After a weekend when Trump implicated himself in a tweet about his own likely act of obstruction of justice, the President begins the week by doing what he does the most of: lashing out at other people and never taking responsibility for a thing he has done in his life. Definitely not a conservative value. This time the FBI is back in his sights. He claims that the FBI’s reputation is in tatters, the worst in its history.
Foreboding of what may come from the Russia investigation, some Trump supporters, pundits, and attack dogs begin arguing that the President cannot actually obstruct justice. The rational is because that law does not apply to the President as his office is above the law. So no laws apply to the Presidency. If Trump is indicted and impeached, but claims he is above the law, will Americans have to rebel en mass to remove this man from office?
The next day he remarks how Michael Flynn has been untreated very unfair. Yes, a man who has lied to the justice department and who likely colluded with the Russians, and sold his military credentials around the world to other nation states not always friendly to the U.S., is being treated unfairly. Can we not expect that Trump will give him a presidential pardon early just to cut off others who may want to deal and plea bargain away incriminating information about Trump?
Trump’s attention then goes on to attack U.S. National Monuments. He claims he is giving these public lands back to the American people when he takes them away from the protection of the U.S. Government. What a bunch of *&^% and another double-speaking Orwellian lie. He is mostly giving them over to the state which will then, without federal protections, open the land up for oil and gas businesses to extract natural resources.
In more news that just makes us shake our bowed heads in disgrace, Trump gives a full endorsement to Roy Moore for U.S. Senator from Alabama. Yes, support a man who has been accused by numerous women that he pursued and harassed them when they were underage. This signals for the rest of the Republican Party to fall in line. Of course, for these evangelical God-fearing conservatives it is better to have a pedophile predator in office than a Democrat.
In another act that dismays most of the free world, Trump recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel where he says the U.S. should move its embassy. It enrages the Palestinians and many other leaders around the world.
Trump’s new pick of the leader of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau is quick to start undoing things that protect consumers. They have asked that previous decisions on making banks pay for their misdeeds be held up.
Other Republican-led commissions and organizations continue to whittle away at the democracy through their plans to purge voter roles, especially in electoral-contentious states like Florida and Ohio. Some of the plans pull voters off the roles if they have just missed two elections.
In the President’s nominations to fill key positions in government agencies dealing with complex matters in science, energy, research, weather, and healthcare he continues to promote people who have few educational qualifications in the areas they are to lead. Loyalty to Trump seems to be the most important credential in his picks, not surprising.
Now that the new tax bill is on track for signature, and deficits are looming around the next corner, talk of the Republicans predictably turns to the need to starve the beast of government. That means cutting back spending on infrastructure, health care, education, Medicare, social security, and the list goes on. But probably not the Congressional slush fund which they use to pay off victims among their staff whom they have sexually harassed.
The week ends with Trump giving a speech in the Deep South where he ends the week with how he started it, by misstating facts and lying to the public. This time it was about the rates of home ownership, creation of wealth, wages going up, and factories pouring back into America since he took office.
The week begins with multiple women renewing their accusations against Trump of sexual harassment. Never to miss an opportunity to blame the victim, Trump dismissed the claims and attacked them. Democrats call for Trump to resign; but we all know they only way people like Trump will likely leave the White House is under impeachment or by force of law.
The Republican tax reform bill looks sure to pass out of Congress. It is mostly a huge tax reduction of up to 46% for business that is permanent, but measured in the single digits for individuals which will expire. A commentator reminds the public that Republicans are doing what they do best in comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted.
This is followed by a World Bank report which documents that income inequality is worsening around the globe; mostly as a results of regressive policies that favor the rich. Tax codes have become less progressive. There has been a huge redistribution of wealth from the common good to the private sector. Much of the wealthy world lives outside the public commons in a secure bubble of private education, private infrastructure, private travel, private healthcare, and private wealth management.
Trump continues his attack on American institutions calling the FBI disgraceful. How long can it be before he fires the special prosecutor? How will the Congress and Americans respond? His Republican-dominated FCC finally repeals net neutrality regulations. It is only a matter of time before the private sector begins to segment and monetize different performance bands and content on the internet. More privatization of the American commons and public spaces must make Putin and the Russian oligarchs very happy.
A bit of good news is that President Trump, Steve Banon, and the rest of the Republican Party lost a senatorial seat in all places, Alabama. If Alabamans have awaken to the shameless policies and divisive rhetoric of this party, maybe there is hope for the rest of America.
The week begins with a leak of the words that the leadership of the CDC has warned should not be used while living in the political world of Trumplandia. They include the words science-based, evidence-based, transgender, diversity, entitlement, vulnerable, and fetus. The CDC, like other federal agencies, is worried that these words will somehow offend the sensibilities of Congress or the current administration. Yes, “science-based” is a bad term. God please help us.
The Republican tax bill is signed into law by Trump. It remains a largely unpopular tax cut which benefits businesses and the wealthy. It does little to simplify the tax code, nor to slow the increase in income and wealth inequality. In fact, it does the opposite just like everything the Republicans say or do. In Trumplandia the intentions or truth is damn near always the opposite. Americans will soon learn to understand how the country will pay for the $1.5T estimated deficit increase with a reduction in spending for social services, infrastructure, education…..everything except war making.
Trump sets out his national security strategy in a dystopian scenario of a scary competitive world full of conflict, scarcity, and fear where America must fight to be the first, biggest, greatest, and meanest. But he never says a word about the perils of climate change or humanitarian crises around the world. I weep to think that the world he projects on others is the exact world he will create one way or the other.
In ever such good news, Putin of Russia thanks Trump for tipping off the Russians of a possible terrorist attack. Yes, it is ever so comforting to see the adulation and admiration shared between these two authoritarian leaders.
The White House continues to attack the free American press who call out the President for his continued unapologetic lying.
Over 128 countries have now condemned the President’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, saying it will only slow down or impair peace talks. As a result, more violence erupts with yet more deaths that can be traced back to Trump’s policy of inciting anger and hatred at home and abroad.
President Trump has headed to Florida for a “working vacation” over the holidays. What that likely means is that he plays golf, tweets out inflammatory barbs, and watches TV coverage of his presidency. Most of his evangelical followers must surely be proud of him that his favorite time of spewing out tweets attacking or mocking others is on Sunday morning, when he could be in church.
Over his holiday Trump takes credit for the largest tax cut in history (not), ending the war on Christmas (not), the best stock market year ever (not), the greatest economy of modern history (not), and for all practical purposes, killing off Obamacare with his tax bill (not yet). A NYT editorial has tracked the number of the most obvious untruths and lies from Trump since his inauguration which now stands at over 100. The man cannot open his mouth without an exaggeration, misrepresentation, deception, self-aggrandizement or outright lying.
As the year ends the Trump administration continues its war on nature and the environment by proposing to kill offshore oil production rules put in place after the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.
In an act of good will towards all he next fires all of the remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS after a number of them resigned in protest of Trump’s policies.
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.