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WEEK #175 OF THE TRUMP ERA IN REVIEW, FRIDAY, 5/15/20 TO THURSDAY, 5/21/20

Quote of The Week: “I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group, morbidly obese, they say.” – Speaker of The House Nancy Pelosi reacting to Trump’s announcement that he has been taking hydroxochloroquine to avoid contracting coronavirus instead if just wearing a mask and practicing proper personal distancing like everyone else.

Ms. Pelosi continues to push Donald Trump’s buttons with the greatest of ease, fat-shaming the Fat-Shamer in Chief to “give him a dose of his own medicine,” as the Speaker explained. Once that got the nation’s attention, Ms. Pelosi made the more serious point, that the words of a President of the United States are taken seriously, even the words of a vain, incompetent lying braggart of a President, and she cited not only the danger to the lives of fearful and desperate American citizens posed by Trump aggressively promoting a quack cure, but the danger posed to the life of the President himself by taking such a reckless chance, Pelosi saying that would “damage this country.” 

What Nancy Pelosi could not explain was why the President of the United States continues to damage our country catastrophically as he sows chaos and division many times each day in the midst of the deadliest pandemic in a century, making himself the biggest obstacle to saving lives and mounting a national defense to the death and economic devastation enveloping America. 

Indeed, this was the week where he announced his intention to kill many more Americans than even the Coronavirus is taking when he ordered every Federal Agency to remove any regulation that they think would slow the economy in any way, a great many of many of them coming with very high annual death tolls on top of long-lasting devastation to our environment, so that his killing will long outlast his presidency.

Week #175 of the interminable Trump Era began on Friday, when Trump gave a speech in the Rose Garden at the White House, a speech interrupted by the loud honking of trucks staging a protest against his horrible policies, which Trump tried to claim was a demonstration of love and support for him. Being out of the line of sight helped him lie effortlessly, unable to see all those extended middle fingers or hear the angry anti-Trump-chants.

The cacophonous honking went on long after the truckers drove away, from Trump’s own airhorn, blasting out barely intelligible word noises that make little or no sense, breaking every law of logic, grammar and cohesive narrative, while a stupefied White House Press Corps and the entire nation recoiled as one in stunned disbelief that any adult not wearing a straitjacket could be spouting such disjointed gibberish and looking so proud of himself, never mind the President of The United States. 

In other words, Trump made a speech on Friday.

While an American died alone in an ICU unit every minute of every day, Trump blandly told us that Covid-19 will (!) “go away without a vaccine” (no it won’t!) and that “most Americans are immune” (no we’re not!), he declared that “Vaccine or no vaccine, we’re back!” And to underscore the point, he allowed the Centers for Disease Control to release only a 6-page reopening guide for States, a mere summary of the detailed 68-page booklet he refused to allow to be distributed the previous week, leaving 50 States fumbling for scientific answers to the biggest challenge they have ever faced.

Earlier on Friday, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who is presiding over the case against President Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn, appointed a former Mafia prosecutor and retired Federal Judge, John Gleeson, to argue against Attorney General William P. Barr’s attempt to drop the charges, to which Flynn had already pled guilty twice in open court.

On Saturday Trump flew to Camp David to discuss urgent matters with Republican lawmakers, specifically a way to advance his baseless claims against former President Barack Obama, since Obamagate was not gaining any traction with the public, the press or government officials, what with it being an empty slogan and not a real thing and all. Never one to let reality stand in his way, Trump would continue to mention the word Obamagate a dozen or more times this week, leaving the details of what it actually means a mystery.

And speaking of mysteries, Trump again touted “Operation Warp Speed,” his geeky juvenile-sounding name for the effort to find a vaccine for Covid-19, alternately declaring that a viable vaccine would be produced by the end of the year (a scientific impossibility according to every medical and vaccine specialist), and then declaring that (!) “most Americans won’t want the vaccine.” He compared it to the Manhattan Project during World War 2 that produced the world’s first nuclear bombs, which is an unfortunate analogy since the Manhattan Project lasted for 7 years, from 1939 until 1946, hardly the Warp Speed delivery that Trump is promising.

Trump also found the time to accede to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s request that he fire Steve Linick, the State Department’s Inspector General, for the crime of doing his job. The cover story was that Linick was investigating Pompeo for the relatively minor charge of abusing his office by making State Department personnel run his personal errands and walk his dog, but the reality was that Linick had launched an official inquiry into a dubious $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia that was made possible only by Trump declaring a phony National Emergency.

Since National Emergencies in general do not involve selling bombs to one foreign nation (Saudi Arabia) to drop on the schools and hospitals of another foreign nation in a war of religious genocide, in this case Yemen, naturally red flags went up at breaking so many laws in one sitting, compelling Linick to act. For good measure, Trump fired an acting Inspector General, Mitch Beim of the Transportation Department, who just so happened to be a member of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, charged with making sure the trillions of dollars in pandemic relief funds are not misspent, after Trump went out of his way to avoid scrutiny of his corrupt distribution of the funds to connected political cronies.

That makes 5 fired Inspectors General this year, all of them in the middle of investigating the Trump Administration’s crimes, sort of like Al Capone being given the ability to fire The Untouchables.

Saturday also brought us 2 nationally televised commencement speeches from former President Barack Obama, during which he criticized this Administration for “not even pretending to be in charge” and being generally clueless, infuriating Trump not only with the criticism, but because Obama’s TV ratings (Trump’s only gauge of success) were spectacular in a nation starving for intelligent and articulate leadership, but also because no one asked the former owner of Trump University to speak at so much as a Dog Obedience School graduation ceremony.

Sunday brought us yet another Trump Pity Party, alternately blaming scientists for delivering reality instead of his desires, China for “inventing” the virus, State Governors for not doing his job, and Joe Biden and Barack Obama for existing as twin anti-Trumps, honest men untainted by scandals, bankruptcies and incompetence. The Covid-19 pandemic needs to be somebody’s fault, even though it is a naturally-occurring phenomenon, as does the piss-poor Federal response to the pandemic, which he has not only botched completely, but continues to actively sabotage daily. This clearly needs to be blamed on anyone but the man screwing the pooch 24/7. 

Trump was joined in making crazy official statements this day by his subservient lickspittle of a Secretary of Health, Alex Azar, who swallowed his foot up to his knee with this statement: “Unfortunately the American population is very diverse” as a way of excusing his Department’s abysmal failure to track the spread of Covid-19 and to counter its disproportionate mortality in minority communities. You know, the “diverse,” non-White portion of our American brothers and sisters.

Unofficially, Trump’s sons Eric and Donald Junior enhanced their well-earned reputations as the Twin Fredos of the Trump Crime Family, a pair of especially dense chips off the old blockhead. Eric remained about 10 official lies behind the curve when he called the virus that killed 95,000 Americans by week’s end “a Democratic Hoax” that “will disappear after the election” like magic, while Donald Junior weighed in with the inarticulate coward’s last resort, calling Joe Biden a pedophile.

A CDC spokesperson did return fire to Trump’s attacks on science by pointing out the painfully obvious, saying “This administration has shown time and time again that it has a problem with science. We are giving them science and they don’t seem to want it,” to the surprise of exactly no one. 

On Monday, Senator Elizabeth Warren slammed the man Trump appointed as “Covid-19 Vaccine Czar,” Moncef Slaoui, for having “a huge conflict of interest” after it was learned that he holds $10 million in stock options in one of the companies awarded a lucrative contract to develop a COVID-19 vaccine (see: ex-I.G. Biem, above), on the day that Rep. Eliot Engel, the Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, confirmed that Inspector General Linick was indeed investigating that smelly Saudi arms deal.

Similarly, it was revealed that Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, the only other person besides himself that Trump wants in charge of distributing the stimulus trillions, was still sitting on $500 billion of such funds, leaving us to wonder just how pressing were these corporate bailouts in the first place, and which ultra-wealthy insider cronies of Trump and Mnuchin would be the beneficiaries of this half trillion of our tax dollars.

The bad news personally for Trump continued when it was reported that the Madison, Wisconsin protest rally again their own Governor’s Covid-19 regulations (that Trump both incited and openly supported) resulted in 70 new cases of coronavirus, and then hearing about a Federal Judge allowing a lawsuit to proceed in which President Donald Trump, his three eldest children and his company are accused of of collaborating in a fraudulent marketing scheme to prey on investors, “showing a clear pattern of racketeering activity.” No comment was forthcoming from The President, Ivanka or the Fredos, 1 & 2.

Attorney General William Barr didn’t help his boss’s foul mood when he announced that the Special Prosecutor he appointed to try and rewrite the Mueller Report in Trump’s favor won’t be investigating Obama or Biden after all, and went so far as condemning Trump’s tinpot dictator style tactics of trying to jail political rivals. This not only infuriated Trump, but surprised most legal observers, who considered that there were no depths to which Barr was not willing to stoop. Apparently Mr. Barr is content to corrupt our criminal justice system for political ends, but not our elections, leaving that chore up to Trump himself and his trusty henchman Rudy Giuliani, who has remained uncharacteristically silent during the Covid crisis.

Secretary of Health Azar was not finished making news this week, and on Monday attacked the World Health Organization, saying “There was a failure by this organization to obtain the information that the world needed, and that failure cost many lives.” This in spite of the fact that the W.H.O. had repeatedly warned this administration of the catastrophic danger, warnings they ignored, and in January offered the USA millions of Covid testing kits, which Trump and Azar himself turned down, for the purpose of denying that we had a Covid-19 problem.

Then a man we thought had finished making sordid news a decade ago, the racist Republican strategist and political hatchet man Karl Rove, demonstrated how richly he deserves the universal scorn in which he is held by calling Obama’s commencement address “a political drive-by shooting.”

Then we heard from a new political opportunist and repugnant tycoon, one Stéphane Bancel, CEO of the biotech company Moderna, when he announced that his company was producing a vaccine that would be ready by the end of this year. His self-celebration was somewhat dampened when Dr. Anything Fauci said “Though encouraging, the findings do not prove that the Moderna vaccine works.”

Moderna’s claim of clinical success has yet to be reviewed by outside doctors and labs and is generally considered highly suspect given the hasty production timeframe. What did work miracles, however, was driving the price of Moderna stock through the roof, a potentially huge windfall for Bancel and his company’s top executives.

Then Trump capped off this busy Monday with the bombshell announcement that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine for 2 weeks, prompting both howls of either outrage or unabashed joy (more of those by far) at such a reckless and stupid risk to his life, and inspired Speaker Pelosi’s “morbidly obese” admonition.

On Tuesday Trump once again threatened cut off all US funding for the W.H.O., which he was reminded by Congress would constitute committing the same crime for which he was impeached; withholding lawful funds voted upon by Congress. As the entire nation with the exception of Trump learned last December, it is against the law to do such things.

At a Cabinet meeting that day, Trump falsely denied the existence of a Food and Drug Administration warning about the use of hydroxychloroquine for the coronavirus, claiming without any evidence that a study on veterans who were given the drug was conducted by political foes who had set out to hurt him, suddenly adding the FDA to the ongoing conspiracy being conducted against him by the entire world’s scientists, journalists, world leaders, doctors, intelligence agencies and generals, which conjures up images of some very large and chaotic meetings to decide how to undermine Trump even further.

Tuesday also brought us the first Senate hearings on Covid-19, where Secretary Mnuchin warned of “permanent economic damage” if we don’t open up the country ASAP. Truth is, there’s no such thing as permanent economic damage. We recovered from 2008 and we recovered from 1929, thanks to years of hard work by Democrats cleaning up those Republican economic catasrophes. Senator Sherod Brown of Ohio asked the most pertinent question of Mnuchin: “How many Americans need to die to push the Dow up 1,000 points?” Then Senator Warren reminded him “you’re boosting your Wall Street buddies, and you are leaving the American people behind. You were given the authority to determine the terms, and those term sheets do not require that a single corporation getting millions of dollars in taxpayer money retain one job.” To say it did not go well for the Administration would be accurate.

To counter Trump’s setbacks in promoting his delusional agenda, Republican political operatives began recruiting “extremely pro-Trump doctors” to go on television to prescribe reviving the U.S. economy as quickly as possible, without waiting to meet safety benchmarks proposed by the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, the same CDC that is an arm of their own government.

And speaking of the beleaguered CDC, they finally got to release their official guide for reopening the country to State governments, businesses and the the General Public, albeit 8 pages lighter than their original document thanks to Trump’s censorship.

We have the unprecedented situation where we are in the throes of a deadly pandemic while (!) our own government is actively keeping the truth from its citizens, a million and a half of whom are victims of this disease, and substituting fictitious information and a false narrative that conform with the delusional desires of a mad leader, so insane and obsessed with petty vendettas that he refuses to hang his predecessor’s portrait in the White House because (!!!) “his eyes will be watching me.” Wellokaythen! 

A leader so insane he tells a reporter that having the most Covid cases on Earth is “a badge of honor,” and to underscore the point that he intends kill even more if us, he issued an Executive Order directing every Federal Agency “to use any and all authority to waive, suspend and eliminate unnecessary regulations that impede economic recovery.” Most of those regulations come with a guaranteed annual death toll, the very reason they were instituted in the first place.

The World Health Organization was unimpressed with Trump’s insane bluster and refused his list of demands, such as blaming China and apologizing for errors they did not make, and even worse, refused to lay down and become another of his scapegoats. Furious, Trump took out his frustration on (!) the National Guard that has been on very hazardous duty during this crisis, when he decided to end their deployments one day short of these brave men and women earning education, health and pension benefits under the Post-9/11 GI bill. That was their payback for putting their lives on the line on behalf of their brothers and sisters.

On Wednesday Trump threatened to refuse Covid crisis recovery funds to the States of Michigan and Nevada in retaliation for their implementation of mail-in voting, once again lying about mail-in ballots being prone to corruption, when in fact every study of mail-in voting has proven it to be reliable and honest. He is even threatening to destroy the nation’s postal system to avoid facing a fair election, a catastrophe that would put an end to our national security.

Then the decided what a great idea it would be to host this Fall’s meeting of the G-7 countries at Camp David after it had been decided to hold it via teleconference for the safety of the assembled world leaders and their support staffs, none of whom has the benefit of taking Malaria medicine to ward off a completely unrelated illness. 

On Thursday we learned that 4 Republican-led States were skewing their Covid death figures downward, both to help Trump claim fewer deaths and to fool their own citizens into thinking the danger to their lives was not as great as it really is, efforts that were ignored by the Covid-19 virus, which created large spikes in infections and deaths among the heedless and those with whom they came into contact, not caring even a little bit about political agendas, or who does or does not believe in its deadly power. 

Republicans in the Senate were no wiser when they voted to confirm Representative John Ratcliffe as Trump’s new Director of National Intelligence, meekly allowing Trump to attempt to destroy yet another part of our government, our crucial intelligence gathering agencies upon which every President relies for information. Every President but this one, that is, who has found the perfect partisan stooge to do his bidding, a man of low intellect and a high estimation of his talents, whose only distinction in a long political career has been his loud mouth and insufferable arrogance.

And speaking of Intelligence agencies, this is the day we learned that they have taken to hiring outside consultants, Trump Whisperers if you will, to help them get through to an insane President who is either incapable or unwilling to absorb information that he disagrees with, or runs counter to his opinions, even though he has no exactly knowledge base or experience to even have opinions on the topics raised in these complex and detailed briefings. 

The same ignorant arrogance that has him disagreeing with seasoned and brilliant intelligence experts also has him refuting the findings of world class scientists whose intellects dwarfs his own, as he demonstrated by refuting the clinical studies showing hydroxychloroquine to be almost as useless against Covid-19 as it is dangerous to those who take it for the wrong reasons, calling such studies “a Trump enemy statement,” and “a political hit job.”

And speaking of hydroxychloroquine and ignorant fury, Trump lashed out at his greatest political ally, Fox News, because one of their talking heads said on the air that “hydroxychloroquine will kill you Mr. President. It will kill you!” Trump’s response was “Fox News is doing nothing to get Republicans and me elected. All the good they did is negated.” Negated in Trump’s fevered mind, that is, by this single dose of reality.

And speaking of reality, Dr. Fauci returned to the spotlight with an interview after being sidelined by Trump for a couple of weeks as the President turned the discussion away from science and back into his own confort zone, magical thinking. Fauci once again contradicted everything Trump has been saying, item by item, remaining the Administration’s only source of reliable information about the latest scientific information on Covid-19, and the one man Trump fears to fire.

Trump’s former personal attorney, fixer and doer of dirty deeds, Michael Cohen, was released from prison that day to serve out the remainder of his 3-year sentence in home confinement due to Coronavirus concerns in the Federal prison system, igniting more fear and paranoia in the President over the distinct possibility that Cohen will blab this secrets in a tell-all book and a series of TV interviews before the election.

Trump has long proven himself to be no fan of shared information and transparent dealings, so it seemed natural that he keeps flirting with the cancellation of the Open Skies Treaty with Russia that allows mutual aerial surveillance of each other’s military maneuvers to avoid turning a Cold War into a hot war that would incinerate most of the planet’s surface and kill everything alive but cockroaches and Betty White. His reasoning, however, had nothing to do with what he said was his reasoning, but instead was yet one more capitulation to the wishes of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who apparently has much to hide from the prying eyes of spy planes.

Trump ended Week #175 with a visit to a Ford plant in Michigan that has been temporary converted to manufacturing ventilators, going out of his way to defy the Michigan Attorney General’s order to wear a mask, saying he would “not give reporters the satisfaction of seeing me in a mask,” one more genocidal gesture to inspire his dim bulb followers to defy science and willfully spread the contagion as something called “mask-shaming” became a thing among Trump supporters. They not only defied Trump’s own government’s guidelines but their State laws, viciously harassing those who do give a rat’s ass about the common good by wearing masks and showing respect for other people. Nothing annoys an ignorant savage more than people who are not ignorant savages.

And finally, speaking of ignorant savages, Donald Trump has made no mention at all of his Children’s Concentration Camps and the fact that hundreds of children have been hastily deported without due process or even the notification of their parents during this pandemic to hide the outbreaks of Covid-19 among his innocent captives or the Americans in charge of guarding, housing and feeding them, infection numbers and death rates the government refuses to release. It seems the only one working harder than the coronavirus to kill Americans is Donald Trump, the man nominally in charge of saving lives.

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