Last week was the worst yet for the Trump administration. My bet is that it will be surpassed many times before this scandal is over. While we were all preoccupied with various versions of court TV, radio, newsprint and computer screen the right wing continued to attempt to accomplish as much evil as it could while the environment is friendly and they could largely go about their sinister deeds undetected. Let’s explore.
I first became aware of a plan to shut down seven of the nine voting sites in rural and overwhelmingly African-American Randolph County, Georgia in a Dana Milbank op-ed in last week Wednesday’s Washington Post. The “justification” was the lack of a handicapped compliant bathroom at the sites. The racial overtones could not be missed.
The plan was the brainchild of consultant Mike Malone. The current Secretary of State in Georgia (and by virtue of his officer, Chief Elections Officer) is Republican candidate for Governor Brian Kemp. Kemp’s Democratic opponent, Tracy Abrams, is attempting to become Georgia’s first black Governor. Malone has donated $250 to Kemp’s election fund. Not a large amount but with blacks being such an important demographic for Democrats and Abrams being black you connect the dots.
Fortunately this is a case where noise and citizen’s actions saved the day. (Citizens visibly attended every meeting on the matter.) On Friday the Randolph County (GA) Board of Elections held a 50 second meeting where they unanimously voted down the plan. What would have happened without the citizen involvement and publicity? I think your conclusion will be the same as mine.
Scott Pruitt may be gone at EPA but the evil continues. Last week Trump’s EPA announced that it was cutting regulations on carbon emissions for coal burning power plants. This is part of Trump’s plan to bring back the coal industry. In simple economic terms it will not! Sooner or later those Trump voters in places like West Virginia will realize that but Trump is banking on getting them to vote his way another time or so in the interim. Remember, especially politically, Trump is a short-term not long-run player.
Also last week the same EPA released a report that projected 1,400 more premature Americans death per year through 2030 as a result of the ruling. The state most adversely effected? You guessed it: West Virginia. Perhaps Trump and the GOP have a master plan to kill off their new found voters about the time they realize they have been screwed.
Last week Tuesday, the day of the Manafort verdict and Cohen plea agreement, California Republican Representative Duncan Hunter, Jr. (he “inherited” his House seat from his daddy – why does that sound familiar?) and his wife were indicted on charges of misusing campaign funds to pay for personal expenses to the tune of over $250,000. Included in the allegations are two luxury vacations and a $600 airplane seat for the family’s pet rabbit.
Hunter was the second member of the House to endorse Trump in 2016. The first was New York Republican Chris Collins who was indicted on insider trading charges the week before. See a pattern here? Oh. I forgot; it must be the persecution of the witch hunt.
Also that same day Facebook reported that it had taken down 652 disinformation accounts that originated in Russia or Iran. It is probably already too late, but doesn’t it irk you that Trump has not made protecting American elections and thereby democracy a high priority? Isn’t it suspicious that he has not made it the subject of an Oval Office or East Room prime time address to the nation? Where is the blue ribbon, bipartisan special commission? Or could it be that he really knows what is going on and is content to benefit from it?
I hope Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine is as smart as I think she is. Last week Tuesday she met with Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh who told her he feels Roe v Wade is settled law. Unlike many on the left, I am not particularly worried about a full frontal assault on and repeal of Roe. What I expect is a series of rulings that effectively repeal Roe; similar to the assault on the Voting Rights Act of 1965. There is no need to lower the speed limit if you take the engines out of cars and cover the streets with nails.
Here is one that needs a huge public outcry and perhaps we can then stop it in its tracks. It is reported that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is considering changing the rules on state and local school district spending of federal education dollars intended for the purchase of textbooks to include purchasing guns and firearms training for teachers. This is contrary to public policy and the public interest. Last March the current Republican controlled Congress passed a school safety bill that specifically prohibited use of its funding for the purchase of guns.
Oh, and as to all those Trump successes; it appears one of them may have run into a bit of a snag. Last Friday Trump asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to cancel a meeting with North Korea because they were not making what Trump felt was satisfactory progress on denuclearization. Surprise, Surprise; the North Koreans lied.
There will be more court actions and revelations in the weeks to come. Last week was Trump’s worst to date but it will not be the worst of his presidency. We need to pay attention to the goings on but we must simultaneously remain cognizant and vigilant with regard to the other evil deeds.
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