Quote of the Week: “Get rid of the ballots.” – the guy who’s losing
Quote #2 of The Week: “I foresee no role for the U.S. armed forces in this process.” – General Mark Milley, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Week #193 of the Trump Era begins on Friday, the day we found out that Venus is a Russian planet (Vlad said so, must be true), and the United States Postal Service had planned to distribute 650 million face coverings in April to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, but those plans were scrapped by the White House because Trump didn’t want to spark “concern or panic” among Americans.
Was this a good decision? We leave the exact mathematics of calculating the estimated numbers of lives not saved, people not infected and trillions in wealth not lost to experts in the field, and resort to layman’s terms of guessing that every household in America getting 5 masks at what was the beginning of the pandemic that has taken 203,000 lives so far is a way better idea than having a President hellbent on making the pandemic far worse than it had to be. Not a tough call to rate this policy choice as horrendous, if not genocidal.
Trump’s son in law and Man Friday, Jared Kushner, tried to sum up Trump’s reaction to Covid-19 with “The Federal government is not going to lead this response. It’s up to the States to figure out what they want to do.” Which is kind of like saying Franklin Roosevelt would have been better off letting Hawaii fend for itself after the Pearl Harbor attack instead of getting the whole country involved in the war.
As the Democratic nominee, Joe Biden got his first classified briefing on Friday and, from all reports, listened attentively the whole time, asked important questions that demonstrated a grasp of every topic introduced, and never once asked an expert to sum up complex geopolitical realities in twenty words or less, nor did he fold his arms and sulk at the 15-minute mark, a new experience for the younger briefing personnel, some of whom had to be talked down from euphoria.
While we’re on the topic of making the pandemic worse on purpose, we heard more on Friday about how a Trump political ally and the now-former HHS spokesman Michael Caputo, along with his suddenly unemployed “science adviser,” refused to accept the Centers for Disease Control science and sought to silence the agency, in spite of the fact that accurately reporting science and health information to the public is what the CDC does, and the reason it was created.
Another former Trump official, ex-chief of staff to Education Secretary Devos, Josh Venable, became the latest name among former Trump administration officials to join a group opposing the president, who was distracted making proclamations about banning Chinese social media apps TikTok and WeChat from American app stores, something appearing nowhere on anyone’s list of pressing problems in this country.
Then on Friday night, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, and America was instantly plunged into mourning for the loss of a true American icon and legal pioneer, but few mourned more than Trump, for his grievous loss of the spotlight, yet another instance of an actual beloved American stealing his headlines by dying, along with the inevitable snarky comparisons to our incumbent White House resident that the deaths of the great invite, underlining their stark contrast. To his credit, Trump did not make a fool of himself when told the news of Ginsburg’s passing, and his remarks were gracious and circumspect.
Of course that sentiment lasted no longer than a rage Tweet, and by Saturday morning the Republican vultures were circling Ginsburg’s vacant court seat, all but gloating at the opportunity to deny Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s final wish, as dictated to her granddaughter on her deathbed, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
Faced with their own words on tape from 2016 promising not to appoint a Justice during the 2020 election campaign, Senators Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham were just about in a dead heat for Fastest 180º Position Reverse of The Month, explaining they were not really lying, you see, because that was then and this is now, so there! Or similar words that were just as convincing.
Then, after canceling out his earlier remarks about Justice Ginsburg’s death with some snarky comments, Trump decided to try and buy the Latino vote by sending $13 billion in Federal Aid to Puerto Rico. Three years late, but still! After pissing all over Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017, Trump figures that putting a cast on a broken leg 3 years later will fix everything and make him a Latin hero.
Trump’s new head of the White House Coronavirus task Force, Dr. Scott “Herd Immunity” Atlas, defended Trump’s decision on not wearing masks during his political rallies, which is now called “The Super-Spreader Tour” as hundreds of his followers catch Covid-19 at every one of his rallies and carry it home to their communities without a mask. 3% of those infected will die, even though you only hear about famous guys who die from Trump Rally Covid, like Herman Cain.
Then investigative journalist across the world got a Wikileaks type of gift as thousands of documents detailing $2 trillion of potentially corrupt transactions that were washed through the US financial system were leaked to an international group of investigative journalists. Smack dab in the middle of these accusations? That’s right, good old Deutsche Bank, the bank that loaned Trump billions in questionable loans and is central to a dozens of criminal investigations into the Trump family.
On Monday the UN General Assembly had it’s annual meeting, normally a grand event affording world leaders global exposure, but due to Covid-19, the event was virtually-broadcast from remote locations. Trump sorely missed what he considered his showcase, since the UN is located in his country and his hometown, New York City, even though he little use for the institution outside of the personal publicity involved.
Perhaps it is just as well that Trump stayed away from New York City, since this was the day the Justice Department designated NYC, Portland and Seattle as “anarchist jurisdictions,” under guidelines issued by Trump earlier this month (Presidents don’t get to give Department of Justice guidelines). We heard that day of Trump’s Sept. 2 memo directing federal agencies to “minimize funding for designated cities.” Federal grants account for billions of dollars of NYC’s annual budget, and the city is already on the financial ropes from bearing the expense of fighting more cases of Covid-19 than anywhere on Earth, and has threatened to sue over any move to defund it.
We also learned about the uneven quality of our female public servants when it was announced that Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be the first woman, and the first Jew to earn the high honor of Lying in State at the US Capitol, while in contrast, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (an independent government agency) announced its investigation into whether Education Secretary Betsy DeVos breached a law forbidding federal employees from engaging in political activities on the job after her department distributed a clip of Ms. DeVos criticizing the Democratic presidential nominee, through government channels, violating the Hatch Act, or as the Trump Administration calls it, toilet paper. Small wonder that Cindy McCain, widow of John McCAin, the last person to Lie in State in the US Capitol, endorsed Joe Biden on Monday.
Then it was time for another stop on the Super-Spreader Tour, this time in Ohio, where Trump made sure to increase that State’s Covid-19 death toll by telling his gullible supporters “Covid affects virtually nobody,” and to ”open your schools!!” Then he said something so horribly shameful and low (even for him), calling Justice Ginsburg’s granddaughter a liar when he mocked her last words and accused Democrats of forging them for political gain (something that would only occur to a person capable of such a thing): “I don’t know that she said that, or was that written out by Adam Schiff and Schumer and Pelosi. I would be more inclined to the second, OK? That came out of the wind!”
Then while he was in the gutter, he once again accused Joe Biden of being on drugs, ”they gave him a big fat shot in the ass, and for two hours, he is better than ever before. Problem is, what happens after that?” Same guy who was blowing drug pellets out his nose at a press conference 2 weeks ago.
He promised his crowd to appoint another woman to the Supreme Court, saying he had “a list of 5 important women,” trying to turn it into one of his stale reality show cliffhangers, but nothing he said was enough to recapture his precious headlines from Justice Ginsburg. What did get people’s attention, however, was news of his Administration once again altering CDC guidelines, changing the wording on health regulations to “optional suggestions,“ this time costing many hundreds of lives in the meatpacking industry.
On Tuesday Trump got to address the UN General Assembly via satellite, and used his time addressing the World’s Peacekeepers by picking more fights with China, starting with this falsehood: “In the earliest days of the virus China locked down travel domestically, while allowing flights to leave China and infect the world.”
President Xi of China responded in a way Trump does not understand, with the measured and calm rebuke of a man to a petulant child, and a refusal “to get drawn into a new Cold War with any nation.” Trump’s vulgar behavior and his maniacal obsession with TikTok (due only to the viral success of Sarah Cooper’s scathing Trump parody videos on TikTok) worked to strengthen Xi’s position in the world and lent credence to his old complaint that the United States is trying to prevent China’s economic rise, a bit of international gaslighting that no other American President would allow to pass unchallenged. Xi’s deft outmaneuvering of Trump is best reflected in the “Chinese tariffs” that you and I are paying for every single day, instead of the Chinese.
On Wednesday we learned that the CIA, led by Trump appointee Gina Haspel, made it harder for intelligence about Russia to reach the White House, the information suppressed to mollify a president who freaks out when confronted with bad news about Moscow, and, you know, that whole stolen election thing. Ms. Haspel is extremely cautious about which, if any, Russia-related intelligence makes its way to Trump’s desk. See no, hear no…
Then we heard that not only did Attorney General William Barr launch a criminal investigation into John Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened,” but that White House aides improperly intervened to prevent the manuscript by the former national security adviser from being released to the public. This book had already cleared every legal and intelligence hurdle required before publication, and was the #1 Best Seller until it was bumped by one of the 30 other books about what an oafish piece of shit Donald Trump has always been.
To live up to that assessment, Trump decided to replace the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community whose report led to his firing and Trump’s impeachment, with one Allen Robert Souza, one of those shadow characters best described as a “political operative,” who has performed many government jobs and even drafted legislation signed by Trump. Mr. Souza is also a former aide to Representative Devin Nunes, who was hip-deep in the Trump-Giuliani Ukraine frame up, and betrayed his Congressional oath by leaking confidential investigation details to the White House, meaning that Souza will now be in charge of reporting the kind of illegal activities his colleagues and mentors engage in regularly.
Meanwhile, Republican Senators tried to put science on trial, a notion summarily dismissed by Doctors Fauci and Redfield, who used the forum of a Senate hearing to dispense hard scientific truth to the American public, with Anthony Fauci finally telling Senator Rand Paul he was sick and tired of his shit and that he needs to shut the fuck up and listen to the science. Or words to that effect.
On Wednesday afternoon it was announced that no charges would be filed against Breonna Taylor’s killers, the 3 police officers who kicked down the wrong door and shot an innocent person 6 times. The city of Louisville, Kentucky braced for the inevitable protests and announced an immediate 9PM curfew, an ideal time for the President to step up and address the nation to help heal our wounds and grieve together, but for the bazillionth time, that guy ain’t president no more.
Then Trump tried to drop a piano on the head of democracy by refusing to commit to providing a peaceful transition of power after Election Day. “Well, we’re going to have to see what happens. Get rid of the ballots and there won’t be a transfer of power, frankly. There’ll be a continuation.” Then he explained that since “I have been complaining very strongly about the ballots,” that’s all the proof anyone needs that the election will be crooked, saying “the ballots are out of control.”
Well, something is out of control, but it’s not the ballots, which are fine.
Trump for some unfathomable reason announced a series of new sanctions against Cuba that prohibit Americans from importing Cuban cigars and rum, or staying in hotels funded by the Cuban government, another silly obsession taking up the valuable time of a President at a time when there are a thousand far more pressing problems facing his country.
Thursday morning found Republicans scrambling to apologize for Trump’s refusal to leave office if he loses the election, with fingers crossed that they can get him to shut the hell up about it, which wasn’t happening for 500 ex-military and national security personnel, who signed a public letter endorsing Biden, including 22 Four-Star officers, many of whom served under Trump.
They made it crystal clear that only extraordinary circumstances would force such men and women to express any political opinion at all, and they speak out now only because they believe that Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to the United States.
Apparently he’s no better an uncle than he is a President, since his niece Mary Trump sued her Uncle Donald, his sister Maryanne Trump and the estate of the late Robert Trump for stealing her inheritance. That’s one skill her Uncle Donald carried into the Presidency, and now Team Trump, all of his lawyers and all of his men (and a ton of people on the government payroll) are deep into strategizing for the best methods of stealing the election.
And speaking of stealing elections, Post Master Louis DeJoy told the judge who ordered him to repair the damage he did to the nation’s mail service that the U.S. Postal Service can’t reassemble the hundreds of high speed mail-sorting machines that were taken apart this year, a project that was intended to undermine the upcoming election, a dozen States are alleging in a lawsuit. Mr. DeJoy said the machines had been cannibalized for spare parts, their discarded remains presumably sold as scrap metal to the Sand People.
The Department of Justice got into the election-tampering racket with Trump, concocting a letter warning voters of election fraud when in fact no election fraud exists in the USA outside of Trump’s devious and fevered mind. For good measure Barr had his own boutique prosecutor, who handles his political show investigations, go after the investigators who investigated the Clinton Foundation and found it to be squeaky clean, not the answer Barr was looking for.
While he was on a roll, Barr’s DOJ violated their universal policy of maintaining public silence regarding ongoing investigations, for the sole purpose of sowing doubt about a recent election in Pennsylvania. The Justice Department on Thursday released details about an investigation into nine discarded mailed-in ballots in Pennsylvania, one more instance of Trump’a political appointees using law enforcement to cast doubt about the election.
The polls being what they are, with Trump pretty much certain to lose the election, Trump decided to try to buy the senior vote by giving $200 discount cards for prescription drugs to 33 million older Americans, a $6.6 billion proposal that has no distribution plan and may not be legal, as if Senior Citizens can be bought for a couple of C-notes and a promise of his very strongly wonderful America First Health Care Plan that will replace Obama Care. So seniors, just take the deuce and buy some happy pills, and let’s all say it together… “in two more weeks!”
And we close with a quote from the crowd gathered to pay their respects to Justice Ginsburg as Trump made his appearance at the Capitol. As one voice, the mourners chanted “Vote him out! Vote him out! Vote him out!”