Sleaze Forever: The State of The Ceaseless Pilfering of the Union

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At the SOTU, Trump will come face-to-face with Pelosi for the first time since she presided over the House impeachment vote. Photo of last years splendid clapback by Doug Mills/NYT/via AP/Pool

Tonight offers one of those national moments of sublime cognitive dissonance as the impeached "president," trailing his still-surfacing crimes from public petulance to Deutsch Bank to Kavanaugh like so many dead skunks, gets another chance to haltingly read from a Teleprompter, attempt enough coherence to sound "presidential," and prove his lackeys' mind-bending claim he's "a deeply gifted orator (with) a meticulous and carefully honed method for writing his speeches." Said lackey also asserts "what the American people hear is 100% President Trump's own words (sic)," even though the New York Times reports this year's excruciating, bombastic, lie-filled, Adderall-fueled address will be bolstered by several "little-known aides" who will "assemble" the speech with the help of "scraps of paper" passed along by Trump in moments of inspiration, like maybe when he thinks of "best words" like "unpresidented" or "More Coke now" or "When you're a star, they let you do it." Despite such flashes of brilliance, a number of House Democrats again plan to boycott the speech. Among the most eloquent is Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee, who charges Trump lacks "the character or veracity necessary to address Congress from that august podium and is not worthy of the dignity and respect accorded to his predecessors." Citing Trump's crimes and 16,000 documented lies, he refuses to "be a witness to puffery and prevarication...While I will always respect the office of the President, its current inhabitant demonstrates daily that he does not.”

As if we needed further proof of a venal, money-grubbing gangster in the White House, Trump is - for the third time in his 764 years in power - using his SOTU speech to rake in campaign donations. In 2018, his campaign proclaimed, "This is a movement" and "your name deserves to be displayed during tonight's speech" (though, shockingly, he then ripped off many people.) He did the same thing last year. And he did it this week, releasing ads promising the listing of proud donors on a livestream and thus, in the words of ethics watchdogs, "attempting to monetize the State of the Union address” in his ongoing “perversion of this national moment." His campaign also sent out a blizzard of emails so vast even we got one. "Friend," it begins, before going straight to insults. "As your President, I promise you that I will always put America FIRST with every decision I make (something the Democrats don't know how to do.) I will NEVER let the Left's LIES intimidate me." Calling his thuddingly rote speech "a HUGE moment for our Nation," it notes that last year "we had over 30,000 American Patriots contribute to get on our Official State of the Union Donor List" - though, really, how many of you would rather give a kidney? - and now calls for "a RECORD-BREAKING 100,000 American names displayed for the entire Nation to see." After the speech, Don Corleone adds, he will get a "printed list of Patriots" from the livestream, and he sure hopes to "see your name on there," and if it isn't then God help you 'cause it is what it is, and sure this is totally normal.

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