This Is Not Normal, February 17, 2019 – February 24, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Transportation Secretary has met with Kentucky politicians and business leaders, at the request of the Senate Majority Leader, to whom she is married. Coincidentally, some of these politicians and business people have later gotten grants and other favors from the Transportation Department.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a senior official at the Department of Education reportedly tried to get rid of the department’s inspector general when she would not allow the Secretary of Education to influence an investigation.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, according to the Office of Government Ethics, the Secretary of Commerce filed an inaccurate financial disclosure form.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, according to a recent ruling by a federal judge, the Secretary of Labor broke the law several years ago when he, as a federal prosecutor, hid a non-prosecution agreement with a wealthy hedge fund manager accused of sexually abusing more than thirty minors. (For those of you keeping score, that’s *four* Cabinet-level scandals that would be a multi-day story in any less insane administration.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, according to the special counsel investigating the president’s campaign’s ties to Russia, the former campaign chairman “repeatedly and brazenly” violated laws over at least a ten-year period, including when he was on bail awaiting trial.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s former lawyer has, apparently, a lot of information to offer federal prosecutors about financial crimes both at the president’s businesses and at the committee that planned the presidential inauguration.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Republican party, usually so quick to denounce the slightest hint of voter fraud, has been suspiciously quiet about the overturned North Carolina congressional race in which a consultant for the Republican candidate flagrantly violated election law.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a senator apparently threw binders at her staff, instituted a punitive maternity leave policy, and tried to have departing staff members’ job offers withdrawn.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president attempted to have an ally who had already recused himself put in charge of a criminal investigation into his former lawyer.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a former adviser to the president, awaiting trial on charges related to the president’s campaign’s collaboration with WikiLeaks and Russian officials, posted a photograph of the judge in his case next to an image of cross hairs. (I can’t help but notice that the witch hunt is catching a lot of witches. Also, they do not seem to be very nice or dignified people.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee wants to investigate the FBI for their handling of the investigation into the president’s campaign.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • call the special counsel’s investigation “totally conflicted, illegal and rigged!” (among his other myriad flaws, I notice that the president is not a fan of the Oxford comma);
    • refer to the former FBI director as “Leakin’ James Comey”;
    • refer to his former Attorney General sarcastically as “another beauty,” presumably for the sin of recusing himself from the Russia investigation;
    • conduct diplomacy with both North Korea and Venezuela via social media;
    • tweet (and I am honestly embarrassed to even type this) that “Andrew McCabe didn’t go to the bathroom without the approval of Leakin’ James Comey!” (when this is all over, I never want to hear another word about shirtsleeves in the Oval Office or tan suits or Dijon mustard);
    • claim that if his opponent had won the presidency the stock market would be “down at least 10,000 points by now” (there is absolutely no reason to believe this);
    • refer to himself as “your all time favorite President” (that sound you hear is Abraham Lincoln rolling over in his grave);
    • refer to a candidate in the Democratic presidential primary as “Crazy Bernie,” reminding me again that the 2020 presidential election is going to be a slow walk through Hell;
    • claim that “The Press has never been more dishonest than it is today” and that he was not called for a comment on stories (a reporter for the New York Times has flatly denied this claim);
    • refer to the New York Times as “a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”;
    • claim that “THE WALL IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION RIGHT NOW!”;
    • publicly call out an actor who made false claims about a hate crime while remaining silent about a Coast Guard lieutenant who was arrested planning the murders of multiple Democratic politicians;
    • claim that “There is far more ENERGY on the Right than there is on the Left” (again, there is no evidence of this);
    • claim that “Suburban women are coming back into the Republican Party in droves ‘because of the Wall and Border Security'” (in the November election, only three months ago, suburban women broke against the Republican party in large part because they did not like the president’s immigration policy); and
    • announce that there would be fireworks at the Lincoln Memorial on July 4, apparently under the impression that this was a novel idea he had come up with all on his own.
  • This week saw multiple “Witch Hunt” and “Fake News” references, as well as one “Crooked Hillary Clinton.” I should probably also mention that he accuses the Democrats of colluding with Russia in 2016 nearly every week, which I mostly ignore because it makes so little sense to me. Putin himself has said he wanted Trump to win the election, so why would the Democrats collude with him?
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This Is Not Normal, February 4, 2019 – February 10, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is apparently appallingly NORMAL that Virginia’s governor, attorney general, and Senate Majority Leader are all embroiled in various blackface scandals. In addition, it is NOT NORMAL that Virginia’s lieutenant governor is facing two separate accusations of sexual assault. And it is NOT NORMAL that all of these men are apparently planning to just hang out in office until forced to leave. (I live in Michigan, but might I suggest that Virginia employ a total and complete shutdown of men in public office until its representatives can figure out what is going on?)
  • It is also NOT NORMAL that the embattled Virginia governor vowed to dedicate the rest of his term to race relations and then immediately referred to the seventeenth-century arrival of “black indentured servants” to the state. DUDE.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Supreme Court refused to allow a Muslim prisoner to have an imam with him when he was executed. I don’t usually criticize Supreme Court decisions on this list but that seems like an appalling abridgment of the First Amendment rights of non-Christians.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that one of the president’s invited guests to the State of the Union was a sixth grader who has been bullied for sharing the president’s last name. Even in the best of situations, the whole presidential guests at the State of the Union thing seems cheesy and pandering to me — but this president managed to find a heretofore unimagined layer of nonsense.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president argued in the State of the Union that “peace and legislation” relied on the opposition party forgoing their plans to investigate his campaign’s and administration’s various violations of ethics and other laws. The last president to make such an argument was Richard Nixon. You may remember that things turned out great for him.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s inaugural committee is being investigated by federal prosecutors for, among other things, overpaying the president’s hotel for services provided during the festivities, which means that the president may have been violating the emoluments clause just moments into his administration.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the acting attorney general was rude and combative during a House Judiciary Committee hearing.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s former campaign chairman, who has been convicted of multiple crimes, reportedly lied to federal prosecutors about “an extremely sensitive issue” in hopes of preserving the possibility of a presidential pardon.
  • As you might expect, the president’s Twitter feed continues to be super-classy. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • offer to “build a Human Wall if necessary”;
    • complain about the Senate minority leader just hours before delivering what was billed as a unifying State of the Union (it wasn’t, but still);
    • try several times to make “Presidential Harassment” happen (reminder that the current president spent the better part of eight years loudly accusing the former president of being born in Kenya);
    • complain that the Republicans “never did this” to the former president (i.e., investigate him) — this is not true;
    • argue that if the Virginia governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general “were Republicans, far stronger action would be taken” (Democrats have called on the governor and lieutenant governor to resign; many Republicans endorsed and supported similarly scandal-ridden members of their own party);
    • call the allegations about his campaign’s ties to Russia “a GIANT AND ILLEGAL HOAX”;
    • describe the brutal authoritarian dictator of North Korea as “capable” and predict that he would lead North Korea to “become a great Economic Powerhouse” (read about life in North Korea if you haven’t; this is one step away from praising Hitler for making the trains run on time);
    • claim that the country would have been in a depression if the former president’s policies had continued (the economy steadily improved for the bulk of the former president’s term and was doing quite well when the current president took office);
    • make a “joke” about the freaking Trail of Tears when the senator whom he likes to call Pocahontas announced her presidential bid, which reminds me what a joy the 2020 campaign season is going to be;
    • tweet, sans evidence, that “African Americans are very angry at the double standard on full display in Virginia!”;
    • misrepresent a Gallup Poll in service of an argument that 42 million Latin Americans might head to the United States if the borders were fully open, which isn’t even a thing that is under discussion, for crying out loud;
    • claim that he “probably works more hours than almost any past President” and that when he “took over as President, our Country was a mess” (none of this is true); and
    • say that another rival for the presidency “looked like a Snowman (woman)!” when she announced her bid during a snowstorm, which in his mind somehow disproves climate change.
  • As always, the recap of the Twitter feed just hits the highlights.
  • “Witch Hunt,” “Crooked Hillary,” and “Fake News” all made appearances.

This Is Not Normal, January 28, 2019 – February 3, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the governor of Virginia defended a photo of someone in blackface on his med school yearbook page by arguing that it couldn’t be him because the time he dressed up in blackface he was dressed as Michael Jackson. On his wife’s advice, he declined to moonwalk. This is an actual thing that happened in real life. (It’s also NOT NORMAL that he hasn’t resigned yet, which he needs to do.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that Texas released a “VOTER FRAUD ALERT” alleging that 95,000 non-citizens had registered to vote — without vetting the list to make sure the people on it were actually non-citizens. As it turns out, the list seems to have included tens of thousands of false positives.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the mayor of Dearborn personally scuttled a story a city-funded magazine about the anti-Semitism of Henry Ford; this is particularly baffling since it’s not exactly new information that Henry Ford was wildly anti-Semitic.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s schedule over the past three months is sixty percent “Executive Time.” (Although I am sympathetic to the notion that the world may be better off that way.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Senate Majority Leader opposes making voting easier on the grounds that the opposition party might get more votes that way.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president called his intelligence officials “passive and naive” because their Worldwide Threat Assessment disagreed with his gut instincts.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • complain about the way Fox News (!) was covering the border wall, while accidentally tagging a baffled teenager instead of the news anchor he meant to tag, and ending with a sarcastic “Don’t know how my poll numbers are so good,” apparently unaware that his poll numbers had hit new lows since the shutdown began;
    • bragĀ  that he had “done more in first two years than any President” (this is not true);
    • trumpet the idea of Bible Literacy classes, despite showing no signs of ever having read the Bible;
    • say that the former CEO of Starbucks “doesn’t have the ‘guts’ to run for President!”;
    • refer to a sitting Senator as “Da Nang Dick”;
    • unintentionally promote the highly critical book of a former staffer by complaining that “A low level staffer that I hardly knew named Cliff Sims wrote yet another boring book based on made up stories and fiction”;
    • tweet that “Democrats are becoming the Party of late term abortion, high taxes, Open Borders and Crime!”;
    • repeatedly claim that the wall is already being built while arguing in the next tweet that he needs more money to build the wall;
    • prattle about imaginary “caravans,” and let’s just hope he doesn’t get anyone else killed with this kind of rhetoric; and
    • share that “Jack & Tiger like each other” (I am so relieved).
  • We got “FAKE NEWS” and “Witch Hunt” this week, but no angry Democrats and no Crooked Hillary.