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General Interest, Politics, Trump Week in Review

WEEK #188 OF THE TRUMP ERA IN REVIEW, FRIDAY, 8/14/20 TO THURSDAY, 8/20/20

Quote of The Week: “I know a predator when I see one.” – Senator Kamala Harris about Guess Who

Week #188 of the Trump Era opened on Friday with a warning letter by the United States Postal Service to 46 States informing them that the USPS may not be able to deliver their Mail-in ballots on time to count in the Presidential Election on November 3rd due to the dismantling of the Post Office by the (!) Postmaster General and the President. This monumental announcement stunned the world, especially in light of the sudden removal of 671 bulk mailing sorting machines from high-density areas, and well as the mass removal of (!!) mailboxes from Northwestern cities, mostly in minority neighborhoods, where they tend to cast dark-brown Democratic votes.

Almost simultaneously we hear that the Post Office’s Inspector General (one of the few not yet purged by Trump), opened an investigation of brand new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, whose arrival in June coincided exactly with the sabotage of the US mail. 

Pro Tip: Don’t try this at home, boys and girls. For non-Presidential personnel, interfering with, impeding or defrauding the US mail in any way is a serious felony involving harsh prison sentences and fines, so… leave that up to the pros, kids!

But Presidents get to push their weight around, so Trump on Friday gave the Chinese company ByteDance 90 days to divest itself of any assets used to support the popular TikTok App in the United States, something few people outside the Oval Office think he has the power to do, what with that whole private property thing and all those pesky First Amendment roadblocks to Presidents getting to order the private sector around, even in the face of an emergency like Sarah Cooper.

Speaking of questionable management skills, the General Accounting Office reported that both Acting Homeland Security Secretary Wold and Acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Cucinelli were installed in office illegally and ineligible to hold their jobs, according to the Agency’s own rules of succession, one more bit of careless ineptitude and indifferent ignorance about how stuff is supposed to work.

Things like testing for Covid-19, which Admiral Brett Giroir, FDA Commissioner and White House “Testing Czar,” says we can’t do any better, and that “the Federal Government has done all we can do,” even as State after State cries out for access to testing supplies as caseloads explode in random corners of the country and an American dies every 80 seconds.

The Trump solution was to under-report the number of cases by awarding the Covid-tracking no-bid contract to Teletracking, a problem-plagued firm owned by a major Trump donor, and whose manager refuses to answer Senate questions about the dangerous misrepresentation of a public health danger, citing his “nondisclosure agreement” (one of Trump’s favorite things).

Congressional leaders representing too many constituents burying Covid victims claimed “The Trump administration’s decision to hire a private vendor and then cloak that vendor in a nondisclosure agreement raises numerous questions about their motivations and risks the ability of our public health experts to understand and effectively fight this virus.” In a rare show of integrity, The Department of Health and Human Services’ Chief Information Officer, José Arrieta, resigned unexpectedly over the unprecedented bypassing of the CDC in the collection and dissemination of crucial data during a pandemic.

Trump traveled to Manhattan to visit his brother Robert, who lay dying in the hospital, and turned it into a mini-campaign trip, telling how Robert was not only his brother but his best friend (other than their decades-long estrangement, that is), and was a big supporter of him (other than Robert Trump never mentioning it, or saying much of anything in public for the past 4 years). 

Meanwhile, the US Postal Service got caught in the act of removing mailboxes from Western States, reportedly “until after the election,” but important progress was made on one of Trump’s major issues when the government proposed changing the definition of a shower head to allow increased water flow, responding to Trump’s vain whining about washing his hair.

On Saturday Trump made sure to not care about the Kamala Harris birther idiocy loudly enough to get his idiot base talking about it, perhaps as the shiny red object that distracts the eye from the the Trump campaign working to deputize tens of thousands of “election monitors” (goons and enforcers) to battleground states in what will be the GOPs largest ever poll-watching operation (voter intimidation campaign). He also blamed Democrats for not funding the Post Office even as he boasted that he would veto any funding to the Post Office in order to prevent Mail-In voting.

As his brother Robert died on Saturday afternoon, Trump honored him with a mournful round of golf at his New Jersey resort, where he had earlier stated his intention to instruct his government to abandon hundreds of American cities, saying “Leave Democrat cities. Let them rot,” an impossibility as well as an especially monstrous proposal.

The President did manage to deliver this tribute to his brother Robert (and himself) to reporters on Saturday evening, and we can only wonder if it is worse if they are prepared remarks or off the cuff ramblings: “Well we did interact and he was always there and he was, you know, he wasn’t a jealous person he was a very smart guy, but he wasn’t, you know, he would be there and he’d be behind me and if I became, I had the number one show, if I had big success, and no matter what I did, whether it was real estate deals or anything else he was right there, in many cases helped very much with whatever I did and then when I became president he was I think one of the most loyal people, he, there was no jealousy, you know, a lot of times in families, I hate to say it, but there’s jealousy and especially among children, and among children that are competitive children, is because he was very competitive. There was not an ounce of jealousy, he’d go around talking about how great this is for the country and it’s so incredible and he was my biggest fan, people would tell me all the time, I spoke to your brother and your brother was always so thrilled, and so thrilled at what was happening, and what was happening for the country. He was so angry with China, because of what happened where the plague came in and they shouldn’t have allowed it to happen, they could have stopped it, he was so upset by that, it was he couldn’t, more than people would be upset. A lot of people have already forgotten, and you can’t forget. But he was a fantastic guy.”

On Sunday, Speaker of The House Nancy Pelosi ordered the House of Representatives to cut short their Summer vacation and fly back to Washington to call Louis DeJoy and the Post Office on the carpet for actively sabotaging the US Mails, even as the Trump Administration gave them a whole lot more to do when it was reported that it has been using major hotel chains to detain children and families taken into custody at the border, creating an unregulated shadow system of detention and swift expulsions without the legal safeguards that are intended to protect the most vulnerable migrants. Once again a well-connected private security company was involved, with a glaring a lack of oversight, and the use of a child transport provided by a firm that is (!) not licensed to deal with children, some of them unattended babies.

On Monday Trump planned further ecological devastation when he announced his Administration was finalizing plans to open the Arctic National Wildlife refuge to oil and gas drilling, an ecological catastrophe waiting to happen and a direct threat to indigenous peoples and wildlife. Then the first trickle of an impending flood of Republicans endorsing Biden began when Miles Taylor, a prominent former senior Trump administration official, announced his intention to vote Democratic this November.

Of course Monday was the day when the Democratic National Convention began, the first remote political convention ever held, no crowds or convention hall thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is usually the time when the opposition party and its nominee take a break from campaigning while their rival lays out its case to voters and nominates a candidate. Political courtesy, however, left the building in 2017, so in the first of his weeklong desperate attempts to upstage the Democrats during their convention, Trump traveled to Minnesota, a state he lost badly in 2016, where he proceeded to have a major meltdown.

First he wanted to deliver a speech on (!) the site of George Floyd’s murder, an insanely provocative idea immediately rejected by Minneapolis authorities, so he settled for an airport rally where he threatened to (!) “abandon Minnesota to its fate,” demanded he be granted (!!) 3 more terms in office, then went full batshit crazy by recounting his recent (!!!) conversation with God. “That’s God testing me. ‘You know, you did it once.’ And I said, ‘Did I do a great job, God? I’m the only one that could do it.’ He said, ‘That, you shouldn’t say. Now we’re going to have you do it again.’ ”

Then he engaged in his lifelong habit of taking credit for stuff other people did with this whopper about the rioting that occurred in the immediate aftermath of George Floyd’s death: “When I sent in the National Guard, that’s when it all stopped. I kept calling and saying ‘Send in the National Guard, send in the National Guard.’ They should have done it a lot sooner.”

Only thing wrong with that statement is all the words in it, since it was not Trump who sent in the National Guard, but it was Minnesota Governor Tim Walz who did so after three nights of rioting. Then Trump flew home to commute the sentence of his oldest criminal ally Roger Stone, and let the Democrats top that for TV ratings if they can.

Then a remarkable thing happened, something that no crazy Tweets and bizarre behavior from the Attention Whore in Chief could upstage, when suddenly the airwaves were filled by serious and intelligent people discussing complex issues in detail, outlining nuanced policies to the American people, treating us as intelligent partners well able to comprehend difficult concepts, and promising to restore voting rights to those disenfranchised by Trump and his minions, things that took us a moment to register since it has been so very long since this has happened.

For four nights Democrats rolled the clips of both the prominent featured speakers and unknown Americans from every walk of life, revealing plans, visions and policies for not only finally dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic once and for all in an honest, scientific and unified manner, but for undoing the incalculable damage of the failed Trump experiment had done to our nation and building it back better and more equitably.

Among the prominent speakers denouncing Trump, few were clearer than former Ohio Republican Governor and presidential candidate John Kasich, who unflinchingly confronted all the monumental Republican failures and the rampant corruption under Trump, and made a powerful case for ending his dangerous presidency before he breaks everything else.

On Tuesday, speaking of breaking things, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader and the Trump enabler currently dancing the fastest to distance himself from Trump, stated publicly that “I don’t share the President’s concern about the Post Office.” In fact, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in discussions with Speaker Pelosi indicated “the administration is prepared to spend up to $10 billion just to make sure the Post Office is on good terms going into the November election.”

The day’s distraction from the Democratic Convention that did not work was President Trump pardoning Susan B. Anthony, the women’s suffragist who was arrested after voting illegally in 1872, on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, accidentally including women of color, an oversight earnestly being corrected by today’s Trumpublicans. 

There was another distraction from the convention that day, but not one of Trump’s making, or to his liking. It seems the Senate Intelligence Committee finally wrapped up their 3-year investigation of the 2016 election, and came to the exact same conclusions as the Mueller report, that Russian cheating handed Trump the White House, while specifically naming the currently incarcerated Trump 2016 Campaign Manager Paul Manafort as “a grave national security threat” and that the Trump campaign was actively colluding with Russia to cheat in the 2016 election every chance they got, and Trump’s crazy lie about the Obama Administration spying on his campaign never happened. 

One would think this was one of those crazy brainstorms Trump would rather let die, since we all clearly recall Trump hatching the lie by claiming Obama used (!!) “a microwave oven” to do the spying, all at once identifying the only kitchen appliance with which Trump is familiar, and the dogged tenacity to which he would cling to even the craziest notions rather than admit a mistake, and windmill cancer, fine Nazis, Sharpie-altered hurricanes and 175,000 “hoax” deaths later, we get it. Trump would sooner blow up the planet than to admit he made even a small mistake.

And speaking of mistakes, Postmaster General and Fed-Ex Stockholder Louis DeJoy announced he would stop wrecking the Post Office at least until after the election in response to the universal outcry from anyone with a pulse, while Post Office unions openly doubted DeJoy’s promises to restore all of the already-dismantled equipment. Meanwhile, Trump was making another campaign stop, this time in a Yuma, Arizona airplane hangar to a crowd with no masks or social distancing, with the attendees having been bussed to the site in crowded enclosed vehicles, ensuring Covid-19 a prominent place of honor at the sweltering rally. “You know it’s 122 degrees in this place,” Trump gushed. “This is like a test. You think Joe Biden could do this? I don’t think so.”

Turns out Joe Biden didn’t have to subject himself or anyone else to 120º heat to earn the endorsement and praise of other prominent Republicans that evening, as Cindy McCain and Colin Powell were among the members of his own party throwing Trump under the bus on Day 2 of the Democratic Convention as Americans watched in record numbers after almost 4 years of intellectual famine.

On Wednesday Trump decided to ruin another successful American company that employs 65,000 skilled Americans when he called for a boycott of the (!) Goodyear tire company over their newly announced policy for keeping divisive politics out of the workplace, including the wearing of the MAGA caps that the rest of us use to identify the problematic zealots and aggressive imbeciles walking among us as if they were regular people. Trump even threatened to have the custom-designed Goodyear tires removed from the presidential limousine, which only served to provide immediate justification for Goodyear’s decision. Both Goodyear executives and employees alike are privately hoping that Trump’s attack on their company works as well as did his attack on Amazon, so they can cash in on their generous stock options and employee profit-sharing plans when Goodyear sales inevitably boom.

Then Trump was questioned by a reporter about his embrace of the Q-Anon movement, an insane collection of drooling misfits who are even too crazy for the Tea Party wingnuts, with this bit of Trumpian “logic” (the same character trait responsible for Trump’s elevation of the odious Kim Jong Un to World Statesman status): “I don’t know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate.” If you praise Trump, it doesn’t matter whether or not you are the most imbecilic racist alive, or a guy who fed his his own uncle to his dogs, you will be Trump’s new BFF.

Trump also managed to repeat his favorite lie about Obama in spite of the Senate just exposing it as complete nonsense, “He spied on my campaign and got caught,” modifying it slightly to meet the times by removing Hillary Clinton as Obama’s fellow spymaster and replacing her with Joe Biden, in one stroke demonstrating the flexibility to adapt even his most familiar lies to the demands of changing political realties, and to add bizarre details by demanding a do-over of his first 4 years since it is patently obvious that this Biden-Obama spying was the cause of every disaster of the most disastrous Administration in American history. As seen through the prism of the Official Trump Decoder Ring, that translates into America owing Trump at least one, if not two extra terms.

Later that evening, as the highlight of an evening marked by many thoughtful and intelligent speeches by brilliant minds, Barack Obama absolutely dismantled Trump and the current Republican Party in support of Joe Biden, passionately delivering one of the most brilliant and energizing speeches of a career filled with brilliant speeches. He was followed by our next Vice President, Kamala Harris, who gives Trump four ways to hate her by being Black, Asian, female and brilliant.

In accepting the historic nomination of a woman of color to the second-highest office in the land, Senator Harris more than justified Biden’s faith in her and delivered a commanding and heartfelt speech of her own, throwing down the twin gauntlets of decency and integrity, two concepts foreign to Trump’s experience and only now being reintroduced into American politics. She is a formidable woman with a prosecutor’s eye for the jugular (having faced down many a predator), exuding confidence, ability and brilliance, striking fear into the heart of Mike Pence, who gets the honor of being eviscerated by Ms Harris in their debate.

On Thursday, two of the keynote speakers for Trump’s upcoming Republican Convention had to beg off speaking on his behalf, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declining to appear so he could concentrate on keeping his own hotly contested Senate seat, and Steve Bannon, one of the main architects of the Trump Presidency, his former Campaign Chairman and White House Policy Advisor, who found himself in the compromising position of being handcuffed and arrested off the coast of Connecticut while onboard Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui’s yacht, a fugitive from Chinese justice.

It seems that Bannon and three other august gentlemen bilked Trump’s beloved poorly education out of $70 million they raised to allegedly help Mexico pay for Trump’s border wall, but instead spent $63 million of it on “operational expenses.” Some operation, said Federal Prosecutors in New York, who charged the 4 men with using the charitable donations to pay for lives of decadent luxury on several continents. Mr Bannon of course called his arrest “a political hit job,” yet raised his $5 million bail before the ink was dry on his fingerprint sheet, surrounded by the most expensive legal talent money can buy.

While Bannon was waltzing out of a jail cell, another New York Federal Judge dismissed Trump’s lawsuit against New York State Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. in an attempt to shield Trump’s tax returns from State prosecutors investigating him, his family and his business for serious financial crimes.

As Trump winged his way aboard Air Force One to a rally in Biden’s birth Sate of Pennsylvania, the State of Colorado’s top elections officials directly accused him of lying about voting by mail, then 70 Republicans who are former senior National Security Council officials released a signed letter, not only enthusiastically supporting Joe Biden’s election as president, but laying out a 10-point indictment of Mr. Trump’s unacceptable actions as President, accusing him of undermining the rule of law, aligning himself with dictators and engaging “in corrupt behavior that renders him unfit to serve as president.” 

Once in Pennsylvania, Trump told his crowd that Biden (!) “abandoned your State,” which is technically true if you accept the premise that a 10 year-old boy whose father just lost his job and moved the family to Delaware to find work was the one responsible for this “abandonment.”

In his frenetic and vain attempt to deflect attention from Joe Biden’s Thursday night acceptance speech, Trump also made quick airport rally trips to Arizona, Wisconsin and Iowa, where he repeated his insane litany of shopworn lies to ever-smaller crowds of walking Petri dishes. Then he announced that his brother’s funeral would be (!) held in the White House on Friday and flew home in time to watch Joe Biden deliver the greatest speech of his career.

Every speech of the 4-day Democratic Convention had been somewhat unconventional, written not for a live forum with built-in applause pauses or moments of quiet reflection, but instead video presentations divorced from audience feedback and requiring a more intimate and nuanced approach, more akin to the current age of advanced technology and video messaging, skills thought to be beyond an older man like Joe Biden. 

That was not the case. Biden delivered the goods, a brilliant and compassionate man in command of himself and the moment. He was the very antithesis of Trump, a man exhibiting a breathtaking expanse of knowledge, experience and compassion, with not an ounce of the vicious hatred and inarticulate rage that are Trump’s calling cards. A man who knows how things work and how a man conducts himself, a man who can relate to personal pain and failure as well as great triumph, a man who, like his old boss Obama, will work just as hard on behalf of his political rivals as he does for his supporters.

In short, an honest decent and bright guy who will do his best on behalf of all of us, the sort of person we always tried to elect as our President before we embarked on this disastrous Trump Experiment.

To underscore the difference between Trump and normalcy, the Trump Administration ended Week #188 by sending an email to every Post Office worker forbidding them to speak to the press under any circumstances, one more vicious blow against our democracy by a man desperately trying to rig our election and seize permanent power.

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