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Lucian K. Truscott IV

Donald Trump's reign of corruption has left the federal government in ruins

Who remembers Tom Price? Gee, you might say, that name sounds familiar … he had something to do with the Trump administration, didn't he?

This article first appeared in Salon.

You're right! He was one of those guys who resigned from a cabinet position because he was abusing something … let me see … think I've got it … he was the one who took all those flights on private jets, something like a million dollars worth of flights, including on military aircraft during trips to Europe and Africa with his wife. He refunded $51,887 to the federal government, which he said accounted for the cost of his seat on private charter flights he took before he resigned from Trump's cabinet. But that was just the cost of his seat. The total amount spent to fly old Tom Price around the world on private jets was more than $400,000 in taxpayer dollars.

What cabinet position did he hold that made it necessary for so many trips on chartered private jets and other business aircraft? What was he doing that was so important that he was flying back and forth to Europe and Africa and making trips to Aspen and Salt Lake City and Nashville, and basically jetting all over the place on the taxpayers' dime and staying in first-class hotels and eating out at expensive restaurants and taking his wife along with him a lot of the time? Oh, I remember! He was the secretary of Health and Human Services. He was the dude who resigned after only 231 days in office, the shortest term ever served by an HHS secretary. Price had been a right-wing congressman from Georgia who during his term in the House voted multiple times to repeal the Affordable Care Act, supported a Republican plan to privatize Medicare, voted to defund Planned Parenthood and sponsored the "Right to Life Act," which would have defined life as beginning at conception and banned all abortions and many forms of contraception.

Busy, busy man, old Tom, with all those flights around the world and fighting to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood and banning abortion. Took up a lot of his time. In fact, it took up the time he could have spent studying the plan to contain pandemics which was left for him at the Department of Health and Human Services by the Obama administration. But old Tom Price didn't study that plan, did he? No, he shelved the Obama pandemic plan, where it stayed as his successor, Alex Azar, was appointed. So it was Azar who was running HHS when COVID hit in February of this year, and it was Azar who left the pandemic plan on the shelf and was first put in charge of the pandemic task force at the White House, until Vice President Pence took over that job. It was Azar who appointed Brian Harrison, a 37-year-old former labradoodle breeder with zero education and zero background in public health as the department's top man in charge of organizing the HHS response to the COVID crisis. Now he has overseen the appointment of two more nonentities with no background in public health or epidemiology to keep Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield "in line," and to control messaging on the coronavirus pandemic coming out of the department. Oh, I almost forgot: Azar also supports ending the Affordable Care Act and defunding Planned Parenthood and banning abortion and every other whacked-out right wing idea that ever came down the pike.

Are you beginning to get the picture here? Health and Human Services is just one Trump cabinet department that has been led by not one, but two half-wit hacks and undercut by the White House from Day One. Both HHS and CDC have been hollowed out and weakened under the control of the Trump White House while some 220,000 Americans have lost their lives and 8 million more have been infected by the COVID virus.

Trump's ravaging of the rest of the government has followed the same script. Remember Scott Pruitt, Trump's first administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency? He lasted just about a year before he resigned under the cloud of investigations by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the Government Accountability Office, the EPA inspector general and 11 other federal agencies and congressional committees. Pruitt was another Trumpazoid incompetent who flew around on chartered jets and used EPA employees to reserve tables for dinner at exclusive Washington restaurants. He set the EPA on a course to undo nearly every Obama administration environmental accomplishment. He fired all the scientists on the Board of Scientific Counselors and replaced them with representatives of industries regulated by the EPA.

When he left the agency in disgrace, Pruitt was replaced by his deputy, Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, who proceeded apace to continue the fine legacy left to him by his predecessor. Wheeler has weakened regulations on coal fired electrical plants and declined to raise standards for "fine soot pollution" under a mandated review. In the midst of the COVID pandemic, Wheeler's EPA announced that it would not enforce regulations for "routine compliance monitoring [of pollution], integrity testing, sampling, laboratory analysis, training and reporting or certification obligations." In other words, polluting industries, here's your get-out-of-jail-free COVID card, courtesy of your friendly EPA.

Donald Trump's pillaging of the rest of the federal government is equally astonishing. He's gone through cabinet secretaries like they were an order of Big Macs. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson? Gone early on, replaced by Mike Pompeo. Attorney General Jeff Sessions? Out the door in disgrace. In his place, the odious Bill Barr (after a brief appearance by the totally incompetent Matt Whitaker). Secretary of Energy Rick Perry? Bye-bye in a blink. Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta? Resigned in disgrace for his connection to a kid-gloves plea arrangement with famed pedophile and presidential friend Jeffrey Epstein. Secretary of Defense James Mattis? Resigned in protest against Trump's haphazard misuse of U.S. military forces. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke? Resigned rather than face federal investigation for using his office for personal gain. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats? Ousted in a Trumpian power play to politicize the intelligence community.

Trump has proceeded to appoint acting secretaries to replace expired acting secretaries. Recently, one of his attempts to get around the rules hit a wall when a federal judge in Montana ordered the removal of the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management, William Perry Pendley, who he found had been serving illegally for 400 days without Senate confirmation. Pendley has been an advocate of selling federal lands to the states or private citizens.

There is more, much, much more, but you get the picture. The damage Trump will be leaving to Joe Biden is incalculable. The death toll caused by his mismanagement of the COVID crisis and the numbers of infections increase by the thousands seemingly every day. The only good thing about a hollowed-out federal government will be the thousands of appointments Biden will be able to make upon taking office, and the dozens of executive orders he'll be able to sign reversing Trump's giveaways to polluters, drug companies and corrupt corporations.

All we've got to do is get out and vote to make that happen.

Why fact-checking may be futile against Trump's black hole of lies

Why fact-checking may be futile against Trump's black hole of lies President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, senior White House advisors and senior military personnel, delivers remarks during a national televised address Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, from the Cross Hall of the White House, responding to the retaliatory missile strikes against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq on Tuesday by the Islamic Republic of Iran. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The week Donald Trump lost the election

After the debate, he couldn't hide what an asshole he is. After he got sick, he couldn't hide how weak he is.

Trump was already down in the polls, both nationally and in many swing states, and after his unhinged performance in the debate with Joe Biden last week, his people knew he would lose more ground. Sure enough, two days later, an NBC/Wall Street Journal national poll had Biden up by 14 points, 53% to 39%, among registered voters. Biden's margin among women was 20 points last month; in the new poll, he led by 27, 60% to 33%.

A CNN poll conducted at the same time, and largely after Trump first tested positive for the COVID virus, had Biden up over Trump by 16 points, 57% to 41%. Women in the CNN poll, who a month ago favored Biden by 20 points, now favored him by 34 points, 66% to 32%.

By last weekend, Trump was tanking in the polls, he was sick with COVID and he was in the hospital. So what did he do? Almost immediately after leaving Walter Reed Medical Center and making his mock-Mussolini triumphant return to the White House, he tweeted an end to any possible new stimulus package for COVID relief, calling off negotiations with Democrats.

There are more than 213,000 dead from the virus, new coronavirus cases are averaging 45,000 a day over the last week, and there were 53,000 new cases on Thursday alone. According to National Geographic, "the virus is spreading uncontrollably" in the Midwest, new cases are up in 15 states, and "deaths are still hovering around 900 to 1000 a day."

Schools are shutting down in some places after reopening in August and September, some cities are closing bars and restaurants, and there were 840,000 new claims for unemployment last week.

This is the COVID election, folks.

But Trump has treated the virus with disdain and "played it down" from the beginning. First, he denied it was a problem at all and tried to wish it away. On Feb. 26, he said, "When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that's a pretty good job we've done." Thirty-four times, Trump has said the virus was going to "go away" or "disappear." He and members of his administration, including Vice President Mike Pence, outright refused to wear masks to protect themselves and others around them, most recently at the infamous "super-spreader" Rose Garden announcement of Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court. His own family flouted the mask rule at the debate with Joe Biden.

Now, with more than 30 people in his own White House testing positive for COVID, including himself, Trump is trying to play down the virus's ability to kill.

In a bizarre video made at the White House just after his release from Walter Reed, Trump told people "don't be afraid" of the virus, and "don't let it dominate you." It was pure, unadulterated macho posturing and angry denialism, an obsession with appearance over reality, a version of "strength" in quotes that he seems to have absorbed from Cold War era dictators and Lone Ranger-style go-your-own-way westerns. You have the feeling that every day he wakes up and sees himself as George C. Scott in "Patton," standing alone in front of a gigantic American flag, growling a bunch of macho nonsense.

But think about it: He had a perfect opportunity to pivot and put himself on a course to win this election going away. Instead of standing on the balcony of the White House and saluting God-only-knows-what, Trump could have used the occasion of his COVID infection to change his tone. and, He could have kept his mask on and made a short video in which he told his fellow Americans, OK. I get it. I caught the virus, and it's a really bad thing, and here's what we can do together to put this thing away for good.

Instead of goading his base to follow him over a cliff, he could have sought out and doubtlessly received their sympathy and support. He could have looked into the eye of the camera and said that getting sick with the virus has made him understand how tough it's been on everyone. I realize that I've had the privilege of the best health care in America at Walter Reed, treatments that are not normally available. And for that reason, from now on, we're going to cover COVID for everyone. All testing for the virus will be free, and the federal government will cover 100 percent of the cost of treating everyone who comes down with the virus. Vaccines, when available, will be given for free, and every new drug developed to treat the virus will be provided to patients for free.

Then he could have announced that he was going to pick up the phone and make a deal for $3 trillion to help his fellow Americans cope with the fallout from the virus. He could have agreed to restart supplemental unemployment payments, provide help to state and local governments to make up for reduced tax revenues, send out new checks to every taxpayer for another $1,200, include help for the airlines, provide tax relief and send cash to small business owners to get them through the next few months until a vaccine can begin to reopen normal business for everyone. He could even have included a couple hundred billion specifically ear-marked for child care to make a direct appeal to the women whose support he has sand-blasted away from himself every time he opens his mouth.

Sure, it would have blown up the deficit, but it's not his money, and the deficit has already been exploded not once but twice, with his only-for-the zillionaires tax cut and the last stimulus bill. Republicans facing re-election battles at least as tough as Trump's, or worse, would have embraced his Big Giveaway with open arms. It would have been like dropping trillions of dollars into the campaign chest of the Republican Party. Democrats, who have already passed a $2.2 trillion bill in the House, would have been forced to go along with it. Trump could have put his name on the whole thing, and Biden would have been left to endorse a plan he knew would benefit his opponent far more than himself and his fellow Democrats.

That's the way Trump could have turned his illness into his October surprise. Instead of running from reality, he could have embraced it. He could have confronted the virus he has lied about for nine months and transformed a hit on himself into help for everyone else.

Instead, he's troweling on the pancake makeup and telling lies about how long he's had the virus and how many more White House staffers have tested positive, and now he's refusing to debate Joe Biden in front of 80 million voters he absolutely needs to pull himself out of the hole he's dug. With only three weeks to go, this is the one we'll look back on as the week Donald Trump lost the election.

When did Trump get the virus — and when did he know it?

He wanted their money.

That's why Donald Trump got on Air Force One and flew to his Bedminster golf club on Thursday afternoon, not long after he had learned of Hope Hicks' positive diagnosis for the COVID virus. There were millions in campaign contributions waiting for him at his golf club in the person of dozens of VIP Republican contributors who had paid as much as $250,000 to sit down with Trump at a "roundtable" at the reception. A donation of $50,000 got you a photo-op with the president, $35,000 got you a place at a "roundtable" with an unnamed "VIP" from the Trump campaign, and $2,800 got you in the door.

Lots of money sitting around out there in New Jersey at one of Trump's favorite places on the planet. You think he was going to skip that trip and miss out on all those bucks? Not a chance.

People who attended the fundraiser reported that Trump didn't wear a mask on Thursday. Neither did many of those attending the event. Trump was reported to have mingled with dozens of VIP attendees and posed for photographs.

Trump had been told of Hicks' diagnosis on Thursday morning, according to Bloomberg News, yet he "continued on with a full schedule of events. No one knew Trump was positive on Thursday, but some suspected it, people familiar with the matter said."

Hicks, one of Trump's closest aides, had traveled on Air Force One with him to a rally in Duluth, Minnesota, on Wednesday. Then she "was separated from the rest of the White House staff on Air Force One on the trip home Wednesday night after falling ill," according to Bloomberg. Hicks was seen walking across the tarmac with Jared Kushner to Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Tuesday when Trump flew to Cleveland for the debate with Joe Biden, and seen again getting on the presidential plane before the flight to Minnesota the next day.

So Trump knew by late Wednesday night that he had been exposed. Hicks often sees Trump a dozen times a day, according to Jonathan Lemire, an AP White House correspondent and MSNBC contributor. Trump probably suspected that he was sick by Thursday morning. Trump looked tired and depressed walking across the White House lawn to Marine One before the flight to New Jersey, and was described as "tired and lethargic" at the Bedminster fundraiser, although he wasn't reported to have shown other symptoms. But you know how you feel with a case of the flu coming on, and the coronavirus is said to hit a lot harder than the common flu. A few hours after the Thursday fundraiser, at 1:00 a.m. on Friday, he sent out a tweet acknowledging that he and his wife Melania had tested positive for the COVID virus.

Why are all these details about the timing of Trump's COVID diagnosis important?

In addition to being contemptuous of the virus itself, Trump has been contemptuous of those who wear masks to protect themselves. Trump belittled Joe Biden at the debate on Tuesday night for wearing a mask. "I don't wear a mask like him," Trump said, gesturing toward Biden. "Every time you see him, he's got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from him and he shows up with the biggest mask I've ever seen."

Now we know that Trump was equally as contemptuous of his fawning fans who follow his example and don't wear masks. He showed up at his Thursday fundraiser knowing he had been exposed to the deadly virus, yet he didn't wear a mask and didn't warn his campaign donors that he had been exposed and they should protect themselves from him by wearing masks and keeping their distance.

This is what the criminal codes call "depraved indifference to human life." In New Jersey, where the Bedminster fundraiser was held, a person can be charged with reckless manslaughter when you "recklessly cause the death of another under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life," according to the criminal code.

Trump's indifference to human life is manifest in everything he has done since the COVID crisis hit. He admitted in interviews with journalist Bob Woodward for his book, "Rage," that he "played down" the threat of the virus in the early days of the pandemic even though he knew the disease could be deadly and that you could become infected just by "breathing the air." He has played down the threat ever since, most recently continuing to tell audiences at his rallies last week that the virus "is going away," and reportedly repeating the claim at the Bedminster fundraiser. Again and again, even after the death toll hit 100,000 and continued to climb, he has praised himself for "doing a fantastic job."

Now that the American death count has hit 200,000, you could certainly make a case that Trump has contributed to the toll by encouraging the reopening of businesses and schools, which has caused coronavirus cases to rise in at least 25 states this week. Nationwide, the country has averaged 43,000 new cases a day for the last two weeks. But now, with Trump's appearance at the fundraiser in Bedminster, it's personal.

We will probably never know for sure when Trump came down with the virus, because we can't trust what comes out of his mouth or what is released on an official basis by his White House. But Trump, at the very least, had to suspect that he was dangerous to the health of others after Hicks got sick on Air Force One Wednesday night, and he knew it for sure when she tested positive on Thursday morning. Still, he went to the fundraiser in New Jersey and posed for photographs with his adoring fans and sat down with the $250,000 donors at the so-called roundtable.

Even now, with his wife quarantined in the White House and Trump himself heading to Walter Reed hospital on Friday evening — and with more positive tests of prominent political figures, so far all Republicans, being announced almost hourly — political insiders are wringing their hands over what it will all mean to Trump's electoral fate, not to mention that of the Republican Party. "It's hard to imagine this doesn't end his hopes of re-election," Rob Stutzman, a Republican consultant, told the New York Times on Friday morning, pointing to Trump's "flouting of obvious precautions." One White House political adviser told reporters for the Times that Trump's "recklessness … amounted to a political 'disaster.'"

Trump's failures with COVID have gone from the political to the personal. If only one person who attended that fundraiser with Trump dies from COVID, his "extreme indifference to human life" will make him liable to a manslaughter charge in the state of New Jersey.

That's a reminder, as if we needed one, that it's not political careers that are ending out there, it's human lives. Now Trump is sick and in the hospital. If he dies, all his life will amount to in the end will be one more statistic.

The Supreme Court is finished -- Republicans have killed it

Call it what it already is: Donald Trump's Supreme Court, and it's as corrupt as he is, as cynical as he is, as outright stupid as he is, as racist as he is, as fascist as he is. The Republican Party killed it, and Trump is driving another nail in its coffin with the nomination of arch-conservative Catholic Amy Coney Barrett. RBG is gone, and look at who Barrett will join: Clarence Thomas? A clown. Samuel Alito? A rubber-stamp hack. Neil Gorsuch? A replacement bell-ringer for racism. Brett Kavanaugh? A weepy beer-swilling prep-monster. John Roberts? He wrote the brilliant line, "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race." Tell that to George Floyd, Johnny boy.

This article first appeared in Salon.

But they know the job they've been put there to do. Trump as much as told them this week when he said, "I think it's very important that we have nine justices. It's better if you go before the election, because I think this scam that the Democrats are pulling — it's a scam — the scam will be before the United States Supreme Court."

There it is, folks, right out in the open. The "scam" Trump is referring to is voting for Joe Biden. He may look like he's contesting the election on the campaign trail, screeching and hissing and sniffling at his rallies, thumbing out his endless apocalyptic fascist tweets, threatening to jail his opponents and throwing other chunks of red meat to his ravenous racist hordes. But don't be fooled. The Republican Party has been counting on the courts to win their elections for decades. Trump's real "base" is his five, and soon six, voters on the Supreme Court.

These cynical bastards have been playing the long game. They have been looking out there on their golf fairways, and they've seen who's riding the mowers and trimming the bushes and grooming the greens. They have looked at the workers on the floors of their chicken factories, and manning the counters of their fast food empires, and they have walked past their own housekeepers and nannies who are watching over their own children. They are surrounded by brown people and Black people, even in their own homes and in their own businesses. They know what's coming. The Republican Party is out of the closet as the White Party in a country that is inexorably turning browner and blacker and more Asian, peopled with more, not fewer, immigrants. How else do you account for the rise to power of Stephen Miller and Ken Cuccinelli and their ilk? They're in government to do the bidding of their masters, to slow down the brown horde, to throw sand in the gears of a demographic machine that is slowly grinding their political future into electoral hamburger.

They know it's getting harder and harder for them to win at the ballot box. Look at what happened to them in 2018. The last two Republican presidents lost the popular vote and yet attained the White House by way of narrow wins in the Electoral College. Why do you think they established the Federalist Society, the right-wing finishing school for judgeships that has provided the Republicans with virtually every one of its 300 appointments to the federal bench under McConnell and Trump? Why do you think they consciously defenestrated the Voting Rights Act with Shelby County v. Holder, Chief Justice John Roberts' gift to his Republican masters? Because they were looking for more fairness in the nation's electoral process? Please. That decision threw the door open to the greatest racist fiddling with the electoral process since Jim Crow. It's the reason we're going into the election of 2020 with such uncertainty about who is eligible to vote and where, what the rules are for voting by mail, which polling places will be open, and whether or not the voting machines will even work. They don't want voting. They want chaos.

They've turned the courts into a kennel for right-wing puppies, willing to sit there with floppy ears and their tongues out, panting and waiting to decide cases in favor of the billionaires who put them there. That's why there is a cottage industry of right-wing legal groups like Judicial Watch, Alliance Defending Freedom, Claremont Institute and the Center for Individual Rights, all of them funded by tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions in right-wing money. They make no bones about the fact that their job is to go out looking for plaintiffs to sue on behalf of big business and right-wing political interests to overturn laws they don't like. They have been behind the challenges to the Affordable Care Act and every anti-abortion lawsuit ever filed, not to mention suits against immigrant rights, civil rights, LGBT rights — you name it. And waiting in federal courthouses all over the country are Trump and Mitch McConnell's judicial poodles.

Trump and McConnell and the rest of them have packed the Supreme Court and every level of federal bench beneath it with unqualified goofs and loons and dominionists and members of religious secret societies and misogynists and drooling, ignorant losers. Hearings of the Senate Judiciary Committee over the last three years have been overwhelmed by inexperienced hacks who couldn't answer simple questions from Democratic senators that pointed straight to their lack of qualifications for the federal bench. Every one of them was approved on party-line votes. The amazing thing is that even with all of his goofs on the court, whenever he sees a verdict or judge's sentence he doesn't like, he issues a pardon, commutes a sentence, or sics his chief attack dog, William Barr, on it.

You don't need to hear from me about the travesty of McConnell's treatment of the Merrick Garland nomination, and I'm so tired of typing the word "hypocrisy" I've got carpal-tunnel syndrome. Suffice to say the Republican Party has trashed political norms, broken promises, lied, cheated and stolen to get control of the judicial branch of government. They have turned the federal courts into an outpost of their party, and like their party, they want it all white, or nearly so. Eighty-five percent of Trump's appointments have been white.

We're at a point in our political history as a nation where the only outrage left to commit in pursuit of winning at all costs by the Republican Party is murder. With Trump's outright worship of Putin visible on a daily basis, and his celebration of violence against protesters and journalists at his rallies, we don't have long to wait.

All you have to do is recall any individual 60 seconds of the hearing to confirm their last nominee for the Supreme Court, Squi's best friend Brett Kavanaugh, to know that the Republican Party has engaged in a scorched-earth strategy when it comes to the federal judiciary.

It's time for Democrats to grab a proverbial can of gasoline and a pack of matches. McConnell and Trump want to pack the courts with obedient little Republican replicants? OK, let's put them to work. The Constitution won't allow the Congress to cut the pay of judges, but a Democratic House and Senate and a Democrat in the White House can reduce the pay of everyone else on the federal payroll in a courthouse. Most federal district court judges have one or two clerks. How about this: How about zero money for zero clerks? Let Trump's 300 judges do some work for a change. Same thing for the Supreme Court. Each justice currently has four clerks. How does providing pay for one clerk sound? And how about that Supreme Court gym? Close it. Write some rules constraining the justices' ability to accept gifts like invitations to private golf clubs and lunches at country clubs, invitations to give speeches or to accept rides on private jets. Supreme Court justices make $255,300 a year, but they live the lifestyles of corporate CEOs who make millions. Make them live within their means.

But just because we're nice, let's give them less work to do. Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, enumerating the powers of the judiciary, contains this little gem: "In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make." That gives the Congress the power to limit which laws are subject to judicial review, and "under such regulations," how they are reviewed. I personally see a lot of opportunity for congressional meddling in the powers of the judiciary — as in, stripping away its powers.

Here's the fallacy of the Republican Party's strategy of converting the courts into a political battleground. The legitimacy of the Supreme Court and every other court depends on its decisions being respected by the Congress, the president and the people. Let's try withholding our respect for a change.

Bob Woodward may have identified Donald Trump's worst -- and most fatal -- flaw

According to interviews recorded by Bob Woodward for his book, "Rage," Donald Trump was briefed by national security adviser Robert O'Brien on Jan. 28 of this year that the coronavirus "will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency," that the virus was five times more deadly than ordinary flu, that it was spread when "you just breathe the air," and that it would soon become a worldwide pandemic. At the moment Trump told Woodward these things, on Feb. 7, the president had one job: Persuade the American people to work together to deal effectively with this threat to their health and well-being.

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Slow-motion mass hysteria at the Republican convention as Trump senses doom

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall as Donald Trump's dosage-tuning was done by a team of crack drug-doctors in an anteroom of the White House before he gave his Big Speech on Thursday night. Hand me that penlight, Tom. I want to give his pupils another quick check. His anisocoria looked a little pronounced when we hit him with the last dose a while ago … look right, Mr. President … now look left for me … that's good … uuuhhh … just as I thought. We better hit him with another two cc's before we give the OK to push him out there. If we don't get him tuned up just right, he'll never make it down those steps from the back portico…

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Let's remember that along with everything else, Donald Trump's a total pig

Can we put aside for the moment Trump's corruption, ignorance, incompetence, arrogance, racism, stupidity, criminality, greed and buffoonery, and just deal with the fact that he's a pig? You know what I'm talking about. Look at one of the photographs of Trump and his wife Melania alongside their good friends Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, and you've got the whole thing in a proverbial nutshell. I mean, do you have any photographs of yourself with a convicted sex offender and someone accused of procurement in a child sex ring?Trump does. You've seen them. They've been all over the place, especially after Trump responded to a question at a White House press conference last month about Maxwell's arrest for allegedly procuring, grooming and abusing teenage girls by saying, "I just wish her well, frankly. I've met her numerous times over the years ... I just wish her well, whatever it is."

Think about that. Trump said he was supportive of an accused sex offender the first day he returned to hosting daily coronavirus briefings in the White House after a three-month absence. It was supposed to be a reset for his campaign, a chance for Trump to seize the spotlight and make a stab at getting his poll numbers up.

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Everything awful we suspected about Donald Trump has come true

There were 65,853,514 of us who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and it didn't take long to prove how right we were. Donald Trump waited less than 24 hours after he was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States before he dispatched his press secretary, Sean Spicer, to the White House briefing room — attired in a tent-like garment reminiscent of David Byrne's "Big Suit" in the Talking Heads documentary, "Stop Making Sense" — to lie about the size of the crowd at his inauguration. Trump's inaugural ceremony and parade had "the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe," Spicer told the White House press corps, which was already showing photographs of the sparse crowd on the National Mall and Trump waving to entire blocks of unoccupied bleachers along the inaugural parade route. Spicer's lie about Trump's crowd size was so blatant, it was shocking.

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Trump's fake federal militia wears mail-order camo — and they're as effective as his campaign against the virus

If the street scenes during protests in Portland, Oregon, looked familiar this week, it's because you've seen them before … in Iraq.Heavily armed troops in camouflage garb with helmets and tactical vests moving through a community like an occupation army? Check.

Hostile civilians gathered together on the street in protest of the occupation army? Check.

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Nothing Trump did in 2016 is working — and his campaign is being managed by the coronavirus

If you want to know exactly how well Donald Trump's re-election campaign is faring as we count down the final three months before Election Day, all you have to do is Google "list of rallies for the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign" and compare it with what you've seen lately.

Now that was a presidential campaign! Not dozens of rallies, hundreds of rallies! Trump held 187 rallies during the Republican primaries, between June 15, 2015, and June 3, 2016. He held rallies in Costa Mesa, California; Warwick, Rhode Island; Vienna, Ohio; Evansville, Indiana; Warren, Michigan; Bethpage, New York; and dozens and dozens of other cities and towns.

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