Once again last week was one where so much happened it is both impossible to identify a single biggest story or even cover all the candidates. I’ll do my best to cover a few. Last week did beg a question which explains this article’s title and I will ponder in the closing paragraph.
NPR was the only credible news source I know of that covered this story but to me it was the most concerning one of last week. Shortly after Turkish President Recep Erdogan emerged from his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia where they effectively cut up Syria and gave Donald Trump his marching orders he declared that with the Kurdish situation resolved his next goal was acquiring nuclear weapons. (Think of it in mob terms: Putin is the Boss of Bosses.)
I have long held that Turkey is the key to the Middle East. Turkey is a NATO member and the United States has 60 (Trump revealed the number the other day which had to be classified information) nuclear weapons in Turkey. Turkey is obviously more in Russia’s orbit than America’s. Russia has a major nuclear arsenal and nuclear technology. Am I the only one who sees a nuclear Turkey as dangerous and destabilizing?
Things are looking worse for Trump on an almost daily basis. Career federal employees are starting to defy Trump and sit for depositions with Congressional committees. These are the people right wing mythology portrays as the Deep State. What they really are is a collection of hard working patriots who put country over partisanship. Most have served for years under administrations of both parties. I’d call them the peoples’ people.
A group of Teapublicans tried to stop a deposition last week by illegally bursting past the Capital Police and into a secure room complete with cell phones and cameras. (There have to be several crimes there.) In my mind it was the Republican Riot 2.0. The first was the Brooks Brothers Riot to stop the Florida recount in 2000. It was certainly closer to domestic terrorism than legislation! Their gripe was that the depositions were being held behind closed doors and they wanted access and the ability to participate. Here are two relevant facts. The members of the three committees heading the impeachment inquiry are allowed into the room. That includes 47 Republicans (about one-quarter of their House caucus) who are allowed to ask questions. Several among the storming mob are part of the 47 and therefore can participate in the proceedings. To steal a phrase from Joe Biden their complaint is a bunch of malarkey. If you want to understand why they pulled their stunt you need to look no further than Donald Trump’s approval.
Multiple new outlets broke the story that the Justice Department has changed the status of their inquiry into the origins of the investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 election to a criminal probe. I think in the long run this will prove to be more of a Trump talking point/distraction than anything else. But it sure does give the right wing disinformation machine a lot of material and waste a lot of taxpayers’ dollars.
Trump’s current Chief Economic Advisor is the grossly unqualified Peter Navarro. In many of his books he cites a source named Ron Vara. Ron Vara is an anagram of his surname. Dr. Paul Krugman – a legitimate and Nobel Prize winning economist – pointed that out in his Friday New York Times op-ed. The president’s Chief Economic Advisor gets his information from his imaginary friend; that is scary!
Speaking of legitimate newspapers, Trump has decreed that federal agencies are no longer authorized to renew their subscriptions to the New York Times or the Washington Post. We wouldn’t want federal employees and decision makers reading two of the world’s five leading newspapers. (The Wall Street Journal, whose straight news is very good, is the other American newspaper among the top five globally.)
On that great economy Trump keeps bragging about here is a bit of news that broke Friday. The federal deficit hit $984 billion in 2019. That is the deficit (one year) not the national Debt (cumulative collection of annual deficits). The biggest contributor was the Trump Tower Tax Cut which did close to nothing to stimulate the economy but blew up the budget. Basically Trump borrowed money to give it to people who didn’t need it and largely offshored it. Maybe Ron Nava thought it was a good idea.
The word is that the Trump family is considering selling the lease on the Trump hotel down the street from the White House. The federal government owns the building and leases it to Trump. Sweet (and almost undoubtedly illegal) scam; you are both the tenant and the landlord and you don’t even own the building but you can extort money via it. My question is the motivation since it is a money maker for Trump. Could Trump see the beginning of the end and is he starting to bail? Could it be the same motivation and he wants to “sublet” while he still controls the executive branch and can intimidate some underling into approving a favorable (to him) deal? I’m can’t identify the exact source of the stench but this one definitely stinks!
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I have served on the board of an organization dedicated to combating domestic violence for about the last decade so this one is somewhat personal to me. The Violence Against Women Act expired earlier this year. Some time ago the House passed its renewal but Kentucky Republican Senator Moscow Mitch McConnell refuses to let it come to the Senate floor for a vote. In 2016 Hillary Clinton won the women’s vote (Trump claims to but this is just another of his lies). The only sub demographic Trump won was white women (53%-47%). This is their payback. What is McConnell trying to extort in exchange for passing this no-brainer?
Trump isn’t the only one in his admiration openly defying court orders. Thursday a federal judge held Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in contempt of court and imposed a $100,000 fine for continuing to act as a collection agency for for-profit colleges. The Education Secretary’s main mission is to be in charge of America’s public education system. DeVos cares about every other type of educational institution but the traditional public schools; in fact for years she has been an outspoken advocate of every other form of education very much including for-profit institutions. Trump’s Cabinet is filled with crooks, liars and incompetents but it’s hard to come up with a more glaring example of the fox guarding the hen house than DeVos.
That was a lot of ground that I covered above, (and I left a lot on the “cutting room floor”). With each passing week it becomes more and more apparent that Trump is not only ruining America; he is ruining what is left of the Republican Party in the process and endangering the Congressional Republicans’ chances of reelection. If the Republicans think in the end Trump will treat them any better than he treated the Kurds they are deluding themselves. I don’t think there is much in the way of quality in the Republican Congressional delegation and likening them to rats, especially considering they are almost entirely Trump sycophants, is only slightly hyperbolic. My question is when will the rats start to abandon the sinking ship?
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