Quote of the Week: “Let there be better lighting!”
Week #139 of The Trump Era saw a mystery solved. Actually two of them. The first mystery was why Trump rescinded the ban on energy-inefficient lightbulbs, costing the country a 6 trillion megawatt drain on our electric grid and the elevated risk of power outages. The President explained that his people were earnestly “still working on an explanation of the reasoning behind this decision, but it will be a good one.”
One would think that this is a process that normally takes place before a decision is reached, but why quibble with this reverse engineering of the decision-making process amidst all this winning? And, as we have all come to know, this President is frequently a tad too impatient to wait for his experts to compile their detailed reports, and this was one of those times, addressing a Republican Conference at the end of the week, scheduled to compete with the Democratic Primary Debates. Turns out the reason the Administration legalized the formerly banned lightbulbs is because today’s energy-saving light bulbs (•Real Presidential Quote Alert•) “make me look orange.”
You don’t say?
Well, he did say, then pointed to his audience and declared “they make you look orange too.” No one had the heart to point out that before John Boehner and Donald Trump showed up, the only Orange people anyone remembers were cartoon characters that used to flatten each others’ heads with giant mallets and be none the worse for wear, but that’s another story.
This is about the President of the United States convincing himself that the reason he looks grotesque is because (!!) light itself is at fault, and being very unfair to him. Let that that sink in a moment, that the President of the United States will authorize the pumping of billions of tons more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere because cameras do not flatter him, therefore (!) light itself must be the reason. Can’t the press just airbrush their photos of Trump to make him look handsome and youthful, or at least use a gauze filter on their camera lenses to soften the images like they used to do for all those other famous aging divas?
The week opened up on Friday with the White House considering a plan that would effectively bar refugees from most parts of the world from resettling in the United States, rendering the Statue of Liberty obsolete, soon to be replaced by the Statue of The White Family Pretending Nobody’s Home When The Doorbell Rings.
Then the Republican Parties in Arizona, Kansas, Nevada and South Carolina announced their intentions to cancel the 2020 presidential primaries in their States to prevent primary challenges to Trump, which number four prominent Republicans so far, to very little outcry from the thoroughly co-opted GOP. The Republican Party is now Trump’s Siamese Twin, conjoined at the brain so deeply with Trump that not even Ben Carson would attempt separation surgery.
One tiny blip on the Republican Resistance Radar was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowing to fight Trump over the Pentagon diverting funding for a Middle School at Fort Campbell in McConnell’s home state of Kentucky, appropriating the earmarked funds to build his border wall. Of course Moscow Mitch found a way to blame Democrats for pointing out the obvious about Trump’s unhinged mania for an unnecessary wall: ”Regrettably, Democrat opposition to secure our borders has now led to the potential delay of certain Military Construction projects.” Bottom line, if Trump expects a compliant Senate, Fort Campbell will get its Middle School and some other State’s military families will take a hit.
On Sunday, Trump announced he was calling off his planned secret meeting with (!) Taliban officials after a Taliban car bomb killed an American soldier in Afghanistan. This was quite the surprise. Not the cancellation of the meeting with other leaders of course (word of Trump’s bizarre and self-centered Public Relations act at every negotiation gets out), but the fact that Trump was planning to celebrate the 18th Anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks by hosting representatives of the regime that gave not only sanctuary and protection to Osama bin Laden, but the luxury of time to plan and execute the 9/11 attacks without having to constantly change residences one step ahead of American Intelligence agencies and their pesky cruise missiles.
None of this occurred to Trump. All he knows is that the surprise twist in the plot of his Reality Show Presidency was totally ruined, bigly sad.
He drowned his sorrows at his favorite place, at the podium of a political Rally, this one for Republican candidate Dan Bishop of North Carolina, running in a special election for a Congressional seat, who wound up winning by a slim margin on Tuesday.
Trump got to regale North Carolinians with his Mad Max apocalyptic future fantasies of “crime, poverty and immigrants if Democrats seize power,” which was about the exact opposite of the conditions under the past 2 Democratic Administrations when they “seized power” at the point of a ballot, what with Clinton’s dreaded Peace & Prosperity Panic and budget surpluses, and Obama’s swift rebuilding of a GOP-shattered economy to record heights, making Health Care a reality and running a scandal-free administration. We can only hope for another such Democratic “disaster” at the ballot box in 2020, Russia willing.
On Monday, Sharpiegate reared its felt-tipped head again, Trump’s self-created brouhaha over his altering of an official weather map with a Sharpie to make his mistake look like it wasn’t a mistake at all. Trump’s innocent mistake was such a minor thing it could easily have been brushed aside as a slip of the tongue, if only he said something like “sorry folks, that was a week-old map I should have disregarded and Alabama will be fine, listen to your weather professionals.” No one in their right mind would have criticized the President for such an innocent gaffe made with all good intentions.
Only trouble is, it’s the guy who made that gaffe who’s not right in the head, and he ordered his minions to Tweet their approval of the Emperor’s new clothes.
This led to Trump’s Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney ordering Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to order the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to threaten to fire top employees (scientists) last Friday after the agency’s Birmingham office contradicted President Trump’s Twitter claim that Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama, and scientists were ordered not to contradict the president, and to “correct” their Tweet about Alabama not being in danger, finally making Science Denial an official act, with three official investigations going on about a slip of the tongue. As it happens, issuing false weather reports is a crime, a law that presumably addresses who-knows-what sort of fake weather reporting crime spree that may have occurred somewhere, some time.
Leave it to Trump to commit the weirdest, and the very pettiest of crimes ever, Fake Weather Reporting.
Small wonder the impeachment rumblings began in the House of Representatives again, no matter how reluctant the Republican Senate will be to convict Trump if he is indeed impeached by the House. Trump didn’t help his own case with his incredibly petty Sharpiegate performance, or his weak denial that he ordered Vice President Pence to stay at his hotel in Ireland, insisting Pence is simply an avid golfer (who for some reason has never golfed with Trump), and the 40 trips to Trump’s Scotland golf club by Air Force personnel on Uncle Sam’s dime were just a coincidence.
Monday is also when the Administration decided to allow oil and gas companies to make lease bids on lands considered archaeologically sensitive, near a national monument stretching across the Utah-Colorado border that houses sacred tribal sites, and when he tried to ban Bahamians fleeing the battered moonscape that their islands had become in the wake of Hurricane Dorian with only the shirts on their backs. Trump characterized the widely admired and genteel people of The Bahamas as being riddled with drug dealers and killers, an opinion shared by almost no one, but upheld by Trump’s new scientific litmus test, with most of them falling on the forbidden side of the Refugee Skin Color Chart.
Like the Monday from hell, this one just would not quit when we learned that Trump almost got a US spy who was embedded deep in the Kremlin killed, one Oleg Smolenkov, a Russian National recruited decades ago and who worked for a key aide to Vladimir Putin. Smolenkov had been funneling reliable information to the CIA for decades, and the decision to carry out the extraction occurred soon after a May 2017 meeting in the Oval Office in which Trump discussed highly classified intelligence with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak, the clandestine work of decades destroyed. The CIA agents who saved a spy’s life with a risky extraction had no choice once they determined that Trump “mishandled classified information” that may have exposed him. Normally, “mishandling classified information” lands you in Federal prison for espionage, and who knows, maybe it will for Trump too someday.
Trump closed out this eventful day with cheerleader-ish Twitter feud with celebrities and a vague promise of the imminent release of the equally vague “extremely complete financials,” (?) sounding for all the world like Lucy Van Pelt promising to hold the football while Charlie Brown kicks it.
On Tuesday Trump made headlines by firing his controversial National Security Advisor John Bolton via Twitter, James-Comey style. Bolton made the fatal error of not only being just as crazy as Trump, but by making one too many headlines for being batshit crazy, and that’s Trump’s calling card. This clear usurpation of Presidential privilege led to the usual “you’re fired!” and “you can’t fire me, I quit!” exchanges, while the National Security Council was quietly purged of Bolton’s proteges, the “Bomb First, Ask Questions Later” types.
Trump considered replacing Bolton with himself, then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a dual role, and even his old and very disgruntled former National Security Advisor, General H.R. McMasters, a man whose company Trump avoided for almost his entire tenure due to McMasters’ complete inability to pretend that any of this crazy shit is remotely normal.
To underscore McMasters reluctance, 10 FEMA workers were indicted for fraud stemming from the looting of millions from Hurricane Maria funds, crimes Trump blamed had previously blamed on the government of Puerto Rico. Nope, it was his people from his Administration, the Feds.
On Wednesday, the 18th Anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks, Trump solemnly laid a wreath at the Pentagon memorial to the Fallen of 9/11, then proceeded to make it (naturally) all about himself before, out of habit, automatically launching into his MAGA spiel as if this was one more political rally, attacking Democrats, spouting all kinds of disjointed lies and complete nonsense, and finally issuing a threat to Afghanistan that they would suffer a horrible fate, implying that American has something (!) worse than nuclear bombs in store for harborers of terrorists.
One shudders to think that (A) we have worse weapons than nuclear bombs and (B) Trump is in charge of them.
Then it was announced that District Attorneys of the Southern District of New York were interviewing Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen at his residence, a Federal prison, gathering information about financial crimes committed in New York by Trump and his family, and then the House announced that indeed an Impeachment Panel is being convened to hear evidence and issue subpoenas against the President.
Then on Thursday, usually when Trump tries to end the week with a headline grab before Friday’s Bad News Dump that gets lost in the quiet weekend news cycle, the dominant headline instead was Israel being accused by American intelligence agencies of (!!) spying on White House. The government concluded that within the past two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cellphone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington. Uncharacteristically, Trump had nothing to say about this, since Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu gets the same Mulligans granted to Vladimir Putin for interfering in America’s government.
Trump’s response was to address the Republican Conference Member Retreat dinner in Baltimore Thursday night, his first visit to Baltimore since he called it a “rat and rodent infested mess.” It was there he decided to reveal his bizarre reasoning behind lifting the high energy-consuming lightbulb ban, with this Presidential Quote destined to be remembered among the immortal Presidential Quotes; “These new light bulbs make me look orange.”
The GOP Member Retreat was supposed to compete with the Democratic debate in Texas that same evening, but drew only scant interest compared to 10 people discussing the important and complex issues facing the nation in a civil and highly intelligent manner. This Anti-Trump approach to government, science and policy is something unfathomable to this sloganeering buffoon who orders scientists to alter scientific data to support a verbal slip, and was a welcome glimpse of how things used to be, and will be once again.