WTF just happened this week?
(NOTE: Sorry for the length but all this happened - and much more I haven't mentioned - in only four days.)
It's been a month since I announced here that I believe our national emergency is important enough that now and then we should trade in our single topic of age on this blog for our current political debacle. If any week ever called for it, this one does.
Whatever else we do in life, it is a requirement of citizenship that we pay attention to what our elected officials and their appointees are doing for (or against) our people, our country and our Constitution.
Although it has not been a pretty week, it has surpassed previous ones only in drama, not outrage. The president now stands accused of real crimes, not that the rational among us have doubted that all along.
But now it's official, on the record, hanging out there in the breeze waiting for those elected officials to damn well do something.
Is there anyone else, like me, who believes that the Republicans, who are in control of Congress, will pretend it didn't happen?
I'll circle back to the week's dramatic turns in a moment but first, here are a few other things that happened in Trumpland this week:
A new climate proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), admits within the proposal itself that the relaxed regulations will kill 1,400 people per year from power plants burning more coal.
"'We're canceling Obama's illegal anti-coal destroying regulations, the so-called Clean Power Plan,' [Trump] said during a rally in Charleston, West Virginia” reports CNBC.
“'Just today we announced our new Affordable Clean Energy proposal that will help our coal-fired power plants and save consumers — you, me, everybody — billions and billions of dollars.'"
The EPA likes to keep busy. As a bee, perhaps? The agency this week quietly delayed its final determination on bee-killing pesticides called neonicotinoids even after the European Union and now Canada have banned them.
In case you haven't kept up with the growing worldwide problem of bee decline, here is a little video about what will happen to all of us if they die off much further. (The video no less factual for have been produced in 2015. It just means you can skip the ad in the final 20 percent of the video.)
In the “what could possibly go wrong” department, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVoss (she who registers at least one of her many yachts in a Caribbean nation to save a few bucks) announced she is considering allowing states to use federal school funds to arm teachers with guns.
Such a move, reports The New York Times appears to be unprecedented,
”...reversing a longstanding position taken by the federal government that it should not pay to outfit schools with weapons. And it would also undermine efforts by Congress to restrict the use of federal funding on guns.
“As recently as March, Congress passed a school safety bill that allocated $50 million a year to local school districts, but expressly prohibited the use of the money for firearms.
“But the department is eyeing a program in federal education law, the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, that makes no mention of prohibiting weapons purchases.”
This change is not imminent but it is not unlikely to become reality given the massive number of other rollbacks of protective measures have been made during this administration. And how long after that will the first kid be killed, I wonder?
That's just some of the so-called boring news. What's got everyone banging on is the legal news. As you undoubtedly know by now, on Tuesday, former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort was found guilty of eight counts of tax evasion and bank fraud by a jury in Virginia.
Not 90 minutes later, President Trump's attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen confessed in court, under oath, that the president directed him to pay
”...hush money to two women, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, to buy their silence in the run-up to the 2016 election...” according to New York magazine, “for the principal purpose of influencing the election.”
Since then, there has been a wall-to-wall news flurry of speculation about Trump's involvement in criminal activity, while resurrecting talk of impeachment that had been tamped down for the past few months.
Trump has praised Manafort for “refusing to break” - meaning he has not plead guilty to anything (some say Trump signaling that he will pardon Manifort), while trashing Cohen for “flipping”, an act the president told Fox and Friends on Thursday should be illegal.
Here is Trump's take on impeachment from the same Fox interview. (If the video does not play for you, here is the Twitter page.)
The president's response brings to mind his earlier boast that he is so powerful, he can pardon himself. For the record, he cannot. According to Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution,
”...[the president] shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.”
Meanwhile, the Republicans, who have total control of Congress, have nothing to say. They just want to cram through the confirmation of their Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, and ignore their Constitutional duties.
Here's my question: what about the children? According to the U.S. Department of Justice and the ACLU, a month after the deadline to reunite immigrant families, 565 children (!) remain in government custody. Is anyone doing anything about the kids?
Now it's your turn. Have at it.