  -  Obama's Inauguration (impossibly cold if you had to stand still all the time)
20 Jan 2017  -  Trump's Inauguration (a little rain)

21 Jan 2017  -  The Woman's March, triple the attendance at the inauguration.
15 April 2017 - The Tax March -- Show us your tax returns!  Show us the rubles!  Lots of  funny signs.  Demonstrations in 200 cities
22 April 2017 - The March for Science, 240 sponsors, 500 cities world-wide, scientists marching for the first time about anything (lots of rain)
29 April 2017 - The Climate March, 200,000 in Washington DC with satellite marches in 370 other US cities, plus Earth Day celebrations world-wide

"Which jar of jellybeans is larger?" is easier to declare accurately than, "State the number of jellybeans in the first jar, then tell us the number in the second." 

It is widely accepted that Saturday's Women's March attendance was three times larger than attendance at Trump's inauguration the day before.  Most Trump estimates are between 300,000 and 500,000, with early guesses between 250,000 and 600,000.   The Women's March generally-accepted estimate is 500,000. 

FWIW, I stood in all those crowds above, in all these events, pinned by the crowd in one, or phoning home to say what a stunning contrast Trump's inauguration was to Obama's -- I could just walk up to the front of the entire unticketed (public access) area!  This time I'd have good photos of the Capitol's dome!   Given published photographs and my own experience, 500,000 for the Women's March seems low to me compared to 1.8 million in the same place for Obama in 2009.   (A  typically lower-than-the-rest satellite photorecon consultant came in at 1.2 million for the Obama Mall crowd.)

Going with Trump at 250,000, and tripling the attendance for the Women's March gives us 750,000.  TRUMP 250,000 -- WOMEN 750,000.

MetroDC tallies ridership figures every day, but you'd have to divide by two because most people go home again for dinner.  To use MetroDC ridership tallies for attendance estimates, ridership as of 11AM is a more useful number.

          513,000      Obama's Inauguration 2009 
          193,000      Trump's Inauguration, Friday, 20Jan2017 (570,557 rides/whole day)
          275,000      Woman's March, Saturday, 21Jan2017, a level topping most weekday traffic levels,
                              and eight times the normal Saturday ridership.


Press Secretary Sean Spicer attacked the press the day after the inauguration for their inaccuracies about crowd size, offering instead statements of his own which proved to be lies. The only way to get a lie to stick is to repeat it often enough. 

Trump's team defended Spicer's statements. White House chief of staff Reince Priebus stated that the purpose of Spicer's conference was to call out what he called "dishonesty in the media" and their "obsession with delegitimizing the president".[54] (Wikipedia, 5/2017)

A narcissist's concern with admiration and "whose is bigger" gifted the English language a true gem: the alternative fact:

Trump's campaign strategist and counselor, Kellyanne Conway, told NBC's Chuck Todd that Trump's inauguration crowd numbers could not be proved nor quantified and that the press secretary was simply giving "alternative facts".[55] Todd responded by saying, "Alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods."[56]  (Wikipedia, 5/2017)


Billionaire Robert Mercer (computer-driven stock-trading programs at Renaissance Technologies) had already contributed perhaps a million to Trump's campaign -- and millions more to Breitbart News.  Robert Mercer wants his own fellow Americans to have more Breitbart News headlines like these, wants to share Mercer's own understanding of how society works so badly, he'll pay millions to educate us:
        "Political Correctness Protects Muslim Rape Culture"
        "Racist, Pro-Nazi Roots of Planned Parenthood Revealed"
        "The Solution to Online 'Harassment' is Simple: Women Should Log Off"
        "Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy"
        "Gabby Giffords: The Gun Control Movement's Human Shield"
        "There's No Hiring Bias Against Women in Tech, They Just Suck at Interviews"
        " ... The Plot Against Roger Ailes -- and America"
        "Data: Young Muslims in the West are a Ticking Time Bomb, Increasingly Sympathising with Radicals, Terror"

Nerds like Robert Mercer do not build railroads, haul coal, pour steel out of blast furnaces, they do not have to broadly function within their own civilization and society, they can remain
broadly ignorant of it -- isolated, connected to "the world" (they think) by the computer screen in front of them.  And  the nouveau riche like them often pick odd poles to get higher on, and miss true societal status.  Or maybe it is a looking-glass world.  Sensing that those with established societal status will never grant it to the likes of Mercer, these people would rather destroy all those they perceive as privileged members of the ruling elites, would rather deconstruct and destroy the administrative state.

By mid-August of election year, Robert Mercer and his middle daughter  Rebekah  felt that some adult supervision was necessary to protect their investment.  Stephen K Bannon from Breitbart News and Kellyanne Conway were the adult supervision.   Bannon saw the Trump campaign  (Obama has no birth certificate; Mexicans are only rapists and drug criminals  -- these are the dog whistles of raw American racism -- and turned it around, emphasizing:


Bannon, a workaholic, fast mind and motormouth, made the mistake of pointing out that his contribution was a big factor in Trump's win.  It was true, and truth is always a problem.

Bannon also came into conflict with the Trump family; namely, son-in-law Jared Kushner,  a top adviser, and daughter Ivanka, now an official government employee on the White House adviser team.

Politically, Bannon came into conflict with the military and intelligence people who actually know how to defend the country. They were apprehensive to see Bannon placed at the head of the National Security Council as a member of the Principals Committee, sitting in on all meetings, ready to tell the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Attorney General what to do, and displacing as Principals the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ("Hey JCS, don't call us, we'll call you if we need you -- maybe when we see blips on the radar screen or the missile launch tubes on a surfacing submarine.")

George W. Bush (2001-2008) asked his own political guy, Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, never  to attend National Security Council meetings because Bush  wished never to give the appearance of sending anyone to die for political reasons  -- the death was on him, and it raised questions for him about the values he hoped to live by.  Bush seems like other politically strange people I have actually gotten to know:  if you drill down deep enough, you strike decency. 

By 5 April 2017, cooler heads had forced Bannon out of the NSC's Principals Committee, and megadonor Rebekah Mercer had to persuade Bannon not to quit the new administration entirely.

The Trump Organization is a family business.  The Trump administration is a family business.  When the country is run like a family business, nepotism and secrecy produce corruption.  . 

                                           cartoon, "Make it look like an accident"  Tom Cheney, 2003
                                           Tom Cheney's wonderful cartoons -- available from Cartoon Bank.

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Rev 9MayAM PM 2017