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General Interest, Politics, Trump Week in Review

WEEK #156 OF THE TRUMP ERA IN REVIEW, FRIDAY, 1/3/20 TO THURSDAY, 1/9/20

How do you unite a nation divided against itself and almost start World War 3 at the same time? If you’re Donald Trump, you do so with the greatest of ease, with an Executive Order and dozens of silly lies.

And no, the nation he united is not his own (we remain steadfastly divided by our absolutely worst president ever), but Iran, a country recently beset by civil unrest and mass demonstrations against their own government. A country as volatile and unpredictable as Trump himself, Iran is a modern and sophisticated nation run by Medievally backward clerics at war with religious rivals, foreign influence and tolerance itself, and its government was showing signs of collapse as mass protests broke out all over the country recently. 

Enter one Donald J. Trump, a man with all the understanding of the nuances of Middle East politics of a Labrador Retriever, who decided to assassinate the #2 man in Iran the day before with a drone strike on Iraq’s Baghdad Airport, where General Qassim Suleimani was visiting at the invitation of the Iraqi government. While almost no one in the West is mourning the dangerous Suleimani, a man most Americans, including our president, never heard of before this week, it turns out Suleimani was a popular and admired figure in Iran. His killing united Iran against Trump and suddenly the mass demonstrations flipped from rage against their own government to rage against America and it was suddenly ”Death to America” and “Great Satan” time again.

We awoke Friday morning in the chaotic aftermath of Suleimani’s death, with dire threats of military retribution from their Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini and snarky Tweets from President Pinocchio, such as “Iran never won a war!” and childish boasts about the size and power of his missile, which we all know by now, to our everlasting chagrin and regret, is “small, but not freakishly so,” and shaped like a little mushroom, thanks to the porn star he he tried to bribe into silence about their love affair shortly after his youngest son was born to his 3rd wife (Sometimes a little perspective on Trump’s furious reaction to humiliation is called for.).

Predictably, Trumps staunchest Republican enablers defended the strike even as the Trump Administration fumbled for a viable excuse for bringing us to the brink of World War 3, changing their story every 20 minutes in search of a story they could stick to other than an unstable president’s inarticulate rage and his desire to get everyone to shut the hell up about his Impeachment. While protests broke out across America and the entire planet against Trump flirting with a new war, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defended the President and took the opportunity to attack the Impeachment that McConnell is doing his best to derail without so much as a fair hearing.

Trump took to the podium and delivered a speech obviously written by someone unfamiliar with Trump’s linguistic limitations (he has a lot of trouble with English words of 2 or more syllables), and snorted and snuffled through a short speech that was even shorter on explanations of his acts, and long on dilated-eyes, spluttering and slurred words.

When previous American Presidents have run such missions, the American public was informed immediately and given the reasons for the mission once the operations were concluded and our own people safely returned. Even President Carter, following the humiliating failure of the Iran hostage rescue mission in 1979, addressed the American people right away and took full responsibility, laying out the exact reasons for the mission and its unfortunate results. No other President had to fumble for a dozen different reasons because there was only one, the real reason, and none of them displayed the schoolboy bravado and lack of knowledge that is Trump’s only defense for his endless blunders. 

Later that day, it was scapegoat time as he appeared at something called the “Evangelicals for Trump Coalition” at the King Jesus International Ministry in Miami, Florida. He picked all the likely suspects to blame, from Obama to Hillary Clinton to Congressional Representatives whose name he said he would not mention just before mentioning their names, calling them “Antisemites” and questioning their national origins and loyalties (more groundbreaking Presidential behavior on Trump’s part, since his predecessors naively considered themselves to be the President of every American and did not have the gall to demonize over half their own countrymen and senior members of the government they ran).

In case anyone was wondering what the “Evangelicals For Trump Coalition” is, it is nothing, just a name Trump pulled out of his ample butt to try to appear as if he still enjoyed the support of Evangelicals, a dozen of whom in Florida alone signed an open letter breaking with Trump and condemning his lack of moral leadership, in the wake of many other prominent Evangelical Christians calling for his removal from office. There was no such organization in existence before Friday, one more figment of Trump’s sordid imagination.

On Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security, woefully behind on the Flimsy Excuse Curve, stated that there was no imminent credible threat from Iran recently, and former CIA officials confirmed that Suleimani was never on their “direct target list,” nor was it true that Suleimani was responsible for “hundreds of USA deaths” in Iraq, and was not involved in the 9/11 attacks on America in 2001, as Vice President Pence feebly claimed.

Undaunted by this uncharacteristic admission of truth by his own government agencies, Trump’s White House sent Congress a belated formal notification under the War Powers Act of the drone strike that killed Qassim Suleimani, required by law within 48 hours, a Congress he had already enraged by failing to notify the Chairman of several House committees beforehand, as also required by law.

Then, shortly after Trump furiously Tweeted that he was “targeting 52 Iranian sites,” including important cultural locations (a war crime), one for every American hostage from 40 years ago, 2 rockets landed in the American Green Zone, launched by an Iranian-backed anti-US militia. You know, the kind of militia whose more violent proclivities were held in check only by the man Trump just killed.

There are many reasons that previous Presidents did not Kill Suleimani, both moral and legal (the Geneva Convention and International Law forbid such actions) but that was the main one, and now no one is sure who will be capable of stemming the potential chaos of suddenly rudderless anti-American extremists, unfettered by Suleimani’s authority.

And speaking of authority, the Iraqi Parliament voted to expel US troops from Iraq on Sunday for Trump’s crime, a bill written by Iraq’s duly-elected President Barham Salih, saying “The government commits to revoke its request for assistance from the international coalition fighting Islamic State due to the end of military operations in Iraq and the achievement of victory. The Iraqi government must work to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using its land, airspace or water for any reason.” In other words, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Monday morning found Trump threatening Iraq with sanctions if they evict US troops, as usual bleating about his favorite topic, money: “We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it.” 

No mention of the USA failing to spend the required billions necessary to repair all the stuff we blew to smithereens when the last Republican American President (!) attacked the wrong country, a blunder so huge that the world thought for sure that George Bush the Younger would retire the title of Dumbest American President Ever. To the relief of Bush heirs everywhere, enter Donald Trump, the worst-informed man on the planet, who has treated America to 3 years of incredible stupidity, mind-boggling ignorance of even the most common of common knowledge, and openly criminal behavior, driven by an insatiable but fragile ego and fueled by over 15,000 crazy and stupid pathological lies (so far).

The United States Department of Defense, ever mindful of respecting the sovereignty of our allied democracies, released an official letter informing Iraq that the United States would comply with their decision and was “repositioning forces” for “movement out of Iraq” that produced headlines around the world that an American withdrawal had begun.

But the letter, drafted by the United States military command in Baghdad, was supposedly “sent out by mistake,” according to a hastily-compiled response from the White House, claiming it was ”only a draft” that was part of the effort to properly respond to the Iraqi Parliament’s decision, and then (as usual) trying out several dumbass lies before settling on the dumbest lie: “it was leaked,” a ridiculous assertion since everyone knew it was the Pentagon itself that released the letter through normal channels. Then that same pesky law-abiding Pentagon ruled out attacking Iran’s cultural sites as being not only a counterproductive waste of ordnance that would only enflame and solidify our opposition, but a war crime.

And speaking of crimes, Monday was when we heard about Trump bragging to customers of his hotel at Mar A Lago about “something big in Iran coming up in the next week,” as senior Administration officials interrupted his golfing by converging on Mar A Lago to present multiple options of how to respond to the brief siege of the US Embassy in Baghdad by Iranian-backed militias. Leave it to Trump to pick the very worst option, one vehemently pushed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a man more committed to ushering in his own religion’s Rapture fantasies than to his oath of office that compels him to serve his own country’s wellbeing first and foremost.

Pompeo has long history of personal enmity against Qassim Suleimani, dating back 2 decades to his days as a Congressman, and an even longer history of overcoming his disdain for Jews only because Israel plays an important part in the Rapture. Of course that involves lots of fire, brimstone and mass slaughter for Israel, much like any proper religious fantasy, but that’s a small price to pay since someone other than Pompeo will be the ones paying that price with their lives, again in keeping with proper religious bloodlust.

The world has alway played a cat and mouse game in keeping the religious slaughterers in check, with only limited success. Now we have a zealot Crusader as our Secretary of State getting to throw more gasoline on the religious fire that is the Middle East. Combine that with another deeply held Republican belief, that “our oil” was mistakenly deposited underneath someone else’s country, and we have the makings of a good old fashioned Flaming Armageddon Party.

And speaking of lust for oil and the odious bedfellow allies it has made America, Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman, a former ambassador to the U.S.A., was urgently sent to Washington by his brother, Crown Prince Mohammed “Bone Saw” bin Salman, the murderer of Washington Post reporter Jamal Kashoggi. Saudi Arabia has the most to gain from an US-Iran war, as they are Iran’s bitter rivals over religion, petroleum and regional power in the Middle East, taking turns funding terror cells outside their respective borders. Having such dubious allies advising President Trump does not guarantee that the interests of the United States will be foremost in their conversations.

So far the week had been a successful exercise by President Trump to eliminate his impeachment and upcoming Senate Trial from world headlines, and it worked. For a few days anyway. Then on Monday his former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who was ousted when he objected to the Ukraine extortion that got Trump impeached, offered to testify at Trump’s Senate Trial, bad news indeed for Trump, and for Mitch McConnell too, whose efforts to derail Trump’s ouster from office have been steadily threatened by renegade Republicans, who stubbornly insist that any trial in which they participate should be a fair one, with witness testimony heard and evidence weighed. What was supposed to be a sure-shot acquittal was becoming something almost, if not quite, resembling justice.

Then Tuesday happened, with 2 NATO countries announcing their intention to comply with Iraq’s wishes by withdrawing their troops from Iraq, while Mike Pompeo again defended the Administration’s disastrous decision by (!) declining to give any reason for the assassination besides saying they were secret, and repeatedly misusing the world imminent, showing that these “threats” were as real as his Rapture. While Pompeo made his rounds to top media outlets fumbling for a rationale for starting World War 3, the White House was admirably supporting his efforts by formulating and quickly discarding a bakers’ dozen more flimsy excuses in search for that one phony story they could all stick to (to their everlasting credit, lying about momentous events that are on videotape is not as easy as they make it look).

In Iran, millions of people lined the streets of Tehran For General Suleimani’s funeral, where 78 of them got trampled to death in a stampede of panicking people, further enraging Iraqis against President Trump. Curiously, Supreme Leader Khameini and ordinary Iraqi citizens made it crystal clear that they had no problem with the American people, only with our leader Trump, who they blame for the 78 civilian trampling deaths since there would have been no State Funeral without Trump having Suleimani killed. 

Trump backed off his promise to destroy cultural sites after having restated his intentions to bomb them the night before, suddenly declaring that “I like obeying the law.” Which is one more crazy lie, but we’ll take it if it means avoiding another large war, this one against a formidable and technologically advanced enemy that has already demonstrated their high-tech destructive capabilities. Mitch McConnell rewarded Trump for his contrition by announcing that only Republican Senators will decide the format of Trump’s trial, once again walking back the threats of a possible real trial that Democrats and more and more Republicans keep insisting upon.

Tuesday night was when the world’s worst fears were stoked as Iran launched a rocket attack on 2 military bases housing American soldiers in Iraq, devastating news for those soldiers and their families wondering if they would be the first casualties of a war that could go global in a heartbeat. Trump’s response to his nation was as bizarre as the man himself, a (what else?) Tweet that began with “All is well!” 

To which the nation’s response was “Nothing’s fucking well, you arrogant bumbling imbecile, there’s a war starting and countless lives are a stake!” Or words to that effect. The attack was long and sustained, with damage and casualty reports delayed for many hours while American personnel took cover in bomb shelters.

The best thing that could be said of Wednesday was that Tuesday was over, and also that the Iranian rocket attack had not killed or injured anybody. The news of the morning told us the the Iranians had practiced judicious restraint, purposely aiming their rockets to fall short of the US bases, just to send the message that they were willing and able to reach American soldiers if Trump wants to continue along this path.

Their restraint did not extend to civilian aircraft, however, as a jittery Iranian antiaircraft battery shot down a Ukrainian commercial airliner, mistaking it for an American warplane they assumed was retaliating for their rocket attack. All 176 passengers were killed, half of them Canadian nationals. 

Thankfully, Trump got cold feet and backed down. Realizing he was in way over his head by about 20 layers of intrigue and complexity, Trump made a short semi-blustery speech, then swallowed his immense pride and begged the grownups in NATO to come to Iraq and bail him out. He displayed the requisite saber rattling and, as expected, blamed Obama, but the bottom line is that our unpredictable madman and the unpredictably mad government in Iran came to their senses just in time to forestall what could have culminated in global nuclear annihilation, with the ragged survivors scavenging the smoking ruins of human civilization, an adventure that is on exactly nobody’s Bucket List.

Even Mike Pompeo walked back his “imminent threat” schtick, instead opting for the “Top Secret” dodge, where “we can’t say” why we pulled the biggest foreign policy blunder since America attacked Iraq. Small wonder why Congress rushed through a bill to limit Trump’s war powers concerning Iran, determined that Trump’s frenzied efforts to distract from his impeachment won’t result in Nuclear Winter.

After the Pentagon briefed the Senate in the Suleimani assassination on Wednesday, two Republican Senators, Rand Paul of Kentucky and, most vociferously, Mike Lee of Utah, publicly attacked Trump and his Administration for delivering “the worst military briefing we have ever heard, and an insult to The United States Senate,” perhaps threatening anew Mitch McConnell’s plan for the the summary dismissal of charges without hearing a single witness.

Trump would later claim that “many people called me” to say if was the best briefing ever, even more perfect than Trump’s perfect phone calls, even though exactly no one involved would admit to doing so.

McConnell responded by signing onto a Senate resolution allowing the Articles of Impeachment to be dismissed if Speaker Pelosi refuses to forward them to the Senate ASAP, a resolution not even most Republicans are willing to support, then said that the Senate would be moving on to its regular business next week if the Articles are not forwarded by then.

To which Nancy Pelosi responded “As if!” The Speaker reiterated that she would forward the Articles when she is ready, and reminded McConnell that his Republican Senate’s “regular business” for the past 2 years has been to block the hundreds of laws passed by the House of Representatives, now collecting dust on McConnell’s desk.

After announcing on Thursday further plans to loosen environmental rules for the benefit of polluters and to the detriment of human life, Trump made light of the 176 airline passengers who died because of him, saying “it was flying in a rough neighborhood.” Then he field-tested another official lie about killing Suleimani, saying “we did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy, not only in Tehran but elsewhere” once again without a shred of proof or even an explanation of where that “information” came from.

Of course Trump had no choice now but to retreat to his safe space, where no one questions his blundering ways and gross ignorance, and he can lie to his heart’s content without fear of anyone fact checking him and asking “WTF?”, and where people don’t mind at all that he’s been Impeached.

That’s right, you guessed it, it was MAGA rally time for Trump and his bruised and battered ego. He visited Ohio this time, where he told a minimum of 100 crazy lies and slandered his fellow Americans and his own government at a brisk clip, a modern Nero fiddling for his crowd while his underlings put out the fires he started that threaten to consume the Empire.

After setting in motion of chain of events that took nearly 300 lives, most of them of unsuspecting innocents, and having singlehandedly brought the world to the brink of World War 3, Trump was back in his element where he belongs, whining bitterly to a compliant crowd of clueless fools who are more than willing to fill the gaping hole in the broken soul of this insatiable ego in a suit, lavishing unconditional praise on the neediest attention whore that ever lived. 

We’re not sure the crisis is over and that we won’t have a catastrophic war, and are in the precarious position of having to rely on extremist clerics on the one side, and an unhinged madman trying desperately to prove he is not the fetid pile of dung everyone says he is on the other side, to mutually back down from the brink of catastrophe. But it could have been worse, some say. Don’t ever forget “her e-mails!“

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