The week starts with news of another mass gun shooting that takes 58 lives with 500 plus wounded from an otherwise ordinary if not eccentric (but wealthy who are allowed to be eccentric) white man who had an arsenal of dozens of guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition brought up to his luxury hotel suite. Trump and the rest of the NRA-funded cowards of course says it is far too early after the tragedy to talk about gun control. Editorials are written asking if this would have been a Muslim or black man or ISIS operative can you imagine the war that would have been immediately started to fight this type of terrorism. But when it comes from NRA-inspired domestic terrorism on our own society, not a word is said about the ideologies, culture, money, and arms suppliers that support these enemy combatants who live among us.
This week Americans learned that service members were killed in yet another new country: Niger. Who even knew that we had combat troops in another sovereign country.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is reported to have called the President a “moron” shortly after Trump said Rex was wasting his time trying to negotiate with the North Koreans. D.C. is ripe with speculation that yet another administration official will not be long for his job. (He would follow the FBI head, HHS head, national security head, chief of staff, press secretary, and two other heads he wants, the Attorney General and Treasury. The latter being bullied by Trump for flying on charter aircraft which is only for the King and his family. Rex falls on his sword bowing to the boy-king by calling a press conference where he does not deny calling Trump a moron, but praises Trump instead for being so patriotic. Rex loses all support as being a realist when he says that Trump puts America first. No, Trump puts Trump first. But Rex may be a patriot by staying in his job to keep chaos of the Trump White House from spilling over into new wars.
Trump visits Puerto Rico after the devastating hurricane and proclaims the recovery he has led is a miracle, and one with so few casualties too that he takes pride in! Then he tosses out paper towels to the needy in the crowd like he is at a campaign rally. Rex is right, he is a moron. To show his empathy at a time of such great tragedy, Trump proclaims that this territory has cost the U.S. a lot of money, as if the victim is to blame once gain in Trumplandia.
This week Trump has moved closer to decertifying the Iran nuclear deal that has kept a crisis in fragile Middle East from boiling over. Of course, let’s create two new crises; one in Korea and the other in the Middle East. Nearly everyone else in his administration says the Iran deal is working and should be kept, including defense chief Jim Mattis. A man like Trump that sees the world as a dangerous place where disorder and chaos is everywhere and only the strong will survive, will of course create his own self-fulfilling destiny dragging us into the pits of hell with him.
Not to let a week go by without flaming the free press, he call them “fake news networks” for reporting on the Russian interference in elections. This against every investigative body that has concluded that yes the Russians did interfere, including that from a just-released Senate report. Trump then calls for the press to be investigated and leakers prosecuted. Heil Trump!
The Congress, unable to make health care better, is doing a good job of making it worse for nearly 10 million children who receive services as part of the CHIP insurance program. They cannot reach agreement so they let the program and future of children suffer.
It was a particularly bad week for the planet and environment. Trump took the first steps to having his EPA dismantle the Clean Power Act, the Walrus will not be listed as a threatened species, restrictions on methane output were held up, the sage grouse loses its protection and the list goes on. A NYT article has found that by reviewing Director Pruitt’s meeting calendar he has spent nearly all of his time meeting with the industry he is supposed to regulate, and almost none with people and environmental organizations he should be defending.
Protection of women and sexual orientation also take a hit. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ends protection for the transgender population under the civil rights act. The birth control coverage mandate of the ACA gets weakened. Meanwhile a conservative Republican, Tim Murphy who fought against women’s reproductive choices and abortion rights, was found to have encouraged his mistress to get an abortion. This follows another pro-life lawmaker from TN who was said to also have encouraged women to get an abortion when it was to his advantage.
At the end of the week a new poll reveals that only 24% of the population believe the Un-United States is on the right path and 67% disapprove of the job Trump is doing. The only news of the week that seems sane.
This week starts with more inter-party fighting between Trump and Congress. Trump blames TN congressmen Bob Corker for constructing a bad Iran deal and obstructing the Trump agenda, that was of course another Trump lie. Corker fired back that the White House was missing adult day care and told the NYT that WWIII under Trump was a possibility as there are only a few people who separate the country from Trump’s chaos. We all know Trump thrives in bullying, chaos, fighting, conflict, blaming, and shaming….so it is not unreasonable that will lead some other country or madman to try to take him and us down when they have had enough.
EPA Director Scott Pruitt makes good on his promise to rescind the Clean Power Act just weeks after 4 hurricanes hit the Americas and the very same day that a dry hot California is burning. A few days later a 10th storm in the Atlantic becomes a hurricane for the first time in 100 years that ocean has experienced so many storms.
Trump continues to wreck havoc upon the ACA hoping it will collapse. This week he signed an order repealing subsidies to help low-income insured buy their policies. He then approves allowing associations to sell low cost policies across state lines with few requirements. Both are expected to ravage the stability of the existing insurance market for the poor, sick, and elderly who have preexisting conditions.
Add UNESCO, Prisoner Halfway Houses, and the NOAA / National Weather Service to the list of institutions that Trump is threatening and trying to deconstruct. He acts more like an anarchist who destroys instead of a businessman who creates. Like in other appointees, he has nominated a businessman from the industry – Accuweather this time – without a science background to manage the science agency NOAA. Accuweather had lobbied to restrain the amount of information the NWS provides the public, and likely wants the agency and its data privatized. I suppose we can soon expect that NOAA will rid itself of a mission to better understand climate change.
Trump, not to be content with a war of words between North Korea and the US, now has one going with Iran. Trump blames Tehran for a long list of violations in spirit to the nuclear deal and Iran promptly responds.
Trump threatens the FCC broadcast licenses of NBC to protest their fake news coverage of a meeting where he reportedly said we needed thousands of more nuclear weapons in our arsenal to return it to levels of the 1960’s. What other aspiring autocrats have threatened the press like this? What other madmen want more nuclear weapons? Oh, yes, the ones that Trump now rails against in his own long psychological shadow.
The U.S. top ethics watchdog officer has warned the public about the growing breach of ethics across the Trump administration.
More details come out about the ambush of Green Berets in Niger, a country most Americans cannot find on a world map. It seems they were ill prepared for combat and did not have access to resources for being quickly rescued. Can anyone in the Trump administration or fellow Republicans remember or say “Benghazi now?” Of course not; that was only for Hillary and Democrats.
The President continues his attacks on NFL players and sends V.P. Pence to a game just so he can walk out after a few players take a knee during the national anthem. The President’s anger eventually revert back to attacking the press and now sports media, ESPN. He threatens the NFL with repeal of their tax treatment.Trump is masterful at distracting a nation into the sewers.
In this week’s bullying, Trump challenges the intelligence of Rex Tillerson and mocks the height of Bob Corker. Even Trump’s ex-wife and current wife are fighting in the public space.
The Dept. of Homeland Security has a new chief. Someone with deep experience who understands terrorism and world affairs? Of course not. Someone loyal to the White House? Yes.
The spat with Turkey builds momentum as visa services between the two countries have now been halted following the arrest of consulate employees. All the while the state department languishes with many offices empty and appointees overdue.
The week ends with a Nazi-like report that U.S. citizens when deplaning on completely domestic flights are being asked to show their papers under threat of arrest.
Nearly a month goes by after American servicemen are ambushed in Niger without the President saying boo about it. Then when he does speak, he claims to have called all those who have been killed while he has been in office. Another lie of course. He then lies about the record of other President’s calls of condolences. He also offered $25K to another fallen soldier’s family, but then never sent it until the press found out. When he made one call, he told the grieving widow who was on the way to meet the returning body that the soldier signed up for this fate. As yet another firestorm erupts, critics lash out at the lack of presidential empathy. Of course Trump does not say he made a mistake – the man has never admitted a mistake – and goes on the attack blaming the media, then a congresswoman, and finally liberals. Trump continues to berate the soldier’s family friend and congresswoman for days in a twitter tirade, calling her wacky. Wounds are reopened from Trump’s previous attacks on another gold star family during the election.
Trump’s patter is so predictable. He first says something he knows little about, often exaggerating or outright lying. When caught on the mistakes or lies he then denies it and often digs in deeper with more lies. He then attacks everyone including the press. Finally he distracts us with the next shiny new controversy.
In a rare scene of bipartisan agreement, a deal emerges to restore government subsidies of ACA-mandated insurance, then only to be attacked by Trump.
Trump’s nominee for Drug Czar, Tom Marino, to lead the fight on opioid addiction turns out to have enabled the carnage by supporting legislation which handcuffed enforcement agencies from prosecuting distributors who conspired to ship millions of pills that likely found their way into the black market while enriching the drug industry.
The education department under Trump appointee Betsy DeVos rescinds dozens of guidelines that benefit the disabled and those needing special education.
Finally, a few truly conservative Republican Senators – Jeff Flake and Bob Corker – lash out at Trump by calling his behavior outrageous, dangerous, untruthful, and reckless. They say they will no longer by silent or complicit in what Trump has done to the office and country.
While this goes on the party claiming to save the working middle class wants to fund the huge tax credits for mostly the wealthy by reducing the tax benefits of 401K retirement plans.
The FCC, like other federal agencies under Trump, continues to dismantle protection of the public commons by rolling back rules against media giants owning newspapers and TV stations in the same market, as well as requirements for TV and radio stations to actually have an office or studio in the market they serve! This will bring on more monopolies and consolidation where our press is owned by only a few companies that control what we see and as a result what we think.
The Republican-led Senate overturns protections for consumers against financial giants by limiting our judicial rights in the courts to join class action lawsuits; forcing more arbitration to resolve disputes. Yes, let them wave the flag every time they send soldiers to protect our constitutional rights then work to undermine the very rights for which these soldiers are dying to protect.
And more attacks on environmental protections this past week from the agency that should be protecting the environment and our health; the EPA. The EPA has backed away from examining dozens of dangerous chemicals like asbestos and fire retardants. It comes as now surprise as Director Pruitt has placed numerous chemical industry professionals into the EPA. In other parts of the EPA they have blocked scientists from giving talks on climate change.
Trump lashes out as Democrats who allegedly undertook opposition research about Trump’s ties to Russia, calling it a disgrace. The only problem is that the research was initially started by a Republican right-wing research firm.
The above news has been taken from a number of international, national, regional, and local news media sources, both print and digital. Additional editorial opinions and comments about these news items are those of this author.