Media (445)

 

The Snake and the Turtle

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Yesterday Mitch McConnell, nicknamed ‘the Turtle,’ finally congratulated President-Elect Joe Biden.  He waited until another creature, Vladimir Putin a.k.a. ‘the Snake,’ had done the same, enforcing the notion that he is indeed Moscow Mitch, who waited for permission from his boss.  Trump was still in denial, having explained in an interview before Monday’s Electoral College vote that he was driven by concern about the possibility that someone might become president who has not been elected by a majority of the voters (!).  After he lost that EC vote the president became an electoral luddite, tweeting that ‘tremendous’ problems have been found with voting machines that showed a 68% error rate in Michigan.  It was the prelude to Trump’s last act, for which Stephen Miller announced the appointment of alternate Electors who could still replace the official Electors if Congress questioned the election results in particular states when the Electoral College reports on January 6th.  This is a putschist’s wet dream the president and Miller share, but Mike Pence will have to accept the report and acknowledge Biden’s victory and then it will all be over.

After almost a year of mixed messaging, attacking science and making fun of mask-wearing, as well as staging a superspreader election campaign and even this month still organizing an X-mas party with 400 largely un-masked guests in the White House, not outdone by a party at the State Department where only 70 guests showed up, Trump takes full credit for the roll-out of the first COVID vaccine, claiming that ‘the world has never seen anything like it’ and ‘Biden couldn’t have done this,’ in spite of the fact that by consistently disparaging scientists he has considerably contributed to the vaccine-scepticism that threatens the development of herd immunity in the US.  And after initially prioritizing White House staffers to be injected the president took a step back and indicated that nobody would jump the line, although it’s pretty certain that preferential treatment is available for him and his cronies, like it was for Rudy Giuliani, who had access to Regeneron’s anti-body cocktail and therefore only lost his legal reputation but not his life, and Chris Christie, who was treated with a similar medication, although Trump probably regrets that now.

Around the time Joe Biden broke the 270 vote barrier in the Electoral College that secured his victory the White House announced the resignation of AG Barr, giving the president a share of the limelight.  Trump was furious because Barr had declared that the Department of Justice had not identified any consequential election fraud and because an investigation of Hunter Biden’s finances had not been made public, in compliance with DOJ policy.  It is more than likely that Barr’s successor is already under orders to appoint a Special Counsel to continue this probe.  

As long as the president keeps pretending that there is still a chance that he might stay in office he keeps scamming his followers for money, and for that he leaves no stone unturned.  Next to his re-tweeting a demand of jail time for the GOP Governor and Secretary of State of Georgia Trump solicited financial contributions for the senate races in that state, with in the small print of his request the specification that the money would be split in 75% for him and 25% for the RNC.   

While Melania is already packing her bags there is some concern about the well-being of the Trumps at Mar-a-Lago, where they will have to do with a 3,000 square feet suite after the 55,000 square feet White House residence and their similarly sized Trump Tower apartment.  It looks like Ivanka and Jared, who just bought a $30 million property in Florida, will have more space.


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The Art of Losing

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

From his early childhood on Donald Trump’s father told him that in life there are only winners and losers, and that the latter, a plurality of mankind, are worthless and despicable.  It explains why Trump has always put on charades to present his many losses as triumphs of savvy business practices, a habit that was facilitated by the fact that the president genuinely enjoys lying, not just for practical purposes but also for his own amusement, as his niece Mary explained.  Therefore the first thing Trump said at his Georgia rally last Saturday was ‘I won the election,’ followed by his ‘arguments’ why he couldn’t possibly have lost: the fact that he won Florida and Ohio and his claim that he won 18 of 19 bellwether counties.  Looking for companionship in his suffering of electoral injustice the president told his audience ‘you’re all victims,’ and in a rare moment of truth telling added that he never in his life worked as hard as the last couple of weeks, implicitly acknowledging that stealing an election is harder than scamming his followers out of a quarter of a billion dollars. Meanwhile his court cases are not going anywhere with more than 50 losses, including one yesterday in the Supreme Court, and only a bizar lawsuit filed by the indicted Texas Attorney General still pending there.

With the end of Trump’s legal campaign to overturn the election’s outcome symbolized by Rudy Giuliani’s ending up in the hospital with COVID and Hizzoner’s sidekick Jenna Ellis also infected the president has turned to illegitimate means to achieve his goal.  After failed entreaties with Michigan legislators to have them appoint a slate of pro-Trump electors he called Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp under the false pretense of compassion with the death of a family friend to press him to convene the legislature in an emergency session and do the same thing.  Even Kemp, a staunch Trump supporter, refused to take that illegal action, but instead urged his state’s congressional delegation to take a good look at the now – after two recounts – trice certified results when they are presented to Congress on January 6th, a totally empty gesture just to appease the president.  Not yet discouraged Trump called the Speaker of Pennsylvania’s House, undoubtedly with a similar request but now pretending that it was just a social call.  After yesterday’s ‘Safe Harbor Day,’ when certified results can no longer be overturned, the president is entirely out of options, although he may hope for help from the more than 200 Republican Members of Congress who have not yet processed that Biden won.

In an attempt to take a victory lap before the race is over the White House on Tuesday organized a ‘vaccine summit’ from which the producers of the most promising vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, were absent because the companies considered participating inappropriate.  Simultaneously it became known that the government failed to secure more than 50 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine last summer, so that there is already talk of a shortage before vaccinations have started, and with another empty gesture Trump signed an ‘America First’ Executive Order regarding the vaccine.

The art of the grift sits deep with the Trump family, and during a disposition by Ivanka in a DC court it turned out that the president’s hotel charged the Trump Inauguration Committee 35 times its normal non-profit rate, which explains why one year Ivanka took $4 million in profits home from the hotel.  Next to this self-dealing there were over 200 companies, special interest groups and foreign governments, all of whom benefitted from Trump’s policies, using his facilities and services.

According to all reporting Trump is still bouncing between rage and delusion, and during the presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to wrestling coach Dan Gable on Monday his feelings spilled over.  When asked if he was going to attend Biden’s inauguration the president abruptly left the Oval Office, leaving Gable and his family flabbergasted and without official pictures.


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The 170 Million Dollar Man

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

According to a revealing article in the Washington Post the last three weeks Trump has been roaming the corridors of the White House muttering ‘I won, I won, I won’ while staffers went into hiding for fear of running into the delusional president, whom the Post compared to Mad King George.  Contrary to Trump’s apparent conviction his losses in court were mounting during the same period, with as the absolute showstopper a ruling by the highest court of Pennsylvania that was structured in such a way that an appeal to the Supreme Court is not possible.  Simultaneously battleground states were certifying Biden’s victories, in spite of mafia-like calls from the Trump campaign to election officials trying to coerce them into not doing their legal and moral duty.  When the organized crime approach failed the president used his bully pulpit in an attempt to have Republican Governors overrule their Secretaries of State and de-certify the election results, something Governors don’t have the authority to do, and as a last resort his lawyers staged ‘hearings’ with GOP legislators attempting to have them appoint pro-Trump slates of Electors.

In November not only the president’s contempt for the democratic process was front and center in the public eye, but also his blessed ignorance of how the legal system works.  Trump had wanted to assemble all his fantasized grievances into one case and present it to the Supreme Court, and was shocked, shocked when he found out that apart from procedural barriers he didn’t have standing to do that.  ‘I’m the US President,’ he whined, ‘how do I not have standing?’ echoing his inner Louis XIV.  Meanwhile the head clown of Circus Giuliani showed that he had a fine red nose for timing, by at least on three occasions having his performances coincide with a Biden victory or certification thereof, first at Four Seasons Total Landscaping, when Joe Biden’s overall victory was called, then again in Pennsylvania and finally in Arizona.  When the latter state was the last to certify its election results on Monday Trump had added not only the Georgia and Arizona Governors to his enemies list, but also the FBI and the Department of Justice, who had failed to unearth and prosecute the widespread election fraud he was convinced had occurred.

While Trump gets accustomed to the fact that he’ll be a one-term president after January 20th there is wild speculation about his next steps.  It’s clear that he wants to keep control over the Republican Party and it is quite possible that he’ll announce his candidacy for 2024 at some event simultaneously with Biden’s inauguration.  That will be the beginning of a four year long grievance campaign to undermine Biden’s presidency. It will keep the GOP from renewing itself and hurt the party, starting next month when the two remaining Georgia Senate seats are at stake.

As he is going through the five stages of grief, now still hovering between denial and anger and probably never getting to acceptance, Trump, or more likely Jared Kushner, kept his eye on the ball with regards to his financial interests.  So far the president’s campaign’s soliciting support for the ‘legal challenges’ of the election results has generated $170 million that will go straight into Trump’s pockets, minus the $3 million he spent in Wisconsin to give Joe Biden 87 more votes.

As the rats prepare to jump off Trump’s sinking ship Dr. Scott Atlas, who resigned yesterday, led the way.  Trump brought Atlas, a radiologist without infectious disease experience, into the White House as an advisor on the COVID pandemic because he said nice things about the president on Fox News, and together they have caused more pain and death, social and economic damage than any other twosome in US history.


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The Coup That Fizzled

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Monday night, after Michigan certified its election results, Emily Murphy, the Administrator of the General Services Administration, finally acknowledged in a letter that Joe Biden was the apparent winner of the election and therefore the President Elect, although she didn’t use that title. She wrote that she came to that conclusion independently, which was contradicted by Trump, who claimed in a late night tweet that he had ‘allowed’ the GSA to work ‘preliminarily with the Dems,’ but also that his legal fight was not over and that he would never concede to the ‘election fraud.’  It was the end of a week that started with the president’s firing of Chris Krebs, who was in charge of cyber security at the Department of Homeland Security and had reported that the November 3rd election was ‘the most secure in American history.’ Subsequently Trump called the Republican Chairwoman of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers in Michigan, who was going back and forth with her certification vote, to check if she was ‘safe,’ probably with the line ‘it would be terrible if something happened to your beautiful children or your sweet little pooch.’

For his next step the president invited Michigan legislators to the White House, most likely to explore ways to have pro-Trump Electors dispatched to the Electoral College, but the next day his guests said that they had not been given any reason to deviate from standard procedures.  Their visit was followed by a press conference of Trump’s ‘legal team,’ where Rudy Giuliani, once ‘America’s Mayor’ but now more famous for his Four Seasons Total Landscaping performance, with sweat and hair dye dripping off his face handed the crazy relay baton to Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn’s lawyer, who unearthed a conspiracy by Hugo Chavez, who has been dead since 2013, and George Soros to build election equipment that changed Trump votes into Biden votes.  Following that presser Giuliani lost the president’s case in Pennsylvania, because according to the Judge Hizzoner’s arguments we ‘haphazardly stitched together like Frankenstein’s monster,’ and the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, a staunch Trump supporter, according to protocol certified Biden’s win in his state, prompting Sidney Powell to add Kemp to her growing list of anti-Trump conspirators.

Apparently Sidney Powell was too crazy even for Trump and Giuliani, after she had added Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler to the list because Loeffler had not been willing to yield her seat to Doug Collins the legal team issued a statement that Powell was practicing law on her own and had never been part of the team, taking ‘throwing someone under the bus’ to the next level.  On Tuesday Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania was certified and the Biden/Harris ticket passed 80 million votes nationally, but Trump demanded a now futile second recount in Georgia.

Normally the attempt by a sociopathic nominee to lose the same state for a third time would set off alarm bells in the mental health community, but Trump has raised the bar so high that medical professionals cannot get up there with him anymore, although some of his lawyers can.  Monday night for instance Jenna Ellis Esq. tried to convince Ari Melber that the president won by a landslide, following Trump’s tweet that the General Services Administration does not decide who won the election. 

As for the soon to be ex-president’s future there is a new rumor that Trump will not try to build a new streaming service to compete with Fox News and to milk his followers, because it’s too much work, but that he will give paid speeches and sell tickets for his future rallies.  If it all works out for him we’ll witness the transformation of an orange baboon into the Elephant Man, at least until he runs again in 2024.


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Trump Sits in a Cell Already

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Many westerns start with a scene where the main character has been found guilty of a heinous crime and sits in a cell, awaiting his hanging.  He can hear the hammering of the men who are building the gallows and when he gets up he can see the contraption coming together through a small window.  The convicted murderer, bank robber or horse thief is never hanged, because that would make for a very short movie, but he is usually saved by a beautiful young woman who believes in his innocence and sets out to prove it, after which they happily ride off into the sunset together.  Sitting in the Oval Office Trump can hear the hammering of the men who are building the stands for Biden’s inauguration.  Like those innocent convicts in westerns it drives him nuts, and for him the equivalent of maintaining his innocence is incessantly tweeting in all caps that he won the election.  On top of that his campaign is filing – and losing – lawsuits in five states, which the courts are throwing out faster than an exterminator can kill a litter of mice.  And with Rudy Giuliani, who has not litigated since 1992, now in charge of the president’s legal strategy that speed will most likely go up.

Although largely caused by Trump’s mental disorder which makes it impossible for him to accept defeat some pundits see a rational side to his behavior too.  By pretending that he won’t leave the White House the president would be trying to keep his base motivated for the Georgia runoffs for two Senate seats, although one can wonder if Trump gives a hoot about the composition of the Senate after January 5th and will keep up appearances after Biden has been declared President-Elect on December 14th.  More likely is that he wants to keep control of his electorate to be a Republican king maker in future elections and to run again in 2024, unless he yields that honor to his idiot daughter Ivanka.  Maybe more importantly, when his presidency is over Trump will need a shitload of money to pay off at least $400 million in debt, and he will milk his followers for every penny they have via a streaming service where he can deceive them 24/7.  At a MAGA rally in DC last Saturday thousands of Trump fans came to show their colors, inspiring Kayleigh McEnany, the incarnation of a Hatch-act violation, to mistake them for more than one million.

Today the president will have to decide if he’s willing to pony up $8 million for a second recount of votes in Wisconsin.  Because Trump is losing money in business ventures on at least two continents the presidency and his campaign have become his main sources of income, and for this decision a thorough cost-benefit analysis is required, considering that the outcome of the election won’t change but that it will show him as still fighting for ‘justice’ in the eyes of the most devoted members of his cult.  The money would be better spent than his investment in GOP convention fireworks but the president probably prefers to put it in his own pocket.

At a meeting with top advisors Trump was talked out of attacking Iran’s main nuclear site, but the fact that he even considered it illustrates his two tiered pattern of malfeasance: first there was collusion with Russia in the 2016 election and then he conspired with Ukrainian hoodlums, of which at least one was a Russian agent, against Biden; first he had the postal service screwed up and then he used mail-in voting to discredit the election; and first he stepped out of the Iran agreement and  then he wanted to use Iran’s response for a ‘Wag the Dog’ attack.

Unlike the prisoner in a cell the president won’t be saved by a young woman but he’ll be dragged to Mar-a-Lago by a wife who was the first to acknowledge his defeat in a Christmas greeting. If he somehow receives a pardon for federal crimes he’ll still have to answer to insurance fraud, campaign finance violation and tax evasion charges in New York State and City, so that he may very well end up in a real cell after all, without anybody to rescue him.

 

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