It took Trump 120 weeks, but he was finally able to sum up his presidency:
“I’m proud to tell you that was actually my sick idea.”
Of course Trump was not referring to himself when he said that, but to his plan to flood so-called “sanctuary cities” (decent law-abiding communities) with uncounted thousands of families of refugees, as if human beings were pieces on a board game, and their lives mattered as little as those of cattle.
Trump kicked off the week on Friday with his usual tone deafness. On the day Russian spy Maria Butina was sentenced to prison for spying after making the National Rifle Association her springboard to fame and access to powerful Republicans, including the President’s immediate family, Trump addressed that august body at the NRA National Convention.
So, instead of disgrace and ostracism at being implicated in a Russian spy ring, the NRA is honored by our President and its place reaffirmed as the de facto Fourth Branch of American Government, and the only mention of Russia Trump cared about was prosecuting others for his own crimes, calling for Democrats to be investigated for Russian collusion, repeating his new charge that the Mueller Investigation was (!) “an attempted coup” by (!!) “Deep State Democrats” in league with Russia.
He then announced he was making the world a better place for Russia and a worse place for pretty much everyone else on Earth when he told the NRA he was pulling out of a United Nations Arms Control Treaty aimed at curtailing the international trafficking of war munitions that turn countless diplomatic crises into full blown shooting wars in the name of corporate profits. Then Trump repeated some outrageous lies about US crime statistics (easily contradicted on us.gov information pages) and went on to praise (!!) Robert E. Lee as America’s best general, ignoring the fact that Lee fought against America and lost.”
Afterwards, Trump doubled and tripled down on his infamous “very fine people on both sides” of the Nazi debate statement, declaring “I answered it perfectly.” And speaking of perfection, Trump (for unfathomable reasons, don’t even go there) declared himself “a young, vibrant man,” as he hunched unnaturally forward towards the microphones trying to balance himself on shoe lifts while his loose orange-painted jowls and yellow fright wig shook from the exertion.
Horribly, the day after Trump’s NRA address, one the their favorite weapons and a political issue in itself, the Assault Rifle, was used in a mass shooting attack on a synagogue full of worshippers in Poway, California on the last day of Passover, killing 2 and wounding 4 before the gun jammed as the psycho advanced on a group of children, forcing him to flee the scene.
That earned Poway and the families of the bereaved the full measure of Presidential Thoughts & Prayers before heading out to his Virginia golf course with the one world leader who can stand to be in his presence (since he doesn’t understand a word Trump says but loves golf), the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, before taking the time to congratulate the #2 pick in the NFL draft, a suspected White Supremacist who “loves MAGA,” while ignoring the #1 pick, a Black man and a scholar.
Later that night Trump continued his TET Offensive (Total Exoneration Tour) at a political rally in Wisconsin designed to compete with that evening’s popular White House Corespondents’ Dinner, again boycotted by this thin-skinned president, and this time by his entire Administration, by Trump’s personal order. Of course in this digital age people were able to watch both events or easily skim the highlights of each.
The Correspondent’s Dinner went as expected, with some hilarious send-ups of Trump and his Oaf’s Gallery of an Administration, alongside some serious misgivings sprinkled in with the fun. In other words, a fun reaffirmation of our new National Pastime, condemning and humiliating all things Trump, with the funnier White House Dinner putdowns of Trump going viral on social media.
Trump’s Saturday rally was notable not for his already stale “total exoneration“ claims or predictable Hillary/Obama/Comey/Mueller demonizations (we can all repeat them from memory by now), but a series of incredibly vicious lies about women and doctors, vile and absolutely insane accusations unfit to repeat since they are designed only to inspire vengeance bombings and murders at health care facilities by fanatics stupid enough to believe Trump’s incendiary claims. “Dems like killing babies” is about the nicest thing he said on the topic.
Sunday was when Trump took full credit for shipping refugee families around the country like so many Amazon packages to unprepared American communities, boasting of his Final Solution-like power over a minority group of hostage human beings, as sickeningly familiar a sensation as humankind can experience. For good measure, he once again called our premier law enforcement agency “scum” as he continued his war on the FBI for having the nerve to suspect that clumsily-hidden collaboration between a political campaign and known agents of a hostile foreign government merited investigating. Telling this President that’s what law enforcement agencies do, investigate stuff that comes to their attention, won’t help at all.
And speaking of helpless refugees, add “hopeless” to their description when Monday saw Trump changing the rules for applying for asylum by (!) charging application fees and prohibiting asylum-seekers from earning any money to pay those fees. No word if Trump sent Barr to the Statue of Liberty with a Sharpie to redact the “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor” portion of the plaque that has welcomed immigrants to our shores since 1886.
Venezuela erupted in open battle on Monday, with government troops moving on civilian protesters with armored vehicles. Trump responding by threatening (!) Cuba again, since that simple knee-jerk reaction was so much easier than trying to unravel the complex and dangerous situation in Venezuela, a developing humanitarian crisis his administration has no plan to help alleviate, and doesn’t seem to have any coherent policy at all, with conflicting messages from the State Department and the White House cancelling one another out hour by hour.
Trump so wants a war to call his very own, but Russia has already called dibs on messing up Venezuela with foreign military interference. Many observers, however, are very mindful of Trump’s complaint that we did not “keep Iraq’s oil” after the Second Iraq war, and have not counted out American military adventurism coupled with Trumpian greed. All the usual Big Oil suspects are circling a stricken nation like vultures waiting to swoop in and devour Venezuela’s carcass, which happens to be sitting on more proven petroleum reserves than Saudi Arabia.
On Tuesday the benefits of electing a Democratic House of Representatives became apparent when Democrats in both chambers of Congress announced they have reached an agreement with Trump on a $2 trillion program to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure, one of Trump’s signature campaign promises and something the all-Republican Congress of his first 2 years could not manage. It only took 120 weeks for Trump to begin conducting normal government business in the usual way, and if it takes Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to guide him through this unremarkable process (unremarkable to most people, anyway, a revelation for Trump), then the American people will take what we can get in the way of a functional government actually doing something other than aggressively dismantling human rights, beneficial regulations and the rule of law.
And speaking of the law, our highest law enforcement official, Attorney General William Barr, on the eve of his testimony to the Senate, saw the revelation of a letter written to him a month earlier by Robert Mueller to protest Barr’s lying about the Mueller Report to Congress and the American people, in effect exonerating Trump when in fact the Special Counsel’s report does nothing of the sort.
The month-long head start Barr gave Trump on his ridiculous “complete and total exoneration” public relations campaign sort of grated on anyone’s nerves who has actually read the incriminating report, including the Democratic Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee who would hammer Barr with questions on Wednesday in a televised hearing that was hostile, frustrating and revelatory.
Turns out that nobody at the Justice Department had bothered to review the underlying evidence in a case of historical proportions, the most important investigation in 45 years, and the Republican Chairman and GOP members of the Judicial Committee did not even read the full report itself, content to praise Barr and exonerate Trump on his say-so.
Democratic Senators were not having any of that, and Barr made a terrible witness, so America was treated to the disturbing spectacle of their Attorney General acting like the president’s personal attorney by playing fast and loose with the facts, acting so defensive it was obvious he was hiding something, unable to answer a great many simple questions and in general defending his right to be a partisan dick answerable to no one, instead of comporting himself like the chief law enforcement officer of the land that he is. It was a disgraceful moment in a time marked by too many disgraceful moments.
So shaken was Barr at his treatment by Democratic Senators that he cancelled his Thursday appointment to testify before the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, which promptly threatened to charge him with Contempt of Congress, while Speaker Pelosi declared he had committed a crime by lying to Congress since he has given 2 different answers to the same question posed to him under oath on 2 different occasions.
So now we have ourselves a battle royale between the Legislative and Executive branches of our government, with the president attempting to usurp Congressional power by compromising the Department of Justice, and Congress refusing to surrender their Constitutional powers to an inept and hostile president or his hand picked fixer of an Attorney General. The shit is hitting the fan, and exactly no one wants to hear the phrase “May you live in interesting times” repeated one more time.
None of which stopped Trump from demanding another $4.5 billion from Congress in “emergency border crisis funds” (building his stupid wall), and attempting to legislate the repeal of Obamacare via the backdoor of having the court system void the law and destroy the health care of 21 million Americans without any of their elected representatives participating in the decision.
This end run around Congress would also have the effect of using millions of Americans’ medical histories against them (calling medical histories “preexisting conditions,” by the way, is a non-medical term invented by insurance companies to deny medical coverage to anyone who’s not in excellent health), while having exactly no health care legislation written to replace the popular and effective Obamacare, with none of the necessary research or preliminary work even started by anyone inside or outside the Administration.
Trump knows he has no shot of repealing the ACA with a Democratic House, hence the attempt at judicial legislation. Why didn’t one of his aides suggest simply rebranding Obamacare like Trump proposed for Boeing’s ill-fated 737 Max jet? Just change the name ACA to Trumpcare, shout MAGA, say Democrats like killing babies and move on to the next fiasco.
Just to be a dick, Trump messed with another ecology-friendly international treaty signed by the 8 Arctic nations when the US insisted that there be no mention of climate change (or the proposed ecological rape of the Arctic by Trump) in the treaty’s final draft. This in a document regarding the one region of the world where climate change is visible on a seasonal, almost monthly basis. Then, to be an even bigger dick, he announced that health care workers are now allowed to let you lay there bleeding to death if you’re gay or some other kind of person that obviously don’t love Jesus.
Not to be out-dicked by Trump, Rudy ‘who asked you?’ Giuliani chimed in by calling for an investigation into Ex-Vice President and recently-announced presidential candidate Joe Biden for “conflict of interest,” the opening salvos in the GOP smear campaign of the Democratic candidate Trump fears most (he Tweeted about Biden 30 times in one day), with Rudy tipping their hand early, as usual.
In the midst of all this sound a fury, the Quiet Man decided to break his silence in order to clear up the widespread misconceptions of his work when Robert Mueller himself agreed to testify before the House of Representatives on or about May 15. The same House earnestly preparing Contempt citations against Trump Administration figures, lining up corroborating witnesses, and subpoenaing Trump’s personal and campaign finances.
Thursday came and went without William Barr appearing before the House, but Trump managed to squeeze in calling Kamala Harris “nasty” for her withering questioning of Barr the day before. The week wound up with the most interesting story coming from, of all people, Jared Kushner, bringing us finally to some real president stuff in what seems to be almost every American President’s rite of passage, coming up with a Middle East Peace plan (even though none of them have to live there or have any authority over the various nations).
This goal has stumped kings, emperors, presidents, generals, legislatures and wannabe statesmen since Ancient Times, and was rendered as complicated as astrophysics 80 years ago when vast seas of oil were discovered underneath the barren desert wastelands of an obscure kingdom just in time for World War 2, pumping the life’s blood of an increasingly industrializing world and immediately becoming one of the most crucial strategic wartime linchpins, then making the entire region a constant focal point in the Post-War realignment, and a political minefield that has claimed too many victims, including household names. In simple terms, head and shoulders above Trump’s understanding. Clearly a political genius is called for here.
Who Trump gave the world towards this effort, however, is the shallow, shifty real estate hustler that is his son-in-law and (somehow) Senior Advisor to The President, Jared Kushner, a man already internationally considered to be easily manipulable and an ignorant, vapid fool who is seldom heard from in public (one public appearance clearly tells you why) and who is almost universally dismissed by his own countrymen and the rest of Trump’s government.
Speaking at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy on Thursday, Jared decided to share something with the world (and share the blame?) about his Middle East Peace Plan when his said President Trump was “very hands on” during the formulation process, and “helped draft” the plan, giving the world a glimmer of hope that there’s at least a few good laughs in there. In this gathering of renowned experts on the region, Kushner wisely did not mention any specifics of their plan, instead mouthing meaningless platitudes about people he never met “living better lives,” but at least for once in his life Jared Kushner said something out loud that someone not named Ivanka remembered.
If anyone thinks that leaving sensitive world affairs (or any serious matters at all) in the hands of a president under whose leadership we have seen an explosion of racist mass shootings and Fascist rallies is a bad idea (or handing off such problems to an equally incompetent and compromised family member), this would be a good time to call your Congressman and politely ask them “What the fuck are you doing about that maniac in the White House who’s so old and mean he was probably the one who killed the Dead Sea but thinks he is a vital young man?”