Trumplandia: December 19 — 26, 2020

Last Christmas Edition

APPROVAL ALERT AT PRESS TIME:
FiveThirtyEight Poll, 42.7%
Rasmussen Poll, 45%

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 might have heard about but were too busy to care. Because most of this minutia occurs just below the massive headlines, it’s in a land of its own. Here, an infusion of social media, video clips and print media meld with our political views to make more more delicious “Fake News” about our commander-in-chief.

So just like the president, we start it all with a little tweet like this:

Going Out in Style

The week of our Trump — Dec. 19, 2020: For his final Christmas in the White House, lame-duck President Donald J. Trump began handing out gifts to all his henchmen who were naughty — not nice — and in doing so shelled out a mixed bag of goodies that included pardons, paybacks, threats and petty acts of defiance.

Currently golfing and cooling his heels at the “Winter White House” in Palm Beach, Fla., Trump spent much of the week brooding about his November loss to “Sleepy” Joe Biden. By midweek, he grew generous and began handing out pardons as if they were gifts from Santa Claus, while at the same time invoking his inner Grinch by stealing what many hoped would be a peaceful holiday season.

The president vetoed a sweeping National Defense Authorization Act, a bill that had been approved in both houses of Congress and for the past 60 years had passed without controversy. He also threatened to veto the $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill that had gained bipartisan approval. Trump called that bill, the result of a pitched battle between both parties, a “disgrace” because it didn’t provide enough money for Americans reeling from the pandemic. He contradicted his fellow Republicans who had labeled Democrats’ attempts to provide more money as too costly. But instead of vetoing the measure or hanging around to help negotiate a compromise, the president skipped town.

Donnie Douche Bag sealed his legacy as a loser this holiday season by focusing on pardoning all of those people who showed him loyalty during his scandal plagued single term. The gift giving began on Dec. 22 when he named several loyalists to federal slots over which he’d no longer be presiding in less than a month.

Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who was part of his legal team when he was impeached a year ago, was named to the board of trustees for the Kennedy Center Board, along with Transportation Secretary Elaine Cho, who is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Sen. “Moscow” Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky.) and Pamela DeVos, the sister-in-law of the Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Close personal aide Hope Hicks became a member for the Fulbright Scholarship Board, and the former press secretary to the First Lady and Trump also became a member of the National Board for Education Sciences. In addition, the former acting director of the National Intelligence and campaign aide Richard Grenell will join the son of Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, as a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council.

The gift giving continued with a host of pardons for several people tied to his administration including former consultant and “coffee-boy” George Papadopoulos, who did jail time for lying to the FBI during the Russia probe, and Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan, who also lied to federal authorities and served 30 days in jail.

Also pardoned during the Trump spree were four security guards from private Blackwater firm that is run by Erik Prince, a Trump associate and DeVos’ brother. The four guards — Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, Dustin Heard and Nicholas Slatten — were placed in jail for their role in the massacre of 14 Baghdad civilians, including two children, in 2007. Slough, Liberty and Heard were convicted in 2014 on multiple counts of voluntary manslaughter and Slatten was convicted of first-degree murder. Slatten was sentenced to life for the killings and the others were sentenced to 30-years for their roles in the Nisour Square massacre.

The next day, Trump’s Pardon Train continued to chug out fresh pardons for more than two dozen criminals that Donnie felt had been wronged by the system.

Among the gaggle of former drug dealers and tax evaders to receive pardons was longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and Trump son-in-law Jared’s daddy, Charles Kushner.

Trump commuted Stone’s sentence in July prior to the Republican operative beginning a sentence for lying to the FBI about his ties to a Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee. Stone, along with Manafort, was serving 47 months on fraud and tax charges. Both were offered full pardons.

Charles Kushner had pleaded guilty to 18 counts of tax evasion, witness tampering and illegal campaign donations in 2005 and completed his sentence in 2006. He was prosecuted by former Trump sycophant and U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Chris Christie at the time.

In the end, Trump pardoned nearly 50 criminals before vetoing the bipartisan Defense measure and balking on the agreed upon $2.4 trillion COVID relief and omnibus spending package.

The bill would have provided $600 direct payments to many unemployed Americans, but in a surprise move, Trump instead asked that Americans receive $2,000 in direct payments. He threatened to veto the existing bill unless Republicans agreed to what Democrats had pushed for since October. But in the end, he didn’t veto the bill, but didn’t sign it either, deciding his trip to Mar-a-Lago outweighed the needs of desperate Americans.

The day before Christmas Eve, he lighted the White House Christmas tree for the last time then skipped town.

Democrats and Republicans were aghast. Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-Neb.) said the pardons were for “another tranche of felons” and deemed the whole exercise as “rotten to the core.” Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said little about the pardons, but seized the opportunity to agree with Trump, whose own party — and especially McConnell — had spent the last several weeks beating back Democratic efforts to provide Americans with the same $2,000 checks.

In a rare show of gumption that was nonetheless misguided, House Republicans on Christmas Eve rejected their president’s directive by refusing to go along with the Democrats renewed push for $2,000 stimulus checks that Trump wanted.

Pelosi wrote on Twitter:

“This Christmas Eve morning, House Republicans cruelly deprived the American people of the $2,000 checks Trump agreed to support. On Monday, the House will hold a vote on our stand-alone bill to increase economic impact payments to $2,000.”

The bill will reportedly be sent to Mar-a-Lago for Trump’s signature. The government will shut down on December 29 unless Trump signs the omnibus bill or a new funding measure is approved.

Rozhdestvo Khristovo (Merry Christmas in Russian)

The last Christmas for Tsar Donald the First appears to be very much like his first, with a clear focus on Mother Russia. Yeah, yeah, we know, no collusion and the investigation that found all the ties to Russia was a hoax and Ukraine is no longer a part of Russia.

Because for Trump all roads somehow lead to Russia, no one should be surprised that the former Soviet Union launched a massive cyber-attack against the U.S. that was not discovered until the end of the Donald’s term.

No one also should be surprised that the attack, which has been ongoing since March 2020, received a muted response from Vladimir Putin’s favorite useful idiot, Donald J. Trump. Donnie did the Russian slide when it came to answering questions about the Russian attack on the U.S. government, which has been termed, “one of the worst hacking cases in the history of America.”

The attack appears to have exploited a loophole in products developed by SolarWinds, an IT firm that provides technology software for government agencies. Evidently in motion since March of this year, the computer hack left American agencies vulnerable, including the Treasury and Commerce department; Los Alamos National Laboratory, which oversees nuclear weapons; the National Telecommunications and Information Administration; and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and outgoing Attorney General William Barr flagged the Russians for the attack. But for Trump, the Russian attack represented more “Fake News!” He downplayed the attack, which has been described as devastating to the nation’s security, and said he was instead looking at China, contradicting U.S. intelligence, his Secretary of State and Attorney General.

Described as posing “a grave risk to national security,” the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a rare emergency directive asking all federal civilian agencies to review their networks for compromise and to stop using all SolarWinds Orion products. CISA software found customers across the world breached by the attack, which has reportedly impacted computers in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East in the areas of: telecommunications, tech, health care, automotive, energy and government.

With so much cover being laid by his buddy in the White House, Putin remained silent on the alleged Russian spy-op. Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, denied Russia was involved, calling the accusations “absolutely baseless” and an outgrowth of “blind Russophobia.”

Favorite Things

As we enter the Trump family’s last holiday season in the White House, each week we’ll take a look at an item or items that may or may not be under the Trump Christmas tree. Don’t toss your cookies – leave them for Santa.

All I Want for Christmas

A Last Chance Offer!!

 

Schnitzengruben

One thought on “Trumplandia: December 19 — 26, 2020

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