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WEEK #198 OF THE TRUMP ERA IN REVIEW, FRIDAY, 10/23/20 TO THURSDAY, 10/29/20

Quote of The Week: “We’re not going to control this virus.” ~White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, conducting a Fact-Spinning Drill for his staff.

Quote of The Week: “We’re not going to control this virus.” ~White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, conducting a Fact-Spinning Drill for his staff.

Week #198 of the Trump Era dawned on Friday, the morning after his final debate with Joe Biden, where he accused Biden of making millions from China while declaring “I don’t make money from China,” but snapping open the morning paper finds us absorbing the sordid but well-documented details of how Trump in fact collected millions from Chinese government-owned entities since he took office. One example is the $5.4 million in rent collected from a State-owned bank in Trump Tower since his inauguration.

With any other President, such a moment would have been one of those heywaitaminute! moments that would cause a huge scandal and be a threat to their presidency, but to Trump, just a slow Friday.

He announced he will vote in person in Florida, being that he would be in the neighborhood for a weekend blitz of campaign rallies in a desperate attempt to keep this bellwether State after falling behind in every poll.

We also learned, less than 2 weeks before Election Day, that American cybersecurity officials “watched with growing alarm in September” as state hackers from Russia’s Federal Security Service started prowling around American state and local government computer systems two months before the election, at once revealing the Trump Administration’s policy of benign complicity with foreign interference, and unwittingly encapsulating the Trump Era experience for most people, “watched with growing alarm.” Unfortunately, watching with growing alarm is not the same thing as doing something about it, but it makes for some good talking points if carefully manipulated.

Between his 2 Friday rallies in Florida, Trump managed to earn some serious coin for himself by squeezing in a quick “official visit” to Mar A Lago to host the President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, who is called “the Brazilian Trump,” not only because he also survived Covid-19, but because, like Trump, he willfully continues to kill his countrymen with a catastrophic official virus response and irrational denial of reality. Small wonder this was the weekend when Trump decided it was best to pretend the pandemic was over and to mock the “Covid-Obsession” of the sane among us.

The record of 85,000 new cases that day did not stop his disturbing kindergarten singsong mockery of “Covid, Covid, Covid Covid!” over and over wherever he went, making fun of masks, social distancing and science itself, while lesser mortals were charged with keeping track of the countless Covid-19 infections contracted at these super-spreader events, and cataloguing the inevitable deaths, which can presumably be chalked up to “DBM” (Death by MAGA).

And speaking of a cult of death, on this day we finally learned of another young worthy inspired by Trump’s call to arms when a New Mexico man, 19-year-Alexander Treisman, purchased an assault weapon in New Hampshire before getting arrested in North Carolina this past May, driving a van carrying five guns, explosives and (!) $500,000 in cash, and was planning to assassinate Joe Biden, getting within 4 miles of his home.

Mitch McConnell, just as studiously ignoring the pandemic as Trump, brushed aside Democratic concerns over the expedited timeframe for confirming Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney-Barrett, and moved to cut off debate and set up a final confirmation vote eight days before the election, and to hell with any stimulus bill desperately needed by a stricken nation.

Doing their own part to fight the bane of being blamed for making the pandemic far worse, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner sent a cease-and-desist letter to The Lincoln Project late Friday, demanding they take down billboards using their images in Times Square, huge neon ads criticizing the White House’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Kushners threatened to sue for “enormous compensatory and punitive damages.” Bigly sad for them, they will be unable to intimidate, outspend or out-lawyer the wealthy conservative backers of The Lincoln Project, a new experience for Jared and Ivanka.

On Saturday morning, Trump voted in person in his brand new home State of Florida, what with him having long ago worn out his welcome with New York’s law enforcement authorities, then embarked on 3 more rallies, yet somehow had the time to tell his big donors that he will probably lose the Senate, a stunning prospect, then proceeded to show them exactly why that’s the case as he repeatedly denied the reality of the huge virus surges occurring in numerous States and the daily breaking of case numbers records.

On Saturday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the most respected voice in America, called for a national mask mandate, something Joe Biden had done the previous week, on the same day that 5 people on Mike Pence’s staff tested positive for Covid-19, including his Chief of Staff. In keeping with Administration policy, Pence will defy Federal health regulations meant for non-MAGA personnel by refusing to quarantine, and continue his busy campaign schedule, claiming of course that Pence “is performing essential duties” (he is not) and is exempt from CDC rules (again, nope!).

In Minnesota, where Trump is fond of blaming the Black Lives Matter movement for the violence that occurred during the early protests over George Floyd’s death, the only guy arrested for shooting up a police station was some White Supremacist agent provocateur named Ivan Harrison Hunter, a 26-year-old Texan and member of the far-right Boogaloo Boys, self-proclaimed civil warriors.

On Sunday, coincidentally, the Center for Strategic and International Studies confirmed what the FBI and every American intelligence agency have recently reported to the American people when they released their own study that proved that White Supremacist groups were responsible for 41 of 61 “terrorist plots and attacks” in the first eight months of this year, or 67 percent.

While our executive leadership crisscrossed the country spreading Covid-19 to their supporters, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was left to his own devices in the proximity of a microphone, never an optimal situation, when he issued Trump’s formal surrender to Coronavirus by saying “We won’t get the virus under control,” giving Rudy Giuliani some stiff competition for October’s “How Is This Helping Award.” Both candidates were in New Hampshire on Sunday, where the Republican Party Chairperson of the State of New Hampshire ripped Trump a new one and endorsed Joe Biden, one of the only recorded instances of a New Hampshire man changing his mind.

Then we were treated to the controversial “60 Minutes” interview with Trump where he put the “me” in America, big time, rambling on about his petty gripes and insisting that CBS should report his crazy lies as news, before his interviewer Leslie Stahl told him why they can’t run those stories. “We can’t put on anything unverified.” Which perhaps explains him stalking out in a huff, not having prepared for discussions of any “verified” stuff.

On Monday, while Trump was flying between 3 more super-spreader rallies in Pennsylvania and claiming that (!) doctors were ripping off the government by inflating the number of Covid deaths for profit, he got his third Supreme Court Justice confirmed when Amy Coney-Barrett was voted in along strict party lines, 52-48, thanks to Mitch McConnell breaking every rule that stood in his way. Trump immediately threw another White House Rose Garden party to celebrate, identical to the one that infected 35 people just weeks before, some of them among the most powerful people in the country.

In the spirit of a new Supreme Court Justice who thinks that a supervisor using the N-word at work (!) “does not create a hostile work environment,” Jared Kushner added his squeaky whimper to the Brave New Racism when he opined to a reporter at length about how Blacks just don’t want to be successful, on the same day that Philadelphia police shot and killed a Black man having a mental health crisis in Philadelphia because their community does not merit enough mental health services to dispatch anyone other than police officers armed with nothing but high school diplomas and pistols to a health emergency.

Not finished putting his foot in his mouth from the day before, on Tuesday Kushner declared that anyone who shed tears for George Floyd or supports Black Lives Matter was guilty of something called (!!) “virtue signaling,” a statement that in 1789 would have prompted Robespierre to at the very least put a yellow highlighter through Jared’s name.

Then we heard that CBS correspondent Leslie Stahl suddenly needed full time bodyguards after receiving death threats from Trump supporters who are furious at her for not preventing Trump from being himself on 60 Minutes, while another woman, E. Jean Carroll, dealt him a legal setback when a judge rejected the notion that the Federal government should take Trump’s place as the defendant in a defamation suit brought against the President by a woman who accused him of raping her. Well, that sure pulled the rug out from under a pretty creative legal argument by Attorney General William Barr whereby The People claim that slandering his alleged rape victim is part and parcel of Trump’s official presidential duties. Wellokaythen!, said the judge (or words to that effect).

Meanwhile, Joe Biden was campaigning in Georgia, while Michael Bloomberg announced he was funding extensive pro-Democratic and anti-Trump advertising campaigns in Ohio and Texas right through election day in a concerted effort to pry loose a number of the swing states that Trump carried in 2016. Also, his predecessor and Trump’s main skull ghost, Barack Obama, was campaigning in Florida, shredding Trump’s catastrophic performance in the face of the pandemic, his abysmal character, racist pandering and his utter lack of accomplishments. In other words, doing a news recap, no exaggeration required.

From Obama’s former hometown of Chicago came news from Trump’s own anonymously-donated tax returns about more than $270 million in debt being (!) “forgiven” since 2010, after he failed to repay lenders for a Chicago skyscraper development, which Trump later in the day called “a smart deal.” Just don’t try that kind of smart deal with your own banks and credit card companies, who never seem to budge off that arid “failed to repay” desert to the greener pastures of forgiveness for the rank and file.

Momentarily oblivious to this (or pretty much any) reality, Trump was holding another packed rally, this time in an airport outside Omaha, Nebraska in the freezing cold, where he waxed eloquent about (!) Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s thwarted kidnap plotters, wondering if (!!) they should even be charged with a crime when he said “I mean, we’ll have to see if it’s a problem. Right? People are entitled to say maybe it was a problem, maybe it wasn’t.”

Then he confirmed his taste in leadership styles as he lauded these tyrants, “The only thing I can tell you for sure: President Xi from China, President Putin from Russia, Kim Jong-un, North Korea, and I could name 40 others, they’re sharp as a tack. They don’t want to deal with Sleepy Joe.”

And on that note he waved goodbye to his supporters and was whisked away into the night on Air Force One while they were left stranded in the freezing cold without shelter and with no transportation back to their cars, 4 miles away. It seems that, following their usual fiscal policy, the Trump campaign stiffed the bus companies that were providing the shuttle service between the runway and the parking lot, with a dozen people hospitalized for hypothermia and police vehicles driving traumatized seniors to their cars after being stranded for hours, with thousands walking the 4 miles in the frigid dark, presumably warmed by the patriotic glow of a MAGA rally.

It was about then that the website of the White House Science Office was updated, listing (!!!) “ending the COVID-19 pandemic” as the top accomplishment of President Trump’s first term, even as the U.S. has set records for new daily infections and numerous hospitals across the country are stretched to their breaking points.

This came as a big surprise for much of the nation, finding out that the Trump White House still has a Science Office.

On Wednesday, the chief executives of Google, Facebook and Twitter testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation about their moderation practices before the election, with Republicans complaining that untrue political statements were not allowed anymore and Democrats complaining that not enough lies were being challenged, with the corporate princes somehow holding the high ground in the absence of any federal attempts to combat foreign election hacking or domestic misinformation campaigns regarding voting and the pandemic, especially since the largest single source of voting misinformation and Coronavirus misinformation is (who else?) the President of the United States. Kind of takes the steam out of all that righteous Senatorial wrath.

Much of Europe went back into Covid lockdown as the second wave hit the Continent, while Trump kept promising his crowds that the record-setting Covid numbers we’re compiling daily are not real, and “we have rounded the corner” with the pandemic and besides, we will have a vaccine (!!) “momentarily.” Only problem with that assessment is that around every corner are closed countries, more Covid cases and mounting death tolls.

Also on Wednesday we learned 2 “secrets” from the Trump Administration, one of them actually true. The true one was Miles Taylor, chief of staff to Department of former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, admitting to being the infamous “Anonymous,” author of 2 “Inside-A-Really-Really-Shitty-White-House” kind of books that more shook up the administration in their search for the leaker’s identity than anyone who read Taylor’s books, a superfluous confirmation of what were seeing with our own eyes.

The other “secret” was a stupid lie from Trump’s new (Mis)Director of National Intelligence, John Ractliffe, who used the FBI building as a stage prop to announce that the bogus threatening emails allegedly sent by the Proud Boys militia threatening voters if they don’t vote for Trump originated in Iran, and were meant to hurt Trump’s reelection chances, exactly none of which was in his briefing notes, as he just made it up on the spot and no other law enforcement or intelligence agency head would corroborate his lie, while he infuriatingly ignored any mention of the main culprit in election hacking, Russia, which was in his notes.

This was Ratcliffe’s clumsy way of trying to help Trump’s reelection plans, and an effective way to politicize and trivialize the intelligence community, and strip them of their once independent standing, becoming one step closer to Trump’s vision of what intelligence agencies should be; compromised tools to be used for political expediency.

And​ speaking of compromised tools, on Wednesday it was announced that, thanks to the tireless sabotage efforts by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy at the behest of President Trump, US mail deliveries had been slowed by almost 50%, and that it was too late to trust your mail-in ballot to the Post Office. Voters in every State were urged by Election officials to use ballot drop off boxes or their local election offices to file their mail-in ballots, perhaps the first time ever that Americans were told not to trust the US mails.

And speaking of voter suppression, new Justice Amy Coney-Barrett recused herself from the first case she saw, a severe blow to Trump and Republican wannabe vote suppressors who wanted to stop the counting of votes where the likelihood is athat they will not be votes for Trump, and thus invalid.

On Thursday, we got reacquainted with one David Correia, a business partner of Rudy Giuliani’s infamous associate Lev Parnas, who pleaded guilty on Thursday to 2 counts of defrauding investors of millions of dollars and making false statements to the Federal Election Commission, while Rudy Giuliani and Trump were complaining that people were paying more attention to Giuliani putting his hands down his pants in front of an underage girl in a Borat movie than in the fabricated contents of a laptop computer full of phony criminal accusations against Biden’s son that no reputable law enforcement officer or journalist would touch.

Same day we learned of Willam Barr trying to fix a case against a Turkish bank at the direct request of President Trump, something that Joe Biden once carefully explained to Turkish President Erdogan was impossible under the American system when Erdogan made the same request of the Obama Administration, that if an American President intervened in our justice system it would be a crime for which he could be impeached.

Turns out all Erdogan had to do was wait a few years for a criminal American president to be elected, a man Erdogan already knew was a criminal due to his own often contentious business dealings with Trump in Turkey, business dealings long-documented to feature all the usual unscrupulous behavior associated with a Trump deal. Suddenly, it was not unheard of for an American President and his Attorney General to subvert justice in service of political expediency and Trump’s personal bank account.

In the spirit of Trump-style financial stewardship that has seen the Trump 2020 Campaign blow through over a billion dollars on its way to going broke as well as being accused of functioning as an international money-laundering operation, it was announced that hackers have stolen $2.3 million from the Wisconsin Republican Party’s account meant to bolster Trump’s reelection campaign.

That day Trump rescheduled an upcoming rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina until Monday due to combover-threatening winds, but had no problem running a rally in Tampa, Florida that saw another dozen or more of his followers hospitalized, this time for severe heat exposure on a day so hot that authorities had to hose them down with firehoses to prevent more people from keeling over.

To close out the week with a late entry into the How Is This Helping Award running, Steven Miller, architect of Trump’s immigration policies (concentration camps), decided that in the wake of the news that the Department of Homeland Security lost track of 545 sets of parents of child detainees, he should fill us in on his proposed revisals to immigration regulations; to outlaw “sanctuary cities,” limit asylum grants, detain migrant families together like one big happy, and implement tougher standards for people entering the country and receiving work visas. No word on whether or not to dismantle the Statue of Liberty or sell it to the highest bidder.

And so ends Week #198 of the Trump Era, with Trump supporters alternately freezing and burning, the US mail slowed to a crawl and unable to guarantee timely ballot deliveries, record voter turnouts in every State despite a pandemic and widespread voter suppression efforts, America suffering the worst week of the Coronavirus pandemic as a record 86,600 cases were reported on a Thursday that pushed us over the 9 million mark, and Donald Trump facing the final few days where he is not yet officially called a Lame Duck President.

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