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General Interest, Politics, Trump Week in Review

WEEK #113 OF THE TRUMP ERA IN REVIEW, FRIDAY, 3/8/19 TO THURSDAY, 3/14/19

We’re numb by now, might as well admit it. Sure, sure, we all said we’d never let this happen to us, we would vigorously oppose every outrage, never allow insanity and chaos to be normalized, blah blah and outraged double blah.

Well, guess what.

Human nature has a powerful survival instinct, and so we protect ourselves as best we can, no matter how crazy everything gets around us. We’re okay with mere idiocy at this point, and welcome Trump’s less damaging outbursts of insanity as the best we can hope for these days. We tell ourselves “at least he’s not breaking something else today” and enjoy whatever brief and welcome respite we can find from the deafening rat-a-tat-tat of monumental stupidity that has become the soundtrack of our lives, like we’re living on a giant honey farm and only notice the loud swarms of bees all over the place when a couple of them get under your protective gear and sting your dizzy ass.

And just when you think the big news on the first day of Week #113 of the Trump Era has nothing to do with Donald Trump, it does. It has a lot to do with Donald Trump.

The owner of the New England Patriots football team and a personal friend of Trump, Robert Kraft, got arrested in a police sting for soliciting prostitution at a strip mall massage parlor in Florida, a story that, off the top of your head, you would think belongs in a Week in Robert Kraft Review, explaining why a billionaire is getting the $59 Happy Ending Special in a storefront Rub & Tug instead of springing for a discreet professional escort in a luxury hotel for example, but like too many weird and crooked things for comfort, a line is drawn straight to our Commander in Mischief.

It seems the founder (who had sold the business a couple of years ago) of the Massage Parlor in question is one Li Yang (aka Cindy Yang), a Chinese-born American citizen who for some reason enjoys full access to the President of the United States, is a former operator of a chain of massage parlors, a suspected sex trafficker, and was Trump’s guest at his Super Bowl party in Mar A Lago last month.

Ms. Yang, whose photos you can see all over the internet this past week with a Who’s Who of the Trump Administration and the Republican Party, has another lucrative business these days, selling access to President Trump and his family at Mar A Lago to wealthy Chinese business executives, trading one kind of pimping for another, and being held in high enough esteem by the President to be invited to the White House for Chinese Lunar New Year. She is also rumored to have high-placed connections in the Chinese government. 

Li Yang and her family were large donors to Trump’s PAC and his election campaign, and she had a recently-erased website describing herself as a “Presidential Fundraiser” which, in a way, she is, since her pal is the president and she charges ‘funds‘ to rich people who want to meet the president, so… don’t native Chinese often mix up English syntax? No sense quibbling with her job description. 

Unless of course you’re a prosecutor, who might call Li Yang an extortionist, a double agent, a con artist, a pimp and a human trafficker before all is said and done.

Speaking of prosecutors (and when are we not?), Robert Mueller cut a dashing figure (in Trump’s mind anyway. Mueller actually remained silent and elusive and let his indictments do his talking) as 2 of his Star Witnesses made headlines again, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, the former necessarily, the latter courtesy of both Trump’s and Rudy Giuliani’s big mouths.

It seems Trump boasted that Michael Cohen begged him for a Presidential Pardon, which Cohen has sworn under oath he would refuse to accept even if offered, and these claims and counterclaims would have remained an unprovable “he-said, he-said” commotion, with nothing that’s legally actionable, if not for… 

Enter Rudy Giuliani, who proved once again why he makes the big money as Trump’s Senior Bean Spiller, when he opened his yap about “entering into discussions” with Cohen for a pardon, which led to investigative reporting uncovering emails from Giuliani to Cohen saying “Sleep well tonight” and “You have friends” after their meeting, and also of attempts to set up a (!) “Giuliani-Cohen backchannel” to deal with Cohen’s legal issues. A what?

This naturally leads inquiring minds to the questions, “what is a backchannel and does it involve throwaway cell phones, swarthy bagmen in raincoats and fedoras, priceless sapphires, or at the very least a drop-dead gorgeous femme fatale with a fishy story?” and “is this legally actionable now, Mr. Mueller?”

On Monday, Trump unveiled his proposed Federal Budget for 2020, basically a “More Guns, Less Insulin” approach, and it was immediately dismissed by both Houses of Congress as absurd and having no chance to pass. His budget proposes to slash funding on 3 things he promised hundreds of times not to touch; our Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as demanding $8.1 billion for his wall, which Congress will not even consider.

The largest Federal budget ever submitted ($4.75 trillion) proposes to give even more money to the largest military on earth while slashing funds for our health care and education systems, two of the primary assets that our military is charged with protecting.

He also requested startup funds for Space Force (which has existed for years, the Space Command arm of the US air Force), and a new generation of orbiting nuclear missiles that were outlawed in the treaty Trump just broke with Russia. Now Russia is making ominous noises about “hidden nuclear warheads” in the USA, and we have ourselves the makings of a good old fashioned Cold War again, with munitions factories on both sides chugging away, proxy wars in every hemisphere, and screwing with the minds of another generation of children by teaching them to seek shelter from thermonuclear annihilation under their school desks. A little too Retro for most of us.

Later that day Bill Shine became the latest rider on the ejector seat behind the White House Communications Director’s desk when he resigned to take a job with the Trump 2020 Campaign. Mr. Shine served 6 months as Acting Communications Director and left exactly no impression on anyone, after leaving his executive position at Fox News, where he is best remembered for covering up accusations of sexual harassment against his network’s stars. Sounds like a natural for any Trump project.

Monday was also a day when Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos tried to tear down a wall, the one between Church and State, as she continued her Bible-driven assault on the quality of Public Education in the United States. That same day her brother, Eric Prince, the CEO of the Acme Mercenary Company or whatever the hell he’s calling his Blackwater Assassin Corporation these days, admitted to lying about being at a Trump Tower meeting between Russian operatives and members of the 2016 Trump Election Campaign. Who says there are no family values in the Trump Administration? You got your Fire & Brimstone siblings right there!

As if Monday did not suck enough, we heard that a Trump Campaign pollster paid $125,000 in legal fees to Paul Manafort’s lawyers through yet another of those instant Pre-fab shell companies, one of whom would have some bizarre things to say a couple of days later, then Speaker Pelosi seemingly dismissed Trump as “not worth impeaching,” either signaling that she would be happy just to thwart his every move until he is voted out in 2020, or that Ms Pelosi is a Poker player to be reckoned with and that she just gave Trump a whole lot more to worry about.

On Tuesday the all-but-forgotten Michael Flynn (remember what a shock it was when this former National Security Advisor got arrested? Such innocent times, 2017…) had his sentencing postponed yet again so that he could “continue to cooperate with The Special Counsel’s investigation and other criminal matters,” indicating that Flynn’s testimony has spread to his own as well as President Trump’s illicit business ties in Turkey, where Trump is especially vulnerable both politically and personally.

This seemed to set Trump off on one of his dopier anti-science rants, claiming modern aircraft are “too complex,” and asking “What is digital anyway?” and saying “I don’t want Einstein to fly my plane, I want a pilot,” whatever that is supposed to mean. Then he blurted out “The whole climate crisis is not only Fake News, it’s Fake Science,” amending his earlier theory that Global Warming is a hoax invented by the Chinese to gain a competitive edge.

There was one major scandal on Tuesday unrelated to Trump, with the decidedly unshocking revelations that wealthy parents have been bribing college officials to admit their children to top universities, and that this sort of thing has been going on for as long as there have been universities and wealthy parents. You know, like how Trump got into Wharton even those his grades were so horrible that he later had his lawyer (Cohen) threaten his schools not to release them. You only thought this had nothing to do with Trump!

On Wednesday came Paul Manafort’s second sentencing, when he was given 4 more years in prison and will now spend 7-1/2 years in federal custody, after which time he may become the guest of New York State since on this same day Manafort was charged by the Manhattan District Attorney with 16 financial crimes against the State of New York, out of reach of any potential Presidential Pardon. 

Which did not stop his lead defense attorney from openly seeking a pardon for their client immediately after his sentencing by claiming for the cameras on the court house steps that the judge just exonerated Manafort (and by insinuation, Trump) from “any Russian Collusion,” even though the judge had just specifically warned them that this was absolutely not the case, and that the Russian Collusion investigations were a separate matter not addressed by her court or reflected in her sentencing of Manafort.

Their words, however, were not directed at Judge Jackson or the American people, but at a much smaller audience, one easily convinced of even the silliest lie when it is repeated often enough. Their target demographic was just one man, President Pinocchio, a veritable connoisseur of lies, the gourmet of gibberish, the liar’s liar against whom all other liars will forever be measured.

Pardoning Manafort is something Trump pretends he has not thought about, but would not rule out, emphasizing that he “feels bad for Paul Manafort,” then abruptly drops the subject to savor yet another of his beloved Reality TV Show cliffhangers. Will he or won’t he?

Before you can say 25th Amendment, Trump might launch into free association boasting in the blink of an eye, one moment staking his claim to the title of (!) “The Most Successful President In American History,” and the next minute ridiculing “terrible people, total disasters” that he himself appointed to powerful national offices. Linear narrative was never his strong suit, we tell ourselves as his mind flies from pillar to post like a sparrow in cyclone.

And speaking of Trump’s brainstorms, on Thursday the Senate voted to overturn his bogus National Emergency on the Mexican border, leaving us with a couple of cliffhangers for Week #114; whether or not Trump will use his veto power for the first time, will he pardon Paul Manafort, or will he find some other stupid shit to distract us from the swarms of bees that never rest?

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