This Is Not Normal, April 22, 2019 – April 28, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the White House has tried to block multiple congressional subpoenas of staff members and requests for papers and other information. Congressional oversight of the executive branch is a key feature of the separation of powers established in the Constitution, as you probably remember from fifth-grade social studies.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, in the ongoing saga of the president’s nominees to the Federal Reserve Board, one of the wildly unqualified picks has been found to make a series of sexist statements in the National Review, including suggestions that women should only be allowed to cover men’s basketball if they were attractive and wore halter tops and complaints that women were “sooo malleable” because his then-wife had voted for a Democrat. (It will not shock you to learn that he and his wife have since divorced.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the members of the president’s party in the Senate called the special counsel’s findings that the president had both obstructed justice and attempted to obstruct justice on several occasions merely “unflattering” and “inappropriate.” It is worth noting that many of these Senators voted to remove a former president from office for less blatant obstruction.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the governor of Kentucky blamed striking teachers for the shooting of a seven-year-old who was at home due to school closures.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the former homeland security secretary was instructed not to mention efforts to prevent Russian interference in the 2020 election to the president.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be ridiculous. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • claim that he couldn’t be impeached because he had not been accused of any crimes, which is a misreading of both the special counsel’s report and the Constitution;
    • retweet several tweets from pundits and politicians criticizing the special counsel, going back as far as a year (my working theory is that his lawyers told him not to criticize the special counsel personally, and he seized on retweeting as a loophole);
    • call a writer for the New York Times “obsessed with hatred, just as others are obsessed with how stupid he is,” apparently because he was critical of the president’s economic policy;
    • falsely claim that the New York Times had been forced to apologize for its coverage of him in 2016, saying “On this one they will have to get down on their knees & beg for forgiveness-they are truly the Enemy of the People!”;
    • lament that “In the ‘old days’ if you were President and you had a good economy, you were basically immune from criticism” (no president has ever been immune from criticism; this is kind of the point of the First Amendment);
    • offer reviews of several morning political shows (Fox & Friends is “by far the best”; “Morning Psycho (Joe)” is “Angry Dumb and Sick”; CNN is “beyond disaster”);
    • threaten that Congress will “get involved” with Twitter, apparently because many of his bot followers were removed;
    • argue that he should not be impeached because the stock market was at its peak (that is not really how that works);
    • start up the caravan talk again, for which I have no patience whatsoever;
    • claim that the special counsel’s report “didn’t lay a glove on me” (that is not true) and that “If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the Supreme Court” (again, that is not how that works);
    • falsely claim that “there has NEVER been a President who has been more transparent” (scroll up to see the first item on this week’s list, and bear in mind that this president has yet to release his tax returns);
    • falsely claim that he never told the White House counsel to fire the special counsel (the special counsel’s report provides evidence that he did);
    • tweet “DRAIN THE SWAMP!”, which is big talk from someone presiding over arguably the most corrupt Cabinet in American history;
    • refer to a former vice president of the United States, who has entered the race for the Democratic nomination as “Sleepy Joe” and claim that his intelligence is “long in doubt” (so on top of everything else this president has done, he has now forced me to defend JOE BIDEN);
    • refer to a Democratic donor and funder of impeachment ads as “Weirdo Tom Steyer”;
    • praise the number two pick in the NFL draft but not the number one pick, finishing up his congratulatory tweet with “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” (this *might* be racist but it is unquestionably weird); and
    • refer to another Democratic candidate for the presidential nomination as “Crazy Bernie Sanders” and suggest that he is going to “get screwed” by the Democratic National Committee.
  • Lots of “fake news” and “angry Democrats” (also he seems to have settled on 18 as the exact number of angry Democrats). No references to Crooked Hillary or, unless I just missed one, to a witch hunt, although he did declare the special counsel’s investigation illegal several times. Baby steps.
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This Is Not Normal, April 8, 2019 – April 14, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that disaster relief for several states is stalled in Congress because the president doesn’t want to offer money to Puerto Rico and the Republicans in Congress don’t want to challenge him.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the attorney general accused the Justice Department of “spying” on the president’s campaign. (It is difficult to think of another context in which a conservative law enforcement official would refer to a legal investigation as “spying.”)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of the treasury is refusing to turn over the president’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee despite a clear statutory requirement to do so when requested.
  • It is NOT NORMAL, and it should alarm you, that the president purged several homeland security officials, including the director of the Secret Service.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the administration is floating ideas such as military-run migrant detention camps, closing the southern border of the United States, and shipping immigrants to sanctuary cities as an act of political retribution, to deal with a pretend security crisis. (It IS a humanitarian crisis. It is NOT a national security crisis. You are in much more danger from homegrown white supremacists than you are from migrants.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president reportedly offered pardons to Homeland Security officials if they broke federal law in implementing his immigration policies.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for various representatives of a political party to engage in bad-faith attacks  on a congresswoman, leading to death threats against her. It is not anti-Semitic to call a blatantly white-nationalist White House advisor a white nationalist, even if he is Jewish. It is not dismissive of the 9/11 terrorist attack to point out that mainstream Muslims were disproportionately stigmatized in the aftermath.
  • 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 judicial rulings against his various anti-immigration policies;
    • tweet that “The Mainstream Media has never been more inaccurate or corrupt than it is today. It only seems to get worse. So much Fake News!”;
    • approvingly quote a conservative pundit, twice, who accused the congresswoman above of “targeting” and “assaulting” Jewish people;
    • claim that “Everybody is now acknowledging that, right from the time I announced my run for President, I was 100% correct on the Border” (as part of “Everybody,” I object to this statement);
    • argue that his innocence in the Russia scandal was conclusively proven by the special counsel investigation, while maintaining that the special counsel’s report should not be released;
    • call Democrats “TREASONOUS” for opposing his draconian, authoritarian, and counterproductive immigration policies (as a country, we really need to stop throwing around the word “treasonous”);
    • approvingly crow about the indictment of a former Obama lawyer on “very serious charge” which stem from the lawyer’s post-White House work with the president’s campaign manager, whom the president maintains is an innocent victim of a witch hunt (my head hurts);
    • brag about his close personal relationship to the brutal authoritarian dictator who runs North Korea;
    • claim that the New York Times had to apologize for its false coverage of  him (this never happened);
    • complain that the New York Times story on his idea to ship illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities was “knowingly wrong on almost every fact” and then, three tweets later, suggested that he might ship illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities; and
    • claim that “If the Fed had done its job properly, which it has not, the Stock Market would have been up 5000 to 10,000 additional points, and GDP would have been well over 4% instead of 3%  . . . with almost no inflation” (the president chose four of the five Fed members, and you would be hard-pressed to find an economist who would sign on to his prediction about the stock market and the GDP).
  • This week saw references to Crooked Hillary, Fake News, the Witch Hunt, and various numbers of Angry Democrats. On a positive note, the president is very, very happy about the Tiger Woods Masters win.

This Is Not Normal, April 1, 2019 – April 7, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that at a meeting of Jewish Republicans,  a former senator led a recitation of Dayenu, a traditional part of the Passover seder, which was adapted to refer to the president instead of God. This is both sacrilegious and incredibly gross. (I usually don’t include former elected officials in this list but this is so offensive I am making an exception.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, at the same event, the president referred to the prime minister of Israel as “your prime minister.” For those of you keeping score, this is exactly the same kind of statement that caused so many people–including the president and at least a few people attending this meeting–to scream for the head of a newly elected congresswoman. A little intellectual consistency is all I’m asking for.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is refusing to turn over his tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee, despite a very clearly worded law that states the House Ways and Means Committee has the right to request the review of any tax returns.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, for the second time in two weeks, the president’s nominee to the Federal Reserve board is both unqualified and is dogged by accusations of sexual misconducted.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the department of education is delaying federal loan relief for students who were deceived by fraudulent universities, failing to approve any applications in the second half of 2018 despite receiving nearly two thousand applications per week.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s nominee to lead the department of the interior continued to lobby on behalf of at least one client after taking a position as deputy interior secretary and several months after he filed papers asserting he had stopped lobbying.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the chairman of the majority party in North Carolina has been indicted for bribery on behalf of a major donor, who was also indicted.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a Chinese national carrying four mobile phones and a thumb drive with malware gained access to the president’s Florida resort.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • refer to migrants entering the United States as a “major National Emergency” (it isn’t);
    • insist that it is “all important” to ask a question about citizenship on the census (citizenship has not been included on the census in previous years and including it will most likely depress participation, which is most like the reason why the president is eager to include it–this is not a “Radical Left” position);
    • obliquely argue against the release of the special counsel’s report on his campaign by asserting that “No matter what information is given to the crazed Democrats from the No Collusion Mueller Report, it will never be good enough”;
    • claim that he is working with Republicans to develop a new health care plan with “far lower premiums (cost) & deductibles than ObamaCare” which will be voted on after the 2020 election (this is laughably transparent, comparable to his assertions that he would be announcing a plan to reduce taxes on the middle class right after the 2018 elections);
    • complain repeatedly (and inaccurately) about providing aid to Puerto Rico, calling the mayor of San Juan “crazed and incompetent” and arguing that the territory’s leaders “spend the money foolishly or corruptly, & only take from the USA,” finally concluding that “The best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico is President Donald J. Trump” (Puerto Ricans are American citizens, and the president is racist);
    • argue that the “Dems don’t even acknowledge [the] name” of the special counsel and “would like to go through the whole process again” (what the Dems actually want is to see the report that the special counsel — to whom they seem to bear no animus — filed);
    • threaten to close the southern border of the United States, finally offering Mexico a “one-year warning”;
    • tweet, apropos of nothing, “THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS THE PARTY OF THE AMERICAN DREAM!” (nope);
    • call Democratic requests for the special counsel’s report “the highest level of Presidential Harassment in the history of our Country!” (nope again, and also, presidential harassment is still not a thing);
    • claim that the New York Times simply made up their story that many of the investigators on the special counsel’s team believed that the attorney general’s summary of the special counsel’s report was misleading and left out the most damaging findings (the New York Times has not been “forced to apologize” for its reporting on the president);
    • tweet a parody video of a Democratic presidential contender who has been accused of being too handsy, but who, unlike the president, has not been accused of sexual assault;
    • claim that “I’ve employed thousands of Electrical Workers. They will be voting for me!”;
    • claim that “The press is doing everything within their power to fight the magnificence of the phrase MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” and refer to the press as the “ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”;
    • pretend that previously scheduled fencing on the border is actually part of his border wall;
  • No Crooked Hillary this week but lots of Fake News and Witch Hunts.