Much was made in the media whether Donald Trump would attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in the midst of the Senate impeachment trial. Critics argued his leaving the country was a further sign Trump still fails to understand the gravity of his actions. While supporters contended their leader was just continuing to do his job, promoting the United States as a model of economic growth and stability. This approach is a continuation of a theme Trump first posited in August 2018, when citing the economy, said, “I don’t think you can impeach somebody that’s doing a great job.”
The same could be said of the gang in 1950 responsible for the Boston Brinks Building robbery, the largest such crime in the nation’s history. Under this legal theory, one can imagine Joseph “Big Joe” McGinnis claiming he and his 10 accomplices were immune to prosecution because the crime was so skillfully executed. “You can’t throw us in jail after we did such as great job. Some people say it was ‘the crime of the century.'”
However, when you look at the events this week you realize the ultimate distraction is the trial itself. America is witness to perhaps the most prescient illustration of misdirection in the Trump era. While press and broadcast media devote their time and space to a story with a predetermined outcome, we are deprived of coverage about an equally sinister series of events which may have an even greater impact on the future.
Just in case you too have been preoccupied with or ignoring the procedural and substantive roller coaster ride in the United States Senate, consider what Trump and his merry minions are doing under cover of impeachment.
During a Wall Street Journal interview on Monday, Trump revealed he plans to introduce a new tax-cut proposal in 90 days.
We’re talking a fairly substantial … middle-class tax cut that’ll be subject to taking back the House and obviously keeping the Senate and keeping the White House.
Anyone who criticizes Mike Bloomberg by charging him with “buying the presidency” needs to understand the difference. Bloomberg is spending his own money. In the above statement, Trump is telling you he is going to bribe you to vote Trumpist in 2020 using your children’s and grandchildren’s money.
If not, he needs to tell us how he plans to pay for this tax cut. Does anyone really think Trump is planning to avoid further increasing the budget deficit by rolling back some of the excesses for corporations or the wealthiest Americans in the 2017 so-called tax reform act? Or reducing defense spending? Or reducing the number of days he golfs at one of his properties at taxpayer expense?
The truth is you need not speculate. He is telling us exactly how he’s going to do it. Yet, under the cover of impeachment mania information about the priorities during a second Trump term is on page six when it should be on the front page. Consider the following examples from the White House’s 2020 budget proposal.
The Trump administration on Thursday announced a repeal of a major Obama-era clean water regulation that limited the amount of pollution and chemicals in the nation’s rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands. The rollback of the Waters of the United States rule was announced by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler at an event in Washington at the headquarters of the National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group that has pushed for its repeal and replacement. (NPR, April 2019)
President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget plan to slash federal funding for farm subsidies and other safety net programs for agricultural producers is getting criticized by farmers who say they are already struggling. (CNBC, February 2019)
Or this story based on an interview with the Wall Street Journal just yesterday.
President Trump suggested on Wednesday that he would be willing to consider cuts to social safety-net programs like Medicare to reduce the federal deficit if he wins a second term, an apparent shift from his 2016 campaign promise to protect funding for such entitlements.
Maybe the offsets will come from the Environmental Protection Agency or the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin signaled as much when he challenged teenager Greta Thunberg’s credentials as a climate change activist.
Is she the chief economist? Who is she? I’m confused. After she goes and studies economics in college, she can come back and explain that to us.
According to the New York Post, “Mnuchin’s swipe came two days after President Trump slammed ‘environmental alarmists’ to a crowd at Davos that included 17-year-old Thunberg.” Can you say “toady?” I knew you could. Perhaps in the Latest Testament, the parable of David and Goliath will feature Thunberg and a Goldman-Sachs executive.
Last night Steven Colbert had fun comparing Trump’s suggestion the wheel was invented in America to a ring of shiny keys designed to get you to look elsewhere. But the shiniest of objects is the impeachment itself. As Dustin Hoffman observes of the Las Vegas Strip in Rain Man, “It’s very sparkly. Very twinkly.” And once again, the media and much of the public have unfortunately taken the sparkly and twinkly bait.
For what it’s worth.