Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Tuesday Night Massacre: The Car-Wreck Presidency

Trump greets James Comey at a White House
reception back on January 22nd
Think back to the unseasonably warm evening of February 28th when Donald Trump stood inside a packed House chamber before a joint session of Congress and a nationally-televised audience and boldly declared:

"We have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption..."

Did anyone actually believe that?

How many people watching the speech rolled their eyes when they heard that line?

As the reported, some of the Democratic members of the House and Senate assembled on the floor of the chamber actually laughed out loud when he said it.

Just over 73 days later it doesn't seem quite so funny.

While Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey late Tuesday afternoon has left many (including your's truly) in a state of utter disbelief, there's little doubt it had nothing whatsoever to do with the handling of Hillary Clinton's emails.

Both Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions smugly applauded Comey for altering the outcome of the 2016 presidential elections by publicly re-opening the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails just days before election day.

Two days after his inauguration at a reception at the White House, Trump swept into the room, saw Comey and swooned "Oh here's Jim." before puckering his lips and appeared to blow the former FBI director a kiss from across the room - but as Comey remained adamant about investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, Trump suddenly did a 180 yesterday and sacked Comey for his handling of the same email scandal Trump himself milked like a fat overworked cow for months during the campaign.

Of course the loyal minions of White House Inc. did their best to offer up that laughable excuse to try and validate one of the most shocking examples of presidential overreach in modern history.

The sheer scope of the gall of Trump trying to use his own patently fake outrage over Comey's handling of Clinton's emails as some kind of flimsy shield to cover up his efforts to torpedo the FBI investigation into his administration's ties with Russia is almost incalculable by modern political standards.

Anderson Cooper rolls his eyes as Kellyanne
Conway tries to justify Trump firing Comey
It was a whopper of such immense dimensions that Trump actually trotted out the perpetually-lying Mistress of Obfuscation Kellyanne Conway to weave her confusing mix of "alternative facts" and incomprehensible BS.

Comey must have been getting close for Trump to pull Conway out of the media cellar where she's been stashed for weeks.

That's like the derelict sadomasochist biker Zed telling his sidekick Maynard to "Bring out the Gimp." in that horrifying scene from Pulp Fiction. 

Conway's lies last night were so overt that CNN's Anderson Cooper actually rolled his eyes in disbelief in the middle of the interview in which, among other things, she admonished him for "looking at the wrong set of facts."

Yup. In addition to "alternative facts", Conway now believes facts are divided into "sets".

Nonsensical claptrap like that has earned her such contempt and universal disdain that she's now referred to as Sewer Rat Barbie on social media.

The political and ethical ramifications of Trump firing the man leading a major investigation into ties between senior White House officials and the Russian government are profound, and as both Republican and Democratic political leaders shake off their stupor and decide how to respond (the Senate Intelligence Committee has already issued a subpoena to Comey to testify), for the moment at least, Trump has achieved what he wanted.

A distraction from the nationwide outrage over the contents of the draconian healthcare bill passed by the House last week which will strip at least 24 million Americans of their healthcare, raise premiums, allow insurance companies to refuse coverage for a laundry list of pre-existing medical conditions and transfer hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars from Medicaid and other insurance subsidies into a massive tax cut for the country's wealthiest earners.

Instead of banging my head against a wall, over the past day or so I've been trying to make sense of this horror by re-reading Matt Taibbi's lengthy analysis of Trump's first 100 chaotic days in office titled "Trump the Destroyer" from the April 6th issue of Rolling Stone.

As Taibbi prophetically wrote, "A president like Trump can have an impact even if he never manages to get a single law passed, simply by unleashing stupidity as a revolutionary force."

Just think of the chaos Trump and his administration have thrown the government into; and the Republican-controlled House and Senate have yet to pass a single law.

Trump, Taibbi observed in his RS article, "swings wildly between buffoon and strongman acts, creating confusion and disorder."

That's what firing the director of the FBI was about.

A slide of Trump at a Kushner family event in
Beijing promoting a joint real estate venture   
When Trump stood at podiums inside halls and venues in various Red State enclaves before adoring crowds of disenfranchised and riled-up American voters during the 2016 presidential campaign and repeatedly bragged about his lofty plans to "drain the swamp", who knew he was planning to refill it with something far more toxic of his own making?

It's been nothing short of remarkable watching his administration further sink into an ethical morass the likes of which makes the rampant cronyism of Boss Tweed seem like an amateurish penny-ante scheme.

The past five days have been a startling example of ethical and moral decay on the part of the Trump administration and his advisers.

Just last Saturday the Washington Post broke the story of the Kushner family holding a public event in Beijing where they openly touted their connection with Trump to woo wealthy Chinese investors to cough up $500,000 to invest in a joint Kushner-Trump property in New Jersey to earn a pathway to American citizenship.

Yesterday the news broke about Trump preparing to sell a multi-million dollar luxury property in the Caribbean - and now he fires the director of the FBI to try and derail an investigation into his possible collusion with the Russian government to interfere with an election?

Where does it end? What does he have to do to make Congress take action and do their jobs to ensure that the checks and balances at the heart of the Constitution are functioning components of a vibrant and healthy Democracy?

As Matt Taibbi wrote in Rolling Stone, "But while we keep looking for his hidden agenda, it's our growing addiction to the spectacle of his car-wreck presidency that is the real threat. He is already making idiots and accomplices of us all, bringing out the worst in each of us, making us dumber just by watching."

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