Keep Calm and Ignore Trump – Last weekend, terrorism hit London again when a van ran over pedestrians on London Bridge, followed by terrorists leaping out of the van and stabbing dozens; seven were killed. There were many heroes that day from the baker who fought off the terrorists with a crate to the man who fled a bar andreturned later to settle his bill (we can’t all be Harrison Ford in Patriot Games . . . but we can at least make the world better by being a good person). In the midst of this terrible event, one person stood out as a coward and a bad person, Donald Trump. Trump determined that the best reaction to a terrorist attack in the largest city of our closest ally was to attack the mayor on Twitter. “Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his ‘no reason to be alarmed’ statement. MSM [Main Stream Media] is working hard to sell it!” Trump was reacting to Mayor Khan informing his citizens that there would be an increased police presence over the coming days and that the people should remain calm. Apparently, Trump has a visceral relationship to brave leadership . . . or maybe it’s just people named “Khan”. Last summer, he went after Gold Star parents, Khizr and Ghazala Khan. Genghis, Wrath of, and the tiger in the Jungle Book, you’re all on notice.
Our Deepest Condolences that You Got What You Deserve – Terrorism visited another part of the globe this week, when terrorists invaded Parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran, killing 17. This time the White House made Trump’s approach of attacking the victims of terror part of its formal statement, “We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times. We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.” [emphasis mine – although I guess they did underscore it, so emphasis both of us?] I’m glad the White House showed restraint and changed their original statement of, “How does that terrorism feel? Not very nice, huh? Sucks to be you.”
Building Burning Bridges – This week was officially “Infrastructure Week” at Trump’s White House. I’m not sure exactly what that means; it sounds kind of a like one of those special weeks when Pat and Vanna would take Wheel of Fortune to Omaha or somewhere. Anyways, you may recall, that in the halcyon days when many were trying to convince themselves Trump wasn’t actually an orange Baby Huey with ADD, people pointed to infrastructure investment as something positive that could come out of a Trump presidency. What would Trump’s big “Infrastructure Week” idea be? Rebuild our failing bridges? High speed rail? A 200-mile water slide from Trump Tower to the White House? Nope, he wants to privatize Air Traffic Control. Trump’s big public infrastructure move is to sell off public infrastructure. I have to turn to the Wheel for how best to describe that idea . . . bankrupt.
Like Stealing Money from Kids with Cancer – Before he had the power to take health care away from millions to give himself a tax break, Trump made ends meet by taking funds raised to help child cancer patients. Eric Trump’s foundation runs a golf tournament to benefit St. Jude’s. A big selling point has been that almost 100% of the donations go to help the kids, since the foundation could use the course at Trump National Westchester for free. That was initially the case. However, Ebenezer Trump saw an opportunity to take Tiny Tim’s crutches and just couldn’t help himself. According to Ian Gillule, former membership and marking director at Trump National Westchester, “Mr. Trump had a cow. He flipped. He was like, ‘We’re donating all of this stuff, and there’s no paper trail? No credit?’ And he went nuts. He said, ‘I don’t care if it’s my son or not-everybody gets billed.’” Tournament costs billed by Trump’s golf course to Eric Trump’s foundation suddenly jumped up to $142,000 in 2011, and increasing to $322,000 in 2015.
As The Tяump Turns – Outside of the small issues raised by James Comey, there were some b and c plots on this week’s episode of As The Tяump Turns. First, Deutsche Bank, which has been fined recently for its role in laundering $10 billion in Russian oligarch money ignored requests from the House of Representatives regarding Trump’s financial ties to Russia. Second, the FBI arrested 25 year-old government contractor, Reality Winner (seriously, that’s her name. We are so far through the looking glass, I can’t believe her name isn’t “Jabberwocky”), for sending a highly classified National Security Agency document to The Intercept. Much discussion has been about her arrest and The Intercept’s failure to protect its source. There has been less focus on what the document says – namely that Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on a U.S. voting software supplier and sent fishing emails to over 100 local election officials. This is your periodic reminder that one of the first things the Republicans did this legislative session was vote to shutter the sole agency responsible for safeguarding against voting machine hacking, the Election Assistance Commission.
What’s the Worst That Can Happen? – While the nation was transfixed on the former FBI Director calling the President a liar, the GOP thought the best thing to do to help get our country back on track would be to repeal Dodd-Frank. Dodd-Frank is the set of regulations put into place to attempt to regulate big banks and provide consumers with protection after unbridled Wall Street nearly destroyed the entire world economy. The repeal vote breakdown was 233 in favor – 1 against for Republicans and 0 – 185 for Democrats. Tell me again how there’s no difference between the parties. Democrats will likely filibuster this bill in the Senate, killing it for now.
And Then They Came for Us Weekly – Trump’s tiny fingers have worked their way into every nook and cranny of our lives. However, there was still one place I could go to get away from it all, a place where I knew everybody’s name and they were just like me, the pages of Us Weekly. Well, this week, that sanctuary of celebrity news was violated. On the cover was a puff piece on Ivanka, declaring, “Why I Disagree with My Dad.” In March, the media conglomerate that owns The National Enquirer purchased Us Weekly. That conglomerate is owned by a huge Trump supporter. Expect to see in coming issues about how White House staff are just like us! They hide in bushes, they pocket tweet, and they don’t work on weekends!
The Badger (the Poor) State – Wisconsin continues to do all it can to distance itself from its progressive past. On Wednesday, it became the first state to submit a request to drug test its applicants for Medicaid. I mean everyone knows that the best and least cost-effective way to treat people with drug addiction is to cut them off from all public services.
A Slick Attorney – Trump nominated Jeffrey Bossert Clark for the top environmental lawyer for the Department of Justice. What’s Clark’s relevant experience? I’m sad you asked. Clark represented BP in lawsuits from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, the worst oil spill in U.S. history. When not keeping money away from oil covered seabirds, Clark challenged U.S. climate policy on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce.
Kansas Finally Has a Brain – Under the leadership of Governor Sam Brownback (R) and with the support of the Koch brothers, Kansas became the laboratory for the “tax cuts + government spending cuts = a private jet in every garage” economic theory. This may sound familiar to you as Brownback’s former congressional staffer, Paul Ryan, is working with Trump to take this plan national. Well, it’s been such a failure that the KansasRepublican-controlled legislature overrode Brownback’s veto this week, undoing the tax cuts and increasing revenue by $1.2 billion over the next two years.