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WEEK #106 OF THE TRUMP ERA IN REVIEW, FRIDAY, 1/18/19 TO THURSDAY, 1/24/19


Good News/Bad News: The Good News? It was President Trump’s Second Anniversary in office this week. The Bad News? It was President Trump’s Second Anniversary in office this week. 

With glasses half empty (or half full), who can blame us if we ration our optimism like 30 year-old Scotch when contemplating what 2 more years of this chaotic nonsense might bring? 

When a country goes 34 days without having a functioning central government, that’s usually when The United Nations convenes an Emergency Session to declare a humanitarian crisis, then sends in the Blue Helmets with food, temporary shelters and medicine. 

That won’t be necessary, however, since our President has assured Federal workers they can simply get (!) free food from the nation’s grocery stores until the government reopens, a man who has never shopped for food and thinks you need a photo ID to buy Honey Nut Cheerios.

His Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, a man who made a billion dollars buying other people’s debt, wondered why Federal employees didn’t just take out loans to stay afloat. Sure, 800,000 payday loans from, say… shady operators like Ross himself back in his Mister Burns days.

And speaking of the Terrible Twos, Trump kicked off the week by announcing on Friday that we can look forward to a Kim/Trump Summit II sometime in February, in spite of recent satellite films of brand new nuclear missile sites in North Korea. Ironically, it was decided that they will film this reality show episode, um, that is to say, I mean… they will conduct this meeting of great statesmen in Vietnam, now that our own Dear Leader has courageously conquered Chronic PBSSD (Post Bone Spurs Stress Disorder).

He sent Vice President Pence to an antiabortion rally along with a video clip of Trump’s warmest regards while he met with the rest of his Cabinet about maybe making some infrastructure improvements to something other than Mar A Lago.

Raining on his parade was all the talk of Deutsche Bank, Russians, Donald Trump and money laundering that Congress has decided to investigate, which reportedly sent Trump into a rage (which kind of makes you wonder how the people around him can tell a rage from his usual everyday furious). 

Making matters worse was a bombshell report from Buzzfeed that Donald Trump had personally directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress, which prompted a rare statement from Robert Mueller’s office saying Buzzfeed’s scoop was “not accurate,”  which you would think would be a public relations coup for Trump, except for the fact that the Special Counsel did not dispute the accuracy of the claim, only its sourcing.

On Saturday, while the military jets Trump denied to Speaker Pelosi flew Melania to Mar A Lago and Lindsey Graham to Turkey, Trump met another military jet at the airport, this one carrying the bodies of 4 dead soldiers, killed by an emboldened ISIS in Syria just as Trump began his troop withdrawal that was decided on a whim.

It was also a day of nationwide women’s marches in protest of pretty much everything Trump, so naturally he sought to upstage them by claiming he would be making “a major announcement at 3PM,” presumably about reopening the government. Turned out not to be the case, as he merely upped his demands and dug in his heels on his wall obsession, claiming a bogus humanitarian crisis at the border, and offered DACA Dreamers only 3 more years of legal limbo as his hostages.

Before the speech was even delivered, Speaker Pelosi turned him down flat, determined not to reward a tantrum and encourage such childish behavior in the future, naturally resulting in the predictable torrent of Rage Tweets from Trump.

And speaking of frustration and baffling behavior, the once again omnipresent Rudy Giuliani took to the airwaves on Sunday to confirm that Trump Tower Moscow was an active project that Trump pursued right through election day up until his inauguration, accused Michael Cohen and his wife’s family of being “mobbed up,” and worried out loud that his epitaph will say “I Lied For Trump.” With lawyers like this…

On Monday Trump spent some quality time with Mike Pence, 2 minutes of posing for pictures in front of the Martin Luther King Memorial to mark the Martin Luther King Federal Holiday, then later that day the FDA announced the last Food Stamp payment went out for the foreseeable future, bringing up the very real specter of mass hunger in America, one of the things Dr. King worked hard to help eradicate.

Then yet another tell-all book about the team of vipers working in the White House was released, called (natch!) “Team of Vipers” and written by former viper Cliff Sims, a former campaign official and Special Adviser to the President, describing an amateurish and vicious White House that is spinning out of control, just like its boss. (tell us something we don’t know, pal!)Then it was revealed on Tuesday that Robert Mueller is now investigating Trump’s ties to the National Rifle Association, Russian Mafia money and illegal campaign contributions from “foreign nationals” (Kremlin-connected Russian mobsters) illegally funneled into the election campaigns of Trump and other prominent Republican candidates through the NRA.

The World Economic Forum was held at Davos, Switzerland without a delegation from the USA in attendance, as the world continues to make other arrangements in the absence of an engaged and reliable America.

To his credit, however, Trump did show a markedly improved capacity for paying attention to detail and making decisions when it was revealed he spent a lot of time examining photos of himself and ordering them to be photoshopped to make him look thinner and to have (!) bigger hands. For presidents, it’s all about priorities, one supposes, and things like the unavailable Federal government Climate Change website would have to wait.

Another thing that would have to wait was Michael Cohen testifying before Congress about his work over 2 decades with Donald Trump when Cohen announced he was not testifying “at this time” due to “continuing threats to my family by President Trump and Rudy Giuliani,” like any other mob whistleblower menaced by dangerous thugs.

What Trump decided would not wait was the State of the Union Address that Speaker Pelosi denied him, so he insisted he would show up and go on with the speech on schedule anyway, accusing Ms Pelosi of being “afraid of the truth.” Not so fast, said Nancy Pelosi, the truth is you need my permission and you’re not getting it until you start paying Federal employees before they get the impression they are working at a Trump casino, and by Wednesday night Trump conceded defeat at her hands and admitted the State of the Union was postponed until the government reopens.

Which might be quite some time if Mick Mulvaney’s inquiries to every Federal agency are any indicator. Trump’s new Chief of Staff has asked federal agencies to provide lists of key programs that could be endangered if the government shutdown drags on until March or April.

Trump’s old Chief of Staff John Kelly joined four former Secretaries of Homeland Security in signing a letter sent to President Trump and Congress calling for full departmental funding for every agency and an end to the month-long government shutdown, while former Secretary of State John Kerry called for Trump to resign because “people will die and billions in property damage will be incurred because of Trump’s decision to opt out of the Paris Climate Accords.”

And speaking of people dying, both the FBI and the TSA went on public record saying their work is being severely compromised by the shutdown, endangering ongoing investigations of serious criminal threats and risking the lives of every air traveler flying to, from and within the USA.

And speaking of lives being needlessly put in danger, the State Department refused to comply with the Venezuelan government’s order to American diplomatic personnel to leave the country after Trump recognized the opposition leader as “the true president of Venezuela.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo evacuated some embassy personnel, but ordered others to remain, and perhaps to die for an undefined policy they cannot understand, while at the same time allowing a witness against a Russian oligarch implicated in the Russian Collusion Scandal to be kidnapped and “disappeared” by Moscow, a 21 year-old Belorussian woman who begged the United States to save her from a Thailand jail cell in exchange for video and audio tapes she made of the plot to steal the US election by the people who directed the campaign from Russia and their American contacts. May she rest in peace.

Then it was revealed as a result of the investigation into Jared Kushner’s security clearance, that he not only got his clearance over the strenuous objection of his application by two career White House security specialists, but their hand-picked (by Trump) supervisor overruled their recommendations again and again and approved the clearance not only for Kushner, but “over 30” other highly questionable Security Clearances for marginal people that were handed out like Trump’s Electoral College maps.

The CIA has refused to issue any of these people the very highest top security clearances, Kushner included, saying they were shocked that any of these highly compromised people were even allowed inside the White House to visit, never mind working there and gaining access to America’s secrets. You know, the kind of people who practice extortion and threaten the families of witnesses against them.

Perhaps the strategy is to starve and distract enough of us to make all of this open criminality seem like secondary concerns that take a back seat to raw survival.

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