The Trump Files

Gene L. Ford By

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In Portland, OR, this week, federal officers wearing camouflage and using unmarked cars started harassing protesters and dragging some of them off the streets because they were, um... protesting. Neither the governor nor the mayor saw it coming, as such intrusions are normally carried out at the request of state and local officials. Not this time. The 2,000 storm troopers consisted of officers from Customs and Border Protection (in Portland?), Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Transportation Safety Administration (well, there has to be an airport somewhere around there) and the Federal Protective Service. It seems that one or more of the protesters was spotted within twelve miles of a Confederate statue, triggering an automatic response from president save-our-birthright's administration. Agents had also been sent to Seattle and Washington, DC. Asked for his reaction to such an unsanctioned use of federal resources to persecute innocent civilians, vice president Mike Pence was quick to express his outrage, declaring, "You won't be safe in Joe Biden's America." Asked to explain more precisely what he meant, vice president stone face replied, "You'll have to ask Joe Biden about that."

And finally...

According to longstanding and accepted tradition, portraits of the incumbent president's most recent forerunners are hung in the Grand Foyer of the White House, its most prominent entryway. But like many another tradition in the reign of president badmouth the 1st, that one has ceased to exist, at least for the next six months or so. It seems the egotist-in-chief didn't like seeing them on his daily walks downstairs or at meetings with dignitaries, foreign or domestic. The portraits were banished to the seldom-used Old Family Dining Room and replaced by likenesses of presidents William McKinley (1897-1901) and Theodore Roosevelt (1901-09). As is true of most White House decisions these days, no reason was given for the change ("We don't need no stinkin' reason!"). And it was unlikely that another tradition, the unveiling of a portrait of president kenya-phobic's immediate predecessor, Barack Obama, would be observed, as it could make president munchkin look even smaller.

July 23, 2020

Civil war, anyone?

That's no joke. Nor is it an overstatement.

Having closed every other door to re-election in November, president devious has turned to the only subterfuge he has left: stoking fear, especially among older voters. Protesters in Portland, OR, he says, are "anarchists" who "hate our country." Therefore, by the power vested in him as king of kings, he has ordered federal troops to invade the city—uninvited—wearing camouflage uniforms with no insignia, brandishing heavy weapons and using unmarked cars, to "restore order" by firing tear gas pellets, beating people with clubs and "arresting" others without cause or explanation. Even a "wall of moms" has been unable to assuage their thirst for carnage. What's more, president just-getting-started says he'll be doing the same in other cities—as long as they are governed by Democrats— because "we can't let that happen in this country." Can't let what happen? Can't let people exercise their First Amendment rights by protesting injustice, racial or otherwise? That's not what this is about, Trump claims; it's about protecting federal property, even though there's been scant evidence of such vandalism, in Portland or anywhere else. And as if on cue, as Trump's unsanctioned yet menacing troops were laying waste to downtown Portland, his administration unveiled its catchy new slogan: "You won't be safe in Joe Biden's America."

Someone should point them to Webster's and underline the definition of "irony."

As president strong-arm and Dick Tracy wannabe Chad Wolf, his "acting" secretary of homeland security (yes, he really IS "acting"), have asserted, Portland is only a dress rehearsal. In the short run they may target other cities, but what they are really pointing toward is November, when Trump declares his crushing loss to Joe Biden was "rigged." He wants to see in advance how far the federal "storm troopers" will go in his defense. If they are on his side, he reasons, he has at least a fighting chance to overturn the Constitution and declare himself president for life. On the upside, considering his age and a diet consisting for the most part of KFC and fries, that life mightn't be very long.

Until then, president MAGA will stick to his playbook and bear in mind the lessons of his mentor who also failed in his first attempt to seize absolute power, spending a year in prison after the unsuccessful "Beer Hall Putsch" in Munich in 1923. The moral: if at first you don't succeed... make sure the weapons—and the courts—are on your side when you try again.

It is not overstating the case to argue that president Dixie in My Soul would welcome a second Civil War if he thought he could win it. And in his mind, it would be "the biggest, most awesome Civil War ever," much grander and bloodier than Lincoln's, with "TV ratings through the roof, unlike anything ever seen before." Of course, those pesky bone spurs would keep him in the White House bunker until it was over but he would make himself available for "press briefings" on a regular basis. A thankless job, but someone would have to tell the American people the truth about what was going on and why...

In other news...

The US Senate, bless its primordial Republican-beating heart, has voted down a bipartisan proposal to impose strict limits on the transfer of Defense Department military equipment to civilian police departments. Are you starting to see a pattern here? The amendment, which failed by nine votes thanks to GOP square shooters, would have barred the transfer of tear gas, stun gun grenades, grenade launchers, tracked vehicles, firearms of .50 caliber or higher and ammunition of .50 caliber or higher and obliged the Pentagon to recall such gear if it were used against protesters lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights. A travesty, of course, because what self-respecting police department could operate without those basic tools of the trade. Well, score one for the president. Now if he could only find a nearby Reichstag to burn down...

And finally, some good news...

In Kansas City, MO, single mom Shetara Sims had lost her job and was down to her last $7 when she found a dollar bill in a grocery store parking lot. She used the dollar to play the lottery and won $100. A happy ending? Yes, but not without a twist. Instead of spending her windfall, Sims donated the money—anonymously—to the family of a KC police officer who'd been wounded in the line of duty, mainly, she said, to repay the kindness of detectives who "were there for us" when Sims' oldest daughter was killed eight years ago. That would have ended the story, except KC police decided to track down the anonymous donor and thank her for her generosity toward a family she had never met. Once they'd found Sims they started a GoFundMe campaign to help repay her for her kindness. As of this week it had raised more than $59,000. Decency does sometimes have its rewards...

July 28, 2020

[The scene: a clinic in an undisclosed location in or around Washington, DC. Donald Trump enters, glances nervously left and right, and takes a seat.]

"So Mr. president, are you ready to take your cognitive awareness test?"

"I think the answer to that should be yes... am I right?"

"That is correct, Mr. president."

"Great! That's one down, thirty-four to go..."

"All right, then, here's your first—I mean, second—question: Johnny has five apples and gives three of them to his classmates. How many apples does Johnny have left?"

"That's a trick question. Nobody just gives apples away. They're worth at least fifty cents each!"

"All right, let me put it this way. How much are the apples that Johnny has left worth?"

"That's easy. They're worth two dollars—that's after a 100% mark-up because supplies are limited."

"We'll accept that. But before we proceed, I'd like to give you five numbers and have you repeat them to me. The numbers are 8-3-7-2-9."


"Good. Let's move on to question three. It resembles a circle but isn't. What is it?"

"A cabal? No.... A junta? A Klan?... Could you give me a tiny hint?"

"It's like the office you go to every day around one in the afternoon."

"Oh, it's an oval! Do I get credit for that? Pretty please?"

"Oh, all right. We'll give you that one. But the questions become harder from now on. Here's question four: which president had the largest inauguration crowd in history?"

"That's an easy one. I did!"

"No, I'm afraid the answer is Barack..."

"No, he didn't! I can show you photos! Everyone says my crowd was the biggest! Ask Mike Pence! He was there! We had to put in extra seats! That's why my crowd looks smaller! It's an optical illusion! And I won the popular vote too!"

"Well, we'll give you partial credit for that one and move on. Question five: in one of the early skirmishes of the Revolutionary War, British and colonial forces met in the battle of what hill?"

"I'm thinking bunker—but I was only down there for a few moments, and just to check things out. I was NOT hiding! I'd have scattered those Redcoats, even unarmed..."

"There's really no need to elaborate, Mr. president. 'Bunker' is correct. Here's question six: the U.S. is bordered on the north by Canada, and on the south by..."

"Murderers, rapists... and, I suppose, some good people too."

"We need the name of the country, Mr. President."

"Wait, wait... It's on the tip of my tongue..."

"Never mind. Let's try some word association. I'll say a word or phrase and you say the first thing that comes to your mind. Ready? Barack Obama."
"A small furry feline that likes to cuddle."
"Stormy Daniels."
"I have a dream today..."
"The Supreme Court."
"Vladimir Putin."
"Miracle cure."
"Poll numbers."
"Fake news."
"Black Lives Matter."
"They do?"
"The Spanish Inquisition."
"There were good people on both sides."
"Don't blame me."
"We'll be making nothing off the sales!..."

"Very good, Mr. president; now let's get back to the questions. But first, please repeat the numbers we gave you earlier."



"Of course it was. I bet Joe Biden couldn't do that! C'mon, Joe, leave your basement and take the test! Coward!"

"Question seven, Mr. president: on a particularly rough golf course, you shoot an eight on a par-five hole. What do you call that?"

"Well, of course I'd call it a birdie. What would you call it?"

"If you say birdie, then it's a birdie, Mr. president. Moving on..."

[time passes]

"Well, Mr. President, we're almost done. Question No. thirty-five is coming up. But first, please repeat again the five numbers we gave you earlier."


"That's close enough. Here's your final question, and it's another math puzzler. Given your recent poll numbers, what percentage is your chance of being re-elected in November?"

"Can I go higher than 100%? No? Okay, I'll settle for that. 100%"

"I'm sorry, Mr. president. The correct answer is a snowball's chance in hell. We know that's technically not a mathematical term, but it does best represent the percentage we asked for."

"So tell me, how'd I do on the test?"

"Let me see... there were thirty-five questions and you answered twenty-three correctly, or nearly so."

"Wow! That's almost perfect! Can we say perfect? It sounds so much better than almost perfect! If we can say perfect, you're my new ambassador to Swaziland...."

"Okay, Mr. president, if that's what you want, we can say perfect. You were almost there anyway..."

"Terrific! Now can I use your phone? I have to call my friend Sean at Fox and tell him the 'news.' Suck on that one, Sleepy Joe!"

August 2, 2020

Earlier this week, the nation's virologist-in-chief (no, not Dr Anthony Fauci; the other one) retweeted a video of what he called "very respected doctors" revealing the "truth" about coronavirus and its cures. Oh, and one of those "very respected doctors," Stella Immanuel, also claims that many health problems experienced by women are the result of sexual liaisons they've had with ghostly beings while sleeping—that endometriosis, infertility, ovarian cysts, miscarriages and STDs are "evil deposits from the spirit husband." She also says that DNA from aliens is being used in medical procedures, and that scientists are working on a vaccine "to keep people from being religious." On hearing that, president follow-the-science said, "I thought her voice was an important voice, but I know nothing about her." All the more reason, then, to follow blindly her "medical advice." Among the "cures" she and the other "very respected doctors" were pushing is hydroxychloroquine. Haven't we seen this movie before? In spite of massive evidence to the contrary, president nothing-but-the-truth continues to place his dubious stamp of approval on hydroxychloroquine alongside such other "miracle cures" as Clorox and ultraviolet rays. But at least we know they work...

And if for some reason they shouldn't, and Americans keep dying and the economy continues its dive off the nearest fiscal cliff, president ain't-no-way-I'm-gonna-lose is never without a Plan B: in this case, casting doubt on the integrity of the November election and with it the democratic process on which this country relies for its permanence. Widespread mail-in voting (a necessary precaution during an out-of-control pandemic) would, he tweeted this week, lead to "the most inaccurate and fraudulent election in history" (including even the fiasco of 1876) and would be "a great embarrassment to the U.S." But take heart, he crowed, here's a terrific solution I just thought of—why not "delay the election until people can properly, securely and safely vote"??? Let's say for four years or so. By that time we should have flattened the curve and would be living happily ever after. As president pollyanna told Chris Wallace on Fox News, "When I say the coronavirus is going to fade away, I'm going to be right eventually." Yes, and you'll be living full-time in Florida eventually too—and the sooner the better.

Bottom line: America chose the worst possible time ever to elect the worst possible president ever. Let's redress that error in November.

In other news...

After fending off vicious counter-attacks by massed walls of moms, dads and veterans, the heavily armed yet conspicuously unmarked federal troops in Portland, OR, have apparently negotiated a cease-fire, thus sparing themselves more grief at the hands of such awesome and implacable foes. All is not lost, however, as president color-blind has ordered his staatspolizei to direct their aim toward other "blue" (that is, Democratically-governed) cities and states (which, as everyone knows, are the only ones in which anarchy and violence have the upper hand). Even faraway New Mexico, which to most observers seems an oasis of peace and tranquility, hasn't escaped president eagle-eye's all-encompassing gaze. Yes, New Mexico may be more or less peaceable, but two years ago it committed the cardinal sin of electing a Democratic governor, a transgression that must not go unpunished. If Trump has his way (and he usually does), the Land of Enchantment may soon become known as the Land of Encampment.

Has anyone else noticed that president honor-the-flag hasn't said anything recently about athletes kneeling during the national anthem? That could be because kneeling has now become the rule, not the exception. Entire teams are kneeling—and wearing warm-up shirts that proclaim "Black Lives Matter." It would be hard to pinpoint Colin Kaepernick in those line-ups. And speaking of Colin, isn't it time some NFL team had balls enough to offer him a contract? He may not make it but at least give him a shot! I doubt if any "patriots" would be nipping at his heels this time around, considering that they are now vastly outnumbered. Oh, there has been at least one exception to the aforementioned rule: Jonathan Isaac of the NBA's Orlando Magic was the lone member of his team to stand during the anthem before a game with the Brooklyn Nets. Rumor has it that president grateful has been polishing a brand new Medal of Freedom to wrap around Isaac's neck.

Madeline Swegle, the U.S. Navy's first-ever black female tactical aircraft pilot, received her "Wings of Gold" this week during a ceremony at the Naval Air Station in Kingsville, TX. She completed her tactical strike training in Kingsville on July 7 and joins other trailblazers including Rosemary Mariner, who in 1974 became the country's first female jet pilot, and Brenda Robinson, who in 1980 was the first black woman to become a Navy pilot. Swegle graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017.

And finally...

Mo Gaba died this week. You say the name doesn't ring a bell? Well, Mo led quite a life, all fourteen years of it—so extraordinary that his passing was noted in statements by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan; the Baltimore Ravens, for whom the young African-American was an honorary team captain; and MLB's Baltimore Orioles. Even though blind and battling cancer, Mo was a Ravens super-fan and the first person ever to announce an NFL draft pick using a draft card written in Braille. He was invited to do that by Ravens coach John Harbaugh after the coach heard Mo discussing the draft on a local radio program. Mo was given the honor of announcing the team's fourth-round draft choice in the 2019 draft. On learning of his death, the Ravens tweeted: "Thank you for everything, Mo. Rest in Peace." The Orioles tweeted: "Thank you, Mo, for sharing your joy and contagious laughter with the team and [for] all the countless memories we will never forget."

August 6, 2020

All right, students, as schools in many states are preparing (with prayer beads at the ready and fingers tightly crossed) to resume classes, here's today's pop quiz: What do president zero-sense-of-humor and the late great Groucho Marx have in common? Granted, that's a tough one—but there is a common thread. Groucho (who really WAS a very stable genius), you may recall, once hosted a TV quiz program called "You Bet Your Life." And now, with his loud and incessant demands to "open everything up!" echoing from coast to coast in the face of a relentless pandemic that is devouring America, president bone spurs is on the cusp of launching his own new reality show, "I Bet Your Life." The difference, of course, is that president grim reaper's concept isn't even remotely humorous. Far from it. The country's de facto surgeon general is betting that "opening up" will help drag the economy out of the enormous ditch he has dug for it and not snuff out enough innocent lives to cost him the election in November.

Failing that, the croupier-in-chief is gambling that a new and super-effective vaccine, approved or not, will arrive in the nick of time, slay the dreaded coronavirus and prove that the king of kings was right all along when he proclaimed himself God's Chosen One (step aside, Jesus). An enormous gamble, it's true, but one he is more than willing to take as long as he isn't playing with house money but is squandering yours and mine. So far, that bet has led to roughly 4.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and taken more than 158,000 lives. But not to worry, the well-wisher-in-chief told an interviewer this week; "everything's under control." We'd despair at the thought of what America might look like if everything weren't "under control." Thank heaven president paladin is in charge!

In other news...

President walk-and-chew-gum said this week that, coronavirus pandemic be damned, he would be focusing his administration's enormous energy and resources on stamping out an even more horrific and virulent enemy: TikTok! After threatening first to make the Chinese-owned Amateur Hour web site "disappear," president corleone later backed away from that ultimatum, giving American-owned Microsoft forty-five days to buy TikTok from the Chinese, "as long as we get a piece of the action." Told that the government had never before demanded such a kickback, the godfather-in-chief calmly replied, "That's because they never had a take-no-prisoners deal-maker like me running the mob—I mean, the government." Having already stuck his shoe that far into the cow dung, president call-me-don continued: "Look, I told Microsoft 'you can have that freakin' Chinese loser but you gotta do me a little favor first,' ya know what I mean? Same deal I offered Ukraine—and they never pinned that one on me either." So TikTok may be coming to America, where most Americans hope TikTok means counting down the seconds until they can give president corleone the "kiss of death" on November 3.

A few hours after two horrendous explosions this week destroyed the harbor in Beirut, Lebanon, as well as much of the city's downtown area, president hearsay called it an "attack," saying he had spoken with his "great generals" and "they think it was a bomb." Asked about that, his "great generals" indicated by their stony silence that they had no idea what the hell he was talking about. "But I was right about hydroxychloroquine," he argued, "and Clorox too! And COVID-19 will disappear in another week or two... Trust me...!" The problem is, "trust me" is what got us where we are today.

And finally...

(Virtual) fans of the New York Yankees were shocked this week when the Pinstripes removed their starting pitcher during a game with the Phillies and the public address announcer intoned, "Now pitching for the Yankees, No. 45, Donald (you're-fired!-ball) Trump." Instead of merely throwing out the first pitch, as Dr Fauci had done, president strong-arm had decided he would be a relief pitcher, much to the chagrin and amazement of Yankee management, who immediately phoned the dugout to find out what was going on and how it had happened. "We're not really sure," they were told. "We didn't want to let old flabby-butt pitch but apparently he'd signed an executive order saying either he pitches today or next week we'll be known as the Yokohama Yankees. Our hands were tied. It looks like his jealousy of Dr Fauci knows no bounds! So for better or for worse, he's our pitcher now." As it turns out, it wasn't for better. On the brighter side, however, the improviser-in-chief said at his press briefing the following day that he had pitched three innings, struck out nine batters in a row, and retired only because he had to "focus relentlessly on ridding the country of the malignant (yet fast-disappearing; don't forget that!) coronavirus epidemic." Readers of sports pages across the country were puzzled to see that the Yankee box score from the previous day had mysteriously disappeared. As they later learned, the box score hadn't actually vanished; it had simply been "Barred."

August 10, 2020

Clinging for dear life to the last shred of hope for his re-election, president win-at-any-cost says an effective coronavirus vaccine should be approved and ready to go by November 3, Election Day—known in the White House by its more informal name, Start Packing Day. Uneasy as I am about forecasting the future (I once predicted the Baltimore Colts would annihilate Joe Namath and the New York Jets in Super Bowl III), I'm going to go way out on a limb here and prophesy that an acceptable COVID vaccine will arrive well before president bluster's "terrific, inexpensive" health care plan, one that would even cover pre-existing conditions, "something that has never been done before." (It's no wonder Michelle Obama is depressed!). Under Trump's illusory plan, "everyone would be covered" and "the government's gonna pay for it" (he neglected to say which government, the U.S. or Mexico). If Congress doesn't go along, he'll simply move some cash from the Pentagon's bloated budget ("hey, it worked for the wall!"). And of course, as this is president bombast's plan, it will be "bigger and better than anything ever created," not only in U.S. history but in the history of humankind, "even bigger than those mountains in Yosemight Park."

When pressed about when such a grand and glorious plan might be completed and viable, president cagey replied confidently, "soon... probably in a couple of weeks." And in saying that, president zigzag revealed his true genius. Regardless of whatever else you may think of him, it must be conceded that Donald J Trump is a consummate master of the shell game. The shell game, you say? Yes, that shell game—one of the oldest tricks in the con man's book. On its face, the game seems so simple: three shells, one pea, and all the mark has to do is guess which shell the pea is under. Of course, he or she can never do that, as the flimflam artist is a virtuoso of sleight of hand and distraction. No one knows that better than Trump, who has been honing his game since he was a toddler. He once had operatives in Kenya, he said, searching high and low for Barack Obama's actual birth certificate. Asked when he might know the results of their investigation, Trump replied, "soon... probably in a couple of weeks." When backed into any corner, that is his knee-jerk response—because he knows "a couple of weeks" not only sounds plausible but is beyond the normal limit of human retention and interest, so that when "a couple of weeks" have come and gone hardly anyone will remember what he said "a couple of weeks" ago. In other words, the pea has been cleverly placed under another shell. And that is why we won't be seeing a "tremendous new health care plan" from president humbug in "a couple of weeks" or, indeed, at any time in the foreseeable future. That's also why we haven't yet seen that birth certificate from Kenya. Remember, you heard it here first— even though you may have forgotten where you heard it "in a couple of weeks."

In other news...

Congress and the White House were unable to agree this week on legislation to aid victims of the coronavirus pandemic— which, public disavowals to the contrary, is exactly what president lone ranger wanted. As if on cue, he rode to the rescue—on his trusty steed "golf cart," of course—signing four executive orders aimed at proving once and for all his love and compassion for the "little people." The orders covered payroll tax deductions, unemployment compensation, and deferments for evictions and student loan payments. Well, sort of. Payroll taxes won't be forgiven, simply deferred to the end of 2020 for those earning less than $104,000 a year. And with sixteen million Americans now unemployed, the payroll tax (one of president queeg's ongoing obsessions) may seem an unlikely area on which to focus. Until, that is, one realizes that payroll taxes help pay for Social Security and Medicare, programs he would dearly love to abolish, as the "little people" don't really need them anyway. Although deferring payroll taxes won't do that, it softens the ground and serves notice that he means business.

As for unemployment aid, aside from the small detail that president bountiful's order is almost certainly unconstitutional, there is the other small detail—how to pay for it. No problem, says president moneybags. We'll simply "borrow" $44 billion or so from FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund and pray that there are no natural disasters before November 3. "And look, it's not like we're having all this fun by ourselves; for every $300 in aid we offer, the states will kick in another $100. We wouldn't want them to feel left out! But they will have to ask for our help. What's that you say? We forgot to allocate any money to reimburse them for coronavirus expenses in the aid bill that was passed in May? Oh, sh t!"

Moving on, president pugnacious put on his game face and ordered HHS secretary Alex Azar to "study the matter" and "consider" whether a ban on evictions is needed. That'll show those rapacious landlords who's boss! Many observers thought the president might reinstate a federal moratorium on evictions that was passed last March in Congress but expired on July 24. Apparently, those observers overlooked the fact that president good-hearted was once a landlord himself. And as the saying goes, "Once a landlord, always a..." Okay, we made that one up, but you have to admit it seems to prove the point here. Finally, president I-aced-college waived payments and interest on student loans held by the federal government until the end of the year. That's not only helpful in the short term, it could even be legal.

In the end, America got what it voted for—a system in which government by law and convention has been replaced with government by tweet and executive order.

August 11, 2020

Snap! Crackle! Pop!

No, that's not Rice Krispies—it's the sound of a noose tightening around the necks of congressional Democrats as president machiavelli completes his grand scheme of offering "aid" to victims of the coronavirus pandemic—aid he knew would never materialize—and blaming Democrats for their "heartless disregard for those in need" when they came forward to oppose the plan, which he knew they would. The ruse is so brilliant it's no wonder the Dems never saw it coming and were blind-sided by the chessmaster-in-chief.

For those who may have overlooked its niceties, here in a nutshell is the plan: First, send your emissaries to Capitol Hill to "negotiate" an aid package much like the one that passed both houses of Congress three months ago; however—and here's the kicker— spurn any compromise and make sure that no deal can be reached. Second, show the American people your heart is bigger than Texas by riding to the rescue with a deal of your own: an extra $400 a week to supplement unemployment insurance benefits for those millions who are out of work owing to your own ineptitude and mishandling of the crisis. That's less than the $600 a week included in the legislative package approved in May, but far better than the nothing they have received since that benefit expired last month. Now comes the ingenious part— write an executive order to say that for every $300 the federal government sends, the states must kick in another $100. And furthermore, the government won't simply dip into its piggy bank (in this case disaster relief funds pilfered from FEMA) and send the money automatically. No, that might actually work. Instead, make sure the governors have to ASK for the funds and add that extra $100 with MONEY HE KNOWS THEY DON'T HAVE, thanks to the government's failure to reimburse them for their heroic—and costly—efforts to combat the pandemic since its arrival (from China; never forget that) early this year. So what president artful dodger has done is sign an executive order that he knows is worthless and will help no one and dare the Democrats to oppose it —which he knows they will. And which is why Steven (Robot Man) Mnuchin could go on TV last weekend and say, "If the Democrats try to block this order they'll have a lot of explaining to do." From Trump's twisted point of view, it's "heads I win, tails you lose."

Cunning? Absolutely. Perverted? No question about it. Illegal / unconstitutional? Somewhere between probably and definitely. The downside, of course, is that no one—and by "no one" we mean the millions who really need it—will receive any help, at least not from president scrooge mc duck and his magic scroll. Lest anyone should complain about that and try to lay the blame where it properly belongs, president one-step-ahead-of-you has foreseen that happenstance and brushed aside their concerns by bringing the states on board. "Look, I signed that order in good faith; I can't help it if your governor won't apply for federal funds. Take it up with him (or her). Yes, the money's there; it's being kept from you out of pure spite— unless, that is, your governor is a Republican, in which case it's a clerical error and you'll be getting all the support you so badly need and deserve. When? I'd say soon... in a couple of weeks or so."

Democratic governors should call Trump's bluff and ask for the federal funds. He'll find a way around that, but at least people with open minds will see that his executive order isn't worth the paper it's written on.

And if you think that's the worst Trump can do, watch this space to see what other surprises he has planned between now and November 3. There's no need to check your mail box; president voter fraud plans to make that irrelevant. And please keep in mind: these people not only don't play by the rules, they've never met a rule they wouldn't relish overturning.

In other news:

The Trump administration continues its tireless efforts to help those who are most in need (only kidding; here's what's really happening), moving forward to remove protections for trans people seeking shelter from life's storms by empowering "federally funded shelters" to turn them away. Strangely, the new orders, which would amend the 2016 Equal Access Rule passed on president Obama's watch (who would have guessed?) give shelters the right "to decline to accommodate a person who identifies as female but is a biological male," but says they cannot deny accommodation "to a person who identifies as male but is a biological female." WTF? This may be a response to HUD secretary Ben Carson's assertion last year that "big, hairy men" were trying to "sneak into" unspecified women's shelters. The assumption is that "small, hairless men" would pose no problem. In any case, it is unclear how the changes in the Equal Access Rule would prevent anyone—big, small, hairy or otherwise—from "sneaking into" shelters for the homeless.

Speaking of elections and executive orders, president foul play has been on top of them too, declaring in a recent tweet, "Mail-In Voting, unless changed by the courts, will lead to the most CORRUPT ELECTION in our Nation's history! #RIGGED ELECTION." Asked to provide evidence to support that claim, president needs-no-proof declared, without fear of contradiction, "Read the manuals! Read the books!" He then signed an executive order (lawsuits pending) that would exclude undocumented immigrants from being counted in this year's census. Trump has a long history of questioning the validity of election results, dating back at least to 2012 when he claimed that machines were deleting votes for his then-BFF, Mitt Romney, declaring the results were "a total sham" and calling for a march on Washington to "stop this travesty." When Trump lost to Ted Cruz in the 2016 Iowa caucus, he refused to accept the result, saying "Ted Cruz didn't win Iowa, he stole it." He accused the Cruz campaign of committing "fraud," a charge that was taken seriously, as when it comes to committing fraud, there's no one who knows more about the ins and outs of that game than El Shady himself. Even so, Trump lost that battle but won the "war" against Hillary Clinton by minus-2,860,000 votes.

On a lighter note: more than 250,000 cycling enthusiasts were expected this week to attend the annual Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota (pop. around 7,000). That's down from the usual half-million but still quite a few more than social distancing would dictate. Face masks? Encouraged but not required. Last wills and testaments? Strongly recommended. If the virus don't get ya then the gas fumes might. Good luck, bikers! Sorry there won't be a pancake breakfast this year. Gov. Kristi Noem, when asked about masks, tweeted: "I trusted my people, they trusted me..." As for the rest of us, we trusted Trump... I wonder how that's been going?

And finally...

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