Quote of The Week: “It’s not surprising that a criminal like Trump pardons other criminals, but apparently to get a pardon, one has to be either a Republican, a convicted child murderer or a turkey.” – Judge Robert Pratt, Southern District of Iowa
Week # 207 of the Trump Era woke us up on Christmas morning to a terror attack in Nashville, Tennessee, when an RV packed with explosives blew up on one of Music City’s storied downtown streets at dawn, but only after warning everyone to evacuate on a blaring loudspeaker for a 15-minute countdown before it blew up on schedule, to the tune of (!) Petula Clark’s “Downtown,” and ripped a gash into the brick face of a city block, destroying some buildings completely and damaging scores of others. Eight people suffered minor injuries, including several Nashville police officers who heroically evacuated every resident house by house, and frantically created a blockaded perimeter on the fly with whatever squad cars were handy on Christmas dawn, diverting pedestrians and traffic from the street where a car bomb counted down its driver’s suicide.
Of course the President had to respond to this great tragedy and the heroism of the police in what might be part of a greater threat to the nation. And respond he did, by keeping his Christmas morning golf date with Lindsey Graham and, afterwards, registering a belated Festivus Grievance with a bitter public complaint that (!) fashion magazines didn’t feature his wife on the cover for his whole time in office. This way, he shows the terrorists that it’s business as usual in Washington, buster, and you’re just another festering problem I will ignore until something even worse happens in a day or two! Crazy like a fox, our President.
As if to echo Trump’s Scrooge-like Christmas callousness, Mitch McConnell conjured up his very own Ghost of Christmas Past when he celebrated the birth of his savior with those closest to his heart, his billionaire mega-donors, to whom he solemnly vowed to stymie Joe Biden and the Democrats like he did to Barack ‘Jacob Marley’ Obama back in the day, regaling those august gentlemen with tales of using Tiny Tim’s crutch for a Yule Log and snatching Bob Cratchit’s stimulus check away, telling them “Even if I feel it’s a good bill, they shall have no victories. None.” Not exactly a ray of golden sunlight to front line doctors and nurses looking for masks, gowns and gloves right now, and a damned vaccination to avoid dropping dead while they treat 19 million and counting highly infectious Covid patients.
The day after Christmas, the House Intelligence Committee met in an unusual Saturday session, and heard from the former acting chief of the Department of Homeland Security’s intelligence office, Brian Murphy, who told Congress that DHS brass “pressed him to overstate illegal border crossings from Mexico and overplay the role of far left groups in violence during anti-government protests last summer,” and constantly urging him to “blame Far Left groups in an exaggerated fashion.” The reason he is a “former” Intelligence officer is that he refused to provide false information to his superiors.
Trump again responded by not responding to a crisis he created by refusing to sign the stimulus bill, instead resurrecting last Spring’s crazy lie that “lockdowns are ruining lives and not Covid,” in spite of the week ending in a lopsided victory for Covid-19, with 339,000 Covid Deaths by week’s end to 0 Lockdown Deaths. The Saturday night deadline for unemployment benefits for tens of millions of American workers came and went without Trump signing the bill, throwing the government into chaos, along with millions of vulnerable lives.
On Sunday, Trump did what he does best, Tweeted and golfed, while Congress remained in Washington though the holidays waiting for him to do something, anything, about anything at all other than trying to steal the election, essentially challenging Trump to pick a crisis and make a decision about something other than the title of Space Force cadets, a branch of the military that neither exists, nor has any personnel other than Commodore Pence, whether they be invisible Space Cadets, Guardians or Ensigns of The Ether.
Then late on Sunday night Trump signed the stimulus bill with its insulting $600 stimulus checks for desperate workers in debt for ten times that amount due to the pandemic, while Senate Majority Leader McConnell threatened to block the House CASH Bill that would raise the checks to $2,000, presumably so that the people of his impoverished home State of Kentucky don’t catch on that 600 bucks isn’t a lot of money to people in the rest of the country.
On Monday the European Union launched a massive 27-nation, 450-million people vaccination drive, as well as enacting travel bans from the UK due to the new faster-spreading strain that was already appearing in the United States, while our own vaccination plan has lost its warp speed engines suddenly. Now that we have vaccines, they are being distributed at a maddeningly slow pace as the absence of Federal coordination has already led to theft, scandal and the spoiling of vaccine.
Long past being interested in any of that Covid stuff, and being in the middle of his holiday mega-spreader event schedule at Mar A Lago, Trump opted instead to make plans to visit Georgia for a rally the day before the 2 Senate runoff elections on January 5th, then threatened some vague mayhem in Washington on January 6th when Congress meets to accept and ratify each State’s Electoral votes, a routine procedure overseen by every American Vice President. Trump Tweeted “See you on Jan 6th. Don’t miss it!”
Determined to “miss it” were many of Washington DC’s hotels, including the Hotel Harrington, the preferred hangout of Trump’s flying squads of street thugs, the Proud Boys, when these establishments not only decided to close for the week, but to board up their windows and doors in anticipation of pro-Trump violence in the streets of our nation’s capital on the day that Congress officially ratifies our election results.
And speaking of trying to disrupt the January 6th Congressional meeting, it seems that Congressman Louie Gohmert has also been “standing by” and awaiting this moment, when he led a group of Republicans in suing (!!) Vice President Pence, arguing that he is legally authorized to choose pro-Trump electors when Congress meets next month to certify the results of the presidential election. Pence has no such authority, even if the 140 Republican members of Congress who signed on to Gohmert’s lawsuit wished that was true.
Meanwhile Speaker Pelosi called Trump’s bluff when the House passed the CASH act to supply the missing $1,400 to the stimulus checks, while almost simultaneously McConnell refused once again to allow to Senate to even consider helpjng desperate American families (see above: “they shall have no victories. None.”)
Not to be outdone by his Senate colleague in the Sleazy Billionaire Donors Department, Senator Ted Cruz managed to secure a $35 million Paycheck Protection program loan to the billionaire owners of ProFrac, who used the money to help buy out competitors and monopolize the fracking industry, pretty much the opposite of what the PPP was designed to accomplish; protecting the paychecks of Covid-idled employees, not allowing their bosses to go all John D. Robberbaron on an industry.
President Elect Biden said on Tuesday that his Transition Team “has encountered roadblocks” from political leadership at both the Defense Department and the Office of Management and Budget as well as being kept in the dark by HHS about the pandemic, the people who will inherit this crucial work in just 3 weeks and who will require every bit of information available.
On Wednesday evening we got a glimpse of why Trump is trying so desperately to remain in office by any means necessary when it was announced that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr has hired a top forensic accounting firm to unravel the financial records of the Trump Organization regarding criminal fraud charges being weighed against Trump and his 3 eldest children, among (!) 70 criminal cases against Trump and his family in New York State. The proscription against prosecuting a sitting president is up at noon on January 20, and it appears the Attorneys for the People of New York are poised to keep Trump’s Elite Strike Force of criminal defense attorneys gainfully employed well into 2021 and beyond.
Also on Wednesday, Louie Gohmert found a coconspirator in the Senate when Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri decided to take a shortcut to escaping anonymity when he announced he has signed on to Gohmert’s cockamamie stunt and that he would force the Senate to debate betraying their country for 2 hours on January 6th before accepting Biden’s victory.
Then, as if to show the upstart Hawley who still holds the title for Biggest Scumbag in Washington, Mitch McConnell, fresh from handing literally trillions of your tax dollars to America’s very wealthiest people, said this about giving a working person more than $600: “The Senate is not going to be bullied into rushing out more borrowed money into the hands of Democrat rich friends who don’t need the help,” not only screwing the suffering, but also signaling the Republican Party’s quadrennial rediscovery of harmful budget deficits after a four-year orgy of creating them.
While the private investigators who audited the signatures on more than 15,000 absentee ballot envelopes in one Georgia county found “no fraudulent absentee ballots,” thus rejecting the final possible recount available to Trump, the President was busy promoting videos of Michael Flynn calling for Martial Law and having soldiers run a “do-over election,” while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo waxed eloquent about possibly placing Cuba on the Terror Watch List from somewhere in isolation after he was forced into quarantine because his stupid Christmas party the week before got his wife sick with the ‘Rona.
Then Trump abruptly announced he would leave Mar A Lago for the White House before his planned New Year’s Eve party, leaving his assembled guests hanging, and saddled with the responsibility of infecting themselves, while he flew back to Washington to be on hand for Gohmert and Hawley’s attempted coup on January 6th, with his Proud Boys having to make do standing by in a local Howard Johnson’s or Motel 6.
Thursday, New Year’s Eve and the final day of Week #207, dawned with the sobering news of 3,740 Covid deaths the previous day, a new record for the nation, with still no recent mention from the White House of the raging pandemic killing one of us every 30 seconds, of Russia getting caught redhanded attacking our government’s computers, the explosion in Nashville, or the administration’s lousy performance in delivering vaccines to a desperate nation.
Instead we got treated to the decidedly insane musings of pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood, a point man in Trump’s hopeless attempt to overturn Biden’s victory, when he upped the ante on the craycray by suggesting that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was involved in (!) Justice Antonin Scalia’s death and is (!!) part of a child-sex cult. Then in all his shiny-eyes-crazy glory, the intrepid Mr. Wood, Esq. exhorted apocalypse-minded conservatives to stock up on supplies in preparation for an impending civil war.
And speaking of impending war, Trump sent a flight of B-52 bombers to buzz Iran to “send them a message,” leaving America’s military commanders hoping Iran shares that message with them since Trump hasn’t yet gotten around to sharing his Iran policy with them after 4 years. Also less than bowled over by Trump’s military mastery were our allies in NATO, who lambasted him for not briefing the incoming President about existing threats that Biden needs to know about right now so he can be fully prepared on his first day as Commander in Chief.
In a saner country just north of here, Canadian Minister of Finance Rod Phillips was forced to resign after taking a recent vacation trip to the Caribbean, in violation of his own government’s emergency health and travel rules, while our President golfed and carelessly mingled with unmasked club members at his resort in Florida and our Vice President went to a ski resort, partying like it was 2019, both in blatant violation of their own government’s emergency health and travel rules.
Then, late in the day, the Justice Department pulled the rug out from under The January 6th Louie and Josh Rebellion when, acting on behalf of the Vice President, US Attorneys asked a federal judge to reject the Gohmert & Co. lawsuit “seeking to pressure the Vice President” to illegally overturn the results of the election, pitting the DOJ against Trump’s allies in Congress who have refused to accept Biden’s victory, or have at least convincingly pretended to as long as the political wind blows that way.
It’s just Trump’s hard luck (and further proof that everything is very unfair to him) that Bill Barr’s replacement is the very un-Barrlike Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who thinks the job is on the level and that it’s his job to prosecute crimes like the daylight robbery being planned for January 6th by Trump, Gohmert and Hawley.
America closed out the week not so much ringing in the New Year 2021 as kicking 2020 to the curb like the Houseguest Guest From Hell who stayed way past its welcome.