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Politics, Trump Week in Review

WEEK #87 OF THE TRUMP ERA IN REVIEW, FRIDAY, 9/7/18 TO THURSDAY, 9/13/18

Words of the Week: “Tremendously big and tremendously wet.”

It was a week of storms, both of the natural and the human variety. Speaking of words of the week, we found out President Trump can’t pronounce the world “anonymous” to save himself, even though he is obsessed with trying to identify the writer of the Anonymous Editorial in the New York Times that exposed his White House as a dysfunctional nightmare where his closest aides are actively sabotaging his horrible decisions, refusing orders and withholding information from their boss so he doesn’t completely destroy America. 

And speaking of decisions, he made yet another foolish one when he demanded his $130,000 in hush money back from porn star Story Daniels in a pretty bizarre (even for him) bid to get her to drop her libel suit against him.

His former lawyer, fixer and coconspirator Michael Cohen, who was the bagman who made that illicit payment (and who was repaid plus a 6-figure bonus), made the same demand of Ms Daniels, leaving us wondering what are his motives after telling the world he was going to testify against Trump for all manner of criminal activity. One gets the feeling that being very weird (as well as amoral, dishonest and greedy) is a prerequisite for working in the Trump Organization, and old habits are hard to break.

And speaking of destroying America, Trump’s counterinsurgents in the White House could not prevent him from allowing polluters to release more methane gas into the atmosphere we all breathe. No one thought this was a good idea, not even Trump, but the restrictions on releasing harmful methane were “Obama Era” regulations, and Trump is nothing if not a slave to his obsessions, and one of his most consuming obsessions is undoing any progress achieved with Obama’s name attached it. 

The fact that Obama is a man who still commands worldwide respect and whose legacy Trump is incapable of undoing drives him nuts (okay that’s a very short drive, but still…), so when Obama emerged from the self-imposed silence of Ex-Presidents this week to bash all things Trump and announce he would be actively campaigning for a Democratic victory in the upcoming Midterm Election, Trump’s bad week got worse.

To be fair, Week #87 was no better to Trump (or America) than the previous 86 Trump Era weeks, beginning with everyone having fun with Trump’s thin skin when it was reported that a young man was removed from his spot directly behind Trump and swiftly hustled off-camera at his Montana political rally last Thursday, for not applauding wildly and for committing Face Crimes.

It seems that “Plaid Shirt Guy” is a high school senior who won a lottery to meet the president, have a photo taken with Trump and get to sit behind him during his speech and get a lot of camera time. Once seated there, though, he could not hide his incredulity at the insane things Trump says in his speeches, apparently not realizing that saying insane things is Trump’s stock in trade, and Plaid Shirt Guy reacted as any normal human being would when exposed for the first time to the reality of Trump pandering to his rabid followers. 

Normal reactions, however, are hard to come by in a nation poisoned by the strangest political atmosphere since the Nixon/Watergate days, which seem like like a series of jaywalking infractions in comparison to the open corruption, gleeful criminality and the embrace of treason that marks Trump’s America. Some people are even waxing nostalgic for George W. Bush, the bumbler who (!) attacked the wrong country and presided over the near-destruction of the global economy. In a sense, we are all Plaid Shirt Guy, registering our utter disbelief and scorn on a daily (if not hourly) basis.

Trump officials used the weekend to announce the closing of the Washington office of the Palestine Liberation Organization because of “potential unrest” (mostly caused by Trump himself for cutting off US funds to 5 million Palestinian refugees) and to attack the World Court in the Hague for having the temerity to indict alleged American war criminals over crimes committed in Afghanistan, once again applying the “Trump is Above The Law Doctrine,’ only this time in an international forum. This of course unleashed a chorus of protests globally, and (very accurate) accusations of bullying by the United States. 

As far as people protesting within these United States, Trump had only unconstitutional threats for them: “I hope the other side realizes that they’d better just take it easy. Because some of the language used, some of the words, even some the radical ideas, I really think they’re bad for the country. I think they’re actually very dangerous for the country.”

Funny how Trump’s accusations aimed at his opposition almost always perfectly encapsulate himself and his dysfunctional administration. The words “the language used…  the radical ideas… I think they’re actually very dangerous for the country” are as apt a description of this president as any. But not as apt as Trump’s own self-description as “The Disaster President” in a moment when the words and storms of the week converged.

Still suffering from Acute Headline Withdrawal Trauma after the John McCain funeral of the week before robbed Trump of being the center of attention 24/7, Trump decided to do a preemptive strike on another potential headline thief, Hurricane Florence, bearing down on the coast of the Southern Atlantic States with slow precision and a destructive potential that resulted in millions of people being evacuated from their homes.

The president was determined that this was one Mega-Storm that would not steal his thunder, so he appeared before the cameras to display his ignorance and inarticulate wrangling with the English language (which is when we were treated to “Tremendously big and tremendously wet” to describe a meteorological phenomenon and “The Disaster President” to boast of his prowess at dealing with severe storms).

This is where his gambit went south, when he fumbled around for superlatives for himself and his administration’s “best ever” responses to natural disasters; “no one has ever been more prepared” and “many people are saying (“many people” is code for “me”) our response was the best, going back 15, 25 years, a century” (The fact is that a century ago, the biggest storm America was experiencing in 1918 was World War 1, and some quick research tells us that hurricane activity was minimal that year).

Okay, we can deal with the lies about opinions, that’s just Trump being Trump, but then he opened a can of worms when he started ticking off his previous successes against hurricanes, claiming “Puerto Rico was an incredible unsung success,” when Hurricane Maria killed almost 3,000 people on the island, which was confirmed in a report that he himself had commissioned.

Now, months after that report was quietly buried by the continuing avalanche of bad news that is Trump’s America, he brought it back into focus by claiming it was “a Democratic conspiracy to make me look as bad as possible” (as if he needs anyone’s help in that department). Then he went on to bash Puerto Rican leadership, Democrats, the electric power grid (still not fully restored a year later), and Puerto Ricans for having the nerve to die and blame his piss-poor response, before signing off with (!) “I love Puerto Rico!” Well, he did throw them paper towels after all, didn’t he?

All of which seems like a lot of effort to make a natural disaster all about him, inviting nothing but negative responses and scorn (where’s Plaid Shirt Guy when you need him?), but at least he made sure Florence is one storm that won’t completely eclipse Trump. There would be other storms this week, however, those of the human variety, and unlike hurricanes, humans can respond.

On Tuesday Bob Woodward’s book about the dysfunctional Trump White House, titled simply “Fear,” made landfall and became an instant best seller, containing blockbuster revelations of criminality and gross incompetence, as well as illustrative tidbits like Trump ordering an architect to illegally remove the Braille signs on the elevator buttons of his building because (?) “no blind people will live in Trump Tower.”

Mr. Woodward was doing the rounds of TV interviews to promote his book for the past week, and stayed annoyingly calm, careful and non-confrontational, a man who cannot be baited by Trump’s childish taunting, instead content to explain journalistic ethics and his methods of extracting the information he reported in his book. There are tapes and credible corroborating witnesses to back up every claim, making us wonder how many copies of “Fear” Robert Mueller has ordered for his staff.

Tuesday also saw Trump forced to sign an executive order that will impose sanctions on any foreign companies or people who interfere in U.S. elections, based on intelligence agency findings, ostensibly so he can defend himself from people saying he was elected only due to foreign interference in our election. With only 2 months to the Midterms and much of the damage already done, this is seen as mere window-dressing (ass-covering) since he never implemented the previous sanctions Congress placed on Russia.

Wednesday gave us the news that the Federal Government will pay Mexico $20 million to deport Central American and South American refugees before they are allowed to reach the American border, sort of a Border Wall of Money, only with America paying for it instead of Mexico. Or something like that, no one is quite sure how any of this will work (or not).

And speaking of immigration and deportations (as we alway seem to be in our Nation of Immigrants), 18 former INS and antiterror experts signed an open letter blasting a Trump Administration report linking terrorism to immigration, saying “Overall, the report appears designed to give the misleading impression that immigrants — and even their citizen family members — are responsible for the vast majority of terrorist attacks that have occurred in the United States” and that “statistical studies and our experience have shown no identifiable correlation between ‘foreignness’ and terrorist activism in the past 15 years.” It was just one more slap at Trump in what is becoming a hurricane of pushback against his lies and corruption.

Then on Thursday a real storm hit. No, not Hurricane Florence, which was taking its time and not expected to hit our shores until the beginning of Week #88 on Friday, but Trump’s former campaign manager and newly convicted felon Paul Manafort making a deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller to plead guilty to a score of other felonies on top of his 8 previous convictions.

It is unclear as of yet whether Manafort will be testifying against Trump or is merely avoiding the expense of further criminal trials while hoping for a presidential pardon, but news hit the nation with the force of a Category 5 Shitstorm, prompting both normal people and Rudy Giuliani to respond (a very predictable “the president did nothing wrong!”). 

What drowned them all out, however, was the profound silence from Trump about the Manafort deal, a potentially stunning turn of events. With Hurricane Florence and Superstorm Mueller bearing down on him, The Disaster President had no political rally to which he could escape, and with “no public events scheduled,” he was like millions of other Americans, waiting in fearful suspense for the storm to make landfall, and very uncharacteristically silent.

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