Pulling Away the Ol’ Pigskin Edition
APPROVAL ALERT AT PRESS TIME:
FiveThirtyEight Poll: 39.3% — percentage points lower than last week
Rasmussen Poll: 45% — same as last week
Welcome to Trumplandia, a place where with a bit of wit and snark, we keep the world caught up on all of the tasty Nuggets-O-Trump you may have heard about but were too busy to care. Because most of this minutia occurs just below the massive headlines about the POTUS, it’s in a land of its own. Here, an infusion of social media, video clips and print media meld with our outdated political views to make more delicious “Fake News” about our Commander-in-Chief.
So just like the president, we start it all with a little tweet like this:
The week of our Trump — Jan. 19, 2019: As the day began on Friday, the federal government shutdown had lapsed into its 35th day and there was no sign of any resolution.
President Donald J. Trump continued his use of 800,000 federal workers and their families as a political football in a gambit to force Americans to pay for his wall on the southwestern border.
Coming off a victory lap following the death of Senate bills aimed at reopening the government on Jan. 24, the upbeat Trump hailed the dead GOP bill that got 50 votes but didn’t pass, and scowled at the Democratic bill that also failed because it did not provide him funding for his much ballyhooed border barrier.
Still feeling in control, Trump said he was open to any ideas that might sprout from the minds of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). He said a reasonable agreement would be welcomed, but he expected that agreement to at least come with a “large down payment,” towards the $5.7 billion wall and a prorated funding mechanism.
It was at that time that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, just like Lucy from the Peanuts, giggled a bit at Trump’s ultimatum while she again yanked the football away from the political neophyte leaving Donnie unexpectedly falling flat on his back in a heap of embarrassment.
“I don’t know if he knows what he’s talking about, do you?” she asked a crowd of reporters on Thursday.
It has become common fare for the savvy Pelosi to out maneuver Trump since the Democrats took over the House on Jan. 3. She got him to publicly own the government shutdown, destroyed his dream of a taxpayer-funded wall separating us from Mexico, and told him explicitly he could not deliver the State of the Union in the House of Representatives until after his shutdown had ended.
By Friday afternoon when Trump announced the end of the shutdown from the White House Rose Garden, Pelosi’s influence could again be felt and Orange Julius Caesar embraced the possibility of government reopening under the exact terms he’d first agreed to in December 2018.
That opportunity came last night when Trump signed a short-term spending bill into law that will re-open the government through Feb. 15 and end the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.
The bill, which passed in the Senate and the House, looked suspiciously like one Trump agreed to in 2018 and seemed to follow a request Democrats have been making for five weeks. Fund the government and talk about border security separately.
The move was immediately criticized by all of the usual suspects including the recently empowered Ann Coulter, who called Trump a “whimp” in a tweet. Trump, in turn, went on the offensive and explained that the concession was not a concession at all.
What could have caused such a change of heart?
Was it the delays at New York area airports?
Or maybe historically low poll numbers, with the lowest placing the MAGA man at a 34% approval rating?
Or was it “Lucy?”
It’s always Lucy.
As Congress huddled up on how it could reopen government without hitting a wall, Trump confidante and GOP black bag man Roger Stone was getting sprung from the pokey after being arrested by a squad of FBI agents Friday morning.
Stone, who has been forecasting his arrest as part of the Mueller probe for almost two years, finally got his wish on the morning of Jan. 25 when no fewer than 29 agents and 17 vehicles rolled up on his Florida mansion just before sunrise, scaring his wife and his dogs.
In the end, Stone was arrested and indicted on seven counts including obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements in connection with the Russian attack on the 2016 elections.
After posting bond, Stone appeared in front of the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., stating that he would fight the charges and planned to plead not guilty. He said he expects to be “fully and completely vindicated.”
According to the indictment, the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller alleged that Stone was in regular contact with WikiLeaks — now listed as “Organization 1” — and with the Trump campaign during the summer of the 2016 presidential campaign.
The charge is significant because it suggests that Stone, after the July 2018 release of e-mails stolen from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and a top Hillary Clinton campaign official, a senior Trump Campaign official “was directed to contact Stone about any additional releases and what other damaging information Organization 1 had regarding the Clinton Campaign.”
The indictment further alleges that Stone “thereafter told the Trump Campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by Organization 1.”
The indictment goes on to allege that Stone, in coordination with WikiLeaks, was informed about the Oct. 7, 2016 release of stolen Clinton e-mails. It further suggests that the Trump campaign was communicating through Stone and others with an outlet chosen by Russia’s military intelligence agency.
Barry Pollack, an attorney for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, released a statement that made clear his client was never interviewed by the Mueller team:
“The dawn military-style arrest of Mr. Stone, a 66-year-old political consultant, was wholly unnecessary and served no purpose other than intimidation. The charges against Mr. Stone do not allege that Mr. Stone lied about his contacts with Julian Assange, but rather about his contacts with others and about documents reflecting those communication. The has never spoken with Mr. Assange. It remains unknown what criminal charges have been brought against Mr. Assange in the Eastern District of Virginia. The government continues to refuse to explain to Mr. Assange or the public the nature of those charges.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Trump personal attorney Jay Sekulow stated the Stone indictment had no ties to the president.
“The president did nothing wrong,” said the Huckster in a Friday morning interview on CNN, which aired the footage of Stone’s arrest exclusively. “There was no collusion.”
Stone was released on $250,000 bond and was also given travel restrictions that confine him to South Florida, New York City and the Washington D.C. area. His next court appearance is scheduled in Washington on Jan. 29.
Whamp, Whamp, Whamp, Whamp
The only good that came from the clusterfuck of a closed federal government was the undeniable answer it gave working-class Trump supporters about their place in the party and among its wealthiest supporters.
As the shutdown stretched on, the wealthiest Cabinet in U.S. history proved they did not give a flying fuck about their working-class supporters. In fact, even if you hate Muslims and Mexicans with them, it was clear you are never going to be with them.
Tone deaf and not unsympathetic when the going got toughest for the 800,000 federal workers without a paycheck, several Trump Cabinet members showed off their true colors, which amounted to flipping those workers a big middle finger in their time of need.
Too many unpaid federal workers somehow remained supportive of Trump even though he created a hell that saw them standing on soup kitchen lines, losing their homes and not being able to pay daycare for their children.
President Dickwad found ample time to prance onto news programs and castigate Democrats for the shutdown he said he’d own, all because more responsible lawmakers in the House refused to allow him to use taxpayer dollars to fund construction of his “big, beautiful, wall.”
No one should forget the president’s long-running fib that furloughed federal workers were glad to work for free, and that those workers who had not been paid since last year were happy to suffer because they believed Americans should pay for a wall that Trump first said would be financed by Mexico.
Often too thick and loyal to question their beloved leader, this week it was his support staff that delivered the message of indifference to those facing eviction, hunger and homelessness because Donnie wanted to pander to his base supporters and to the likes of Coulter and Sean Hannity.
The president’s own daughter-in-law kicked things off on Jan. 23 with an interview on BOLD TV with its host, Carrie Sheffield. The wife of Eric Trump told furloughed workers to quit their whining, suck it up and take one of the team:
“It is a little bit of pain, but it’s going to be for the future of our country and their children and their grandchildren and generations after them will thank them for their sacrifice,” the vapid billionaire chided. “Right now, I know it’s hard. I know people have families, they have bills to pay, they have mortgages, they have rents that are due. But the president is trying every single day to come up with a good solution here.”
Lara Trump went on to tell the workers to look past that pain and focus on the importance of fixing the immigration problem by paying $5.7 billion for a wall to keep out more immigrants.
Then came a doubleheader of uplifting words from the Trump money men — Commerce Secretary Wilbur “Slippers” Ross and Director of the U.S. National Economic Council Larry “I used to be respected” Kudlow.
Ross, who is known for his amassing of large amounts of debt for profit, made an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” and mused about why the out-of-work federal employees would spend their time on soup kitchen lines and at food pantries.
Ross, who is estimated to be worth at least $700 million, wondered why the unwashed masses didn’t put down the free food and just go to get loans from a bank.
“I know they are going to homeless shelters and I don’t really quite understand why because as I mentioned before, the obligations that they would undertake — say borrowing from a bank or credit union — are in effect federally guaranteed,” said the melon-headed Ross. “So the 30-days of pay that people will be out — there’s no real reason why they shouldn’t be able to get a loan against it.
“So there really is not a good excuse why there should be a liquidity crisis,” he continued. “Now true, the people might have to pay a little bit of interest, but the idea that it’s paycheck or zero is not a really valid idea.”
Kudlow, earlier that day, was flummoxed by reporters’ questions about federal workers who were called in to work without pay. The former television host called those returning to work “volunteers,” but was quickly corrected by the press corps.
Immediately getting on message, Kudlow praised his slaves for their toil, which he said they performed because of their “love of country and the office of the presidency and presumably their allegiance to President Trump.”
When it was pointed out that the workers were not volunteers, but federal workers who could lose their job if they refused to return to work for free, Kudlow got a little prickly.
Meanwhile, Donnie Twitter Thumbs weighed in on at least Ross’ comments.
He said Ross truly felt sorry for those with hardship situations, but at times like these, local businesses and banks work with people who have no source of income or any idea of when they’ll be able to pay back their loan.
“What they do is they will work along. They know the people and they’ve been dealing with them and they will work along,” the president said in an interview on Jan. 24. Trump said banks will also work along with the workers.