Friday, May 31, 2019
Cruel Summer leaving me here on my own
It must suck to come back from a three-day state visit to Japan only to face more talk about impeachment, or the "dirty, filthy, disgusting word" as Donald called it. Like so much that swirls around his head, he doesn't seem to have a grasp of what's going on. He thinks the Supreme Court can block an impeachment trial, just as he is convinced "Jina" is paying the tariffs directly to the US Treasury. Worst of all, the biggest takeaway from his state visit is the cover-up of the USS John McCain because staffers didn't want their president to confront his arch-nemesis once again, even if it was an aircraft carrier. This after wishing Japanese soldiers Happy Memorial Day.
All this would be fine if it was a reality show based on the White House, but sadly this is the real thing happening in real time. Robert Mueller laid out the Articles of Impeachment at his press conference two days ago. The ball is squarely in Nancy Pelosi's court, but as she told Jimmy Kimmel on Late Night, this is exactly what Trump wants as he knows a House impeachment will never stand in the Senate and he will feel totally vindicated. This would give him a healthy head of steam going into the 2020 elections. But, is there really any choice at this point?
Trump has made himself impeachable, as Nancy once said. He twirls the word around in his mouth, daring the Democratic House to follow through on its threats. For him it is like Wrestlemania, publicly taunting his opponents, knowing that he has been ordained to win the match. He's got Mitch threatening to quash impeachment charges before they have even been delivered to the Senate, just like the Turtle Man refused to consider any Supreme Court Justice Obama nominated in 2016. For her part, Nancy says the charges would have to be "ironclad," but I don't think that would make any difference to Mitch or his Republican colleagues who stand firmly behind the president.
Meanwhile, Trump continues to toss tariffs around as if they are a secret weapon. He threatened Mexico with tariffs across the board yesterday when ICE busted over 1000 illegal immigrants crossing the border at El Paso. It appears to be in response to the privately funded border wall Steve Bannon and Kris Kobach unveiled earlier in the week. People were beginning to wonder where those millions of dollars to a gofundme page went.
As for Steve Bannon, it seems things didn't work out so well in stuffing the EU parliament with Euro-skeptics. He was working with Far-Right leaders like Marine LePen and Matteo Salvini to undermine the EU. In the end, the Euro-Skeptics made no appreciable gains in Brussels and remain on the outside looking in. Like Trump, he needed to change the subject to get people to talk about something else, and quickly flew to El Paso to inaugurate the new steel fence.
Surprised Trump wasn't there himself, but he still owes the city nearly $500,000 for the security and maintenance it provided for a MAGA rally this past February. He didn't want to return to the scene of the crime or was suffering from jet lag. Tough flight to Japan having to cross the International Date Line twice.
If nothing else, Trump's handlers know how to continuously switch the subject so that you don't have time to dwell on any one misstep for very long. They probably learned this from the Evil Dr. Bannon, the master of misdirection. He's so good he often misdirects himself.
Once again, Wall Street gets the jitters. The Dow had hit a new peak of 26,600 at the end of April only to take another nosedive and hover around 25,000 most of Wednesday. It gained some of it back yesterday, only to take yet another hit this morning, with the prospect of a 1000-point loss very much in play. Some think this is all part of a game the Don is playing, but I'm not convinced. The vaunted Trump Effect ended January, 2017, when the Dow first hit 26,000, and has been bouncing back and forth between 23,000 and 26,000 ever since. The Fed is doing what it can to stave off a recession with no thanks from His Trumpness, but the bond markets say otherwise.
Tariffs certainly aren't the answer. They are kryptonite to the economy. Global players like Ford, Amazon and Boeing rely on low tariffs to get their products to market cheaply. Once you start slapping tariffs on everything, prices go up, consumer confidence erodes and soon Trump will talking about how dirty, disgusting and filthy recession sounds, because that is what he will have heading into the 2020 election.
Going full circle, it was the 2008 recession that doomed John McCain's bid for the White House. Americans were not quite ready for a black man named Barack Hussein Obama and were giving old Johnny every chance in the world even if he had done nothing to deserve it. Then came that ill-fated meeting at the White House in late September where Mackie looked like a deer caught in headlights when George Bush asked what he thought we should do to turn the economy around. Mackie said nothing. That was the beginning of the end of his presidential bid.
Trump appears similarly clueless as to what to do in the face of all these ominous signs. He lashes out at the Fed for not dropping interest rates. He bemoans China for not caving in on his demands, and now he lashes out at poor Mexico for simply being the route Central American refugees take to reach the border of the United States. It's like the whole world is conspiring against him. Where's Vlad when you need him?
It is becoming more and more likely Trump will finally get his wish for an impeachment trial this summer as he has refused to comply with House requests for his staff to testify before its oversight committees or to turn over his financial records. By formally presenting Articles of Impeachment, Trump will no longer be able to freely use executive privilege to block such requests, as they will now have the full legal weight of subpoenas. For Mueller's part, he laid out the trail for the House Speaker to follow and to let him be. This will certainly help the television networks make up for lost revenue with all the reruns they are airing. Let the Games begin!