Donald Trump is Armed and Dangerous

This Weak in Politics, Vol. LXXXI

Artist rendition of what John Candy would have looked like if he got old and put on a lot of weight.

June 22, 2017

This week, following the tragic murder of an American student at the hands of the North Korean regime, President Trump had the opportunity to become “presidential.” At times of great international crises, American presidents have risen above common language and summoned a greater sense of purpose in signaling our intent. FDR famously said of the attack on Pearl Harbor, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” Ronald Reagan implored during the cold war, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Donald J. Trump joined that trio of greatness this week by tweeting, “Trump 50% Approval Rating. That’s higher than O’s #’s!” followed by another tweet saying “At least I know China tried.” Casually hinting that war with North Korea could well be on the way.

In the annals of history’s world wars (by the way, we double-checked to make sure we spelled “annals” correctly), this would seem the least noble start on record to a global confrontation:

  • World War I: Simmering nationalism and growing imperialism were the fuel, while the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Serbian nationalists provided the spark that ignited the war to end all wars.
  • World War II (the one right after the war to end all wars): Germany, led by Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party, stirred up a toxic cocktail of nationalism, anti-Semitism and lust for world domination, to counter the oppression Germany felt it suffered in the post World War I years. In 1939 Germany invaded Poland, causing a seismic rift in Europe in which England and France immediately declared war on Germany, thus starting World War II.
  • World War III: Donald Trump’s poll numbers (except Rasmussen’s!) were not as good as Barack Obama’s so he tweet-bullied another nuclear-armed dingleberry.

The implication from Trump’s tweet seems to be that China tried to help solve the intractable problems the world is having with North Korea/Dennis Rodman, but failed — so now there is only one alternative. Whether or not that alternative is truly some sort of military action against the regime (the North Korean one, not the American one) or if it was simply meant to harass Kim Jong Un as though he were Rosie O’Donnell with bad hair, remains to be seen. We are sure that Sean Spicer and his team will clarify (if they ever hold another briefing) by saying yet again, “the tweet feeks for itself.

On the subject of the communications operation at the White House, word has emerged that acting President Steve Bannon has been leading an effort to get Sean “Puffy” Spicer removed from the on-camera press briefings the Trump administration occasionally conducts. The move is not being orchestrated because of Spicer’s lying, or even his inability to speak in complete sentences. In fact, his inability to speak in complete sentences is something that the American public has

Instead, the effort to get rid of Spicer seems based in part on the fact that he is putting on weight. That’s right, this guy —

America’s Carlos Slim

…and this guy —

If you stare at this long enough, you can hear the sound of his legs separating from the leather sofa.

…want to get rid of this guy because he has packed on some extra pounds —

Sean Spicer (On right. With tie)

This is a blatant example of what bullying experts call “fat shaming.” (Not to be confused with the thing Anderson Cooper accused Roger Stone of being capable of doing: still admiring Donald Trump even if he “took a dump on his desk.” That act is known as “shat faming.”)

In fairness, Bannon claims he was only joking about Spicer’s weight. Man, the guy is such a card. Reminds us of the time House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy had them rolling in the aisles with the joke “I think there are two people Putin pays…Rohrabacher and Trump. Swear to God.” Republican humor is apparently very different. (See for example: Grammer, Kelsey).

Back to the news: another week, and yet another couple of more elections that are being viewed as a harbinger of things to come in the next election, which will in turn be a harbinger of things to come in the one after that. This time, it was races in Georgia’s 6th District and South Carolina’s 5th District. Democratic pundits were eager to point to the races as referenda (see that pluralization, @KatyTurNBC?) on these first 147 years of the Trump presidency — until they lost, at which point they stopped speaking and put on pink hats. The reality is that Republicans previously held both seats quite safely. Georgia’s 6th District, in particular, hasn’t elected a Democrat since 1979, or as President Trump puts it “since Brezhnev was President.”

The Democratic candidate, Jon Ossoff, lost, despite having the slogan “Vote Your Ossoff.” For those of you less hip than us, that is a play on words. See…the actual statement should be Vote FOR Ossoff…but they changed it to Vote YOUR Ossoff. Ha! And they say Democrats don’t have a message? Karen Handel (Mike Pence with a dress) had a clear message: “I am not Nancy Pelosi. Ossoff is. And I approve this message.”

The Georgia race has been called the most expensive house race in US History. This is because when all is told, the race will have cost a combined $60 million in expenditures and $880 billion in cuts to Medicaid.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on what the race meant and what it foretells for the future. When asked “what do you think will be the long term impact of Georgia 6th?” Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III said, “Georgia 6th? The impact will be felt for generations. I mean, those brave boys fought not just at Fredericksburg and Antietam, but they also fought honorably to protect Stonewall Jackson in his fateful final battle.” When told by an aide that the question referred to the congressional race, not the 6th Regiment of the Georgia Infantry, the Attorney General said “I can’t recall. And…it wouldn’t be proper for me to answer any questions at this time.”

In the South Carolina race, the Palmetto State (the palmetto thing is true, we looked it up) played to type by having a race to replace a guy named John Michael, who goes by “Mick,” between a candidate named Ralph and a candidate named Archie.

In case you were curious, the results can be found here.

In fairness to the Democrats, both of these races were in ruby red districts — as opposed to anything approaching home-turf (defined loosely here as Cambridge, MA and San Francisco, CA). This Special-Election was like a Super Bowl, and in it, the republicans were the Atlanta Falcons to the Democrats’ San Diego Padres, with the Falcons eking out a 20–17 win in overtime and bragging about it. We asked our sports expert, “Senator” Ted Cruz, to explain that metaphor.

In other domestic news, Republicans are meeting secretly in the Senate to craft their own version of a “health care” bill. Sources tell us they will release details of the bill around the same time Donald Trump releases his taxes and announces if he has tapes of his conversations. While details have not been made public, early indications are that there are actually very few groups who will fare worse under the bill than under the status quo. These groups include: old people, sick people, poor people, red state people and women/girl people. While this may be true, there are many people who will fare better under this bill, notably, people that look like this:

Crafting a Senate version of the bill is not as easy a task as it sounds (no one knew health care could be so complicated), as Republicans have to placate all of their constituents, each of whom has differing views: for example, President Trump called the House version (which he celebrated at a Rose Garden party) “mean and heartless.” Rich donors want to make sure the bill protects the most vulnerable Americans — billionaires who could use a tax cut — and senators also need to make sure enough people are harmed by their healthcare bill that they can still get it to pass muster with the sods in the House Freedom Caucus.

From the house of sods, we move to the House of Saud. (Yeah, we cringed even while typing that). But back to the point…

King Salman of Saudi Arabia (man that’s a weird sentence to write in the 21st century) this week caused reverberations across the Middle East and roiled energy markets worldwide when he upended the order of succession in his kingdom by naming his own son as his successor. The move caused Donald Trump to say “wait…you can do that?” The move also caused Trump’s skinniest son to say “wait…you can do that?” And finally, it caused Mike Pence to say “gosh doggledy darnit…he can do that? He won’t. Right?”

For those of you who are dubious that Pence would say “gosh doggledy darnit,” remember this is a man who calls his wife “mother” and was the governor of a state whose inhabitants proudly call themselves “Hoosiers.”

Several stories have emerged that the White House is having a difficult time filling job slots because of concern about Trump’s taint. (No, we aren’t going to go THERE. We have matured in the weeks since we last used that joke. But you can find it here, about halfway down.) We have also learned that some current White House staffers who are contemplating leaving (et tu, Mad Dog?) or are rumored to soon be…disappeared (Puffy), might face difficulties in trying to get out from the dark shadow of the administration. While it may seem difficult to resume a career after working in a hostile environment rife with racism, sexism and greed, there is hope. There are openings on Uber’s senior management team.

And that is the way the weak spent the week in a nation where, no matter how backwards looking and unjust some things seem to be, a cop gunning down an innocent, seat-belted, black man during a routine traffic stop will still be brought to….Oh for fuck’s sake! Seriously? Again?

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