Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Devant Moi, le Déluge

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
 Well there's floodin' down in Texas
All of the telephone lines are down
And I've been tryin' to call my baby
Lord and I can't get a single sound
Well dark clouds are rollin' in
Man I'm standin' out in the rain.
- "Texas Flood", Stevie Ray Vaughan
 It didn't start out very promisingly.
     We'd known for days the Texas panhandle was going to get seriously slammed by Hurricane Harvey. Even without the aid of someone heading the NOAA, meteorologists had predicted days before the storm made landfall that it was going to be a Cat 3, perhaps a 4, and all the predictions and simulations were absolutely spot on. What they couldn't predict, however, was how devastating the flooding would be.
     But fear not, Deplorables, because Donald came to the rescue... sort of. After lambasting President Obama for appearing in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Trump sneered from his little blue perch about how Obama was "standing in a puddle" and "acting like a president." Which, of course, Mr. Obama was. The 44th president arrived in the most devastated areas while Trump said "neener neener" even as he was preparing to lay the groundwork for a new Trump Tower in Moscow. Meanwhile, the president brought tidings of hope, and followed through on them on the form of a $50.5 billion aid bill that 19 out of 20 Texas Republicans tried and failed to scuttle that put Chris Christie's fat little head on Mr. Obama's shoulder, thereby effectively ending his political ambitions outside of Trenton.
     Then, as with domestic terror attacks, a Category 4 hurricane in the Gulf region is virtually an inevitability for a new President. If nothing else, it offers the chance for photo ops and to act presidential and to show leadership even if, as with Bush, your heart really isn't in it.
     But Trump dragged his responsibilities, starting with the very rudiments of presidential optics and follow-through, down to a new low. While George W. Bush exactly 12 years ago surveyed the devastation in NOLA from a coign of vantage in Air Force One and began blabbering at Louis Armstrong Airport about his dissolute frat boy days in New Orleans, eventually Bush did the ten cent tour, visited the devastation and hugged a few victims.
     Trump stood on a loading dock behind a fire engine and a Suburban SUV in Corpus Christi, blathering on about the size of the crowd, essentially starting a Rodney Dangerfield routine ("What a crowd! What a turnout!"), said a few meaningless platitudes, circled around a 15 mile radius then was back in DC in time for lunch. Melania stood behind him thankfully not wearing the four inch stiletto heels she'd worn earlier that day on the way to Marine One. He'd warned his aides in advance not to let him get wet because, you know, gremlins. In that, he was spectacularly successful. Trump barely got the soles of his new boots damp and never met with a single victim in a state in which he'd beat Hillary by exactly 9 points. Oddly, the press didn't have a problem with that.

Houston, You Have a Problem But I Don't Care to Hear About It
CNN caved, Fox (of course) caved and even Joey Scar caved. Even Trump's most virulent critics are praising his so-called Texas visit because the MSM are so desperate to show the American public that Trump's visit was gaffe-free and presidential, they'll squint until they can't see any more to convince us, and themselves, that we actually have leadership during the greatest natural disaster in the US this year. But, as usual, Trump didn't get off to a good start.
     By that time five Texans drowned (that Trump still hasn't acknowledged any more than he's acknowledged the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville earlier this month). On Sunday at Camp David, Trump began his day at 7:45 AM pimping Sheriff David Clarke's new book of right wing conspiracy theories (Maybe if Houston buys enough copies, they'll finally be able to start soaking up the 20 feet of water). 19 minutes later, he essentially pats himself on the back for sitting on his fat, pasty ass in Camp David while actual rescue workers risk their lives to save the flood victims. An hour and 11 minutes later, he announces, "I will also be going to a wonderful state, Missouri, that I won by a lot in '16. Dem C.M. is opposed to big tax cuts. Republican will win S!" Because, you know, he won the presidency and won bigly in Missouri, in case you didn't know.
     By 9:44, he's harping on the wall again, and insisting Mexico will pay for it, despite threatening to shut down the government if he didn't get the wall funding from Congress in the upcoming omnibus spending bill. Oh, and Mexico's still full of criminals. Seven minutes later, still obsessed with Mexico, he then lambastes NAFTA as he had on the campaign trail and insists we still have to renegotiate it. Yes we do. But apparently, he thinks now's the perfect time.
     And Trump is a master of timing. He proved it when he pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the racist who'd yet to be convicted for violating a court order that forbade him from racially profiling Hispanics to check their immigration status. With the President of Finland standing next to him, Trump brazenly said he'd announced Arpaio's pardon to coincide with Hurricane Harvey because he thought he'd get "far higher ratings."
     Interspersed with the smattering of other August 27th tweets was Trump essentially saying, "Gee, who knew?"
     By today, Trump made good on his promise to go to Missouri to talk about simplifying the tax code because giving himself and his fellow billionaire scumbags a massive tax cut at the expense of needed services and agencies (such as, oh, I don't know, the NOAA) is exactly what the people drowning in Texas want to hear right now.

The Return of the Prodigal President
But in case you were one of the very few naysayers who still weren't satisfied that Trump could be all he could be, he's promised to donate part of one of his countless vacation days to return to Texas this Saturday. But one would justifiably be worried that Trump has all the facts in hand or that he even cares to know them. Yesterday, Trump essentially did a drive-by
     Because by today, Trump has already gone down on record as talking about tax cuts for others like him not once but twice yet has never once mentioned that Port Arthur, the birthplace of Janis Joplin, is now completely underwater. Something else our law and order, cop-worshipping president never saw fit to mention while hawking Clarke's book or his tax reform: A Houston police officer died in the line of duty trying to save people from drowning.
     By now, one could be forgiven if Trump privately wishes he could build that wall, a circular one, around Houston to better drown the very same brown people he'd lambasted on Sunday's tweet storm. Houston is, after all, 36% Hispanic, 25% of the city being of Mexican descent. As horrible as Bush's reaction was to Katrina and New Orleans, which was, before the right wing gentrification sank in, 66% African American, Bush at least tried to play the part.
     Let me again describe what yesterday was like: Trump stood on a loading dock at a fire station, far away from another living human being except for his wife. He never once mentioned the five we know of who were killed, never called on his fellow Americans to help in the relief and rescue efforts (Not that he needed to because fortunately we are a species that produces heroes where none are expected) and never made a plea for charitable contributions or advise people where to go to make them.
     While Texas is at high tide, Trump's "empathy", as usual, is at low ebb. While never mentioning the fatalities of our fellow Americans, one of them being a police officer, while never mentioning Port Arthur being completely submerged, he has mentioned high ratings and tax cuts and David Clarke's book. And, as usual, Mexico's full of criminals and we need a wall to keep them out.
     Undeterred, Mexico has offered help. They were there for us in the aftermath of Katrina when the Mexican Army helped save lives in New Orleans. Despite what buffoon is currently occupying the Oval Office, Mexico has offered their help again. And Trump's pride and racism will not let him accept that help even as thousands are still in danger of drowning in unprecedented floods.


At September 1, 2017 at 8:09 PM, Anonymous Basement Dweller 22 said...

I refuse to accept anything this un-elected despot does as "presidential." There's nothing presidential about him!

At September 4, 2017 at 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm wondering about the 'Texas panhandle' remark, because no hurricane has ever reached the Texas panhandle.

At September 4, 2017 at 1:59 PM, Anonymous Anton said...

My 14-month-old pit bull/terrier is more presidential than the talking orangutan residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. And she's not completely housebroken...


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