Quote of the Week: “Keep your mouth shut.” – Art Acevedo, Chief of Police in Houston, Texas, to President Donald Trump in reference to him making a dangerous crisis even worse every time he opens his mouth.

Before we get into Week #177 of the Trump Era, congratulations are in order to the America people. You have endured 3 -1/2 years of the most chaotic, corrupt, destructive and outright bizarre Administration in our history, grossly mismanaged by an incompetent, utterly despicable and attention-hungry buffoon who can’t bear a single hour without being the shrieking center of attention, and you kept your wits about and followed this entire surreal narrative with strength and dignity.

You pulled together when a deadly pandemic struck the nation earlier this year that has cut down almost 110,000 of us by week’s end, forcing most of us into home lockdown and putting 40 million Americans out of work while our madman president actively sabotaged the nation’s recovery every step of the way and personally added 40,000 to the death toll needlessly, and you found a common purpose and the human decency to protect and respect one another and the heroic essential workers who risked their lives keeping our essential services running and caring for the stricken, and you followed the complex science as it changed with each fresh discovery about this new virus.

Now we endure the pain of yet another Black man murdered by police officers, plunging the whole country into a week of mass demonstrations by millions of angry Americans who have finally had enough of this outrage, while the madman running the country spent the week throwing gasoline on the fire from the safety of a fortified bunker far below the White House, and you still have the capacity to absorb this fresh avalanche of painful and confusing information, and the brains and heart to resist despair and instead join hands to channel our collective rage into demands for real and lasting change to the one area where America has never been America; racial equality.

So congratulate yourselves for your strength, your grace, your brains and your resilience, because you needed every ounce of all those qualities to endure perhaps the most insane and painful week of a catastrophic presidency.

Week # 177 began on Friday with America burning, both literally and figuratively, as tormented Minneapolis proved to be just the tip of a very long spear when mass demonstrations over the murder of George Floyd spread to scores of cities across the nation, too many of them marred by violence, burning and looting. Tear gas and rubber bullets answered bottles and stones while our TV screens turning into Zoom multi-window conferences between bonfires as newscasters struggled to keep up with the growing number of cities spontaneously immobilized by mass demonstrations.

It is these incendiary moments of great national peril during which Presidents earn their keep, by stepping up to the podium and leading the American people through a grave crisis, sharing their grief and outrage, channeling pain into resolve, forging unity from divisiveness, and standing by the family of one more innocent victim taken by the darkest corner of our collective soul. But hey, who are we kidding here? Once again we fall back on our bitter mantra, “that guy ain’t President no more,” and brace ourselves for the worst.

And Trump did not disappoint those expecting him fight fire with a flame-thrower when he channeled his inner Bull Connor first thing in the morning, threatening to send in the Army and Tweeting “when the looting starts, the shooting starts!” That earned Trump another citation from Twitter, labeling the message as “promoting violence” with the unusual admonition that they would remove the post if anyone else but the President of The United States posted it. Their leniency towards this gross violation of both Twitter’s and humanity’s most basic standards was rewarded with more victim porn from Trump: “The President has been targeted by Twitter,” the equivalent of an arsonist whining about being targeted by Fire Marshals.

Naturally the White House was surrounded by angry protesters by the time he finally got around to addressing the nation and, true to form, it was a complete disaster that once again saw him fleeing the stage in inarticulate rage before taking to an underground bunker where he alternately Tweeted death threats against the American people and jingled a set of keys in the eyes of his loyal base by rehashing his shopworn litany of complaints and childish accusations against China, but there was no changing the subject this time, and the subject was George Floyd, not Donald Trump and his shitty little peeves.

On Saturday, Trump’s pitch-perfect tone deafness continued unimpeded by any brain-to-mouth filter when he ordered the US Army to prepare battalions of Military Police to deploy against American citizens on home soil, then said about Minnesota Police Officers (!) “They have to get tougher,” even though four of them just choked a prone and handcuffed man to death and plunged the entire country into grief and rage. The President left it to our imaginations to wonder exactly how much tougher than that he wants them to become.

He managed to find the time on Saturday to renew his assault on fair elections when he once again made up some crazy bullshit about children being eager to “raid mailboxes” to steal Mommy and Daddy’s (!) mail-in ballots in order to cheat Donald Trump out of victory in November, all at once telling us of that there is no accusation too absurd for him to make, and revealing that he was a thieving little shit as a child, neither revelation particularly surprising to anyone.

The leader of the free world, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, told Trump to get real about his idea of holding the G7 Summit at Camp David this August in spite of a global pandemic, so he postponed it until November, but threw his obligatory monkey wrench into the works by calling for Russia to be included once again, an idea endorsed by none of the other 6 countries involved. In all likelihood, a November G-7 meeting will be Trump’s last one, a defeated lame duck President going through the motions before his successor changes every single one of his policies in 2021.

Trump also announced that he had spoken to the family of George Floyd, not technically a lie since he did speak with one of his brothers, but it was not a conversation, since he did all the talking. Mr. Floyd’s brother recounted the phone call to reporters, relating how Trump did not allow him to get a word in. The last thing Trump wanted to do was actually listen to the most direct source available since the living Mr. Floyd was almost certain to bring up harsh realties about the dead Mr. Floyd that run counter to Trump’s preferred narrative, and delve into deep emotions he is incapable of feeling.

In case, amid all this trauma and tragedy, we momentarily forgot that we were still in the middle of an epic battle against a deadly virus, on Sunday we learned that Trump has forgotten about Covid-19 too, our 97-day pandemic ordeal already having outlasted Trump’s attention span by 96 days, 23 hours and 58 minutes. His Covid Response Team, led by Dr. Anthony Fauci, has seen their meetings with the President dramatically decreased as Trump desperately encourages every State to reopen immediately, regardless of how many Americans die in the process, and more States than not are paying the price for listening to Trump with skyrocketing numbers of new infections and deaths being reported. 

Meanwhile, 100 cities were exploding in angry mass demonstrations, including Washington DC, while Trump refused to address the nation, which was explained by his Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who said that a Trump speech (!) “would not stop Antifa,” that fictitious organization that Trump invented in his fevered mind and is desperately trying to depict as some huge nefarious terrorist group on a par with ISIS, when in fact Antifa merely means “Anti-Fascist” and is even less organized than the Trump Administration. 

The reality is that Trump and his handlers feared a repeat of his humiliating performance on Friday, and complicated by the fact that the majority of the protesters are White, negating the Trump Administrations’s arsenal of racist dogwhistles and undermining Trump’s policy of aggressively creating rancorous divisions between his countrymen. 

Monday morning found Trump on a conference call with many of the Governors whose States were undergoing mass demonstrations and severe property damage, so Trump dusted off his Reality Show pretend leadership skills and called the Governors “weak” (the guy who alternately hid in a bunker and behind his Press Secretary’s pantsuit all weekend) and urged them to (!) “dominate the protestors” using military force, then called the demonstrators terrorists, reaching for a way to demonize their fellow White people to Trump’s loyal base, who are already on board with hating about 60% of the population. What’s another few million demonstrators who stand in solidarity with uppity, equality-demanding people of color to add to the MAGA list of Lesser Americans?

And speaking of terrorists, arrest records across the nation showed a disturbing pattern emerging of young White Supremacists infiltrating peaceful demonstrations while posing as Antifa or other leftwing activists, for the sole purpose of inciting violence and discrediting the peaceful reform movement, many of them identified not only by their prior criminal records but by their dumbass tattoos that turn their bodies into KKK recruiting posters.

Add these bumbling but brutal agents provocateur to the usual pockets of opportunistic criminals that exploit every charged crisis in America’s streets, and the burning, looting and violence comes into sharper focus, especially since some of these same groups were among those who crossed State lines to protest against Public Health Policy during a deadly pandemic in States where they don’t live, after Trump publicly incited open armed rebellion against State Governments that refused to ignore the mortal peril of their citizens.

While none of these worthies are candidates for a full scholarship, there is (unlike Antifa, which Trump tried to declare a Terrorist Group in spite of there being no actual group to monitor and/or prosecute) an organized intelligence behind their nationwide deployment, with someone paying their travel, food and lodging expenses, as well as their salaries (“Freedom isn’t free!”). Most of them come from already-famous White Supremacist organizations, while others are members of newly identified racist clubs just breaking into the Big Time of being in Trump’s good graces.

Then, as if to prove his jittery aides’ worst fears to be completely justified, Trump made another horrible speech, more of a diatribe, one so unbelievably unhinged, tone deaf and cruel, even for him (and that’s going some), that we officially entered the Furious Lunatic Dictator phase of his Presidency, complete with underground bunker and an inner circle of morally repugnant sycophants, one of whom, Attorney General William Barr, Trump threatened to “activate very strongly.” Just how that strong activation was supposed to work would become apparent within the hour.

The President of the United States then threatened to make war on (!!!) the American people with “thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers,” threatening to violate Federal law and the US Constitution by deploying them to States over the objections of their Governors. Without ever mentioning George Floyd, he threatened to make war on every American marching in Floyd’s name, several thousand of them chanting anti-Trump slogans within earshot of the Rose Garden.

Then came Trump’s Caligula moment, when William Barr ordered Federal Troops to attack peaceful protesters in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House with tear gas, rubber bullets and brutal force just so Trump could orchestrate a bizarre Reality TV-style Photo-Op in front of St. John’s Church, over the objections of church officials and Washington DC municipal authorities. There were many serious injuries inflicted on American citizens so that Trump could lead his humiliated Cabinet like some Royal Court Retinue following their King to a meaningless ceremonial  ritual. Except that there was no ceremony or ritual, no speeches given, or even a prayer offered in front of what is called “The Church of Presidents.”

Once they finished their leisurely victory stroll across the street, no one, including Trump, seemed to have thought this through beyond attacking peaceful protesters just to show that they could. They stood around awkwardly not knowing what to do until Trump directed them to pose for a series of photographs with their Dear Leader, the most widely disseminated being an image of Trump all alone, flashing a demonic smirk while holding a Bible upside down and brandishing it like a club, which is pretty much the only use he ever had for that book.

They stood around awkwardly a little more before shuffling back across the street, the Cabinet secretaries back to their homes and Trump back to the White House for another unhinged round of Twitter posts, announcing that he had spoken to his sponsor Vladimir Putin and had invited him to rejoin the G7 over the strenuous objections of Canada and the UK, and multitasking by watching the Apache attack helicopters he sent to intimidate that night’s peaceful protesters from treetop level, along with with a military Medevac helicopter, an incredibly loud and terrifying spectacle that has long been used by America’s military forces to intimidate battlefield enemies. So low were the powerful choppers flying that the force of the wind generated by their engines broke off a large tree limb that fell on the crowd of the pilots’ countrymen.

Tuesday saw America waking up to the realization that Trump’s mind has completely snapped, along with the even worse sensation of knowing the none of the Mad King’s minions were willing to do a damned thing about it. While Trump Tweeted that he has “done more for Black people than any President since Lincoln,” he ordered fully-armed troops who were issued (!) bayonets to the Nation’s Capital. With the entire nation still protesting, Washington DC was the only part of the country with no Governor to prevent Trump’s soldiers from deploying against its people. 

It seems that Trump got his wish to finally become a Wartime President and get to act like a real tough guy instead of the Reality Show creampuff he really is. Okay, his “war” might be against his own people, but still! 

The reaction to his Photo Op stunt was almost universal revulsion and outrage, as the brutally disturbing video images of Barr’s Charge were broadcast globally, and the images of the resulting mangled faces and battered bodies went viral on all media, with even some Republicans finally forced to admit that the Emperor was balls-ass naked and nutty as a fruitcake. You know, what anyone with any of their 5 senses still in play has known from the very beginning, the man’s numbing stupidity is eclipsed only by his vindictiveness.

A new Trump vendetta was born that day when the Mayor of Charlotte was forced to put the kibosh on the Republican National Convention in August due to coronavirus safety concerns. The fact that Mayor Vi Lyles is a woman, a Democrat and Black (a Trump trifecta of fears) of course means she is part of that vast Antitru conspiracy Trump calls Things Very Unfair To Me.

Trump also lost an ally when the famous race baiter Representative Steve King was forced out in the primaries by an anti-Trump Republican, and a city when a Black Mayor of Ferguson was sworn in, the last focal point of another police murder of an unarmed Black man in broad daylight that sparked nationwide protests.

Asked about Trump’s stunningly outrageous behavior this past week, even Trump enabler Mitch McConnell could manage only this snarky comment (of the Bless his heart variety): “I’m not going to critique other people’s performances.”

There would be no Trump performance on Wednesday, except on Twitter. Republican Senators, however, put on a dandy of a Dog & Pony Show as they took their cue from Attorney General Barr to take a wack at the granite wall of evidence that says the Mueller report is true, as proven to the satisfaction of every law enforcement and intelligence agency that exists. Even though smoking guns were found, crooks convicted and sent to prison, and Russian perpetrators identified and indicted, Barr misrepresented the Mueller report as false and buried the un-redacted version under a bogus National Security blanket, and now Trump, Barr and their allies in the Senate are trying to rewrite history in Trump’s favor; nothing to see here, move along, Obama did it anyway, that sort of thing.

So, for comic relief from the day’s grim realities of a deadly pandemic and traumatic nationwide demonstrations, Mueller’s boss, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a futile exercise that did nothing to advance their phony theories of a criminal conspiracy by law enforcement against the criminally conspiratorial Trump campaign. What happened, happened, and Trump got away with it, and that is the only way it will go down in history, no matter how hard Barr tries to make it seem he works for a legit boss.

And speaking of distractions from Tump’s monumental screwups, he decided to ban all Chinese airline flights to the USA, no matter their point of origin, but secretary of Defense Mark Esper ruined this bit of amateur sleight of hand by returning the focus to Trump’s plan for the military occupation of American states. Esper, one of the ignominious church marchers on Monday, finally grew a pair and refused to go along with deploying American combat troops against American civilians.

One would think that such a no-brainer decision would not qualify as anything but the normal human reaction to an unthinkable notion, but this is what passes for heroism in today’s Republican Party, and stands out as a bold move that is certain to cost Esper his job sooner rather than late.

And Speaking of Secretaries of Defense, Trump’s first one, General James Mattis, broke his silence about Trump and let the country know how Trump aggressively tries to divide the country and does not even try to serve the people who did not vote for him, and is a grave threat to the Constitution, while Trump’s main Bogeyman Barack Obama addressed the nation about the George Floyd Murder and its aftermath. A leadership-starved nation flocked to both Obama’s speech and the Mattis interview, to connect with the feeling of having true moral leaders of proven ability and wisdom on our side, as much to reassure ourselves that this county can still produce such exceptional people as to gain solace.

Trump was also busy defending himself on Twitter from the avalanche of #bunkerboy hashtags on his Twitter feed, claiming “I was only inspecting my bunker.” He even sent his new Press Secrestooge Kayleigh McEnany to test out her gag reflex in front of the White House Press Corps (she passed with flying colors) by comparing Trump’s upside-down Bible moment to (!) Winston Churchill’s seminal moment of early World War 2, emerging from an air raid shelter after a bombing raid by the Luftwaffe to inspect the damage and reassure Britons that Nazi bombs cannot break the British spirit. Trump, on the other hand, braved numerous examples of “Fuck Trump” graffiti on his grueling 2-block stroll, sort of like comparing enduring a paper cut to taking a bullet to save your buddies in combat.

And speaking of combat troops, Trump decided against sending his assembled troops and their bayonets home from Washington DC after an urgent White House meeting meeting on the matter, perhaps to protect the tradesman who were hastily erecting a 12-foot tall steel security wall around the White House perimeter. For the first time in our history, the President of the United Sates is barricaded behind an attack shield and armored troops inside the White House to protect himself from the onslaught of sharp slogans and hostile criticism.

Appropriately enough, there were also (!) prison guards from Texas  guarding the White House, and also acting as unofficial militia units in the streets of Washington, bearing no insignia on their uniforms and refusing to identify themselves, operating under the direct command of (!!) Attorney General William Barr, who doesn’t get to command an army under our form of government, secret or otherwise. The only “cops” working for the Department of Justice are FBI Agents, and they don’t do combat gear and riot control.

And speaking of a subversion of the Department of Justice, Trump woke up Thursday morning to Tweet out to his old buddy and partner in crime Roger Stone, who was sentenced to 3 years in prison but is waiting out the Coronavirus crisis under House Arrest, that “you can sleep well tonight” since “you wont serve a day in prison.”

The protests against the George Floyd murder had spread globally by now, as mass demonstrations broke out in scores of world capitals in support of the beleaguered America people, while Trump called the peaceful demonstrators he had attacked and harmed on Monday as “terrorists,” even as the very thing they are protesting, frequent incidents of police brutality, began multiplying geometrically all over the country as the nation’s already overburdened emergency rooms have been treating hundreds of beaten, gassed and battered protestors, adding to the outrage and leading to the immediate firing and suspensions of a dozen or more brutal officers and disciplinary measures being brought against many more of them. Fortunately, those bad cops were far outnumbered by decent police officers who marched alongside protesters, took a knee in solidarity and shared their grief.

Bill Barr excused his own illegal military action on Monday night, ingenuously claiming “There was no correlation between our tactical plan of moving the perimeter out by one block and the President’s going over to the church. It was our hope to be able to do that relatively quickly before many demonstrators appeared that day. Unfortunately, because of the difficulty in getting appropriate forces — units — into place, by the time they were able to move a perimeter up to us there had been a large number of protesters had assembled.”

What that august gentleman did not address was his illegal command of Federal troops when has no such authority, even if the outcome of an Emergency Presidential Photo OP is at stake.

As Trump still hid out in silence while his nation exploded, the remainder the day belonged to George Floyd and his beautiful and emotional memorial service in a Minneapolis church, televised globally on a hundred TV stations and featuring a fiery eulogy by Reverend Al Sharpton, a brilliant speech made unforgettable by Sharpton’s poignant request for 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence in Floyd’s memory, the time it took 3 police officers to suffocate the life out him. Those 8 minutes and 46 seconds felt like an eternity, especially when contemplating that a helpless man was tortured to death for that whole time. 

So here we are, our nation still torn apart daily by mass demonstrations, less than half way through a deadly pandemic that ended Week #177 by taking another 1,000 lives on Thursday alone, with 20,000 new cases reported daily, and still saddled with the Digital Age equivalent of a spasmodic, bug-eyed wild man that gets the corner of the subway car all to himself because he keeps bellowing weird slogans and barking out disjointed phrases at the top of his lungs, like MAGA! OBAMAGATE and LAW AND ORDER!” over and over again.

When that barking lunatic somehow happens to be the President of the United States, well, that can be more than a little disconcerting. We can only hope that this is the “gets worse before it gets better part,” and not just another stop on a long downward spiral to rock bottom.

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