Quote of the week: “Close the camps! Close the camps!”
This was the week that the Orange Grinch stole the 4th of July, joked with Vladimir Putin about stealing the American election and having to put up with impertinent reporters (Putin kills them for sport), renewed his love affair with another murderous dictator in North Korea, defended the squalid conditions in his concentration camps, allowed his walking Blonde Joke of a daughter to run amok among world leaders, declared that the homeless problem started (!) 2 years ago and bragged about the “beautiful Sherman Tanks” he would put on display in the streets of Washington, a World War 2-vintage weapon last used in 1955.
Trump began Week #129 on Friday in Osaka, Japan, there for the annual G-20 Summit, a gathering of the Heads of State of the 20 most economically successful nations on Earth, doing his usual botch job of alienating allies and trading partners, displaying a breathtaking ignorance of global realities, recent history that shaped today’s world, and saying all kinds of stupid shit about things he knows nothing about, only this time adding a new wrinkle by bringing his daughter Ivanka along to this year’s G-20 meeting, a clueless political dilettante with a White House job that is as nebulous and undefined as her grasp of world affairs. Somehow Ivanka managed to pose front and center in the official portrait of the assembled world leaders, get seated at important meetings where she was ignored, and get under the skin of several women Heads of State trying to have a serious discussion, who summarily snubbed her like an impertinent child interrupting a funeral service.
When he wasn’t exonerating Crown Prince Bone Saw of Saudi Arabia for the killing and dismemberment of a Washington Post reporter that the CIA said he personally ordered, Trump was meeting with President Xi of China to restart the trade talks that blew up in his face last month, pretty much surrendering to China by backing off his trade war that is ruining American farmers, and agreeing not to blackball Chinese tech giant Huawei from any meaningful internet presence in the West, despite allegations that Huawei’s infrastructure equipment may enable surveillance and intellectual property theft by the Chinese Government.
Luckily for Trump, he has no intellectual property, and precious few cognitive properties, mainly self-absorption and a complete lack of interest in anything unrelated to him. It seems impossible for any adult, never mind a President, not to know the things that Trump does not know; the common knowledge, the shared experiences and the many cultural touchtones we share that bind us together as human beings and guide our moral choices. Donald Trump, in his magnificent ignorance, is burdened by reflecting on exactly none of this. Widely considered a bloated buffoon, he convinces himself that negative attention and dismissive remarks connotes a grudging respect for his greatness. A liar of unprecedented proportions, he treats truth as a malleable substance open to interpretation, with established facts taking a back seat to strong opinions. His embarrassingly clumsy and disjointed speeches, his bullying histrionics, and his repetitive simplistic jargon are, in his mind anyway, brilliant oratory.
He capped off his National Lampoon Vacation in Japan by offering to meet Kim Jong Un in the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea on Sunday, an invitation not extended through proper Diplomatic Channels, but instead (where else?) on Twitter, ostensibly to restart another set of talks that blew up in his face when Kim abruptly walked out on Trump in their meeting in Vietnam. Kim, eager to once again play the fiddle that launched him into world statesman status, took Trump up on his invitation, but in his terms and on his home turf.
Kim Jong Un has thus far made no concessions to Trump, has not lifted a finger to denuclearize his country or improve his country’s human rights record, and continues to develop the long range missiles that terrify Japan and other regional allies, and yet Trump made him an even bigger international star when he became the first President of United States to set foot in North Korea, not as the successful negotiator and peacemaker, but as the groveling supplicant being granted an audience and showering the potentate with mouthfuls of fawning praise.
Nothing was accomplished of course but photo ops, publicity and a splashy distraction from a horrifying human rights crisis. No, not in the starving and oppressed North Korea, but in Trump’s America with its growing system of concentration camps and an even faster-growing movement to shut them down. On Monday a Congressional delegation toured the camps, a typical scene being hundreds of refugee packed into a cage meant to hold 30 people, with no access to showers or even running water, and in one camp the captive women were instructed to get their drinking water from (WTF?) the toilet.
There were children’s camps with no regular meals, wholesome food or personal amenities beyond a bare concrete floor and a dirty aluminum foil blanket, and almost no adult supervision, with 8 year-olds assuming responsibilty for infants and toddlers. Refugees were also held far beyond the 72 hour legal maximum for these immigration centers, where they are supposed to be processed and assigned a hearing date, not incarcerated indefinitely, which is the reality, with many refugees spending weeks in captivity with no word of what has become of their children, never dreaming they were being treated like mangy stray dogs waiting to be euthanized.
Congress reacted with the outrage warranted by America having concentration camps, and the American people responded by taking to the streets on Tuesday in protests all across the nation. “Close the camps! Close the camps!”
Tuesday was an especially frenzied day for the Hyperactive Oaf-in-Chief, what with him not only defending the tortuous and illegal conditions in his camps, but declaring that his captives were now living better lives by living cheek-by-jowl in their own filth than they had in their home countries, presumably one of those “shithole countries” Trump so famously and unapologetically described, while tirelessly promoting his hijacking of Independence Day in a series of inappropriate non sequiters in between deadly serious topics, such as his glib dismissal of 5,000 years of recorded history and his own recent immigrant family background with this timeless gem, (!) “European nations were set up in order to take advantage of the United States.”
Trump simply couldn’t shut up about July 4th, acting as if he invented the idea of celebrating America’s birthday in America’s capital city, something that has been going on since Cornwallis surrendered just fine without any input from this P.T. Barnum Lite of a former Game Show Host who turned the Lincoln Memorial into a VIP Lounge for some of the most odious people alive, with exactly no talented or interesting people willing to legitimize this hijacking of Independence Day into one more tawdry campaign rally, but with tanks parked in the streets and a flyover by the U.S. Navy’s ceremonial flying squadron, The Blue Angels, something short of the grand military parades his dictator buddies get to throw on their countries’ special days.
Trump decided that the military “was thrilled to participate,” an opinion not wholeheartedly endorsed by the nation’s top military brass, whose absence from the event for “travel or duty reasons” left Trump with their aides and adjuncts lined up for Commander Bone Spurs’ TV show, their disdain underlined by the rusty and peeling tanks they delivered, with their cannons removed, like so many statues of old elephants with their trunks broken off.
Also on Tuesday we learned that the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal filed a lawsuit to obtain Trump’s taxes, Trump’s daughter and the empty suit she married were being investigated for using private emails for conducting sensitive government business (why either of these two are allowed to do anything in the White House but visit Daddy is still as big a travesty as it is a mystery), a Federal judge blocked the Trump Administration from denying Bond Hearings to detainees, a Trump protest group named Code Pink received official permission from Washington D.C.’s municipal government to fly a Baby Trump balloon at his 4th of July Party near the Washington Monument, one of the country’s biggest coal companies declared bankruptcy, putting the lie to one of Trump’s promises of a triumphant return to the centuries-old dirty energy that has provided us with countless reassuring examples of men dying young from Black Lung Disease as a living (however briefly) incentive to our own children to stay in school.
Tuesday was the day when his own Department of Homeland Security was supposed to reaffirm Trump’s claim of how comfortable and healthy were the Immigration Detention Centers run by the Border Patrol were, but it turns out that the DHS’s own Inspector General found them to be every bit the squalid, cruel and unhealthy concentration camps people were calling them, then word came of the international community brazenly ignoring Trump’s blockade of the Straits of Hormuz by buying Iranian oil, simply having their ships fail to report their positions until they were laden with petroleum and heading home.
Trump pushed back at events, the weather and political opponents, declaring his 4th of July Extravaganza would go on rain or shine, then vowing to order a mass roundup of undocumented immigrants on July 5th, with nowhere to put the estimated 2,000 families who have been branded as undesirables and a danger to society. For good measure he authorized initiating the deportation of the families of (!) active duty America troops. For the $23,000 per month per inmate the US Treasury is paying private prison corporations to warehouse detainees, perhaps another dozen glorified dog pounds will be hastily erected in the Southwest to cash in on the bonanza that is human bondage.
Emboldened by the Trump-Putin joke fest at the G-20 meeting, even Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov swung into pushback mode, issuing a warning to US politicians about openly blaming Russia for stealing the 2016 election for Trump. He was not denying the allegation of course, merely issuing a Russian-style threat to shut the fuck up about it. Or else!
Trump also announced another campaign rally, this one for July 17, the day Robert Mueller will testify before Congress on national television, an almost universally anticipated event that no MAGA rally can compete with for TV ratings unless something truly bizarre happens. Or at least more bizarre than these things already are.
On Wednesday as Trump was yet again defending his precious tanks intruding on what has always been a civilian holiday free of any major military participation, his Administration surrendered to the courts and agreed to print the 2020 Census Forms without the citizenship status question included, then later that night decided to change his mind after the deal was struck, throwing a monkey wench in the form of an angry Tweet into the handing of what used to be the relatively simple task of taking the census.
And speaking of Twitter, he found the time to bitch about that too, saying (you know the drill by now, let’s say it all together) “how unfair it is to me,” making it (!) harder for people to follow him, ignoring the fact that his Tweets are probably the main feature of his presidency, better documented than the serious forms of communication used by previous presidents, and discussed endlessly by the media, bewildered American citizens, and comedy writers everywhere.
Then we move on to Week #129’s final day and Trump’s July 4th Reality Show on Thursday, which got rained on by both Mother Nature and his vacuous son-in-law Jared Kushner, who revealed his 2-years-in-the-making Middle East Peace plan recently and no one noticed. His idea of enticing the suspicious Palestinians to take prt in the process was to call their leaders “stupid and hysterical,” and saying that his massive bribery plan disguised as a peace process will only work “if they stop saying crazy things and engage,” not exactly endearing himself to Palestine’s President Abbas, or pretty much anyone else involved.
Once his rally started Trump was in his element, actually sticking to the script of a well-written speech with a theme of unity, blissfully unaware of the irony of the most divisive American President since Jefferson Davis calling on Americans to disregard his 3 years of pulling us apart to suddenly unite, with (!!) Donald Trump as our inspiration, a man who calls most of his countrymen “haters and losers.” The jets flew over, the fireworks lit up the sky, Baby Trump bobbed in the breeze, the fifes played and the rusting tanks stood at mute attention while most of the country missed the festivities, what with the 3 major network not giving him any TV coverage and most Americans doing the things they have done every 4th of July for their whole lives; eating hotdogs at backyard barbecues, drinking beer, attending ballgames or going to amusement parks and beaches.
To top off all these unifying festivities, twenty-one undocumented immigrants who worked for the Trump Organization (which always had a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it comes to checking the legal status of their employees) have asked for a meeting with President Trump, hoping to address immigration policy reform and request deportation relief, foolishly banking on the loyalty of an employer who just decided to deport the families of American soldiers currently serving in harm’s way. The Honor System only works when both parties have honor, and appealing to his honor is akin to appealing to Trump’s third eye, something else he does not have.