The week begins with the first indictments by Special Prosecutor Mueller. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and campaign adviser George Papadopoulos are accused of a multitude of illegal dealings including lying to the FBI, laundering of $75M from Russian sources thru offshore accounts and sham companies that avoided tax liabilities.
Facebook admits that Russia planted posts to disrupt the 2016 election reached over 25 million followers directly who then shared, commented, and liked them such that they reached 125 million Americans.
Analysis of the Trump tax cut reveals the working middle class and their future generations will pay trillions for a huge corporate tax cut and termination of estate taxes for the wealthy who will benefit the most. No Republican outrage about blowing a hole in the national debt, and that is only an issue with a Democrat is in office. Hidden in the tax bill are other goodies, such as allowing churches to endorse political candidates. Hooray for the constitution!
After a horrifying terrorist attack in NYC, Trump immediately threatens to have the terrorist sent to Guantanamo or better yet have him killed. He then blames Obama and the Clinton’s, even though this occurred on his watch. He also blames the “joke justice system.” Yes, that’s the way to show terrorists they have not won by destroying our judicial system and acting others. Now if only Trump has been as quick to respond about American domestic terrorism and gun control after the Las Vegas shooting a few weeks ago, when he said it was too soon to rush to judgement about gun legislation. .
The week ends with the release of the U.S. National Climate Assessment which makes it abundantly clear that human-influenced climate change is happening and the consequences are substantial. A spokesperson for the White House says the climate is always changing.
Trump heads out for a 2-week trip across Asia. Thank god, maybe we will have some rest and sanity while he is gone.
With Trump off in Asia, America has had a bit of a well-deserved rest from domestic turmoil. Well, sort of.
Trump’s first stop was a campaign-style rally at an American airbase in Japan. Of course, not reaching out to the Japanese people, but a rally where he worships military solutions to all problems.
The autocrats of Asian non-democracies seem to actually like Trump. Why could this be when he is bipolar in one day admiring them and the next day beating them up? Well, it is because they think Trump is just like them. They too have to lie and manipulate their populations, muzzle the free press and elections, bully the opposition, etc. into thinking that they are a nationalist strongman always acting in the best interest of their country and people. While in private they act completely differently. That’s what despots do, and is why they like that high and mighty America now has one just like them.
Practicing this, the Trump administration tightened rules for Americans wishing to travel to Cuba. Yes, all the irony, that makes perfect sense to continue to pick on this defenseless communist island nation the same week that Trump is in communist China admiring what the communists have done to their economy that finances the American lifestyle.
Meanwhile in the Middle East, another dictator Trump blushes all over the Saudi Crown Prince, purges and arrests his political opposition. And the government-run Saudi press celebrated the arrests. Trump must surely be beyond himself wishing he could just do the same in America.
Well maybe he can. Trump keeps demanding investigation into Hillary Clinton, long after the election, and his FCC is trying to force the sale of CNN out of ATT. It is rumored that Fox News Murdoch’s would then buy CNN. We know exactly what will happen after that media consolidation.
The more we find out about the new tax reform the more the middle class understands it is a ploy of redistribution of wealth from those that work for their income to those that have investments that work for them of which they live off.
A year ago this week, on 11-9 not 9-11 the nation awoke learning that Trump had won. Only now do we understand how this was possible with the help of the Russians gaming the ignorance, gullibility, and darker side of Americans.
But finally some good news. Democrats who have found their backbone and were not afraid of their shadow won many elections across the country this November.
The Republican Senate continues dismantling all the gains and protections of the last half century, many of them first pioneered by their own party under Republican presidents. They are wallowing in an orgy of deregulation and greed. The Endangered Species Act is now under fire. Then the agency which oversees banks and consumer protections is now being decapitated by installing new leaders who come from the financial institutions they are now supposed to regulate. The director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau quits early, likely out of frustration with his boss. The FCC loosens rules that prohibit media ownership in the same market. And even elephants in Africa are not safe as Trump’s Fish & Wildlife Agency reverses the ban on importing elephant trophies.
However, Republican senators are slow to attack Alabama Roy Moore after a number of women claimed that he sexually harassed them when they were just teenagers and Moore was in his 30’s. The hypocrisy of this party that claims moral leadership, ethics, and Christianity as its ethos is beyond comprehension.
Trump’s Asia trip to the Philippines shows a photo of Trump joking with the strong man president of a country, Duterte, that has cursed U.S. presidents and has a record of human rights violations. But never a word was said by Trump challenging atrocities such as extrajudicial executions. Of course, Trump has said he favored the instant death penalty of Americans. Trump claims what a great relationship he has with Duterte. All thugs and despots like other ones in power because it gives them a sense of legitimacy for their own behavior. Trump must have really liked when Duterte’ security detail roughed up members of the press who were asking tough questions. Throughout his entire Asian itinerary there was no talk about Democratic values.
Trump says that if Putin claims Russia did not interfere in the US election, then Trump believes him. Putin is one of the few people who Trump has never attacked. Hum.
It comes out that Donald Jr. traded messages with Wikileaks during the election about leaks that would harm the Clinton campaign.
The week ends with Tax reform, not tax cuts and income redistribution from working Americans to corporations, passing the House. The impact of the national debt is expected to be in the trillions. The corporate tax cuts are huge and permanent. The cuts for working Americans are temporary of course. Democrats call it for what it is, a tax scam and bag of lies. More than 80% of the cuts are for businesses and wealthy Americans. As if during a time of low-interest rates and the world in a wash of capital, corporations need lower taxes to help them finance growth. They do not. Tax cuts will only swell dividends and stock by backs, favoring of course the wealthy.
Carbon emissions which held flat the past few years are on the rise again. In an act of sheer dystopian lunacy, Trump’s shill at a global climate change meeting in Bonn talked up the use of coal. Delegates from around the world shook their head. Back home we wept for the planet and our children’s future.
At the end of his Asian trip Trump doubled down by saying that Putin means it when he said Russia did not meddle in U.S. elections. Putin continues to be one of the few public figures and politicians that Trump has not slandered or attacked.
European leaders, still in dismay of Trump’s behavior, are quoted as saying that the President of the U.S. is no longer the voice of the free western world. State Governors have started to act on their own in diplomacy with foreign governments where they share a common concert about the environment, trade, or human rights.
Not to be content with wrecking havoc on the executive branch, the Trump administration is reshaping the federal appellate courts by stacking them with conservative ideologues.
Trump’s Chairman of the Republican-dominated FCC leadership has proposed repealing the Internet neutrality rules put in place under the Obama administration. Without this regulation internet providers can block or charge more for faster access to whatever sites they wish to.
The overall tally of regulatory rollbacks by the Trump administration is now over 100. They include rules on environmental protection, labor protection, financial protection, consumer rights, health care, civil rights, and employment rights.
A court fight is brewing on who will be the new leader of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. Of course Trump has appointed a critic of the agency, Mick Mulvaney, who can be trusted to deconstruct it as well. He once said the CFPB should be dissolved.
Meanwhile over in the State Dept., Rex Tillerson continues to cut the ranks by getting rid of the most experienced statesmen and women, not filling crucial roles, and in general undermining the role of the peace keepers while Trump builds up the war fighters.
Is there any better word to describe what has happened to our federal government than a coup?
Trump’s next great society program to take down: welfare. Oh, but not corporate welfare or welfare of the wealthy, both which just got a trillion-dollar gift in the proposed tax reform, but welfare for the working poor. Yes, the real problem in this country is that there is not enough income inequality between the poor and rich.
From his holiday week trip to Mar-a-logo Trump calls Turkey strongman leader Erdogan to pledge that we would no longer help to arm the Kurdish freedom fighters which had fought alongside us as allies in Iraq.
The week begins with Trump honoring Native Americans at the White House who helped in wars as “code talkers”. But of course he could not help himself. He had to politicize the event by attacking Democrat Elizabeth Warren, using a derogatory name for Native Americans.
Reports circulate this week that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is going to be fired by Trump. At least Tillerson had it right, when he was once reported to have called Trump a moron. Speculation is that Trump will replace him with another ex-military man on his cabinet. Trump, like aspiring despots around the world, sure likes to fill his administration with the military.
The country is being further torn apart as debate begins in earnest on whether Trump should be removed from office, using the 25th Amendment, as being psychologically unfit and dangerous. Any doubt? Just listen to Trump continue to rail against the leader of North Korea. Instead of calming nuclear jitters he adds fuel in a march to war. Like most wars, it will be set off by a miscalculation, provocation, or just stupid mistake of ignorance and arrogance of either their crazy leader or ours.
The Republican Senate passes a $1.5 trillion dollar tax cut that will raise the deficit by over $1 trillion dollars. Not a word from the deficit hawks that railed against Obama when it was all about the debt. Corporate tax cuts from 35 to 20%, a 43% reduction, are huge and permanent compared to the middle class tax cuts which are meek and can expire in 10 years. Corporations who have hoarded profits off shore will be rewarded. Trump and the morally bankrupt Republican leadership lie that these corporate tax savings will trickle down to help working Americans with more jobs and higher wages. Almost every study predicts that many corporations will simply return the money to shareholders in bigger dividends and stock buybacks. With interest rates low there is already plenty of easy cheap money available for investments and creating new jobs right now.
The evidence speaks for itself as stock markets were up over 300 points the very next day. The tax cuts are just a huge scam of redistribution of income to the wealthy. Trump then lies that the tax cuts and changes to the estate tax will actually cost him money. He can’t open up his mouth without lying. What a joke on Americans who voted for him because he was seen as attacking the elite wealthy. Don’t they realize they have been had by a con man? They will in a few years when these same Republicans insist that spending on education, social services, infrastructure, Medicare, Medicaid, and social security must be reduced to help pay down the deficit that they inflated.
Trump retweets a series of hate inducing anti-Muslim videos that the rest of the world quickly condemns. How much more embarrassed can we be?
The week ends with the special prosecutor announcing charges against Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI. Trump then changes his story of why he fired Flynn, saying by Presidential tweet that he knew Flynn lied to the FBI and VP Pence. If Trump knew Flynn lied, then Trump obstructed justice. Lock him up, lock him up. Trump’s lawyer immediately walks it back saying it was his tweeting, not Trump’s, using the President’s official twitter account.
Trump officials claimed that when Trump asked for the Russian investigation to end by pressing a number of people, and eventually firing Comey, that was not obstruction of justice either. Sure, right. Lock him up, lock him up.
Flynn’s testimony is expected to implicate other White House officials that after the election, but before the inauguration, they spoke with foreign governments about U.S. policy and sanctions, undermining the then current U.S. President. Can you spell sedition or treason?
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.