Quote of The Week: “There goes the neighborhood!” – the 4 Presidents whose faces are chiseled on Mount Rushmore, in response to Trump musing that he should be added to their company.
Week #176 of the Trump Reign of Error began on Friday, with Trump once again floating the idea that his greatness is so overwhelming that he needs to be included on Mount Rushmore, and never got any better as he continued his aggressive campaign to make the Coronavirus Pandemic even worse that is already is, a deadly plague that would claim 100,000 American lives before the week was over, 5 days ahead of scientific estimates of that grim number.
Like a bratty maladjusted lump of a child refusing to to take his medicine because it doesn’t taste good, Trump decided to add to the death toll, this time targeting his most ardent supporters by issuing a directive ordering the nation’s houses of worship to reopen fo services, knowing full well that his directive was illegal as well as homicidal. No State Governor, no church, no business or no private individual is under any obligation to kill themselves and others just because the President of the United States wants them dead and out of the way of unfettered commerce.
Its legality was beside the point, however, as Trump knows all too well the greed, stupidity and callousness of his most loyal supporters, many of whom would follow the president’s dumbest of directives, just as they were following his destructive example by refusing to wear masks in public, gladly making the job of the Covid-19 virus easier, and leading to imbecilic protests against State governments’ curtailing their right to kill and be killed. Just one such protest several weeks before has provided Trump with 70 more cases of Covid-19. Of course that means 70 cases and counting, as contact tracers attempt to track all the people who came onto contact with these intrepid freedom fighters in the days following their exposure, a daunting task.
While the only reason Trump is willing to kill uncounted Americans by refusing to wear a mask is his monumental vanity (unfathomable for this obese, pock-marked monstrosity who never got confused with a movie star in his life), his beloved poorly educated have turned it into some Quixotic defense of American liberty.
While previous generations showed their grit and courage by storming enemy positions under withering machine gun fire, Trump’s Deplorables carry their assault rifles on city streets to intimidate their fellow Americans and do ideological battle against (!) science. For some, defending our nation meant fighting against actual hostile enemies doing their best to kill them and destroy America, but these worthies are content to whine about the Tyranny of Temporary Inconvenience for the common good. Perhaps Rushmore will have to wait for the leader of such an army after all.
Contributing to the dismantling of America was, as usual, Attorney General William Barr, who announced that FBI Director Christopher Wray has ordered an internal review into possible misconduct in the investigation of Trump’s first National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, who was awaiting sentencing for a crime he confessed to in open court (twice), when Barr suddenly dropped the charges against him 2 weeks ago at the President’s behest. The crime was lying to the FBI and Congress about his contacts with Russia during the successful Russian operation to dictate the results of the 2016 Presidential election America in Trump’s favor.
Since Barr was hired, his main concern as the country’s top law enforcement officer has been undermining his own Justice Department’s work in exposing the Russian influence that swept his boss to power, and since every other investigation found the FBI to be correct in their findings and their methods, Barr is trying the back door approach and trying to take the Federal Court System down along with the Department of Justice in order to achieve Trump’s goal to replace America’s trust in our most respected and cherished institutions with reliance only on a new motto: “In Trump We Trust” (when not even Trump’s 3 wives could trust him).
Speaking of the pervasive corruption of the Trump Administration (and when aren’t we?), The CEO of Moderna Biotech, Stéphane Bancel and other top executives of the hot biotech firm have, as predicted, made a quick $30 million selling stock in the wake of the company’s announcement earlier this week of positive results in an early trial of its coronavirus vaccine, when no such positive results existed.
Nothing like kicking off Memorial Day Weekend during the Trump Era with a parade of the worst sort of human beings alive, while ironically serving America well by renewing our focus on real heroes of our past, those valiant souls who responded to danger by sacrificing their lives so that corporate princes could someday fleece their descendants openly during a time of life-and-death crisis, as free as the vultures with whom Trump replaced the Bald Eagle as our National Symbol.
While Memorial Day is always a solemn remembrance of our fallen heroes, this year it was made more poignant by the deaths of 100,000 Americans from an invisible foe, the Covid-19 virus. Just as it was America’s rotten luck to have our madman leader at the worst possible time in our history (at least Caligula did not preside over a plague), our misfortune is compounded daily as Trump decided this was a good weekend to go golfing while he trashed out heritage. He began Saturday with a White House Memorial Day ceremony where he said next to nothing of our fallen soldiers and nothing at all about 100,000 Covid victims, instead (!) attacking unions, calling them “thieves and sadists” who were (!!) “attacking hospital patients.”
You know, those same union members who were manning the front lines in the battle against Covid-19 in our nearly overwhelmed hospitals, keeping our country safe from crime and fire, operating our mass transport, removing our trash and making sure our food chain did not collapse, even though they faced the very real risk of infection and death? Yeah, those union sadists and thieves…
He repeated his performance at both Arlington National Cemetery and the storied Fort McHenry in Baltimore of “Star Spangled Banner” fame (over the strenuous objection of the Mayor of Baltimore due to the public safety hazard of such public gatherings), where he trashed those institutions with his usual litany of pitiful complaints and vicious attacks on political rivals.
An inveterate multitasker when if comes to destruction and abuse, Trump also found the time on Saturday to blame his intelligence briefers for his deadly 70-day delay in responding to the deadly pandemic for “downplaying the danger,” the same Intel Briefers who had to resort to hiring outside consultants to advise them on how get through to a president with the attention span of a goldfish, where they employed everything short of puppet shows to get him to listen to anything longer than a slogan, or to embrace any reality that contradicts his delusions.
He also squeezed in another round of torture of the family of a dead Congressional Aide after they begged him stop, and the whole world condemned him for it, with Trump once again gleefully accusing a TV host of murder in a 19-year old case were no foul play was ever suspected by Florida’s law enforcement authorities and medical examiners. For his own sport, Trump has decided to erase whatever measure of peace and solace her family was able to achieve in 2 decades, a conscious decision to inflict severe emotional trauma on her innocent survivors.
But Saturday was not only about Trump’s abberant abhorrence, he did get some pushback as his first Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke out about his recusal from Russiagate and subsequent appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller when he told Trump via Twitter “My recusal was required by law. I did my duty & you’re damn fortunate I did. It protected the rule of law & resulted in your exoneration.” This was in response to Trump endorsing Sessions’ opponent for the Republican nomination for Senator for the State of Alabama. He added “Your personal feelings don’t dictate who Alabama picks as their Senator, the people of Alabama do.”
Then another of Trump’s favorite Bogeymen, the government of Iran, defied Trump’s economic sanctions against the country of Venezuela by sending the first of 5 tankers of gasoline to Venezuela in order to relieve their severe economic distress that has been made even worse by the Covid-19 pandemic. Nothing irritates Trump more than a humanitarian act, especially one he is actively trying to prevent. He wants those he has made to suffer to continue suffering (does sadists and thieves ring a bell?).
On Sunday of this somber weekend Trump went golfing again after re-Tweeting multiple racist messages of a White Supremacist and composing one of his own saying that “Jeff Sessions is not mentally qualified to be Attorney General,” even though it was Trump himself who appointed him to that post after trusting Sessions to be a big part of his election campaign and Transition Team.
Then we heard from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer how she has taken to censoring herself when speaking to Trump, for fear of him cutting off Federal virus-related assistance to Michigan, with Trump yet again threatening to commit the same crime that got him impeached, the withholding of legal Federal funding approved by Congress.
He continued his lying Tweets too, claiming about the pandemic “Cases, numbers and deaths are going down all over the Country!” even as his own FDA Commissioner Steven Hahn announced emphatically that “Coronavirus is not contained!” in a warning to America to be super-careful in their personal interactions over this long holiday weekend.
Trump’s science denial would win the day, however, when he also tweeted “Schools in our country should be opened ASAP,” over the objections of every governor and health official, and his example of wearing no face mask and flouting every public health protocol resulted in a national explosion of people crowding our reopened beaches and recreational areas with no masks and no social distancing, a clear victory for Trump and his newest political ally, the Grim Reaper.
On Monday, our most solemn holiday, Trump defended his golfing by (!!) attacking President Obama for golfing during the Ebola Pandemic (which resulted in exactly 2 American deaths since Obama responded properly and in ample time to prevent Ebola from ever becoming a pandemic in America), then somehow brought up the “ISIS Caliphate” regarding this completely unrelated topic when he Tweeted “It was me who shattered 100% of the ISIS Caliphate. I was left a MESS!”
The fact is that ISIS was neither created during Obama’s tenure nor destroyed by Trump, and is still a powerful fighting and terror force globally thanks to Trump’s unrelenting recruiting drive and their behalf. As far as being left “a mess,” Trump inherited from Obama the strongest economy since the 1960s, an economy so powerful that it took Trump 3-1/2 years to destroy it. But destroy it he did, with blatant corruption, willful ignorance of major disasters, and an unbelievable degree of incompetence.
Even as we learned that the largest and wealthiest hospitals in America, private institutions owned by major corporations and in possession of hundreds of billions of dollars in unspent capital, somehow got the lion’s share of Covid-19 bailouts, while public hospital systems like those in New York City that bore the brunt of the pandemic so brilliantly and heroically, are being rewarded by being left to face budget cuts from State governments whose budgets were decimated by the pandemic. Those States, however, are led by Democratic governors, and so have been judged by Trump and his Republican Senate coconspirators to be worthy of nothing but more death and suffering.
And speaking of Democratic Governors, one was singled out for abuse by Trump when he named North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper as the culprit for ruining the Republican National Convention this upcoming August when it was learned that the city of Charlotte could not guarantee a full house at the Spectrum Center, due to ongoing health concerns. Sorely disappointed at the city that gave him his “Fine Nazis” shining moment, Trump lashed out at the State’s governor for having the nerve to value his citizens lives over Trump’s nomination party, and threatened to move the convention elsewhere.
Bigly sad for Trump is that it may be too late, as the list of cities willing to host a Trump event has dwindled to those few cities that have not been stiffed for their considerable expenses incurred by hosting a Trump event, with numerous municipalities suing the Trump campaign to get him to pay his bills (fat chance of that happening after Trump has spent a lifetime being a habitual deadbeat).
On Tuesday, a high-profile reopening occurred as the New York Stock Market trading floor opened for live traders again, the occasion marred only by being presided over by another of Trump’s new Bogeymen, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has been doing his best to make Trump look bad by performing very well under immense pressure and, most egregiously, exhibiting the closest thing to effective national leadership that America has at the moment.
And to prove it, Trump and his new Press Secretary decided this was the moment to (!!) mask-shame Joe Biden for participating in a Memorial Day ceremony in his home State of Delaware while being properly masked in such a public setting, once again sending a message to Trump supporters that masks are for wimps and that it’s okay to infect yourselves and your neighbors with a potentially deadly disease. There is little doubt that lots of these Deplorables’ non-wimpiness will be richly rewarded by a free trip to the hospital in a shiny ambulance, with many of them qualifying for the honor of using an expensive ventilator.
While Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell reiterated his opposition to stopping the killing of Democrats by reimbursing their State budgets for the astronomical cost of fighting the pandemic, Trump accused the State of California of issuing Mail-In ballots to undocumented immigrants, as stupid and crazy an accusation as it is a cruel and self-serving lie.
Trump’s attacks on Mail-in voting finally forced Twitter to label 2 of his anti-mail-in voting posts on their platform as false, almost 4 years too late and far too little, but their innocuous little labels produced a volcanic angry reaction from Trump, who on the one hand protested that his First Amendment rights were being violated by censorship (his posts were neither altered nor removed) by threatened to shut down Twitter and other social media sites, the ultimate censorship.
Then something happened in Minneapolis, Minnesota that altered the trajectory of Week #176, away from the omnipresent Coronavirus narrative and Trump’s vicious assaults on voting rights, and put the national and global spotlight on yet another police murder of a Black American. Police were called on a truck driver named George Floyd for something almost no one ever heard of, a “Forgery in Progress” (A what? Is there even a numerical code for that, like most police calls? Whatever a Forgery in Progress entails, odds are it never warrants deadly force or becomes an occasion to call in the SWAT Team.)
Wednesday found the President and his Administration calling attention to the Minneapolis murder by studiously ignoring it, since Trump had more important matters on his mind, such as announcing he will soon sign an Executive Order to “strongly regulate or even shut down” social media platforms, an absurd notion for a president who needs Twitter more than he needs his own family (Eric who? Tiffany who?), then traveling to Florida to witness a private corporation undertaking the government’s work by sending the first American astronauts into space in years (which fittingly enough was postponed until Trump isn’t around to see it), the sort of distraction from his inept and homicidal handling of the pandemic that he could enjoy, as opposed to, say… explaining why a man who was photographed beside Trump at one of his rallies wound up murdering a Black man in the street while a horrified bystander filmed the incident.
Might have been that rally where Trump addressed National Police organizations and told them to “get tougher” with the people they arrest (encouraging police brutality), specifically reminding them to make sure to bang a suspect’s heads against the squad car door for good measure. And Officer Derek Chauvin was a graduate of one of the schools that Trump’s speech popularized, one that offers something called “Police Warrior Training,” forbidden to Minneapolis Police by their Mayor for the bad habits, antagonistic mindset towards the public and illegal tactics they teach.
Turns out Chauvin knew his victim personally, the 2 men having worked security together in a Minneapolis nightclub where Chauvin was noted for being in the middle of numerous violent incidents when he worked, while George Floyd was called the Gentle Giant for the lack of violence on his watch. This brings a personal element to Mr. Floyd’s murder.
None of which Trump publicly addressed, at a time when American Presidents are supposed to step up to the plate and provide leadership and unity, but again, that guy isn’t our President anymore, which was duly noted by Joe Biden when he said “Presidents are supposed to lead, not engage in folly and be falsely masculine,” and by Yoel Roth, the head of Site Integrity at Twitter, when we learned of a memo of his that compared Trump’s senior counselor Kellyanne Conway to Joseph Goebbels, fully 3 years before they finally grew a pair of integrities and began to label Trump’s Tweets for the lies and racial divisiveness that they are.
On this momentous day, Trump once again turned to tormenting the widower, parents and extended family of the dead Congressional Aide, forcing them to relive the shock and pain of her sudden death all over again, every single day, and at the hands of the President of the United States no less. Also it was the day we were treated to the news that the Trump Administration is considering yet another weapons sale to Saudi Arabia, despite the fact that it is facing scrutiny from congressional Democrats who believe Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recommended the firing of Inspector General Steve Linick because he was investigating Pompeo’s controversial decision to fast-track a shady arms deal to the Kingdom in 2018, the thinking here perhaps being “Hell, those Yemeni women and children aren’t going to slaughter themselves, dammit!”
Then on Thursday, Minneapolis exploded, both literally and figuratively, with protests against the police killing of George Floyd without any arrests of his killers that are caught on camera, the peaceful march marred by sporadic violence, flames, and suspected agents provocateur making things worse by upping the ante on violence and arson in order to cause a violent police response, culminating in the burning down of a police precinct building. This finally got the FBI and the Department of Justice involved, with AG Barr vowing the make the case a Federal priority, leaving some to wonder, given Barr’s record of doing the opposite of what an Attorney General is supposed to do, if his sudden interest meant giving the Medal of Freedom to Mr Floyd’s killers.
All of this well-deserved attention on Minnesota worked to Trump’s advantage, so that it was little noticed that Trump decided to send millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine to Brazil, which is experiencing a tragic outbreak of Covid-19 deaths following their President Jair “Trump-Lite” Bolsonaro’s shameful performance in refusing to respond to the coronavirus, going mask-less in public like Trump and dismissing Covid-19 as “a minor flu.” Now, like Trump, he can proceed to kill even more Brazilians by promoting the phony cure already proven to cause death in Covid patients.
Also practically unnoticed was Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos saying she would force public school districts to spend a large portion of federal rescue funding on private school students, regardless of incomes, her reverse Robin Hood move of taking from the poor and giving to the rich dovetailing nicely with her ultimate goal of killing off public eduction for good.
What was noticed was Trump making a big deal of signing his punitive Executive Order against social media that was notable only for there being no details given, his Administration wisely refraining from releasing the text of a piece of paper not worth the wasted ink since Trump has no authority to violate the law and the Constitution, which protect Twitter’s rights absolutely as long as they are not calling “Fire” in a crowded theater, something Twitter has allowed Trump to do for too long.
While this Executive Order was simply a flashy exercise in empty intimidation, it did ably serve, just as did the Minneapolis disaster, to divert attention away from a very momentous decision by Trump; to “sideline” Dr. Fauci and the Covid Response Team, the scientists who were guiding the nation with facts and intelligent advice in spite of Trump’s purposeful and lethal deceit about the deadly pandemic, on the day it passed 100,000 American lives taken. The thinking here seems to be that the scientist’s job is done, and it is now the time for corrupt businessmen and economic terrorists to take over and reopen the economy ASAP, no matter how many lives are lost in the process.
Luckily for the nation, journalists and Governors still seek the wisdom of the science experts, and the life-saving information will still be made available to all who seek it, just not from the source that usually provides crucial information to a stricken nation, its central government. Never before have we had a Federal Government attacking its own people and hiding crucial lifesaving information from them, but never before have we had a government installed by Russia.
The National Security Agency reminded us of this on Thursday by informing America that Russian hackers are still very active in American politics, the same Russian agency using the same players and utilizing the same internet platforms are undermining the 2020 election in order to get Trump reelected. Informing us of this ongoing operation, however, is not the same as doing something about it, and offical efforts to fight back have been consistently stymied by both the White House and by Mitch McConnell, another recipient of Russian largesse.
And who can blame Russia? In less than 4 years they have reaped the global benefits of America having a weak and incompetent President, and they now have America on its knees with a shattered economy, a raging pandemic with no end in sight and a country so divided that it can’t even agree that a deadly virus is our common enemy. Why would Putin rest on the laurels of his 2016 success when there’s still a lot of meat on the bones of America’s carcass, ripe for the scavenging.
And so ends Week #176 of the Trump Era, with our President preparing to make things even worse in Minneapolis.