(Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins | Reuters)
During President Trump's Friday rally in Alabama, it didn't take long before it was abundantly obvious that he was more desperate than usual to abruptly change the news narrative. Sadly, it worked. But as with most of Trump's loony blurts and cartoonish outbursts, it was impossible to look away -- impossible not to pay attention. This time, more than ever before, though, the news he was attempting to distract us from involved two major catastrophes. We'll circle back to those catastrophes presently.
As we all know, Trump chose the NFL as one of his targets, along with scattered player protests against racism and excessive use of force by too many police officers against people of color. Among other chunks of red meat he tossed to his googly-eyed white rally-goers, Trump insisted that anyone who takes a knee during the National Anthem should be fired and NFL owners shouldn't tolerate any players who exercise their free speech rights. Amplifying the tone of his outbursts, Trump dusted off his stupid reality show catchphrase, "You're fired!" to the delight of his gawking disciples. Stepping back from the madness, there was something especially pathetic by Trump invoking his catchphrase -- sort of like seeing the late Bob Denver showing up to car dealership openings wearing his Gilligan costume.
So, instead of talking about the news that election systems in 21 states were hit by Russian hackers on or before Election Day, Trump demagogued a football player after tweeting that the Russian attack is a hoax. The cognitive dissonance in the administration is both staggering and business-as-usual. Trump's own Department of Homeland Security confirmed Russia's attempts to break into election systems, and yet the commander-in-chief called it a "hoax." Twice. In other words, the president struggled to distract us from something his own administration confirmed -- on the same day.
In Illinois alone, "personal information for tens of thousands of voters was exposed." Other states were targeted but, so far, there's no evidence of ballots or voter registrations being altered. We've heard this before. With every new report, though, we get closer and closer to hearing that vote totals were changed. There's no evidence... for now. Just wait for it. If it didn't happen last year, we can expect it to explode in time for the midterms.
Meanwhile, Trump's brain worms must be multiplying and devouring more and more of his enfeebled gray matter because he trotted out "the wall" again for his Alabamian fanboys. But this time, he added an all new twist to the fictional yarn he's spinning. Apparently, Mexican drug cartels are using "catapults" to launch 100lb bags of drugs over the existing border fence. In case you hadn't heard, these catapulted bags of drugs are apparently causing head injuries as they land on American citizens lingering on the other side of the wall for some reason.
Trump: "They take drugs, literally, and they throw it. A hundred pounds of drugs, they throw it over the wall. They have catapults. They throw it over the wall, and it lands and it hit somebody on the head. You don't even know they're there. Believe it or not, this is the kind of stuff that happens."
Trump's solution? A see-through wall, naturally. We're not making this up. Trump wants an invisible wall to stop drug dealers launching their bags of narcotics at the heads of innocent Americans who, for reasons confounding logic, are wandering randomly on the other side of the wall.
Not to bury the lede but while all of this horseshit is injected into the discourse by the nation's most incompetent and unstable chief executive ever, Trump's Katrina is underway right now in Puerto Rico. Throughout Sunday, as we were distracted with the blowback against Trump's trolling of the NFL, an entire U.S. territory along with thousands of American citizens have had their lives devastated following two monster hurricanes, Irma and Maria. Reports indicate that it could be decades before infrastructure is fully restored on the island -- longer if Trump continues to masturbate while people wait for help.
That said, I wonder if we're all better off when Trump is doing anything else other than actually governing. In the case of Puerto Rico, however, rescue and recovery efforts are desperately needed.
[Carmen Yulín] Cruz, San Juan’s mayor, said she has never seen such devastation, but she also said she has never seen such determination to make it. She described a phrase she keeps hearing from residents: “Yo soy Boricua. I am from Puerto Rico.”
“That has become the very courageous way of saying we are going to overcome anything that comes our way,” she said.
A janitor stopped Cruz with a request on Friday: “Tell the world we’re here,” he said, Cruz recounted. “Tell everyone we’re fighting. Tell everyone that can listen that we are going to make it.”
With her voice faltering, Cruz echoed that cry: “If anyone can hear us . . . help.”
It doesn't look like that help will come from the president who thinks it's more important to demonize football players than to pay attention to an attack on our democracy, as well as a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions.
Heckuva job, Donnie.