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.
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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.

This Is Not Normal, March 25, 2019 – March 31, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s nominee to the Federal Reserve Board is widely regarded by economists as not having the expertise for the job and also was held in contempt of court for failing to pay his ex-wife court-ordered spousal and child support.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of education eliminated funding for the Special Olympics in her budget proposal, defending the elimination of funding in a congressional hearing, and then, when undercut by the president’s announcement that he had ordered his “people” to restore funding, issued a press release claiming that she’d been arguing for Special Olympics to be funded the whole time and she was happy  that the president had taken her recommendation.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president and many of his allies proclaimed the Attorney General’s four-page summary of the special counsel’s three-hundred-plus-page report to be a “total exoneration” when the summary literally included the phrase “does not exonerate him.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the administration announced that it would no longer defend any part of the Affordable Care Act, against the express recommendation of several Cabinet members, including the Attorney General.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president, speaking at a rally in Grand Rapids, referred to the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee as “Little pencil-neck Adam Schiff.” (As a rule, I do not comment on anyone’s personal appearance because it isn’t relevant to their political behavior, but I will say that the president is no position to mock the physical appearance of others.)
  • It was also NOT NORMAL that at the rally in Michigan, the president–among many other lowlights–continued to talk about his not-at-all special Electoral College margin, lied about the number of people who have attended his rallies, claimed that the former president had spied on his campaign, claimed that wind energy does not work because “if it doesn’t blow you can forget about television for that night” (this is nonsense), and referred to a Senator as “Pocahontas.”
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be a sight to behold. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • attack the media as “corrupt and FAKE” and “the Enemy of the People and the Real Opposition Party!”;
    • threaten to close the southern border of the United States;
    • announce that he was going to have the FBI investigate an actor who falsely reported a hate crime;
    • demand that the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee resign from Congress;
    • argue that the 3% GDP would be higher “Had the Fed not mistakenly raised interest rates” (most economists dispute this);
    • claim that the media’s coverage of the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia was “100% NEGATIVE and FAKE!” (this is not true); and
    • tweet that “Everybody is asking how the phony and fraudulent investigation of the No Collusion No Obstruction Trump Campaign began. We need to know for future generations to understand. This Hoax should never be allowed to happen to another President or Administration again!” (honestly, if I were the president or one of his allies, I would hold off on the gloating until people other than the Attorney General have seen the actual report).
  • “Witch Hunt” and “Fake News” both appeared in the Twitter feed. I did not see “Crooked Hillary” on Twitter but he did use this phrase in the Grand Rapids rally.

This Is Not Normal, March 11, 2019 – March 17, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that 23 Republicans voted against a resolution opposing hate, mostly on the grounds that they wanted to specifically single out one Democratic congresswoman for anti-Semitic remarks. (The congresswoman did — inadvertently or not — echo anti-Semitic tropes, as do multiple Republican members of Congress on a routine basis.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the State department has called out South Sudan and Nicaragua for government atrocities against its own citizens, while at the same time the Department of Homeland Security has increasingly denied requests for asylum from refugees from South Sudan and Nicaragua.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the former attorney general is reportedly now not denying that he discussed the investigation into the president’s former personal attorney with the president, which he denied last month in public testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a lawyer in communication with one of the president’s attorneys sent an email to the president’s former personal attorney telling him that he could “sleep well tonight” due to his “friends in high places” shortly after his office was raided by federal law enforcement officials.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of education has made the decision not to enforce a federal law that prevents religious organizations from using federal funds for educational services in parochial schools.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president had a plaque mounted in one of his golf clubs in honor of his imaginary victory in a golf tournament last year in which he did not play. (Yes, this is minor in the grand scheme of things, but also it is just a really weird lie to tell.)
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • become incredibly defensive over the fact that he accidentally called the CEO of Apple “Tim Apple” and pretend that he said to to “save time & words”;
    • argue that it should be a “very easy vote” for the Republicans to endorse his declaration of a national emergency when there is not actually an emergency;
    • tweet that “Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. . . . the complexity creates danger. . . . I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot” (this is a legitimately weird point of view);
    • call the state of New York and its governor “proud members of the group of PRESIDENTIAL HARASSERS,” presumably because his organization is being investigated;
    • claim that many people are “leaving New York,” with no apparently evidence to back up the claim;
    • argue that he is “considered by many to be the President with the most successful first two years in history” (he is not);
    • claim that the media “photoshopped pictures of Melania, then propelled conspiracy theories that it’s actually not her by my side” (the conspiracy theories are genuinely nutty, but they are not the work of the media);
    • call the Democrats “Border Deniers” (that is not a thing);
    • complain that the hosts of late-night shows are “weak and untalented”;
    • argue that the Special Counsel should not be allowed to issue a report, finishing with “THIS SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN TO A PRESIDENT AGAIN!”;
    • attack General Motors several times for closing a plant in Lordstown, Ohio;
    • attack a late Senator twice because he shared a dossier about the president with the FBI;
    • complain that “Google is helping China and their military but not the U. S. Terrible!”;
    • threaten to have “not funny/no talent” Saturday Night Live investigated by the “Federal Election Commission and/or FCC” because he watched a rerun in which he was lampooned; and
    • issue a three-part tweet in which he called for Fox News to un-suspend a host who strongly implied that Muslims could not be loyal American citizens, finishing with “Your competitors are jealous – they wall want what you’ve got – NUMBER ONE. Don’t hand it to them on a silver platter. They can’t beat you, you can only beat yourselves!” (I remind you that the president’s tweets are considered official White House statements).
  • He also retweeted what I believed to be a record amount of nonsense.
  • “Fake News,” “Witch Hunt,” and “Crooked Hillary” are all still features of the president’s social media.

This Is Not Normal, March 4, 2019 – March 10, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that members of the Department of Justice swore under penalty of perjury that the former Attorney General did not formally order an investigation of uranium sales to a Russian company, only for a letter ordering said investigation to emerge after the acting Attorney General left his post.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a Florida massage parlor proprietor sold access to the president to Chinese businessmen.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president and his former personal attorney are squabbling via Twitter over whether the attorney asked for a presidential pardon and the president’s history of sexual misdeeds. Also NOT NORMAL: the former personal attorney is suing the president’s business for legal fees he incurred after he cooperated with federal prosecutors to provide information about the administration. (I’ll grant you that if this were happening in a movie I would be wildly entertained.)
  • It is also NOT NORMAL that the former attorney, who was apparently quite busy this week, provided drafts of a false statement he made to Congress in 2017 with edits that were reportedly made by administration lawyers.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Secretary of Education, according to a federal judge, illegally failed to implement a rule from the previous administration requiring racial disparities in special education to be tracked.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the current administration made a list of journalists and activists who should undergo special scrutiny at border entry points.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • accuse the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee of “illegally leaking to Fake News CNN” for no apparent reason;
    • tweet that “FEMA has been told directly by me to give the A Plus treatment to the Great State of Alabama and the wonderful people who have been so devastated by the Tornadoes” (shouldn’t every state and territory — like, say, California and Puerto Rico — get the “A Plus treatment” when they suffer a natural disaster?);
    • complain that the military exercises in South Korea cost “far too much money” (that is not the best reason to make international security decisions);
    • call the media the “true Enemy of the People” yet again;
    • complain that “the Dem heads of the Committees have gone stone cold CRAZY” because they are subpoenaing his business associates and staff for investigations into corruption and connections with Russia;
    • call investigations into his administration the “greatest overreach in the history of our Country”;
    • try twice more to make “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT” a thing;
    • complain that the Democrats in the House “won’t take a stronger stand against Anti-Semitism,” saying “it’s inconceivable they will not act to condemn it!” (HE CALL NAZIS “VERY FINE PEOPLE”);
    • claim once again that “The Wall is being built and is well under construction” (this is not true);
    • claim that the judge who gave his former campaign chairman a surprisingly light sentence “stated loudly and for the world to hear that there was NO COLLUSION with Russia” (he said no such thing; he said that he was not sentencing the campaign chairman for collusion but for financial crimes); and
    • refer to a right-wing pundit who turned on him after the government shutdown as “Wacky Nut Job Ann Coulter” (so we have now reached the second half of Animal Farm).
  • It was a banner week for “Fake News,” “Witch Hunt,” and “Crooked Hillary.”

This Is Not Normal, February 25, 2019 – March 3, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to give a two-hour speech at CPAC which features, among other things, his continuing fixation on the size of his inaugural crowd more than two years later.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president’s former personal lawyer to testify in a Congressional hearing that that he had overheard a phone call between the president and one of his advisers about Wikileaks; that he had had multiple conversations with the president’s children about real estate developments in Russia that the president has said were abandoned early on; and that the president had reimbursed him for payments to an adult film star with whom the president had an affair.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president held a summit with the North Korean leader without first establishing the terms of the agreement that he hoped to sign, leading to the collapse of the talks. (It is also NOT NORMAL that the president defended the leader, who is a brutal authoritarian dictator, against claims that his regime was responsible for the death of an American student in North Korea and said that he liked and got along with the leader, who is a brutal authoritarian dictator.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s son-in-law, who omitted dozens of foreign contacts and financial conflicts from his application, got a top-level security clearance at the direct order of the president despite the advice of pretty much everyone in government.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s former adviser, who is awaiting trial on charges related to the president’s campaign’s connections to Russia, and who is under a strict gag order because he posted a picture of the judge in his trial next to crosshairs, is publishing a book attacking the special counsel, which he did not mention to the judge during the hearing about the gag order. (The judge is not happy.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the West Virginia GOP posted an exhibit in the capital implicitly linking a Muslim congresswoman to 9/11. (Whatever you may think about this congresswoman, she isn’t responsible for the terrorist attack, and the implication that all Muslims bear responsibility for 9/11 and should thus not be trusted is reprehensible.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the House Minority Leader attacked a Jewish member of the House of Representatives by linking him, without apparent evidence, to a prominent Jewish donor, whose name he spent with a dollar sign. Classy! Not a dog-whistle at all! (If you got mad about the “Benjamins” tweet a couple of weeks ago, you have to get mad about this, too.)
  • 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 Spike Lee’s acceptance speech at the Oscars (it is a bit of a self-own for the president to regard a call for prioritizing love over hate in 2020 as a “racist hit on your President”);
    • brag about his ability to negotiate with North Korea, which is ironic in retrospect;
    • attack a former senator who is dying of cancer for leading “through lies and deception, only to be replaced by another beauty, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer”;
    • accuse Democrats of voting “against legislation to prevent the killing of newborn infant children” (this is not true, and the way the president and his party are using this issue is profoundly harmful to families facing the tragedy of fetuses with severe medical issues);
    • refer to a sitting Senator as “Da Nang Dick Blumenthal,” apparently because he was feeling sensitive about his use of “bone spurs” to avoid going to Vietnam;
    • accuse his former lawyer of “lying in order to reduce his prison time”;
    • demand, several times over multiple days, the “transcript” of his former lawyer’s book, which he argues would refute the testimony given to Congress (although a book proposal was written, it is not at all clear that an actual manuscript exists);
    • complain that the “Russian Collusion case has fallen apart” and that an investigation of his finances is unfair;
    • blame the failure of the North Korean summit on the his former lawyer’s hearing;
    • argue that his defense of the North Korean leader regarding the American student’s death was “misinterpreted” by the student’s family (dude, you said it out loud, we could all hear you); and
    • once again try to make “Presidential Harassment” take off.
  • “Witch Hunt,” “Fake News,” and “Crooked” (alas) are still commonplace in the president’s Twitter feed.

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?

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;
    • brag  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.

This Is Not Normal, January 21, 2019 – January 27, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Republican National Committee is on the brink of passing a pledge to give the president their “undivided support” for reelection (this is unprecedented) or that Republican leaders in various states are floating the idea of cancelling their caucuses or primaries to prevent a challenge to the president.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that dozens of advisers to the president, including his son-in-law, were rejected for top-secret security clearances by career security specialists, who were then overruled by a political appointee.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a campaign adviser to the president was indicted on charges of obstructing justice, making false statements, and witness tampering, and directly accused in the indictment of working with WikiLeaks to get information about hacked emails from the president’s opponent’s campaign.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president, in attempting to build support for his border wall, has routinely exaggerated the numbers of immigrants who commit crimes in the United States, inflated the numbers of border crossers, lied about how most drugs get into the United States from outside the country, and made up lurid tales about duct-taped women kidnapped by human traffickers that have no apparent basis in reality.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of commerce, who is a millionaire (he claims to be a billionaire, but Forbes has cast some doubt on that claim), expressed puzzlement that federal workers who missed two paychecks would need assistance from food banks.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the newly appointed secretary of state of Florida was pictured wearing blackface in a mockery of Katrina victims two months after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. (Yeah, this happened in 2005. I don’t care. It’s gross and flagrantly racist, and it goes to both the governor’s own racist tendencies as well as his ability to vet his appointees.) The secretary of state has since resigned.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation fired a woman shortly after she claimed she had been sexually assaulted by a supervisor at the foundation, which certainly looks like retaliation but which the chairwoman claimed was due to budgetary restraints. The chairwoman has since stepped down.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • lionize the Catholic school students who got into a hotly debated foofaraw with a group of Black Israelites and a Native American drummer (I pity the future archaeologists who have to try to decipher that sentence);
    • claim that he had never seen Republicans “so united on an issue as they are on the Humanitarian Crisis & Security on our Southern Border” (this does not appear to have been the case);
    • claim that his press secretary has stopped giving briefings because the “press covers her so rudely & inaccurately”;
    • try to make “BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!” happen;
    • suggest that someone in the FBI tipped off CNN about the arrest of his former campaign adviser, and complain that “Border Coyotes, Drug Dealers and Human Traffickers are treated better” than his adviser was (encouragingly, however, he now seems to be aware that “border coyotes” are not animals, so — progress!);
    • claim that his concession on the border was “was in no way a concession” (it was a concession);
    • claim that yet another caravan is headed for the United States (as I said last week, I have no patience for this particular presidential fiction) and that “If we had a powerful Wall, they wouldn’t even try to make the long and dangerous journey”;
    • praise the Republican National Committee for their “undivided” endorsement mentioned above;
    • gloat over the numerous layoffs of journalists at media outlets;
    • whine about the FBI, the “Fake and Unverified” dossier, the two unfortunate agents who were having an affair, and various other aspects of the investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia; and
    • tweet “WITCH HUNT!” sans context.
  • “Witch Hunt,” “Fake News,” and “Crooked Hillary” are all back with a vengeance.