Week #140 if the Trump Era saw the Administration finally dispense with any remaining pretense of normalcy, integrity and purpose, or any vestige of a connection to realty. In a week that appropriately began on a full-moon Friday the 13th, it was a relatively quiet Trump Era Friday, highlighted mainly by President Trump firmly taking the reins of his cellphone keyboard to Tweet out a series of hopelessly disjointed messages making a case against his own impeachment, as desperate, glaringly false and maniacal (even for him) a set of Tweets as his fevered mind has ever produced.

On that Friday the 13th, a judge reinstated one of the many lawsuits against Trump for profiting on his presidency, while the President decided to take action against a looming crisis by going after a menace that is “killing our youth.” No, not guns, not opioids and not cigarette smoking, the collective takers of tens of thousands of American lives annually, but vaping, after reports of 4 deaths that may or may not be related to inhaling vapor cigarette substitutes.

On a day when the only other notable news was the discovery of swastika graffiti in the Department of Homeland Security headquarters, Trump decided that the most ominous clear and present danger to America was bubblegum-flavored nicotine vapors, completely ignoring the menacing specter he greets in the mirror every morning, the man actively destroying America. One can either suppose that we’re sometimes too close to the forest to see the trees, or that the man in the president’s morning mirror bears little resemblance to the manic orange poltergeist with the thick pancake makeup and yellow fright wig that takes hours of work by professional cosmeticians and combover engineers to put together before he allows himself to be seen in public.

Then overnight came a devastating drone and cruise missile attack on Saudi Arabian oil production facilities, taking 5% of the world’s petroleum supply offline overnight. Trump swung into action, immediately blaming Iran for an attack for which Yemeni rebels called the Houthis took credit, in retaliation for Saudi attacks on civilians in neighboring Yemen in a (what else?) religious war over whose brand of Islam gets to dominate the Middle East.

Before the fires were extinguished and any evidence could be gathered, Trump even Tweeted out how he was awaiting instructions from the Saudi government on how to proceed with these words: “There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!”

Yes, that is the President of the United States of America awaiting military instructions from the King of Saudi Arabia, a king whose subjects carried out the devastating 9/11 attacks on New York City, Washington DC and Pennsylvania. America was unaware until that moment that we lost that war and surrendered our sovereignty to the head-chopping, bone-sawing, woman-oppressing xenophobes presiding over a sandy wasteland sitting atop a sea of petroleum.

But we need to understand that the Saudi Royal Family has shown their own loyalty to Trump by buying hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Trump real estate and propping up his teetering business empire with loans and lines of credit, so how can we complain about a nation that feeds our dragon?

Which is not to say that Trump neglected his other Presidential responsibilities that Saturday morning. Trump made sure to start another war, this one a vicious and aggressive Twitter offensive against a Black woman journalist. You know, in case anyone forgot who the real enemies of the people are, and Joy Reid conveniently fits the criteria for 3 of Trump’s main targets for blame and vitriol; the free press, women, and people of color, embodying a Trifecta of Trump vendettas.

On Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo doubled down on the Trump Administration’s accusations that Iran was behind the Saudi oil field attacks, even as Saudi Arabia showed remarkable restraint by appealing to the United Nations to be the arbiter of the evidence gathered at the scene of the attack before assigning definitive blame. Iran of course vociferously denied any involvement, while Houthi forces in Yemen insisted they did it and threatened further attacks on the Saudi’s oil infrastructure, threatening to further destabilize a Middle East that has been volatile and warlike since the era of fossil fuels and the creation of the State of Israel converged to rekindle the deadly animosity plaguing the region since before living memory, dating back to Biblical times. So far the only thing of which we can be certain about this attack is that prices will rise at the gas pumps before the week is out.

Perhaps loathe to fight too many wars at one time, the President backed off his plan to ban flavored vapes, deciding vaping is not such a bad thing after all, especially since his talking about the issue did not create any useful divisiveness for him to exacerbate and exploit. No, he saved that tool for his demand that the Department of Justice (!) “rescue” Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh from bad publicity after a book was published detailing allegations of his sexual misconduct, and insisting that those authors, and the reporters involved in a New York Times story detailing a new Kavanaugh sexual assault allegation, should resign. After all, Trump reasons, where there’s smoke, there must be some liberal reporter blowing flavored vapor and pretending it’s a fire.

Trump of course seized the moment to sharpen his attacks on the media, free speech and women. After all, Joy Reid can’t be expected to carry all the weight, what with her being somewhat petite, mannerly and articulate, hardly the stuff that a proper snarling Bogeyman is made of.

And speaking of Bogeymen, Trump’s former (winkwinketywink) chief criminal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, apparently not content to fade away quietly and rest on his laurels as the increasingly Nosferatu-like America’s (Night) Mayor, travelled to Ukraine as a (double winkwinketywink) “concerned private citizen” in order to get the Ukrainian authorities to hand over incriminating evidence on former Vice President and potential 2020 Trump opponent Joe Biden’s son for alleged “crimes” that the  Ukrainians have already repeatedly said never happened. Then he admitted on national TV that he travelled 5,000 miles just to get “dirt on Joe Biden,” before spluttering seconds later that he really didn’t mean to say that, a classic Giuliani “how is this helping?” moment for those of us waxing nostalgic for last years’ crazy scandals. Rudy was more than happy to do a reprise performance for the incredulous TV hosts and his adoring public.

On Monday another recurring character from the Trump Reality Show raised his plump little head when Kim Jong Un invited Trump to Pyongyang for more unproductive talks and photos opportunities, stringing him along like a jilted suitor jumping at the slimmest hope of rekindled romance.

And speaking of hopeless quests, Trump held a MAGA rally in New Mexico that day, with the expressed intention of turning that firmly Democrat-dominant State Republican in 2020. Unfortunately, he relied on the formula that goes over well in Red States, insane lies combined with the demonization of and/or tone deaf pandering to Hispanics, claiming that the Latin American nation of Venezuela was once “one of the world’s wealthiest nations” (it never was) but “has now run out of food and water” (they’re all still alive so that can’t be true either).

Then he asked this bizarre question of New Mexicans:  “Who do you like more, the country or the Hispanics?” Then he gave the equally bizarre reply to his own question “I am leaning towards the Hispanics,” forgetting to omit the word “the” before referring to minority groups (his classic gaffes “the Blacks love me!” and “my African American” spring to mind.) Then he referred to one of “the” Hispanics, Steven Cortes, a Fox News broadcaster of Columbian descent by saying (!) “He looks more WASP than I do,” sending as wrong message to Hispanics as you could possibly send, that it was desirable to not look Hispanic.

On Tuesday we were treated to another bizarre performance, this time when Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski testified before the House Intelligence Committee, or at least did his best not to testify as he alternately played the clueless fool, the defiant soldier and the White House insider he is not by claiming Executive Privilege. He tried to explain away being enlisted as the President’s hatchet man, a private citizen recruited by Trump to deliver an illegal message to the Attorney General, a message Lewandowski ultimately chose not to deliver, realizing he could be prosecuted for a crime if caught. His brazen and hostile performance can only be chalked up to him auditioning for a White house job with this quote: “I have no obligation to be honest with the media,” or for a Fox News anchorman job for his complete denial of facts and reality.

Speaking of denial of reality, Trump threatened to punish California by levying fines on their cities, using the same Environmental Protection Agency he has been steadily dismantling, for the “pollution” caused by homelessness Californians, who he claimed (without a shred of proof of course) “are flooding the storm drains with human waste and dirty needles.” He offered no solutions, no insight, no federal help to these cities, only threats and insults, this during the same week he held rallies in that State, raising $15 million for his reelection campaign, culminating in his weird autograph session at the border where he signed a piece of a border barrier that he did not build while praising its (!) “anti-climb factor” due to its 30-foot height (Now to keep the 31-foot ladder technology from falling into Mexican hands!).

Not satisfied with only messing with Joy Reid this week, Trump went after two more women on Wednesday, one of whom had just died. First he went all “Pocahontas” again on Elizabeth Warren and her paltry 1% Native American DNA, saying “I have more indian blood than her and I have none.” Then he attacked beloved American journalist Cokie Roberts, who died of breast cancer that very day, by remarking (!) “She never treated me nicely,” instantly making her tragic death all about him.

And not satisfied with threatening to levy fines against California for imaginary environmental transgressions by their most vulnerable people, on Wednesday Trump declared he will nullify California’s authority to set auto emissions rules that are stricter than Federal standards, standards designed to dramatically improve our environment in a very real way. 

One of the great many things that Trump can’t stand is the intransigent insistence of Democrats to continually point out the obvious and the real, at the expense of the implied and the delusional wish list that has convinced much of Trump’s base that Global Warning is indeed a diabolical plot being pushed by 99% of the world’s scientists and every other nation on Earth to steal money from Donald Trump. Apparently Trump of The 12,000 Lies sympathizes with “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” considering the grownups in that Fairy Tale to be very unfair to the habitually lying shepherd boy.

Trump did manage one bit of government business this week when he named Richard C. O’Brien the winner over 5 other contestants… er, um, that is… candidates for the job just vacated by John Bolton, National Security Advisor, that critical office that every President needs to have filled by a person well versed in international realities, experienced in diplomatic nuance and possessed of extraordinary organizational and analytical skills. Who’s to say that his Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs isn’t that person? After all, wasn’t Mr. O’Brien the person Trump trusted to fly to Sweden to successfully get an America rapper out of a misdemeanor charge of Disorderly Conduct? We’re in safe hands then.

And speaking of John Bolton, he sharply criticized Trump without mentioning his name on Wednesday when he condemned his reckless, uninformed and destructive conduct of foreign policy, for one thing mentioning the cancelled plans to host Taliban leaders in Camp David the same week as the 9/11 Anniversary. Trump in turned blamed John Bolton for the his owns complete refusal to listen to any of the advice from the world class professionals at his disposal.

And speaking of ignoring expert advice, Trump decided to impose more sanctions on Iran even though no investigations of the Saudi oil field attack was complete and exactly no evidence has been presented. He did, however rule out any immediate military response by the USA, which would have come as a sign of Trump’s maturing on the job if not for this weird explanation, (!) “We have plenty of time to do something dastardly.”

No one is certain how military brass and active duty personnel felt about having their potential combat missions described as “something dastardly,” since they are not in the habit of responding to wacko descriptions of their very grave and perilous business.

Trump did, however, reopen hostilities with his favorite “enemies of the people” when he took journalists to task for quoting his own exact words, rather than the more reasonable things he surely meant to say.  It seems that reporters insisted upon quoting his repeated claims that he would hold talks with the leaders of Iran “with no conditions,” loudly proclaiming he never said that, in spite of the existence numerous videotapes where he said exactly that. The mystery here is how these experienced professionals were unable to magically divine that “no conditions” is a term meant only for murderous thugs like Putin, Kim and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Then he ripped them a new one for implying that he meant what he said on videotape about 3,000 times, that Mexico will pay for his wall, the centerpiece of both his election campaign and his reelection campaign, then claimed that his words “we are locked and loaded” had nothing to do with weaponry or starting a war. Journalists, and everyone else alive, found themselves hard-pressed to recall what else “locked and loaded” could possibly mean.

Perhaps these twin complaints are simply Trump’s unique way of encouraging broader literacy in this country by invoking George Orwell’s famous quote from his novel “!984,“ Big Brother’s admonition to the people – “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” The could be the case, couldn’t it?

On Thursday, another of Trump’s castoffs, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, revealed how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “continually played Trump by feeding him misinformation” (lies), profoundly influencing Trump’s baffling and contradictory policy pronouncements regarding the Middle East in general and Iran in particular. One can only surmise from his over-the-top antipathy towards Iran that Netanyahu told him the Mullahs were ogling his daughter Ivanka.

Trump had no response other than to sue another American, the New York State Attorney General for Manhattan, Cyrus Vance, to prevent New York prosecutors investigating Trumps’ businesses and charity from obtaining 8 years of his tax returns from the IRS, one week after promising full disclosure of “my financials” to the American people, with the exception of that portion of the American people actively investigating his alleged crimes.

Then Mitch McConnell, perhaps out of hurt feelings for constantly being called “Moscow Mitch,” finally poked his head out of his shell long enough to say he would “allow” Congress to pass a law providing money and assistance to all 50 states to combat the still-ongoing Russian interference in our elections. The  $250 million is considered a somewhat paltry figure for election security, deemed insufficient to the task but at least something, and a belated official recognition of what happened in 2016.

And finally, since we were speaking of “!984” (and when have we not been speaking of “!984” since January of 2017?) we arrive at the Unknown Whistleblower Scandal. “The what,” you ask? No one seems to know yet, and the Administration is doing their best to keep it that way.

It seems that a CIA agent, or an operative of one of our other intelligence agencies, a person routinely assigned to monitor the President’s phone calls with foreign heads of state (a longstanding security protocol), overheard the president make a promise to a world leader that was so disturbing that the agent put in a formal Whistleblower Complaint, an official process that requires the head off National Intelligence to forward the report to both the Senate and House Intelligence Committees for evaluation.

What the scandal part of all this is that Congress was not informed of this complaint, and the White House and Justice Department have closed ranks and declared the matter “outside the scope of the Whistleblower Statute,” a law designed to prevent this exact abuse of power. While ignoring the Constitution and defying Congress may be the calling cards of the Trump Administration and “Trump’s style,” that does not make it legal or in any way acceptable.

In the absence of Congressional review of this complaint, the country is torn by rampant speculation on the nature of what Trump promised, and to whom, with Ukraine being mentioned most prominently, but the identity of the person on the other end of the phone call is unknown to the public, with Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky being the most popular guesses. While it’s always the safer bet to assume the worst about President Trump, we can only shake our heads and reel from yet another distraction preventing people of good will from even following what is going on with our government, never mind correcting its myriad abuses. The fact that the unknown Whistleblower has had to retain the services of an attorney who specializes in defending whistleblowers from official retribution speaks volumes.

And so the week ended with a raging Mystery Scandal to go along with its hundreds of very real scandals, and the news that an American drone just killed 30 innocent pine nut farmers in Afghanistan instead of the Taliban insurgents it meant to take out. This serves as a reminder that no actual governing is going on in America, since the Senate refuses to pass any legislation, the Administration operates by the seat of its pants with no clue how any of this works, Russia is still interfering with our elections, there are still children suffering in American concentration camps, and any investigations into the potential involvement of the President of the United States with Jeffrey Epstein’s child sex slave ring are as dead as Epstein himself.

Hell, Epstein was 20 or 30 scandals ago, so that must be over, right? At least, that is what we are supposed to believe. Tomorrow will arrive with a whole new fresh plate of scandals, with a generous side of corruption. The only question remaining is, how long can we keep heeding the party’s greatest command, to reject the evidence of our eyes and ears?

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