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General Interest, Politics, Trump Week in Review

WEEK #133 OF THE TRUMP ERA IN REVIEW, FRIDAY 7/26/19 TO THURSDAY 8/1/19


Day 1 of Week #133 of The Trump Era was an eventful day in a mixed bag of a week, kicking off with Trump waking up on Friday to fact checkers shredding his Sean Hannity interview from the day before, where pretty much the only thing the President didn’t lie about was stating his own name, and the news media all over the planet was still on fire over Trump’s blatant racist attacks on Representative Elijah Cummings and Reverend Al Sharpton.

Later in the day brought good news to Trump and bad news to Latino refugees and American veterans when it was announced that Guatemala agreed to accept refugees from neighboring countries after being threatened with tariffs, and the Supreme Court allowed Trump to loot the military budget of $2.5 billion to build his wall, much of it being taken from the Military Pension system for retired and disabled veterans.

Trump thought this would be a good day to intervene in the contract-bidding process at the Pentagon to prevent his arch nemesis Jeff Bezos’ company Amazon from being awarded a $10 billion Cloud Computing contract to secure America’s defense computing abilities from being compromised by outside interests. Yes, the same Amazon that Trump tried to force the Post Office to charge more money than the legal rates to ship their products. Such intervention by the President is not only illegal and unethical, but interjected Trump’s pettiness into government business. 

It seems that Bezos crossed Trump by becoming many times richer than him and completely legitimate, and dismissing Trump as a small time huckster before he got elected Huckster In Chief. Trump never forgets an insult to himself or his (alleged) hair, and now uses his position to claim that every insult to him is a betrayal of America. Later in the week the Pentagon would cave in to Trump’s tantrum when they delayed the project “pending further review” of something that was a high priory before Trump derailed the process of securing our military’s computing abilities. No sense giving the Pentagon the means to thwart Russian election hackers before the 2020 election.

Also on Friday, Congress began to make impeachment noises again, when the House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerome Nadler formally asked a judge to release Mueller’s secret Grand Jury transcripts to his committee for the purposes of investigating the president for abuse of power and Obstruction of Justice, some unwelcome rain on Trump’s Parade.

Trump replied to Congress indirectly on Saturday when he redoubled his attacks on Nadler’s fellow Representative and Trump investigator Elijah Cummings, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee (as in oversight of the Executive Branch), calling Cummings’ home district of Baltimore “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess where no human being would want to live,” then Tweeted “Rep. Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully” to Trump’s concentration camp staffers. 

There’s nothing like blatant racist attacks to distract attention from the crimes detailed in the Mueller Report, his longtime close ties to accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, his continued coziness with Russia, his concentration camps, his lack of a wall (or Mexican pesos to pay for it), serious economic carnage wrought by his trade wars, the numerous calls for impeachment and his sharp nosedive in his beloved poll numbers. Tweet off a few racist insults then golf the day away at one of your golf resorts and all that goes away, and your Presidential Saturday is complete.

On Sunday one of the last grownups in the Administration announced he was boarding the lifeboat when Dan Coats “resigned” (he was fired) as Director of National Security, soon to be replaced by Representative John Ratcliffe, a grandstanding Trump sycophant with no experience in any Intelligence Agency, and who already lied about having experience “putting terrorists in jail.” This is seen as a blatant move by Trump to silence and repurpose our Intelligence services to his own ends, just as he has compromised the Justice Department under William Barr.

Offered the chance to soften his racist attacks on his fellow Americans, Trump naturally declined, saying “Al Sharpton hates Whites,” and invoking the true racist’s final refuge by calling Sharpton and Cummings “the real racists,” sending his supporters scurrying to scratch out Obama’s name from their Real Racist placards and inserting the names of two prominent advocates for Civil Rights. It’s not easy for his base to keep track of who to hate at any given moment. 

Take Antifa, for instance, an activist group whose name means literally “Anti-Fascist,” that Trump tried to order the State Department to label as a terrorist group and get the UN to go along, but was stymied by indignant outcries from Europe in general and Germany in particular, a region with first hand knowledge of the catastrophic effects of Fascism and the predictable results of oppressing Anti-Fascist voices.

Speaking of caving in to Trump, Monday saw the Senate fail to override his veto of a law preventing him from selling more deadly arms to Saudi Arabia Senate to fuel their genocidal war against Yemen. While Trump knows very little about Yemen or the strategic politics of the world’s most volatile region, perhaps he reasons that the mass killing of Brown-skinned people surely cannot be altogether a bad thing if it pleases our wealthy ally whose Royal Family has long been the source of billions in revenue for the Trump Organization. Surely having the good taste to buy Trump properties indicates their deep wisdom in regional matters.

The Senate would also rubber stamp Trump’s nominee for UN Ambassador later in the week, one Kelly Craft, whose qualifications include being married to a big Republican donor, staying at Trump Hotels (!) 1,200 times, and being an attractive blond.

Also on Monday the Department of Justice announced it would no longer consider family ties as a valid grounds for immigration, a little late to spare Trump to pain of having to bring Melania’s parents into the country, but perhaps laying the groundwork for deporting his in-laws when it’s New Trophy Wife Time. 

Then Trump made both a ceremony and a travesty of a bill signing for a law that provides funds to all the 9/11 First responders who have been stricken with cancer and other life threatening ailments and their survivors. Somehow, Trump made the biggest event of the 21st Century all about him, saying to the gathered First Responders  “I spent a lot of time down there with you,” and ”I helped a little bit.” To which one of the men in charge of the Ground Zero recovery and cleanup replied “I spent many months there myself, and I never witnessed him. He was a private citizen at the time. I don’t know what kind of role he could have possibly played.”

The role he always plays, of course, Walter Mitty in Chief, the unarmed subduer of mass shooters, the potential 4 Star General if not for his bone spurs, the courageous hero of every story. The one brief news clip of Trump from the aftermath of 9/11 was him desperately hogging some camera time and lying about providing “hundreds of workers” to the cleanup effort (he provided approximately no workers) and bragging that his Wall Street building was “now the tallest in Lower Manhattan.”

What Trump didn’t bother to mention was him pocketing a $150,000 government grant for damages to his very tall building that he had previously publicly stated suffered no damage at all, or his repeated claims that he witnessed (!) “hundreds of Muslims watching from New Jersey and cheering when the towers fell,” another crazy lie that was not only impossible, but callously disrespectful to the fallen, and deeply insulting to Muslim Americans.

On Tuesday his buddy Kim Jong Un did what Trump swore he would get him to stop doing when North Korea fired more two ballistic missiles that they immediately announced were designed “to strike South Korean and American military bases.” If, as Trump has often said, he and Kim did indeed “fall in love,” then this can only indicate a small lover’s quarrel, surely not the perilous strategic threat that a strict interpretation of reality might indicate.

To prove that he is still tough on Non-Kim Jong Un Asians, Trump taunted the nation of China and its leadership while representatives of the USA and China were were engaged in trade talks, both sides seeking an end an impasse almost singlehandedly created by Trump with his tariffs and the trade war that has disrupted world markets, severely damaged American farming, and is costing American consumers billions in increased prices for goods imported from China (half the things you buy). 

His insulting loudmouth act insured that the trade talks failed, apparently mistaking the Chinese for compliant Republicans, who are continually turning the other cheek for another stinging slap by Trump. The good manners Trump exhibits exclusively toward the murderous despot Kim Jong Un would be better shown to the serious people negotiating important agreements with his own representatives, matters directly affecting the lives of millions of citizens in both nations. Usually taunting is not part of this process.

And speaking of taunting, California just passed a law barring candidates from appearing on the ballot in their State unless they make their (ahem!) tax returns public. With its 40 million people, the world’s 5th largest economy and their glaring lack of a Trump Tower, California has been a constant target of attacks by Trump, from claiming 5 million illegals voted there in 2016, to calling San Francisco a shithole, to blaming a series of catastrophic national disasters on Californians themselves and threatening to withhold federal funds because California refuses to participate in the persecution of refugees. California’s had about enough of his shit and pushed back, good news only for Trump’s crack team of lawyers, 3 dozen worthies doing their level best to stick a finger in every leaking hole in this crumbling dyke of an Administration.

Not a good day for States of the Union either, when the Environmental Protection Agency reversed an Obama decision on prohibiting mining in Alaska that would endanger one of the world’s largest salmon fisheries, a bountiful self-renewing resource that feeds millions of people and is an essential link in the food chain of Alaskan wildlife, but will now be threatened by the toxic mining practices being proposed to extract copper.

Then the Secretary of The Interior, David Bernhard, signed an order making one William Perry Pendley the acting head of the Bureau of Land Management. Mr. Pendley happens to be a longtime advocate of selling off our public land to corporate interests and opening up America’s pristine Wilderness in every State to fracking, drilling, mining, development and deforestation.

Time for a patented Trump Headline Hijacking to focus attention back where it belongs, on him, this time with a lie so outrageous and over the top it was guaranteed to make headlines when he claimed that the American Black community is (!!) thanking him for his racist attacks on Elijah Cummings and Al Sharpton. ”The African American people have been calling the White House,” of course naming none of them, or identifying any of the profoundly grateful.

On Tuesday Trump picked another prominent Black man to harass when he called for an investigation into (!) Barack Obama’s book deal, a man who was a best-selling author before his presidency, and who just signed the traditional book deal to write his memoirs, the exact same deal that every former president signs. To be fair to Trump, the combination of two of his most upsetting trigger words, ”Obama” and “book,” might have brought on an unfortunate episode.

On Wednesday the Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the first time since the financial meltdown of 2008, not because of Trump constantly badgering them to do so, but to counter the serious economic damage being done by his trade war, a candid explanation that did not prevent Trump from taking sole credit for the actions of an agency he has no power to command. Trump’s own former Financial Advisor Gary Cohn said Trump’s trade war has backfired, citing farms, tech industries, Big Auto, retail business, and steel & aluminum processors, who are forced to pass on the $5 billion in tariffs to consumers.

This was also the day the President ordered the Navy to rescind the medals awarded to the Naval Officers who were assigned to prosecute a Navy Seal accused of murder in a theater of war at his Court Marshal. The man was acquitted, but Trump’s petty streak compelled him to punish Naval Officers with unblemished records for doing their duty. To the Navy’s shame, they complied and stripped them of medals they had earned for other matters, completely unrelated to the Seal’s case.

Tuesday and Wednesday nights saw Trump glued to his television watching the Democratic Debates and Tweeting childish insults and crazy lies as 10 Democrats per night struggled to make a positive impression and spread their message in a Reality Show format of speed questions and speed answers, like so many contestants hoping they don’t get voted off the island.

On Thursday Trump announced more Tariffs on Chinese goods, then renewed his one-sided feud with CNN’s Don Lemon, calling him “the stupidest man on television,” before winging his way to Cincinnati for another MAGA rally, where he would taunt China, minorities, Democrats and windmills while spinning a series of lies that were so crazy and stupid they do not bear repeating. Especially since Trump will repeat them over and over for us, making them more of a comment on those who believe him than of Trump himself. It’s already a given Trump is going to spout crazy lies and hurl vicious insults every time he speaks in public, no surprises there. The fun part for the rest of us is hearing his supporters rationalize the kind of abhorrent behavior in a President that they punish their children for trying to pull.

What Trump didn’t mention at his MAGA Rally, however, was potentially the most important and dangerous decision of his Presidency when the United States pulled out of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty signed by President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union. If ever there was an issue you don’t want Trump’s clumsy knee-jerk reaction politics anywhere near, it is the ever-present danger of a new round of nuclear proliferation, only with more players this time, not all of them so stable.

Careless handling of this issue could trigger a new arms race of staggering monetary expense and terrorizing the planet once again, to say nothing of a return to the Balkanization of the world when small nations were either in the “Russian Camp” the “American Camp,” or flirting with both for strategic advantage.

Now there’s a China Camp, a nation Trump has been intentionally alienating for 3 years (perhaps blaming them for manufacturing his Trump Ties only in Extra Extra Long size), resentful of China’s commercial success and insisting they are only successful because there are dishonest, and in no way reflective of the intelligence and drive of the Chinese people, a racist impulse translated into official policy. Even though America is the richest and most successful nation in history, and Trump is one of its richest men, somehow it is America and Trump himself always getting the raw deal, especially from successful nations like China. Very unfair! 

“The United States and Russia are now in a state of strategic instability,” is what the experts say, the familiar ominous language of the Cold War, and also insist that any new nuclear deal would have to include China, hopefully an un-taunted China. How many long sleek missiles would Trump need to build to impress the big boys running the other nuclear powers?

We live in a world where the decisions of the President of The United Sates are made on the basis of vague impressions, impulsive, petulant whims, and the insecure machismo of a preadolescent, this particular Presidential Mind unencumbered by vast stores of knowledge, unfatigued by the constant burden of studying complex issues, and uncluttered by the informed advice of “so-called experts,” with their long briefings full of cacophonous word noises and thick printouts of irrelevant details and “possible ramifications” of every decision that he will never read (besides, ramifications are things that don’t happen right this minute, so they don’t matter).

When all you want in life is “more,” greed becomes creed. When one man identifies himself as America itself, then criticizing that man is called unpatriotic. When bigger is always better, someone pays the price, and when half the waking hours of a President’s supporters are spent defending his racism, we have a racist leader. And here we are. 

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