Well ladies and gentlemen, you haven’t heard from me in eight months because the last time I read the news I beat my head against the desk so hard I slipped into a coma. But I’m awake now, and have whacked up the ginger to look at the news again. We could start anywhere, really – just randomly stab at a newspaper and then start shouting – which, coincidentally, is how the Trump administration sets foreign and domestic policy.
But let’s start with Monday morning. Because nothing says strong and stable leadership like the president’s personal lawyer having his door kicked in by the FBI…
According to the Washington Post, Trump attorney and taxi fleet baron Michael Cohen’s office was raided for records relating to hush money paid to a Playboy playmate and a porn star, both of whom allege affairs with the president. Now, to get a warrant to raid a lawyer’s office is, on the scale of legal trouble, “you’re fucked mate”. To have one signed by the Acting Attorney General of the United States suggests, “hope you look good in orange!” Speaking of, Trump was reportedly “stunned” and “livid” – but it’s not clear whether that was his reaction, or the shades of his tanning cream. He otherwise kept his rhetoric temperate, merely describing this judicially sanctioned process as an “attack on our country”. Trump surrogates have vigorously argued that no crime was committed when Cohen paid the women for their silence before the 2016 presidential election. But even if you win that legal argument, it’s still: “TECHNICALLY YOUR HONOR THERE WAS NO BREACH OF ELECTORAL LAW WHEN WE PAID OFF THAT PORN STAR”. The party of family values indeed. Newt Gingrich – who is apparently still able to talk – screamed on Fox News that this raid was just like the Gestapo, which I suppose it might be, if you’re an insane old man who should be shouting at squirrels, not prime-time. Somebody give him a sandwich.
Also Monday, there was a fire in Trump tower. There are no jokes to be made here, not even “Trump tower is literally on fire, so metaphors are dead now” because someone actually died. That the news cycle blew past this – when Trump reportedly lobbied for no fire sprinklers in these types of buildings – is a scandal. But then, Trump’s like the Midas of scandals – everything he touches turns to grift.
Speaking of trash-fires, John Bolton began work as National Security Advisor. Bolton’s the human version of an even angrier Yosemite Sam, so just the man you want directing a reality TV star where to launch a superpower’s arsenal on the verge of war. Still, as our foreign policy is going all “screamy World War One general has a bit of a slaughter”, at least he’s got an historically accurate mustache.
Also Monday, CBO deficit projections following the GOP tax legislation are reported to top $1 trillion. Retiring Senator Bob Corker, whose inability to decide whether he loves or hates Donald Trump has reached 16-year-old proportions, described it as possibly “one of the worst votes I’ve made”. One might argue that was obvious from the JTC score released *before* he voted “yay” on the “Baby’s First Oligarchy” bill. But reportedly there was a provision helpful for Mr Corker’s real estate investments, so I guess fuck it? Mr Corker denies any impropriety or knowledge of the clause, so that’s good.
The EPA appointed a coal lobbyist as its number two, trolling nature. And EPA chief Scott Pruitt continues to explore his “can I literally dive into a bed of cash like a rapper or Scrooge McDuck?” approach to government, this year racking up a reported $3 million for salaries, travel, and 24/7 protection by a 19-strong security detail for things like “taking the family to Disneyland”. But let’s be fair – who doesn’t want a 19 person security detail at Disneyland? Goofy comes too close? Whack that fucker.
Over Tuesday and Wednesday, Congress heard testimony on “how we accidentally broke democracy for Likes” by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, a blinkless, sweaty, robot with “raw cookie dough and chardonnay”-level bangs. I remember a don at Oxford, looking up from mouldering books in a 16th-century room and asking me about “this thing the children like, Facebox”. Readers, she should have been in the US Senate on Tuesday, because that’s the level of incisiveness we reached questioning Facebook – a great place to share cat videos, and also if you’re a subversive foreign agent of a meddling dictator.
On the subject of election meddling, the Senate judiciary committee bleated about a bill to stop the president firing Special Counsel Mueller for investigating the same. Which is a noble idea, but predicated on the assumption that those senators have backbone. So no, there won’t be any legislation.
House Speaker Paul Ryan had a big week. Facing an untold challenge to US constitutional order, Speaker Ryan bravely chose to turn and run. He’ll enjoy retirement at 48 in sunny Wisconsin, on a pension paid for by the people whose pensions and healthcare he dedicated a life of public service to cut. (And yet, somehow, also left a $1.5 trillion bill to fund tax cuts for billionaires. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE LOGICAL, MILLENNIALS. WE CAN LOVE FISCAL DISCIPLINE AND ALSO RACK UP BILLS WITHOUT BEING ABLE TO PAY FOR THEM, BECAUSE WE SAID SO, WE SAID SO – NOW FUCK OFF BACK TO YOUR AVOCADO TOAST).
When David Cameron plunged the UK into chaos with an ill-thought out referendum on Brexit that he didn’t bother to properly run then lost, he resigned and left his press conference whistling a jaunty tune. So this one goes out to Speaker Ryan. There are wilting bags of salad with more spine.
Having decided to leave the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), presumably to distance himself from anything with the word “pee-pee” in it, President Trump decided to maybe rejoin the TPP because lol. On “pee-pee”, fired FBI-Director James Comey’s tell-all memoir was previewed, which led to serious discussions on evening news shows of whether the president had been in a hotel room “with prostitutes peeing on each other”, making the entire country stop eating and stare at the wall with mashed potato dropping out of their stunned scream-faces.
Also Thursday, Trump ordered a review of the US Postal Service because he thinks it’s losing money by shipping Amazon products. It’s not. Senior White House advisors pulled together a Powerpoint together to show him it’s not. But as the Wall Street Journal reports: “It’s not the narrative he wants”. Well, there you go. Fuck truth, I guess – it’s boring.
Throughout the week, there were deeper seismic rumblings – and not just from Mike Huckabee. Devin Nunes, the GOP House Intelligence Chair / chipmunk-whose-demonic-possession-went-horribly-wrong, threatened to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and FBI Director Wray for – oh fuck knows. Huckabee raved that the Capitol Police should raid the FBI. Egged on by Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich, and Alan Dershowitz – aka the confederate general animatronics woken up and dialed to “shouty” – President Trump muttered about firing Special Counsel Mueller, firing Rosenstein, firing his Diet Coke for looking at him funny…
As this week’s “historic assault on the rule of law” B-story continues, with Trump Gollum-tweeting Comey is a “LEAKER & LIAR… untruthful slimeball”, there’s also the potential for a shooting war with Russia, chemical weapons in Syria, Russian nerve-agent attacks on UK soil, and the biggest US force build-up since the Iraq war. At such a time, you might imagine sober deliberations about war and peace are taking place. NOPE. After suggesting withdrawing all US forces from Syria, Trump then tweeted that missiles were coming, then that they weren’t, but might, but who knows? Foreign policy by “LOL JK”. Apparently T.S. Eliot was wrong – the world doesn’t end with a whimper, just a stupid fucking Tweet.
Prediction for the weekend: we all might die, so go the extra cocktail!