Today is another one of those I need to get a lot off my chest days. There is so much on it that it feels like a heart attack in progress. It’s a sunny Saturday morning in the Raleigh area as I begin to pen this for Tuesday’s publication and I’m certain I won’t be able to cover everything that is piled up. In any event, let’s explore.
In the past President Trump has claimed to be a “Very stable genius” on Thursday he “promoted” himself to an “Extremely stable genius”. In my opinion he has gone from a very sleazy grifter to an extremely sleazy grifter. As part of his battle with Speaker Nancy Pelosi he boasts of how calm he is. Hey, with character witnesses like Kellyanne Conway, Mercedes Schlapp, Larry Kudlow and Sarah Huckabee-Sanders who could refute him?
Despite my Tampa Bay Rays losing last night I’m still enjoying the early season scoreboard watching so it’s time for another baseball analogy. Pelosi is acting like a good baseball manager who steps between the home plate umpire and their star hitter who is arguing a strike call. Somebody is going to take the heat and the manager volunteers saving his player. Trump made a huge mistake when he challenged Pelosi. Her position in history is secure; she can leave Congress anytime she wants. Her wealth is unchallenged and she will go down as one of, if not, the greatest Speaker of the House in history. Pelosi is playing Trump like a cheap fiddle. He is way out of his league.
Trump continues to lie about his tariffs with China. The New York Federal Reserve reported that they are costing the average American household $831 a year. With a second round of agricultural aid just approved the two year total in bailouts to American farmers is now $28 billion.
In this unfortunate situation even a city boy like me recognizes the need to bail the farmers out. However this is a self-inflicted wound when you consider that the rural areas largely voted for Trump and it is Trump’s economic ignorance that is causing the problem. The bailouts may well be a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Agriculture is like most businesses in that relationships with customers are often built over years. The lost Chinese customers aren’t doing without the agricultural products, they are buying them elsewhere. When this trade war is resolved they are not necessarily going to run back to their American former suppliers. They may very well stay with their new suppliers.
Friday the rumor became fact; Trump is nominating Ken Cuccinelli to be the next Citizenship and Immigration Services Director. Cuccinelli is a right wing extremist who is well known to political junkies. He is also grossly unqualified for the position; not that that matters under Trump – in fact it would make him fit right in. It appears that Cuccinelli is a favorite of Stephen Miller and Jared Kushner; two unelected “geniuses” (I don’t know if they have reached very or extremely stable rank yet) that Trump listens to. The only silver lining I see in this impending cloud is that the position requires Senate confirmation and Mitch McConnell hates Cuccinelli. This will be a test to see if McConnell has completely sold out to Trump or they are turf sharing Dons.
Friday Trump declared a national emergency in order to approve an arms deal to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Trump knows he could never get congressional approval for the deal. The Saudis and the Emiratis have a lot of money. Trump and Kushner need financing. You connect those dots. Just what is the national emergency Mr. President?
In yet another attempt to keep Bubba in his fold, Trump’s HHS Department announced a proposed rule change. Under Obama HHS had determined that rules preventing discrimination “On the basis of sex” applied to transgender people. Trump’s people want to change that to “The plain meaning of the term” which of course opens the discrimination door. When you fear and loathe the “other” their life becomes valueless.
Late Thursday Trump may have opened the gates to his biggest endangerment of American security since his 2016 campaign. He authorized Attorney General Bill Barr to declassify any and all documents pertaining to all investigations of the 2016 election. Barr has proven to be a sycophant of the first degree. This is nothing more than another attempt to distract and smear the investigations which are continually proving that Trump’s people conspired with the Russians to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. To put it in baseball terms, Barr was the closer in the game that buried the Iran-Contra Scandal and he has consistently lied in the aftermath of receiving the Mueller Report. His mission is to protect Trump not to serve American justice. What makes anyone think he will refrain from selective releases that muddy the water and help Trump? If they jeopardize American and/or allied security in the process do you really think Barr will care?
Trump wasn’t content in just using Barr to attack American security, on Thursday he used Barr’s Justice Department in a veiled attack on its Constitution; more specifically the freedom of the press part of the First Amendment. Espionage charges were filed against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange who is currently in custody in the UK. These specific charges refer to purloined secret data he published that he received from Chelsea Manning when she served in the military. This is a “backdoor” attempt to get a ruling (probably at the Supreme Court level) that the publishing of classified material stolen by a third party is illegal. This situation is too complicated and convoluted to cover in a paragraph or two. All we can hope is that the UK extradites Assange to Sweden first.
Again I failed to cover even half of the topics I wanted to; such is life in Trump’s America. A scandal a day would be an improvement! This is a good news – bad news situation. The good news is that I’m not having a heart attack (it is simply all the malarkey piling up on my chest); the bad news is that Trump is still president.
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