Dear Leader held his first cabinet meeting of the year, featuring a ha-inspiring poster of himself, suitable for hanging in the Kremlin and Pyongyang. None of the secretaries goose-stepped around the room, but his acting attorney general came close, setting a record for supra-sphincteric osculation, lipping well past the Valves of Houston. In doing so, he bared the role his Department of Justice will play in enforcing laws and protecting Americans from executive overreach: none.
As if reading a manifesto supplied by Vladimir Putin, Trump proceeded to rewrite the history of the USSR’s past invasion of Afghanistan, lauding their adventurism. It was a bridge to Red Square too far even for the editorial staff of The Wall Street Journal, not typically purveyors of news Trump and his ilk and ilkettes like to call fake. “Right to be there?” they exclaimed. “We cannot recall a more absurd misstatement of history by an American President. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan with three divisions in December 1979 to prop up a fellow communist government.”
Delved they not into what’s behind Trump’s cravenness toward Mr. Putin, though. That, one supposes, they’re leaving to Robert Mueller, as are we all. In a rational world, such slavish defense of a global adversary, coincidentally being enriched by Trump’s tariffs on China, would give pause to Republicans fighting hard to maintain excuses for a lying, uninformed, capricious “president.” Who appeases dictators.
Speaking of lying, even Fox “news” had enough of Sarah “Remember-me-as-transparent-and-truthful” Sanders’ whopper about 4,000 terrorists crossing our southern border. That’s the number detained across the entire planet, mostly at airports. There’ve been six apprehensions of non-citizen watch-listers on that border, stopped, as it happens, at legal crossing points; far fewer than at the Canadian border. Then came Trump, claiming support for his wall from former presidents, followed swiftly by denials from all of them. Now he’s hearing voices?
And he never said Mexico would pay for it!
Tuesday’s speech, reprising every lie from every Trump rally ever, plus one new one about steel, was a made-for-TV fundraiser, complete with deceptive emails to supporters before, and creepily threatening ones after. But it fogged the day’s revelation of actual collusion with Russia, of which more will surely follow. It’s no longer speculative.
Trump’s fabulist fence was never about security, for which a wall is nearly useless. Speaker Pelosi is right: it’s mostly an erection between Trump supporters and reality. For example, illegal drugs arriving from Mexico do so through established checkpoints, hidden inside vehicles or the fusty hollows of humanity’s bowels.
Illegal crossings continue the decline begun during Barack Obama’s presidency. The true emergency is gullibility. Trump’s wall-talk is to distract Trumpists from his pollution of their air and water, his planned damage to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and to future generations. The humanitarian crisis is real, though, and entirely of his making.
Meanwhile, as our right-wing brethren and sistern worried over a possible contender for Trump’s world-championship vulgarity belt, tried to forget Reagan’s tax rates, argued the dancing chops of the youngest-ever member of Congress, and waved Foxified ignorance of Democratic Socialism like a Confederate flag, new-majority House Democrats introduced HR1, a sweeping voting-rights and anti-corruption bill. Were true conservatives to read it, unaware of its origin, they’d enthuse. As should everyone favoring honesty among politicians and a meaningful, listened-to voice in electing them.
The bill has less than an Inhofian snowball’s chance in Senate Hell, as Mitch “It’s-not-about-you-it’s-about-me” McConnell egested that it’s “not going anywhere.” But it draws an indelible blue line across the ethical gap between Democrats and Republicans, affirming the intensifying importance of electing Democratic majorities in both Houses, and a Democratic president, if ever we’re to reclaim governance by and for the people. Polling shows 80 percent of Americans favor reforms in the bill, which makes precisely zero difference to Senate Republicans. (One recalls a recent column about that.)
Included in HR1: serious campaign finance reform; tough ethical standards for all government officials; ending “dark money;” increased oversight of foreign agents; making available more poll workers and places; ending partisan gerrymandering; requiring disclosure of ten-years-worth of tax returns by presidential and vice-presidential candidates; even — get this— prohibiting the use of taxpayer money to settle Congressional sexual harassment claims!
There’s a great deal more, discoverable by searching “HR1.” It’s hard to imagine any Constitution-loving American finding fault. Which is to say, given our current politics, it’s not hard at all.
Email Sid Schwab at firstname.lastname@example.org.