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Politics, Trump Week in Review

WEEK #97 OF THE TRUMP ERA IN REVIEW, FRIDAY, 11/16/18 TO THURSDAY, 11/22/18

In the week that ended on the day when America gives thanks, many of us found it within ourselves to be profoundly grateful for the Rule of Law and the United States Constitution during these times when they are both under constant savage assault by the guy who is supposed to be in charge of preserving and upholding them.

The temptation is to say “well, these things happen,” but the fact is that these things have never happened in America. We have had lousy presidents, sure, even criminal presidents, but never an obvious madman who routinely bashes the Rule of Law and the Constitution while breaking any number of laws himself on a daily basis while his majority Republican Party acts as eager accomplices.

We also expressed our thanks for last week’s electoral defeat of Trump and his GOP when he lost control of the House of Representatives to the Democrats, effectively stopping Trump in his tracks starting on January 1st, a turn of events that is driving this madman even crazier than usual. 

Trump has already threatened the incoming Democrats with reciprocal investigations and criminal prosecution if they dare to investigate either his crimes or the crooked business empire he continues to cash in on as he openly monetizes the presidency. He also says the intervening time between now and January would be “a good time for a government shutdown” over funding for his border wall, something that is never going to happen with a Democratic House.

But he cannot do those things, you say? It’s an abuse of power expressly forbidden in our Constitution, you exclaim? Turns out you are right, but it also turns out that he has been trying to do these things all along, but was prevented from doing so by his own White House lawyers and his senior staff, who either threatened to resign or informed him that criminal charges would be filed against him if he even tried it. It seems he wanted the Justice Department to prosecute both his opponent in the presidential race, Hillary Clinton, and a man he fired for refusing to break the law on his orders, former FBI Director James Comey. 

Apparently that Civics Lesson on how the United States government works has slipped Trump’s mind, and he is again pushing his weight around attempting to become a tinpot dictator who rules with an iron fist rather than an elected president who serves the people of the United States. He even got into a war of words over his abuse of power with (!) the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts, for saying in reply to Trump’s attacks on the judiciary, “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges.” Taking Robert’s admonishing personally, he lashed out angrily on Twitter at The Chief Justice of The United States.

And the week began with such promise for Trump when Michael Avenatti, the lawyer suing him on behalf of Trump’s porn star nemesis and former lover, Stormy Daniels, was arrested for alleged domestic abuse, a public relations godsend for the president, himself a serial abuser of women who loves pointing accusatory fingers at others for the same unacceptable behavior he has engaged in for his entire life.

This euphoria over other people’s pain and misfortune was short-lived when it turned out later in the week to be a frame-up perpetrated by same sort of people who tried to entrap Robert Mueller the same way a couple of weeks ago. The Los Angeles District Attorney quietly declined to pursue the case, but the damage to Mr. Avenatti’s reputation was done as Trump’s fanatical followers will treat him as if he was convicted of a crime that prosecutors have determined never took place.

Actual events and hard facts, however, have never stopped Trump’s beloved “poorly educated” (The Deplorables to everyone else) from claiming all sorts of insane and vicious things, the crazier and crueler, the better. 

On Saturday, Trump did something he has never done before; admitted a mistake. He said he regretted not attending the Veterans Day service at Arlington National Cemetery to honor our nation’s heroes who fell in battle because he didn’t want to get his combover wet in the rain. Of course he did not actually blame himself, but his staff, and did not regret failing to honor our veterans, but instead regretted “the public relations disaster” that not attending the ceremony caused, and blamed his staff for not informing him of that political reality. 

What went unmentioned is the fact that we have a president whose staff doesn’t even bother anymore to explain good citizenship and having a conscience to their boss, knowing full well that his priorities begin and end with himself and that running America is merely a means to enhance his own personal wealth and power. Doing what is right never enters the equation.

And speaking of having no conscience, Trump announced that coal lobbyist and Interim Environmental Protection Agency Director Andrew Wheeler will be nominated to permanent EPA boss, and planned a sideshow seminar at the upcoming Paris Climate Accord meeting touting (!) the efficiency of fossil fuels in an age when responsible leaders are steering their nations towards clean renewable energy, in the same week an official report was released by 13 US government agencies stating that Global Warming will devastate the American economy, eroding it by at least 10% by the Year 2100. Trump will be dead by the year 2100, so naturally he ignored the words of the experts in their fields, instead dredging up his crazy campaign trail lie that Climate Change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese in order to gain a competitive advantage, even as great swaths of the western part of the USA are ablaze with catastrophic wildfires resulting from manmade climate change.

And speaking of catastrophic wildfires, Trump repeated his asinine accusations of poor forest management in California as being the cause of the fires, only this time using (!) “the forest nation of Finland” as an example, saying that they (!!) “rake the forest” to prevent fires. Which prompted the president of Finland Sauli Niinistö to wonder where he got this information since it it not true, and certainly did not come from him in their recent conversation that Trump cited as the source of his insane claims. He explained that Finland’s forests are buried in “a meter of snow” for half the year, are practically flooded in Springtime, most of the country lies within the Arctic Circle, and in fact Finland does indeed have forest fires. 

Niinistö was also puzzled by the “Forest Nation” designation, as if Finland was some mythical fairytale country populated by elves and wood nymphs, although at this point in his presidency, Trump’s insane flights of fancy should come as no surprise to any European leader.

And speaking of insane flights of fancy, not only did Trump reject the CIA’s finding that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman did indeed order the killing of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, but that our relationship with Saudi Arabia is more important than quibbling little trifles like the murder and dismemberment of America-based reporters, or the starvation deaths of 50,000 Yemeni children at the hands of the Saudis.

Trump also decided that this nation, whose wealthy royals have handed him hundreds of millions of dollars personally, is a good candidate for buying American nuclear power plant technology and allowing them to make their own fissionable material if they swear cross-you-heart-hope-to-die that they will not take advantage and build a nuclear weapon (wink-winkety-wink).

And if starting a fight with the country’s Chief Justice wasn’t crazy enough, Trump attacked the former commander of the (!!!) Navy SEALs who was in charge of the operation that killed Osama in Laden, complaining that “they could have killed him sooner” and claiming that Admiral William H. McRaven was “a Hilary supporter,” which was not only untrue, he repeated it as if the term “Hillary Supporter” was the equivalent of “Benedict Arnold.”

McCraven’s crime? Writing op-ed pieces criticizing Trump’s attacks on our free press and defending ex-CIA Director John Brennan, another Trump critic who had his security clearance yanked by Trump, a move that knowledgeable observers say compromises our national security. When asked by a CNN interviewer why a president would stoop so low as to make personal attacks on his critics, Trump replied with this very revealing reply: “I like to take everything personally because you do better that way.” Spoken like a bratty 9 year-old.

And speaking of 9 Year-olds, Trump bragged that he had replied to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s written questions “all by myself!” a silly lie immediately contradicted by his own lawyers when Rudy Giuliani explained “We answered every question they asked that was legitimately pre-election and focused on Russia. Nothing post-election. And we’ve told them we’re not going to.”

Another thing Trump is not going to do is sit down in person for an interview with Mueller, after repeatedly saying he was eager to do so, explaining “we’ve wasted enough time on this witch hunt and the answer is, probably, we’re finished.”

Then he revisited his absurd claim that his chaotic White House is “a well-oiled machine “ even as he speculated about firing a bunch more people, and greasing the skids for firing his Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, while a federal judge ordered the White House to restore the press credentials of CNN’s White House correspondent Jim Acosta, who Trump personally banned from the White House for asking uncomfortable questions. So much for doing better when you take things personally.

Having been rebuffed in ordering the troops he has amassed at the border to face an unarmed refugee caravan from acting as law enforcement officers (because that is illegal and unconstitutional), he tried to authorize them to “use lethal force” but was turned down again (more of that “illegal and unconstitutional” hooey!), he then ordered the troops to engage in “medical screening” of the refugees.

Now, even if infantry soldiers were capable of conducting medical screening (“only if our border patrol s overwhelmed”), that would be a neat trick since the refugees are scheduled to arrive over a month from now, and nearly 2,000 miles away from where Trump stationed them. So, while over 5,000 America troops are missing Thanksgiving with their families by building an Army camp and unrolling barbed wire to keep out exactly nobody at a cost of $20 million, Trump was winging his way on Air Force One to play golf at his Florida resort for the long holiday weekend, blowing another $3 million of taxpayer dough.

And finally, speaking of the spirit of Thanksgiving Day, Trump’s first Thanksgiving tweet was this one, in defense of his forgiveness of Saudi Arabia for murdering and chopping up Khashoggi and reaffirming our close ties with that Poster Boy nation for Tyrannical Monarchies: “It’s a mean and nasty world out there, the Middle East in particular. This is a long and historic commitment, & one that is absolutely vital to America’s national security.” (Presumably a different kind of national security than the national security he put in jeopardy by removing the security clearances of former intelligence officers.)

Then he tried for a more presidential tone in his holiday Tweets than defending greed and savagery, saying what he was grateful for this Thanksgiving. Traditionally, the official Thanksgiving message is a safe and positive forum for presidents, a humanizing and heart warming message of hope and unity. Other presidents, that is. What Trump was most grateful for was, and this is no joke… wait for it… himself! “I’m thankful I’ve made a tremendous difference in this country. This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office that you wouldn’t believe it.”

Well, he’s right about one thing: we wouldn’t believe it.

Then he opened a video link to speak to America troops deployed far from their families, and repeated his crazy boasts and his thankfulness for himself, never once thanking them for their service and sacrifice, perhaps illustrating why he has never visited our troops in person like every other president has done.

Even though it sounds like this was a very busy week, it was mainly only Trump’s mouth and Twitter thumbs getting a workout, since this was yet another week when no actual work was done by the president or Congress, with no legislation proposed, no laws passed and no important decisions made in the White House. The country is running on its own momentum, with the institutions created by far better minds than Trump’s continuing to serve and govern the American people. With the political tide turned against him, all he can do is lash out and do what ever damage he can until he is called before the bar of justice. We will all be so thankful when that day of reckoning arrives that we may just spontaneously start cooking turkeys and pumpkin pies, no matter what time of year it happens.

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