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General Interest, Politics, Trump Week in Review

WEEK #174 OF THE TRUMP ERA IN REVIEW, FRIDAY, 5/8/20 TO THURSDAY, 5/14/20

Quote of The Week: “If we didn’t do any testing, we would have very few cases.” – Professor Trump

Yes, Week #174 of The Trump Era saw the inevitable public face-off between science and bullshit, as two of the nation’s most accomplished scientists testified before Congress about the stark realities of the Coronavirus pandemic as pushback against this Administration’s continuing chaotic response and dishonest public narrative.

Spoiler Alert• Science lost. 

Trump led off the week on Friday with a Fox News interview, never a good thing even in the best of times, even worse when we get treated to freeform poetry like “I learned a lot from Nixon” and “Obamagate,” with Trump laying the groundwork for repeating the crime for which he was just impeached (remember that?) 5 months ago as he tries to frame President Obama now, only this time not counting on unreliable foreigners to do the dirty work, instead calling on the United States Senate to investigate Obama’s “crimes,” which have yet to be determined at this point (they’ll figure something out).

So far, Trump is 0-for-his Presidency in calling Democratic hoaxes, none more devastating than his 70-day delay in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now Trump and his fixer William Barr are determined to rewrite the history of 2016 with a hoax of their own, starring Barack Obama as the criminal instead of the busload of Trump associates already convicted of Russia-related crimes and sent to the slammer. 

You know, the guy who ran a scandal-free administration for 8 years, passed the Health Care Act that is instrumental in fighting this pandemic, rebuilt a shattered economy, stayed married to his original wife (where’s his ambition?) and is the world’s most admired man for a dozen years straight? Yeah, that guy. He ought to be easy to frame…

Perhaps it is encouraging that the President has so much time to dedicate to his delusional schemes and petty vendettas, the hope being that more responsible individuals are handling the day to day operation of responding to the deadliest pandemic in a century as Trump waxes eloquent about (!) rehiring Michael Flynn and (!!) locking up Obama. This is tough call, since history shows us that there’s never an ideal time to have a madman in charge of a Superpower, and our madman came along at the worst possible time imaginable. This is why history is not dull, there just are so many interesting times, few of them more “interesting” than today.

Speaking of interesting developments, we also learned on Friday that Vice President Pence’s spokesperson and also Steven Miller’s wife contracted the Coronavirus, again penetrating the innermost circles of the White House, and once again infuriating and panicking Trump, even more than his usual furious and panicky demeanor.

On Saturday we received further evidence that the world is moving on in the absence of American leadership, as Trump declined to participate in a global conference about Covid, a Three Stooges-style double poke in the eye to science and humanity.

And speaking of humanity, The Trump Administration came out in opposition to 51% of it when it declared its opposition to the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, which recently crossed the threshold for approval by the number of States supporting this Constitutional Amendment that would guarantee social and economic equality to women.

Sunday found Trump going ballistic at California’s government for their All-Mail election law that gives every California voter the right to vote by mail, a measure being considered by most States of The Union in light of the renewed threat of a fresh Covid-19 outbreak in the Fall. He declared that no California vote should count in the 2020 election (as if!).

Trump claims that mail-in ballots are prone to corruption, even though every single official study ever done of mail-in voting says the opposite, that it is an honest and efficient process. Most American military and other overseas personnel, as well as countless Senior Citizens and disabled people have been voting by mail for years without Trump or anyone else ever challenging their honesty. What Trump really opposes is a fair vote tally and the large turnout that mail-in ballots would likely incur, and Republicans have never been able to win elections with large turnouts since the big numbers tend to negate even their most earnest efforts at cheating.

And speaking of tallies, Trump decided to challenge the death toll numbers of this pandemic, implying that “Democrat States” were inflating the number of Covid victims to make him look bad to voters. Not as bad as he looked to the tens of thousands of voters who died while he Tweeted that they would have died anyway.

As will we all one day, but hopefully not prematurely as the result of our own malignant government, a government that refused an American company’s offer to supply millions of N95 respirator masks to the Feds early on in the coronavirus pandemic, and refused the gift of millions of Covid -19 tests from the World Health Organization.

The kind of government led by a lunatic who had the time to send 120 Tweets and re-Tweets in a single day, either blatant lies, crazy boasts, creepy self-pity or the fawning praise of acolytes. Small wonder Barack Obama finally rang in about his successor, albeit in a leaked phone conversation with Democratic supporters, calling Trump’s response to this pandemic “a chaotic disaster.” Obama also vowed to be active in Joe Biden’s campaign to defeat Trump.

On Monday, on top of the 2,000 former Department of Justice prosecutors calling for his resignation, Attorney General Willam Barr got lambasted by the lead prosecutor of Roger Stone, slamming Barr for doing Trump’s bidding, saying Barr “undercut the work of career employees to protect an ally of the president.” To which Barr replied, “Well, duh! Your point?” Or words to that effect.

Having completely morphed from “China is doing a great job with the virus” several weeks ago to “ask China” about 87,000 America deaths this week, Trump decided this was a good day to mention what no one else was even thinking about during such a dire emergency, his (!) trade deal with China, which he declared he now opposes. Being that this was his idea in the first place to start a trade war with our biggest trading partner, he is now on record as vehemently opposing himself.

Trump’s Vice Lapdog Mike Pence earned even more Brownie Points with the boss when he said he would welcome Michael Flynn back into the Administration, Trump’s first National Security Advisor who was due to be sentenced very soon for his crime of lying to the FBI for personal gain in connection with the 2016 Russian election interference, a crime to which he confessed in open court. Twice.

Then Trump held another disastrous press briefing, illustrating perfectly why his brain trust (such as it is) abruptly cancelled his Today in Coronavirus Show two weeks ago after that unfortunate drink bleach episode. This one was not much better, with his vague new Obamagate schtick, insisting “it’s in all the papers.” To which one’s inner voice instantly shrieks “not it’s not, you just made that shit up, you lying imbecile!” Or words that effect…

He went on to repeat his incessant lie that “anyone who wants a test can get a test,” even as all 50 States declare on a daily basis that federal support for testing is as real as a unicorn ranch. When questioned by an Asian-America reporter why so many Americans are dying if our testing is so great, Trump replied curtly “Why don’t you ask China?” When the woman asked why he said that to her of all people, Trump tried to bluster and bully his way out of the moment by telling her it was “a nasty question,” then insulted another woman reporter who repeated her colleague’s question, before he cut the proceedings short and stormed out in a huff.  

It’s not every day one gets to see the President of the United States chased out of his own press conference by two determined and intelligent women. But yet, they persisted. Trump did manage to convey one accurate bit of information, however, when he accused Democrats of putting human life and public safety ahead of money. You know, just to make Trump look bad.

Tuesday was a very busy day, beginning with another Twitter binge from Trump, with things like “OBAMAGATE makes Watergate look small time!” whining about reporters “conspiring against me,” and then introducing a new obsession when he (!!) accused TV host Joe Scarborough of murder. No, not murdering Trump’s reputation, he does fine on his own with that, but of the tragic death of a young Congressional Aide 19 years ago when Scarborough was a Congressman, Tweeting “When will they open a Cold Case on the Psycho Joe Scarborough matter in Florida. Did he get away with murder?”

Nope, he did not. Turns out the official coroner’s report says Lori Klausutis had a heart condition that caused her to fall and hit her head, and there was never any question of foul play, by Scarborough or by anyone else.

The Administration also decided to expand emergency lending to some of the wealthiest and greediest corporations on Earth in the energy sector, even as we hear reports that some of the stimulus loans went to companies that bought back their own shares, which is specifically prohibited by the law that created the stimulus plan.

Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci and 3 other top government scientists on Trumps Covid-19 Response Task Force testified before the Senate about the crisis, and directly contradicted everything the President has said or done, and issued a sober and very dire warning that our current course of action will lead to even more suffering and death, as well as further economic devastation. Senators pressed Dr. Robert Redfield, head of the Centers for Communicable Diseases, about their reopening guidelines that had been leaked to the press after being unprecedentedly rejected by Trump, leaving States blind on how to proceed safely as they opened their economies and their citizens’ social lives. 

At the same time, Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow was arguing via teleconference before the Supreme Court that Donald Trump was above the law and could not even be investigated, never mind prosecuted, in this first-ever broadcast window into oral arguments before the nation’s highest court. It did not go very well for Mr Sekulow, an arrogant pimp who thinks it was his personal brilliance that won Trump an acquittal in the Senate trial following his Impeachment in the House of Representatives, when in fact the fix was in before Sekulow even parked his car in the Senate lot.

Sekulow’s assertion that the president is far too busy to review the pertinent materials as per judicial request was undercut by Trump himself, who still finds the time to send out hundreds and hundreds of Tweets per week and call up Fox & Friends regularly for the entire duration of the worst crisis to visit America since World War 2.

The Justices kept interrupting Sekulow to express their incredulity at his outlandish claims in a case that Trump desperately needs to win in order to keep his tax returns and finances hidden from the prosecutors in New York who are investigating the Trump Organization for corrupt business practices, money laundering and fraud, with the willing aid of the notoriously ethics-challenged Deutsche Bank.

On Wednesday, another Federal Judge ruled that the Bureau of Land Management failed to consider risks to Montana’s environment and water supply before issuing 287 oil leases as part of Trump’s attempt to desecrate public lands for profit, with the judge stating that the proposed fracking schemes pose an extraordinarily destructive threat to the environment and the people and wildlife that rely upon its clean water and fertile land.

In response to deadly outbreaks in Federal penitentiaries, the government began releasing prisoners that met a certain criteria to home confinement, which prompted the release of Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who did not meet those criteria and was released against the rules, while Trump’s former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen was kept locked up even though he did meet the criteria, the Federal Government explaining patiently that his “paperwork got misplaced” and it had nothing for do with a potential tell-all book by Cohen, (winkwink!) the one man who knows all of Trump’s dirty secrets.

Trump addressed Dr. Fauci’s warning about Covid-19 attacking our children in a terrible new manifestation of this virus, dismissing it with “To me it’s not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools.” He did, however, convene a panel of experts at the White House to address the Virus Crisis that day. No, not scientists or doctors, but political strategists like the fiendish Karl Rove, as worthless against this virus as a witch doctor, but dab hands at dirty tricks and spinning the truth.

Another of Trump’s allies got a wakeup call from the FBI on Wednesday when Agents seized Senator Richard Burr’s cell phone in an investigation into whether Burr and several other prominent Republicans profited illegally on the Covid-19 crisis by using inside information gained earlier this year in their positions on the Senate Intelligence Committee, chaired by Burr. Burr immediately resigned his position as Committee Chairman “so as not to distract from the ongoing crisis,” or presumably, his search for a good criminal defense attorney.

On Thursday, a House Subcommittee convened in the Capitol to hear the testimony of Dr. Richard Bright, the world’s foremost expert in vaccine development, who was fired by Trump 2 weeks ago for questioning Trump’s promotion of an untested drug to treat Covid-19. Dr. Bright lived up to his reputation as a brilliant man and was superbly prepared for his testimony, completely in command of dates, facts and events.

He described the chaotic and mercenary approach of this administration as corrupt, incompetent and driven by patronage rather than science, unable and/or unwilling to formulate a coordinated national plan, and completely unconcerned about the suffering and death exploding unchecked across America. His most telling warning was “Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be darkest winter in modern history.”

Naturally Trump called Dr. Bright “a disgruntled employee,” adding “some say he wasn’t doing such a good job.” As always, when Trump says “some people are saying” something, that means that exactly no one but him is saying that. No one has ever accused Dr. Bright of being anything but brilliant at his job, and most knowledgeable observers still consider him the best man for the job, one who was properly positioned to oversee the vaccine development, but now a man now relieved of his duties and transferred to a nonessential position, leaving the vaccine development team in demoralized disarray at a time when 2,000 Americans a day are dying. All because he refused to betray the American people and promote Trump’s quack cure.

And speaking of not playing along with political agendas, Judge Emmet Sullivan refused roll over for Trump and play along with Attorney General Barr’s dismissal of the charges against Michael Flynn, refusing to accept Trump’s characterization of Flynn’s conviction as (!) “the greatest political crime in America history.” Judge Sullivan ordered the Department of Justice to show cause for this unprecedented Presidential interference in criminal justice, and also invited ”friends of the court” to add relevant testimony.

Undaunted, Trump continued to craft his Obamagate fiction with this Tweet: “If I were a Senator or Congressman, the first person I would call to testify about the biggest political crime and scandal in the history of the USA, by FAR, is former President Obama. He knew EVERYTHING. Do it @LindseyGrahamSC, just do it. No more Mr. Nice Guy. No more talk!

Not every Senator was so eager to disrespect Obama, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell surprised the world by issuing a formal public apology to Trump’s predecessor for saying “Obama left Trump no game plan for fighting this epidemic,” a claim immediately debunked  by the existence of a detailed road map in the form of a 69-page booklet for defeating pandemics (and completely ignored by Trump for bearing the name he fears most of all, Barack Obama, and for having far too many pages for him to read in a single year.). On national television, McConnell said “I was wrong, they did leave behind a plan, so I clearly made a mistake in that regard.”

In another Thursday setback, a Federal Appeals Court denied yet another petition to dismiss criminal charges against Trump when he refused to dismiss a case against the President charging him with cashing in on his presidency in gross violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.

The CDC Guidelines for reopening the country were released to eager States that day, following the widespread outcry over their suppression by Trump, who vowed “they would never see the light of day.” Small wonder Trump does not want the States to see these detailed guidelines, since so few of them have met the critical health criteria for reopening, with many of them seeing their infection curves rising alarmingly.

The “chaotic disaster” described by Obama has becomes far too real as Trump loyalists all over the country heeded his clarion call to stage mass demonstrations against their own State Governors (and against sanity and humanity), loudly echoing Trump’s insane message that these 87,500 deaths (and counting) are a hoax created by Democrats to keep them downtrodden and destroy Trump’s chances of reelection. 

Indeed, his mongrel attack dogs are already going after Doctors Fauci and Bright with their insipid “lock him up” chants, and viciously attacking their fellow citizens who continue to show proper respect for their brothers and sisters by wearing masks and gloves while maintaining the proper social distance. Death itself has been politicized by Trump, and many of these mindless protesters are going to pay for their folly with their lives, devastating their families and their communities in the process.

States are on their own in absence of Presidential leadership, and many Governors have risen to to the occasion by doing everything in their limited powers that they can possibly do to save the lives of their fellow citizens. The fact that these men and women have earned the nation’s praise and gratitude was not lost on Trump, who reverted to the only measure of success he knows, TV Ratings, when he went out of his way to claim that “they have me to thank” for “their high numbers.”

It never occurred to him that none of these Governors are doing anything for the purpose of achieving high ratings or public approval, but are working so hard to do everything they possibly can because it is the right thing to do, and the reason why they were elected. Being normal and good is not part of Trump’s makeup, nor is being selfless enough to do something for no reward or credit but simply because it is right. He has shown himself more than willing to betray the trust of the people who elected him, and to sacrifice any number of American lives to feed his massive ego.

Trump humself ended the final day of Week #174 with a campaign appearance in Pennsylvania disguised and a tour of a mask and PPE factory, where of course he once again refused to wear a mask even though they are now mandatory for all White House personnel due to the infection invading the West Wing. Mandatory for everyone but Trump, that is, who fears smearing his thick orange makeup or messing up his precious yellow fright wig.

It was at this factory where he said “testing is overrated” and decided that the reason we have so many Covid-19 cases is that (!) we do so much testing, without even a Mike Pence or a Dr. Deborah Birx around to explain away his imbecility as a mere slip of the tongue. It was there that Trump let on that he was ready “to cut off China completely,” an idea that is as impossible as it is insane.

So we end another week of unrelenting chaos with the American people desperately looking for facts and answers while Trump and his thuggish pit bull of a Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo accuse China of exploiting this crisis to gain military and economic advantages by expanding where it operates, something that been going on with our strategic rivals for Trump’s entire weak Presidency, and continued to to blame China for the outbreak that he refuses to do anything about. Interesting times indeed. Let’s hope for a far less interesting remainder of the year 2020.

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