Once again America looks back on a week of the Trump Era with a burning question that sounds like a Soap Opera teaser: “Will Trump’s dangerous insanity and blatant criminality finally catch up to him and bring down this teetering house of cards, or will Bill Barr figure an angle?”
And once again, in Week #117, the answer is “(A) nope, not yet, and (B) yep, he sure did,” meaning there’s lots more cray-cray still left in the tank.
To kick off his 117th Week in office on Friday, Trump’s lawyers appealed to the IRS not to turn over his taxes to Congress until Trump says yes or no (and he always says no), while their boss was in California telling desperate refugees to “turn around” because the “country is full, the system is full,” surprising news to the hundreds of millions of acres of empty wilderness in the USA. How many people live in Montana, 50? 60 on weekends? Hell, our President’s Cabinet is not even full, with more people in acting roles than HBO.
Trump announced “We can’t take you anymore. Whether it’s asylum, whether it’s anything you want, it’s illegal migration, we can’t take you anymore. Our country is full, our area’s full, the sector is full. We can’t take you anymore, I’m sorry, can’t happen. So turn around, that’s the way it is,” thus dismissing existing immigration and asylum laws and the rule of law itself (in his own mind anyway, while reality once again did not change to accommodate his whims, very unfair to him). He actually told Border Agents at the scene to break the law and defy the courts, and as soon as he was gone, their superiors told them to ignore what the President said and follow the law or risk arrest themselves.
Indeed, breaking the law to enforce draconian immigration policies is the Theme of Week #117, along with Trump’s twin purges at the Department of Homeland Security and the Immigration and Nationalization Service, and the President’s attempt to foment chaos in municipalities he calls “Sanctuary Cities” (where humane treatment is the norm instead of cruelty) by having the DHS “dump” illegal immigrants there, busing them in from detention centers like wild animals and releasing them into the wild, so to speak, then letting nature take its course.
First Trump un-nominated his Nominee for ICE Secretary so he can “go tougher” in the position, then fired DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who was tough enough to implement Trump’s policy of separating families and creating for-profit Children’s Concentration Camps, where 2 small children have already died and many are being sexually molested as you read this. How much tougher than locking unescorted preschoolers in Children’s Concentration Camps can America possibly get?
Ms. Nielsen was also on board with the infuriating claim that it may take Federal officials (!) two years to identify what could be thousands of immigrant children who were separated from their families at the southern United States border. So Trump wants tougher than incarcerating toddlers for 2 years because everyone was so eager to lock up their parents that they forgot to write down whose child was whose? Tougher than the “many more thousands of immigrant children who were separated from their families at the southern United States border” than the Administration originally admitted (according to a Federal court document filed on Friday)?
Nielsen, however, did draw the line at Trump pushing her to dump these traumatized deportees on small American cities and abandoning them to their fate, not necessarily on moral grounds, but because this would be blatantly illegal and leave her on the hook for criminal prosecution. She is, after all, the woman who will forever be the Poster Girl for Putting Kids in Cages while deporting their parents thousand of miles away, in case you’re tempted to ascribe any nobility to Ms. Nielsen for her desire to avoid being locked in a cage herself like some common Latina waif.
Make no mistake, Kirstjen Nielsen is plenty evil, just not Trump evil, who then took the extreme step of putting Steven Miller, the cruelest man on his payroll, in charge of every aspect of Immigration Policy, senior even to the concerned Cabinet Secretaries. Trump refused a proferred summit with the Mexican and Central American leaders most involved in the refugee crisis, instead cutting aid to those nations and making the immigrant problem far worse, then he insisted that he was the only one in charge of immigration, even though he cannot explain anything about his own immigration policy or immigration law other than to bellow incoherently at Democrats like a crazy man on a subway platform to “stop being treasonous and change their stupid laws,” as if legislators had spent decades crafting immigration laws designed to impede the inevitable Donald Trump Presidency.
As Insane Trump Delusions go, the “Democrat law” claim is only middling nuts, which again reminds us of where we are as a nation, rating the severity of our President’s latest insane declaration.
None of which the President found the least bit troubling, confidently declaring on Saturday about immigrants and refugees, “These aren’t people, they’re animals” (in an eerie coincidence, Joseph Goebbels said the exact same thing about the Jewish inhabitants of the Warsaw Ghetto in 1940). When you convince yourself that your victims are subhuman, you can use them as political pawns as devoid of emotions, inherent worth and human rights as cattle.
We’ve all read that book, saw the movie and bought the T-Shirt, thanks just the same. These Fascist Passion Plays write themselves by now, and we all know what Act 2 looks like. After all, it’s not like history forgot to provide us with enough examples of Machiavellian treachery and jackboot terror (Show me your PAPERS!”) ruining one perfectly good country after another. There’s still a lot of people alive from the last time Fascism wielded enough power to lead to a catastrophic World War that saw 80 million killed, huge swaths of Europe, Russia and Asia dotted with smoking ruins where cities used to be, and 13 million slaughtered civilians in an unprecedented Holocaust that began with “work camps” for “Jews and other undesirables.”
The world has been playing Whack-A-Mole with one Fascist movement after another ever since 1945, until one dovetailed so neatly with America’s latent Jim Crow streak (and with a lot of Russian help) that it resulted in the Trump Administration, which took less than 2 years to establish concentration camps and is earnestly dividing the nation with openly racist rhetoric and actions, well ahead of schedule for Fascist makeovers of Democratic nations.
The Schoolyard Bully in Chief of course boasted about how much crueler he will now treat the helpless, planning to expand immigrant arrests while both claiming there would be no more family separation (illegal now), then saying what a great tool it was to have the threat of kidnapping your children as an active option in order to further terrorize desperate people into staying in the countries where they have a very good chance if getting killed by gangs or warring political factions at any given moment. You know, the kind of places refugees have been fleeing for at least the 5,000 years that we’ve been keeping track of humanity’s comings and goings.
That same day Trump easily segued from Latino racism into accusations of anti-Semitism hurled at the Democrats (even though 80% of American Jews vote Democrat) when he flew to Las Vegas to address something called The Republican Jewish Coalition (basically billionaire GOP megadonor and kingmaker Sheldon Adelson’s beard), claiming that a Democratic victory in 2020 could “leave Israel out there” (wherever “there” is), then singled out easy target and freshman Muslim Congresswomen Ilhan Omar for unfounded accusations of Anti-Semitism, claiming a moral high ground over all Democrats that neither Trump nor the GOP ever occupied when it come to Anti-Semitism, what with their long history of repeatedly slandering anyone not on board with their positions.
Or, whatever today’s version of the President’s positions happen to be, not really being one of those “Having Policies and Principles” kind of presidents. Or some nerdy “Knowing Stuff” President either. He has people for those sorts of things.
Speaking of not knowing stuff, it was also announced over the weekend that there would be no Federal debt relief for thousands of defrauded college students who were swindled by phony online “colleges” that took their money and taught them only one thing; trust no one. You know, schools like Trump University, minus the $25 million Trump had to pony up when his victims sued. Those other scam schools got a pass and a tip of the hat from Trump (perhaps there is honor among thieves after all), while thousands of cheated students remain deeply in debt, and with no diploma or good job to show for it while the mounting interest buries their future prospects of building a better life (Remember the American Dream? Today it has been modified to not living beneath a highway overpass).
On Monday, and as it turns out, at the direct request of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump decided, of all crazy things, to declare Iran’s Army, specifically the Revolutionary Guard, to be a terrorist group, something unheard of to declare a sovereign nation’s armed forces a terrorist organization, especially when we later learned that Trump was the business partner of that very same Revolutionary Guard in 2012 when the organization invested (with Trump’s full knowledge of their identity) in the still-unfinished 33-story eyesore of a semi-skyscraper called the exalted mouthful “Trump International Hotel And Tower Baku” in (!) Azerbaijan. One can only speculate on the acrimonious end to that failed business deal that Trump would take this radical step that is widely seen as a prelude to starting a war with Iran.
This was also the day of The Miller Purge, with Acting Chief of staff Mick Mulvaney firing (!) Secret Service Director Randolph Alles, and multiple heads rolling at the INS and DHS as Steven Miller took charge of immigration in this Nation of Immigrants, that 33 year-old descendant of Russian Jewish refugees who is swiftly earning the nickname “Himmler 2.0” for being the architect of the Children’s Concentration Camps program, his creepy insistence that Trump’s power is absolute and cannot be questioned by anyone for any reason, as well as his White Supremacist views and associations. Appointing Miller Immigration Tsar is simply Trump pouring the same kind of gasoline on America’s racial fires that burned down 3 black churches in Louisiana in the past 2 weeks.
In another example on Tuesday of “Trump being Trump” (•Translation: a lying racist asshole), he blamed Obama (zero children’s prisons) for his Kiddie Koncentration Kamps, while Michael Cohen’s replacement as Fixer, brand new Attorney General William Barr, was telling Congress to go fly a kite and he would get them the Mueller report (once again) “sometime next week,” sounding more and more like Wimpy the hamburger moocher (I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”) from Popeye cartoons.
On Wednesday Trump hightailed it back in Texas to promote his concentration camps again in a series of fundraisers and round tables with supporters (who paid big dough to belly up to the tables), just as we were treated to the news that the President wanted families separated even if they came in at a legal port of entry and were legal asylum seekers, and border guard and immigration officials, being as prison-phobic as Kirstjen Nielsen, refused to obey these illegal orders to be cruel just for cruelty’s sake.
Wednesday was also the day when Fixer Barr launched his political counterattack, stuttering his way through his announcement to Congress that he was launching an investigation of the investigation into the president as he spent his third week blacking out portions of the Mueller Report, thus legitimizing Trump’s idiotic claims that the whole government is corrupt and out to get him, in effect weaponizing the Justice Department to enforce even Trump’s most delusional ravings by accusing the Justice Department’s most trustworthy arm, the FBI, of (!) spying.
The FBI’s excellence at their mission is what got them in trouble with Barr, who said “spying on political campaigns was a serious matter,” even though the FBI showed Federal judges enough solid evidence of Russian attempts to infiltrate the Trump campaign to obtain court-ordered wiretaps. The FBI’s sworn duty is to act on any credible information about federal crimes that comes to their attention, and to take lawful action to stop it, including legal court-ordered surveillance, which is exactly what they did.
There are few more attention-grabbing crimes to a Federal law enforcement agency than an attempt by a hostile foreign nation to illegally and aggressively influence an American presidential election. Unless, as it turned out this time, that hostile nation’s preferred candidate wins the election. Then he can hire a hatchet man Attorney General to quash the evidence and undermine the credibility of his premier law enforcement agency (the FBI has 95% conviction rate), The Special Prosecutor’s Office (Mueller has a 100% conviction rate), the presidency (currently mired at 0% credibility) and the United States itself (a frightening laughingstock that the world is hoping regains its senses before Trump blows starts blowing shit up).
We were also regaled with an amusing anecdote about Trump, the First Lady and President and Mrs Macron of France touring Mt. Vernon last year, and the French First Couple knowing a hell of a lot more about it than Trump, who criticized George Washington for not naming the estate already synonymous with his name after himself, “otherwise people won’t remember you.”
To be clear, the 45th President of the United States, who lives in Washington D.C. in a House filled with Washington’s portraits and memorabilia, and within sight of the gigantic Washington Monument, actually said this about our First President and Father of Our Country: ”If he was smart, he would’ve put his name on it. You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you.” To which one can only say… wellokaythen, Mister President!
The week ended on Thursday with both whimpers and bangs, with Trump announcing his latest power grab, saying that he would henceforth be in charge of all government regulations, most of which he never heard of and cannot understand anyway, undercutting what are supposed to be independent government agencies in control of their areas of expertise.
“Expertise and independence,” however, were never part of Trump’s hiring criteria, instead manning almost every government agency with clueless amateurs and corrupt cronies with a mandate to dismantle their agencies, at least those agencies lucky enough not to have an “Acting Secretary” or “Acting Director.” At least one clueless amateur, former pizza chain magnate and weird presidential candidate Herman Cain had his name withdrawn by Trump after being nominated for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, sort of like appointing the Skipper on “Gilligan’s Island” to be Secretary of The Navy.
Later that day we got the news that Julian Assange had been arrested in London after being dragged kicking and screaming from his 7 year-long sanctuary in the Ecuadorian Embassy, charged by American Federal prosecutors with the surprisingly minor single count of conspiracy to hack a U.S. Government computer in league with convicted American spy Chelsea Manning, and our extradition treaty with Britain stipulates that we will add no further charges to that one after extradition is granted, an international courtesy insuring that nations do not not extradite people for shoplifting and wind up charging them with murder.
Britain also refuses in every case to extradite anyone unless the threat of the death penalty is removed by written pledge from the petitioning country, and the possibility has already been mentioned that this stipulation will be invoked in regard to Assange in case he is charged as a spy prior to the extradition, giving Trump officials a short window of 48 hours in which to file additional charges.
Assange’s arrest, like his alleged Robin Hood of a hacking operation, Wikileaks, elicited strong emotions both negative and positive on both sides of the political spectrum, after a decade of Assange alternating as hero and villain of the left and the right.
Julian Assange and Wikileaks certainly were heroes to Donald Trump for the past few years when he mentioned Wikileaks at least 140 times at his political rallies, most often offering “I love Wikileaks!” to his cheering minions. Until recently that is, with Trump being all “Wiki-Who? Not my thing,” what with the revelations that Wikileaks did a lot of business with the notorious Russian DNC-hacking and propaganda organization Guccifer 2.0, with Assange also in direct contact via multiple text messages with the President’s son Donald Trump Jr, even instructing Junior to tell Dad that if he lost the election (as all of them expected, Trump included) “it would be (!!) more interesting if your father did not concede the election and instead contested the outcome” (more interesting to exactly whom, one wonders), a flaming red flag uncovered by Robert Mueller’s team and turned over to a separate Federal prosecutor’s office as a serious crime worthy of its own dedicated investigation apart from the Special Counsel’s work.
Either Trump isn’t so happy to see Assange testifying in an American court of law, or is simply so uncertain about which lie to tell that he just fakes Wikiamnesia.
This was also the day the President’s older sister, Federal Judge Maryanne Trump-Barry, resigned the bench under the cloud of an investigation by the Judicial Review Board into alleged tax fraud over her inheritance from their father Fred Trump, and whether she violated judicial conduct rules by participating in fraudulent tax schemes with her siblings. Her retirement ended the judicial investigation and insured her $200,000 annual pension, but did not affect the ongoing criminal case over the same issues in New York State Courts that inspired the Judicial instigation, a tax fraud and tax evasion case against the President and his surviving sibling, the aforementioned Judge Trump-Barry.
Meanwhile we still haven’t seen the Mueller report, Trump’s tax returns, or any light at the end of this dark tunnel, leaving us once again with this for Week #118: “Will Trump’s dangerous insanity and blatant criminality finally catch up to him and bring down this teetering house of cards, or will Bill Barr figure an angle again?” Like our most celebrated sage Yogi Berra once said, “it’s Deja vu all over again.”