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WEEK #122 OF THE TRUMP ERA IN REVIEW, FRIDAY 5/10/19 TO THURSDAY, 5/16/19

We start Week #122 of the Trump Era with a little Q & A
Q: What does a tyrant do when his power is eroding? A: Start a war.

Or in Trump’s case, a bunch of them; with China, Iran, Venezuela, immigrants, Congress, Democrats, the media, women and the truth. To kick off the week on Friday, trade talks with China broke down and Trump decided to pile on more tariffs, with American farmers and consumers as the first casualties. 

It seems Congress is unimpressed with Trump’s endless maniacal pronouncements that he has been absolved by the Mueller report, completely exonerated of any wrongdoing at all, perhaps even beatified as an American saint. The pesky Democrats in the House of Representatives did the unthinkable, according to Trump. They actually read the Special Counsel’s report, which, even with its redactions, reads like an instruction manual for committing high crimes and misdemeanors, and they have not taken kindly to the new Obstruction of Justice crimes Trump has been committing on a daily basis since the Mueller report was released.

Subpoenas are flying, for both documents and testimony, with even a Republican Senator getting in on the action by subpoenaing Trump’s eldest son to explain the blatant lies he told Congress regarding the collusion between Trump’s 2016 Election Campaign and covert Russian government operatives. The president has taken the position that he is above the law and insists that others be investigated and punished for his crimes.

As usual, Trump’s lead criminal defense lawyer (it is worth noting that no president except the disgraced Richard Nixon has required a team of criminal lawyers) and self-named America’s Mayor Rudy Giuliani was no help at all when he picked Friday to cancel his trip to Ukraine to enlist the aid of their intelligence and investigative agencies to frame Democrats for Trump’s crimes, perhaps realizing too late that this is exactly the sort of thing that fomented this Constitutional Crisis, yet again leaving us (and Trump) to wonder whose side is Giuliani on.

Congress didn’t help Trump either when they subpoenaed 6 years of his tax returns on Friday after their lawful requests were blocked by both the Secretary of the Treasury and the Attorney General. Nor did the Stock Market cooperate, when it tumbled 617 points because of the panic in corporate boardrooms over Trump’s trade war with China, with some titans of industry even having the bad taste to point out that Trump’s image as a dealmaker makes no sense at all since every deal he has attempted to make as president has blown up in his face like a trick cigar from a novelty shop, from North Korea, to Iran, the European Union, Latin America, health care and his failed signature policy, the Medieval border wall, of which not even 6 inches has been built. 

Trump returned (feeble) fire when he announced he was taking over the National Fireworks Display on the 4th of July and turning it into another of his inane campaign rallies, soiling yet another American tradition. Indeed, he is still trying to create the impression that he invented the idea of celebrating our nation’s Independence Day in our nation’s capital, something America managed to do without his input for 243 years, thankyouverymuch. Perhaps we weren’t doing it fabulously enough for his tastes? After all, Washington DC is not noted for its gold-plated decor and scantily-clad showgirls. Or for politicizing Independence Day.

Saturday saw Trump once again golfing at his Virginia golf course, receiving (as usual) no briefings from his staff or intelligence agencies, so as not to clutter his mind with facts and problems as he embarked on another weekend of insane Tweeting, completely untethered from reality, responsibilities and good manners. Indeed, he spent the entire weekend doing nothing but Tweeting his neuroses and insanity to the world, giving one the impression that in the near future countless dissertations for degrees in psychoanalysis and books about aberrant personality disorders will be written using only Trump’s Twitter feed.

On Monday Trump finally showed up for work at 11:30 to receive a rare military intelligence briefing, stoically enduring the torture of hearing other voices than his own say lots of words for an entire half hour before breaking for lunch with Vice President Pence. Then he met with the Prime Minister of Hungary (another place he could not find on a map) for 20 minutes, then took off the rest of the day. This is a typical “work day” for Trump, the man Attorney General Barr would claim later in the week “is too busy” to be prosecuted for his crimes.

On Tuesday, Republican Senator Richard Burr backed down on his subpoena of Donald Trump Jr ordering him to testify before the Senate, instead allowing Junior’s attorneys to negotiate the terms and limited scope of his testimony, so that suddenly his testimony to clarify what appeared to be his blatant lying under oath to Congress became “a limited interview” to “clarify his comments” with the Senate Intelligence Committee “in the coming weeks,” proving Donald Jr is a natural at using Pop’s legal delaying tactics to try to make his problems go away. For everyone else in this country who is not the President’s offspring, don’t try this yourself if you are ever subpoenaed, it will only result in you breaking out in handcuffs and suffering a severe case of incarceration. Just ask Chelsea Manning.

In this way, Donald Trump took a small bite out of Senatorial power, ingesting it as his own. The big surprise here is not Trump trying to gobble up a piece of the Senate’s power, but that Senate Leader McConnell let him get away with it, which means that either Old Mitch is slipping and allowing Trump to wear him down, or this was part of the backroom deal where sanctions were lifted from a Russian oligarch accused of interfering in the 2016 election, only to have that same suspected election rigger turn around and invest in a $200 million aluminum plant in McConnell’s perennially poverty-stricken and pollution regulation-challenged home State of Kentucky. What could go wrong?

Besides treason and cancer that is, which would be bad form to mention.

Thing is, Trump never stops biting, and will keep on swallowing the power of the other two branches of government in small increments until someone bites back.  Enter Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff and Jerome Nadler, who will not surrender the power of the House of Representatives to the President, or allow him to make the Judiciary Branch his bitch as he has done with William Barr’s Department of Justice.

And speaking of Barr being Trump’s bitch, the Attorney General officially assigned a Federal prosecutor in Connecticut to investigate the people who investigated Trump and try to pin everything on the Democrats, which caused so much outraged disbelief from every point on the compass and both sides of the political aisle that Barr downgraded this assignment to ”a review” of the origins of the Russia investigation. 

Of course Barr vehemently denied he is doing so at Trump’s orders (which would be a serious crime), even though the origins of the investigation are already well-known and exactly no other human being on Earth ever suspected anyone else of these crimes but President Trump, his grown children and Trump’s associates and subordinates in his campaign and his administration, no matter how many hundreds of times Trump repeated that incredibly transparent excuse and insane delusion. 

Prosecutors generally do not “review” anything except potential criminal cases, so now we have the United States Department of Justice Department poised to investigate charges obviously invented out of whole cloth and conduct show trials like some tinpot dictatorship.

On Tuesday Trump travelled to what seems like his 500th fever-pitched political rally since his election, this time choosing Louisiana in which to make a fool of himself and America the laughingstock of the world. He was there to celebrate (!) fossil fuels, declaring “an America Energy Revolution,” like this was 1859 instead of 2019, and Trump was standing beside an oil-soaked George Bissel at the world’s first oil well in Pennsylvania.

He applauded his own toxic deregulation that will certainly result in the deaths of at least some members of his audience, promised to drill for oil in the Arctic (and kill whatever lives there, he’s not sure), and repeated his usual incredibly ignorant statements about clean renewable energy and the twin threats posed by windmill cancer and worse, poor TV reception. Then he promised his audience a new I-10 bridge if he wins reelection, something a shrewd Louisianan might recall he promised them if he won his first election. You know, that whole “If elected, I will rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure” promise that was another keystone policy of his campaign, with said infrastructure now 2-1/2 years older and more decrepit than is was before Trump’s election.

On Wednesday the noise from Congressional subpoenas and public outrage at Trump was so loud that he was forced to drown them out by bringing America to the brink of war (surely you can see we made him do it!). Seems the USA ordered the partial evacuation of the American Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, blaming Iran for “unspecified threats,” and declaring a “high level alert” that none of our allies or their considerable intelligence resources in the region happened to notice.

While claiming to have pictures of Iranian freighters loaded with missiles, foreign leaders gathered in Brussels said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “didn’t show us any evidence,” and all our military allies in the Middle East publicly called Trump a liar and refused to participate in any warmongering intimidation of Iran. They removed their ships and troops from the small armada Trump sent to potentially blockade Iran last week. Rumor has it that Vladimir Putin did a Snoopy dance over this latest wedge driven between NATO allies.

Then for good measure, Trump doubled down on refusing all subpoenas for documents and testimony by members and former members of his administration, prompting Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to repeat her opinion that Trump is committing impeachable acts on a daily basis since the Mueller Report dropped. When Attorney General Barr made a clumsy attempt at humor (for which he has zero aptitude) by asking her “do you have your handcuffs, Madame Speaker?”, she gave him the iciest stare this side of the Night King and replied that the House Sergeant at Arms is ready and willing to lock his ass up if he does not cooperate with Congress.

Week #122 ended on Thursday with Trump unveiling his new “merit-based” immigration policy, attempting to attract the sort of young, successful and skilled people who have no reason to leave their own countries, where they already make good money, have plenty of material goods and enjoy as much freedom as Americans. Plus they have free heath care with no political party constantly threatening to snatch it away at any moment. Yet one more half-baked idea that will never be enacted into law.

Best part was the man who doesn’t even know how his own government works insisting on a Civics Test for immigrants, perhaps unaware that a Civics Test is administered when an immigrant applies for citizenship.

William Barr’s name also came up on Thursday, when he said that since Trump left it up to him to decide, that Robert Mueller can indeed testify before Congress about his own report, most likely only because there is no legal way to prevent it. Then Barr argued on Trump’s behalf before a judge, claiming that it was unfair to prosecute the President for suspected crimes or even expect him to cooperate with investigators because he was “too busy,” causing every convicted criminal in the country to smack their foreheads and say “Dang, why didn’t I think of that? I was too busy to stand trial. Yeah that’s the ticket, I was too busy!

While this is a stunning and creative legal argument that would in effect place the president above the law, one cannot helps but notice that the guy who works 3 hours a day is not “too busy” to Tweet incomprehensible drivel for hours and days on end, who plays more rounds of golf than Tiger Woods and who watches almost every TV show on the air. Seems like he might be able squeeze out a few hours to obey the law.

Then, a blast from the recent past rained on Trump’s first return to Trump Tower since his election when yet another judge was added to Trump’s “Very Unfair To Me” list by publicly releasing sensational information gathered from Michael Flynn, Trump’s short-lived National Security Advisor and Senior Campaign official who is a month away from getting sentenced to prison for his part in the Russia scandal. Turns out there’s reams of documents and actual audiotapes proving Russian Collusion between real live Russian agents and members of the Trump campaign.

It seems that Flynn is facing a very stern judge determined to punish him severely if his cooperation with the many investigations into Trump (most prominently Mueller’s) was not comprehensive enough to warrant leniency, and Flynn delivered the goods, including (!!) voicemails from Trump’s crack team of criminal attorneys advocating the commission of crimes.

Not one to allow his headline-stealing Attorney General and his convicted former confidante have the last world, Trump grabbed back the spotlight first by finally (and grudgingly) admitting that his tariffs will inflict pain on working Americans, then by saying (!) he really didn’t want a war with Iran after all, which is complete nonsense. The moment he hired Professional Warmonger John Bolton as Flynn’s successor, the war drums started beating, the Big Oil vultures began circling Iran and Venezuela, and the aircraft carriers began steaming across oceans deep and wide to provoke hostilities and reinforce the rest of the world’s determination to make other arrangements with one another until America again comes to its senses.

What was especially deafening this week was Trump’s silence about two draconian anti-abortion laws passed by Republicans in Georgia and Alabama that impose incredibly harsh criminal penalties on women who get abortions, and any doctors or other medical personnel who come to their aid. This unimaginably cruel and backwards legislation has no chance to be enacted into law, but is written only to display the Republicans’ limitless capacity for cruelty and keen appetite for tyrannical oppression, a vicious streak kept in check only by the decency of previous presidents and elected officials, but now empowered, celebrated and unleashed on the vulnerable in the Trump Era. America’s women are not amused, and their rage will be felt by the entire nation sooner rather than later.

Other than all that, though, things are just swell here in the good old U-S of A. Be Best!

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