Bearing Witness to Trump Month 21

Week of October 1 – 6, 2018

In a political rally that reminds us of movie scenes from Nazi Germany, Trump mocks Dr. Ford’s testimony about being a victim of a sex crime by Judge Kavanaugh. At least some Republicans have the moral courage to distance themselves saying it was a new low in Presidential (mis)behavior.

The FBI conducts a one-week express background check of the new allegations from multiple women against Kavanaugh. The White House says it is not constraining where the FBI goes with its investigations, yet the FBI only interviews nine people, and not even Dr. Ford. We know the White House lies daily. The Republican Senate appears hell-bent on confirming the judge regardless of what the FBI reports, just like they completely ignored Dr. Ford’s testimony and went off blaming the Democrats for everything.

The NYT publishes a scathing history of where Trump made his fortunes, and most of it appears to be from inheritances and tax evasion scams. Trump denies both and sticks with the TV personality that he was a self-made man, despite all the contrary evidence that his father used shell companies and other illegal mechanisms to transfer hundreds of millions of wealth to his son.

The First Lady begins her solo tour of Africa and appears to be enjoying it and doing the U.S. full justice with her stately behavior. It is odd that she did not take her son Barron on such an educational opportunity. Perhaps Trump refused to let him go, fearing that Melania might never return home or seek asylum elsewhere.

The President celebrates a trade deal with Canada after Mexico last week. Trump claims it will transform America back to being a manufacturing powerhouse. NAFTA is now dead. Most economists yawn as it being not that different from what we had before.

As Turkish strong-man Erdogan continues his crack down on freedoms and the press, Trump has the U.S. military now training Turkish forces to conduct patrols of the Syrian border.

In the South China Sea Chinese and American warships come perilously close to a collision in contested international waters. Will anyone be surprised when the inevitable incident happens claiming the lives of both Americans and Chinese? I can only imagine the President will blame Americans or perhaps the Democrats if not Hillary and Obama and… .

Defense Secretary Mattis this week claimed that Russia was in new violation of a nuclear weapons treaty with the U.S. by its deployment of new missiles. Trump says nothing, and then goes on the road to political rallies stoking up anger and division of fellow Americans against each other by calling Democrats evil.

While the evidence of Russia’s meddling into U.S. elections past and present continues to grow, V.P. Pence blasts China for trying to undermine Trump at home. Yes, like all Republican bullies, the President picks a trade war fight with China, and then his lap dog V.P. blames the victim. Just like they do with victims of sexual abuse.

As the week ends, the Senate confirms Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court by the narrowest of votes. The rushed process and bullying tactics of the Republicans remind us of a repeat of the rushed belligerent process to finalize the 2000 Florida election results of Gore v. Bush.

I wonder how will our democracy survive given all the money of the rich, power of the belligerent, lies of the president, and ignorance and gullibility of the masses? God help us.

Week of October 7 – 13, 2018

Instead of bringing Americans together, Trump is on the road at MAGA rallies where he continues to call Democrats evil wacko unhinged extremist mobs capable of violence. He works up the crowds when referring to the Democrat’s women leadership that gets his fans to chant “Lock Her Up Lock Her Up.” It reminds us of his campaign rallies from the election where he bullied, demeaned, and threatened violence and where he said he would pay the legal fees for those charged. Hillary Clinton finally speaks out and says you cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for. If only she had said that in the election she might have won.

At least some cabinet secretaries have apparently had enough. U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley announced she is leaving the administration at the end of the year. But she can’t help herself from showing her adoration of Trump in a White House meeting. Perhaps she is smart enough to jump ship before it truly runs aground or sinks.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has returned to North Korea once again to make progress on denuclearization. He is seen laughing and being chummy with strong man dictator Kim Jong Un.

The Saudis apparently have kidnapped and killed a prominent Saudi journalist in exile while he was in Turkey, Jamal Khashoggi, who had criticized the Crown Prince. The Trump administration promises to find out the truth, but then adds we should be careful not to spoil the billions of dollars of trade deals between the two countries. That’s right, Trump’s mantra of don’t ever let human rights, morals, or crimes get in the way of deals and money.

Trump this week said that stopping and frisking American citizens, without cause, was a good idea. He was referring mostly to black Americans in Chicago. He then entertains a bizarre visit by Kanye West to the Oval Office that shredded any sense of respect for the office. He was the perfect Trump spokesperson with a rambling, misinformed conversation all while wearing a MAGA hat. It all just seems like a very bad reality TV show that never ends.

Returning from her African trip the First Lady says no one has been bullied like she has. Americans who hear this immediately think of her husband who bullies and demeans everyone, whether that is what she intended or not. She goes on to say that her husband’s affairs and philandering are no concern of hers. WTF?

The stock market has a two-day dive that takes our breath away based on worries about trade wars, rising interest rates, and international affairs. The President responds by what he does best, blaming someone else, claiming that the Federal Reserve Bank was making a big mistake. Yes, America has been addicted to free money for nearly a decade. And like an addict on crack or opioids, we are in denial and throwing a withdrawal tantrum.

At the end of the week it was reported that China’s trade surplus with the U.S. has not gone down with Trump’s trade war as he predicted, but instead has gone up to a record $34.1B for one month alone.

Week of October 14 – 20, 2018

The outrage of the week was the White House’s slow response to condemn the Saudis for the killing that they now admit to of an U.S. resident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Trump says we should give the Saudi’s time for them to investigate their own crime. No wonder that around the world despots, dictators, and autocrats are feeling emboldened to get rid of enemies, as reported by the NYT. Trump enablers go on the offensive claiming that we cannot let human rights get in the way of money money money coming from the Saudis to buy American weapons. We have lost any resemblance of moral leadership.

Trump confirmed he is reconsidering the revised border policy which sought to keep families together. He now says that has encouraged too much immigration at the borders. A caravan of Central Americans escaping leadership failures in the own countries heads northward to the US. Trump, instead of offering help for the migrant families which perhaps might keep them closer to home, warns that he will deploy the U.S. military at the border to keep them from crossing. Or if not that then go all the way to completely close the border with Mexico. Meanwhile, Congress heads down the road to a post-election fight over the border wall.

In our own country Trump continues to fire up his supporters at rallies, and during one in Montana he congratulated a Congressman for body slamming a journalist.

As if they know what it to come, the National Park Service is considering the requirement that protest groups pay for the cost of providing law enforcement before they are given a permit to protest on the National Mall. That is keeping within Trump’s life philosophy of always blaming the aggrieved party and make them pay for being a victim.

Trump appoints the new head of the U.S. Center for Medicaid who is, of course, against expanding Medicaid. This surprises no one as he continues to appoint heads of agencies that are actually opposed to their mission, as reported in the recent bestseller “The Fifth Risk.”

Chaos in the cabinet continues as Defense Secretary Mattis has to defend that he does not plan to leave his post after Trump suggests that Mattis, who he thinks is a Democrat, may very well leave.

Due to last year’s tax cuts the federal government deficit had already grown by over $100B above the deficit of the previous year. The tax cut is not paying for itself as Trump and his apologists promised would happen. The Republican party, which railed against debt when Democrats were in office, are of course quiet. In other economic news the President continues his attack on the Federal Reserve Bank for raising interest rates.

Never to be shamed as not doing their part, Jared Kushner is reported to have paid no federal income taxes for years, just like his father-in-law.

Trump’s bullying and mocking comments about women and minorities continues as he called Stormy Daniels, the woman he paid off hush money to about an alleged affair, “horse faced”. He once again called out Senator Warren as “Pocahontas” for being part Native American.

Trump’s White House Counsel Donald McGahn left the administration and was replaced temporarily by Trump’s personal attorney Emmet Flood who was defending the president in the Russia investigation. Who could possible want this job permanently?

Trump’s perpetual campaign fund already has over $100M in it for an election still two years away.

In America’s longest war the Taliban attack a high-level meeting killing Afghan officials and harrowingly missing the Commanding General of the U.S. Armed Forces in the country. More courageous Americans were injured. Elsewhere around Afghanistan dozens were killed in the tribal violence surrounding new parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, our Congress shows no courage by refusing to confront a war that has gone badly and way too long.

While our troops fight and die to protect fair elections abroad, in the U.S. Republican leaders from across the country have been busy working to gerrymander districts, limit polling places in poor counties, adding voter ID restrictions, and remove or keep off of voter roles thousands of voters, mostly minorities who support Democrat candidates.

Trump, always looking for reasons to spend more money on weaponry, announced that the U.S. would be leaving a nuclear pact with Russia that has served the world well since 1987. Trump says the U.S. will now have to develop a new generation of advanced long-range cruise missiles.

Week of October 21 – 27, 2018

The nation is rocked by over a dozen mail bombs sent to Trump critics including former Democrat Presidents Obama and Clinton, Democrat Supporters, Democrat Cabinet members and Democrat Congressmen. In a news conference Trump calls them despicable, but then goes on to blame the media for all the hatred, vitriol discourse, and anger in the country. Trump takes no responsibility for his non-stop series of rallies where he constantly attacks democrats saying they are evil mobs and works his fans up into chanting “Lock Her Up” and “CNN Sucks.”  Thankfully, the domestic terrorist was quickly found and arrested. He was of course a Trump partisan and fan with his social media and vehicle plastered with pro-Trump and anti-Democrat rants. Trump is acting like a domestic terrorist that is as one put it early in the week, “a wrecking ball of democracy destroying our country.”

Trump continues on his tirade against refugees from Central America claiming, without any evidence, that there are terrorists and middle easterners in the caravan. Instead of offering to send humanitarian aid, he sends the U.S. military to the southern border and threatens to close the border to all immigrants, including those seeking asylum. How much more ashamed should all of his supposedly Christian supporters be?

The Trump administration starts circulating a memo proposing to reverse previous guarantees that LGBTQ-rights advocates had won to keep from being discriminated against based on their gender-chosen identity. Just like the migrant caravan, it is seen as just another pathetic attempt to whip up the president’s political base of conservatives to be afraid, very afraid of migrants, gays, democrats, media, and the list goes on and on.

Treating his base as stupid, Trump throws out a political bone two weeks before the election of another major tax cut. Yes, the last tax cut has hardy been felt in the wages of working Americans, but has exploded the national debt, so he doubles down on more that will likely go to the wealthy.

Trump has us back in the cold war with US National Security Advisor John Bolton and hawk in Russia threatening to dismantle the INF nuclear arms treaty brokered and showcased by Republican President Reagan.

Trumps lies continue unabated this week. Trump fact checkers and truth watchers have documented that he lies about 5 times a day.

The Saudis start to come clean that the murder of U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was premeditated. Trump responds not by new sanctions on the Saudis for human right violations, but says the Saudi’s just had the worst cover up ever. Yes, that is his mindset. Not that the crime was a heinous one that should be punished, but that the coverup was botched.

Trump reportedly continues to use a personal cell phone that is being listened in on by Chinese and Russian spies.  Of course he railed against Hillary Clinton during the campaign for doing similar things, but now that he is King he can do whatever the hell he wants, then lie about it, blame others and distract us with more chaos.

With so much political strife and uncertainty about trade and international relations, the stock market in a 3-week slide loses all of the gains from the year. It is no longer a surprise when the stock market swings by 500-1000 points in one day.

It all feels like it is a tinder box that one more little thing will push everything over the cliff.


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.