“Patriotism is a virtue of the vicious” Oscar Wilde
The Donald Trump’s UnMagical Mysterious Tour in an ongoing spectacle of bad taste and effrontery traveled to Japan this past week to the G20 meeting of world leaders. The results were predicable and not unexpected. The tour became more of a chance for Trump to hobnob with the world’s strongmen autocrats (a group he desperately wants to be included in on the world stage) including his pal Vladmir Putin, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salam, and a wild card visit to Eddie Munster grown up look alike, Kim Jong Un. Trump hit a trifecta of sorts by embarrassing himself and/or America in every meeting. With Putin, it was a mocking comment about not meddling in the 2020 election. With MBS, he rudely talked to the Saudi murdering prince while standing on bleachers at the group photo shoot. The biggest surprise came at the end of his trip when he decided to go to North Korea to further his bromance with the despot Kim Jong Un and the chance to be the first American president to ever visit the North Korea pariah state. It is fair to ask the question does Trump understand why no American president ever visited the rogue empire before?
The prospect of writing a blog post about the G20 meeting is both excruciating and useless because nothing happened at the conference except for Trump’s grandstanding; an all too common act of idiocy this president is wont to engage in wherever he goes. This lull in actual illegal acts committed by Trump allows the nation to stop, contemplate, and reflect on the other members of his party, and their outrageous shenanigans. This week provided more than enough ammunition to highlight the growing band of America’s scoundrels, crooks, and ninnies. Following are some of the more egregious and baffling accounts of how these people see American democracy.
First up, under the crooks category, is Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA) from one of Southern California’s reddest districts. Hunter and his wife, Margaret, were indicted for misuse of campaign finances for personal gain. In a recent development of the bizarre case, Margaret Hunter pleaded guilty for conspiring to misuse campaign finance money. She is expected to cooperate with the prosecution in her husband’s oncoming trial. Records show the couple used the ill-begotten money for travel, fine dining, gifts, and generally as a “secret” checking account that they dipped into whenever they liked. They then falsely reported the “expenditures” to the Federal Election Commission as legitimate campaign expenses.
Duncan is embroiled in his own trial at the moment and has taken an unusual defense surrounding his actions. While accusing his wife of creating the entire fiasco in the first place, Hunter also used the funds to engage in five affairs over the course of the election campaign. Among the women Hunter had affairs with, three were industry lobbyist, one of his own campaign staffers, and an official of Republican National Committee. This is where it gets weird.
In a new move this week, Hunter’s lawyers have come up with a unique defense for his actions. Laura Clawson, staff writer for the Daily Kos, writes his lawyers are claiming his extra-marital affairs were . . . campaign expenditures. Clawson wrote,
These women were, after all, professional contacts for Hunter. The relationships, the lawyers argue, “often served an overtly political purpose,” so “Unlike intimacy, the fact that an individual’s relationship with Mr. Hunter includes a professional aspect that directly, or indirectly, relates to his campaign or duties as a holder of Federal office, is directly relevant to whether Mr. Hunter could properly use campaign funds for an expense in connection with that individual.” Daily Kos
Certainly, the devoutly Christian Republican Party will no doubt call foul mentioning among other things infidelity, theft, conspiracy, lying to federal officials, and other mundane crimes that Hunter seems to think are inconsequential. In normal times such claims would be laughable, yet, this is Trump’s world now. Anything goes.
The Ninny award this week goes to who else but Ivanka Trump. Trump is fond of taking his daughter with him to various functions like the G20 around the world. Part eye candy, part presidential adviser (?), and part emotional support to the president, what exactly Ivanka’s diplomatic talents are are still up for debate. From fashion maven to international expert adviser is a pretty big leap for anyone, but for Ivanka, surely so.
In Japan this week and in North Korea, the blonde headed stick figure and her equally bland and monochromatic husband, Jared, were seen everywhere. This isn’t a good thing. It seemed as if Ivanka showed up everywhere except the places where she was wanted. In a reception line, she and Jared took center stage effectively blocking out Mike Pomepeo from a place of importance. It wasn’t until he called this to Ivanka’s attention did she and Jared begrudgingly make room for him but not without obvious reluctance. Many experts question her qualifications and why in the world she has become a familiar Trump doppelganger that acts as if she has something of substance to offer. Kaitlan Collins of CNN Tweeted it this way,
Ivanka Trump’s role at the G20 summit is under scrutiny.
CNN’s @kaitlancollins reports: “There are questions about the role she played with these other world leaders. … and whether or not she is qualified to be in those meetings.” https://cnn.it/308xGPz
One particular incident stood out and became the focus of a much ballyhooed speculation on why Ivanka was even there. The incident involved a group of high level European diplomats engaged in an intense conversation including French president Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and International Monetary Fund head, Christine Lagarde. As May makes a point, the hapless Ivanka can be seen trying to wheedle her way into the conversation. Babbling inane bullshit obviously, the leaders, and especially Legarde, cast jaundiced eyes toward the president’s daughter as if wondering, “Where did this ninny come from?” For her part, Ivanka, like her father, seemed unruffled or aware that she was being shunned by her betters.
Finally, the scoundrel award is shared by two equally despicable lawmakers, Mitch McConnell (R Ken) and loopy Louie Gohmert (R Tex). The sins of McConnell are widely known ranging back to Barack Obama’s first administration. There are literally too many incidents to chronicle here. This week, however, he played his role as partisan suck up to the president when he used an underhanded dirty trick to block the Senate from reeling in the president’s ability to go to war with Iran. Not only was his act a selfish partisan hack job, but it surely gives Trump the green light to attack Iran before the 2020 election where upon Trump would do god knows what. Declare martial law? Suspend the election?
Leave it to loopy Louie, however, to inject a bit of “country humor” into the national political debate. In an attack on Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Gohmert reacted to Mueller’s subpoena by Democrats in the House of Representatives by attacking his integrity and referring to Mueller with an odd pejorative. Kate Riga of Talking Points Memo put it this way,
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s impending congressional testimony has some House Republicans speaking their mind about the square-jawed lawyer.
“He’s done some irreparable damage to some things and he’s got to answer for them,” Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) told Politico. “It reinforced the anal opening that I believe Mueller to be.” .
“Anal opening”? Leave it to loopy Louie to obfuscate when a simple “asshole” would have worked better and been more clear. Maybe it’s his skewed religious fervor that makes him believe anal opening is less disgusting than asshole. Maybe a lesser sin? Who can say?
Next week will surely be taken up by the obscene Fourth of July “celebration” planned by Trump and his merry band of “anal openings”. The event is shaping up to be a doozy. Tanks, jets, armed personnel carriers, VIP sections, friends, family, and the partisan riff raff that seems to be Trump’s stock and trade. Hold on to your seats. At least we haven’t bombed Iran . . . yet.