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Pop Goes The Political Culture Week of May 14

Pop Goes The Political Culture Week of May 14

Actual photo of MPU host financial records.

By Rebekah Kuschmider, MPU Co-host

All of us here at the More Perfect Union have spent the week reviewing our financial records to make sure we didn’t accidentally fail to disclose six figure payments to people with whom we had illicit affairs. We figure we need to get our paperwork in order before someone refers us to the Justice Department. Then we remember that we aren’t the president and no one at the Justice Department cares about our finances or our sex lives.

Too bad Trump didn’t think about that before he ran for president, huh? Coulda saved himself all kinds of trouble.

Now that we know that we won’t be fined for massive campaign finance violations, we’re getting ourselves ready for another fun-filled podcast. But until that drops, here’s the news that’s not fit to ‘cast!

Gimme Shelter – Without Trump’s name On It: Possibly one of the most bizarre effects of the Trump presidency is the collision between the White House and the world of entertainment. Obviously, there have been presidents with celebrity connections before – JFK and Marilyn ring any bells? – but Trump’s relationship with Hollywood is somehow different. He’s not been a patron of the arts like the Obamas tried to be nor is he a true member of the Hollywood elite like Reagan was. Instead he’s somewhere between a starfucker and a guy who fucks with stars. You can’t tell if he loves celebrities or hates them.

Whatever the case, there are a lot of celebs with Trump stories in their past. Just look at Kanye West’s twitter feed for proof.


But this week we got a celebrity Trump Tale that is pure rock and roll from none other than Kieth Richards.

In an interview with the BBC, Richards told a story about Trump being the promoter on a show the Rolling Stones did in Atlantic City in 1989. When the Stones got to the venue, they saw that Trump had given himself top billing on the marquee, with the Rolling Stones listed lower and in smaller letters.

That’s right. Trump gave himself top billing over the Rolling freakin’ Stones.

Richards told the BBC he was having none of it saying “I got out my trusty blade, stuck it in the table and said: ‘You have to get rid of this man!’”

He went on to say “Now America has to get rid of him. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!” 

It’s Laurel, Dammit: In the history of the nation there have been many conflicts that divided our populace. The crown versus the revolutionaries. North versus South. Betamax versus VHS. Clinton versus Trump. But not since the blue dress/white dress debate of 2015 have we seen an internet phenomenon that has driven such a wedge through our society.

I speak, of course, of a bizarre sound clip that’s circling the internet globe featuring a robot voice repeating a word. Some people hear the world “Laurel”. Other people are wrong.

OK, fine, they legitimately hear the word “Yanny” but “Yanny” isn’t a real world, unlike Laurel, which is the name of a very nice town about a half an hour away from where I live.


The difference has to do with pitch and how your ear perceives things. There’s science behind it. But people all over social media are lightheartedly arguing with friends and family over the whole debate. 

I expect that any minute we’ll find out that Kim Jong Un hears “Laurel” and he’ll finally cancel talks with the US after finding out that Trump hears “Yanny”. It’s that kind of phenomenon and it’s that kind of week.

Rhymes With “Smasmortion”: In a move typical of errant supply-side thinking, the Trump administration handed down a rule that forbids clinics that receive Title X family planning funds from performing or discussing abortion with patients in the same building as non-abortion services. Basically, if you say the word “abortion” in a building that houses an organization that receives grants from HHS under Title X, you lose your funding.

This reveals the mistaken idea that awareness of abortion is what drives people to seek abortions. In reality, people seek abortions because they want to stop being pregnant. It’s all about demand for abortions. There are proven ways of reducing the abortion rate but forcing doctors to stop telling people that abortions exist isn’t among them.


You know what does help? Providing a financial safety net for people considering abortion due to concerns about the cost of raising a child. So clearly, the Trump administration will be increasing programs that help with that concern, right?


According to the Washington Post, the US currently ranks third to last among developed nations on anti-poverty spending for children. And the House is trying to make it even harder to get safety net services. The Farm Bill is loaded up with all kinds of new obstacles to obtaining SNAP services. No food for you, poor people! Stop being poor if you want to eat!

Welcome to America in 2018, folks. we’ll force you to have an unwanted baby but we won’t help you feed it.

Note: The Farm Bill went down in flames in the House today because the Freedom Caucus wouldn’t get in line and support it. They wanted to get to immigration first. Since they didn’t get what they wanted, they embarrassed their own leadership by killing a bill in a recorded floor vote. Ok, then.

Harry and Meghan Menstrual Heroes: I wasn’t going to say anything about the royal wedding here because I thought that literally everything has already been said. I mean, until we actually see the dress, it’s all just hot air and fancy hats, right? But then a fascinating tidbit came across my feed.

It seems that Harry and Meghan have asked guests not to bring gifts, instead directing them to donate to a few charities they have selected. The only non-UK charity they chose is the Myna Mahila Foundation, an organization in India that provides menstrual supplies to women.

What’s that? Some of you are guys and you don’t want to be thinking about menstruation? Gosh. Must be nice to go through life being able to not think about menstruation.

Women in poverty-stricken part of India don’t have the luxury of not thinking about menstruation because many of them have to menstruate every month and lack access to supplies for keeping themselves clean during their periods. According to CNN, the Myna Mahila foundation “employs 15 local women to make the pads, providing them with stable and safe work, while busting myths and taboos. Another 50 women distribute the pads in the slums.”

Women without access to feminine hygiene products use whatever is at hand, such as rags or paper. In many cases, the lack of menstrual supplies combined with lack of toilet facilities can mean women cannot attend school or work during their periods. It’s a significant barrier to equality in India.

The other charities elected by the couple are Chiva, the Children’s HIV Association; Crisis, which focuses on ending homelessness; Scotty’s Little Soldiers, a charity for bereaved children of the armed forced; StreetGames, which brings sports to disadvantaged communities; Surfers Against Sewage, a conservation charity working to protect oceans; and the Wilderness Foundation UK.

So thank you to Meghan and Harry for making your special day that much more special. I’m sure Harry’s famously compassionate mother Diana would approve.

I’m sure there will be more exciting news to discuss by the time the gang gathers to record. Until then, you can catch up with The More Perfect Union at our website!


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