Commentary, Trump Administration

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Of impeachable offenses and telemarketing scams

U.S. State Department Building

Aunt Verlie was panic-stricken by the time I arrived at the If You’re Not Livin’, You’re Dyin’ Eldercare Villas. Someone had been calling all day long—actually, several someones—leaving messages saying her assets (Seriously? Four half empty bottles of Nivea lotion and a CVS heating pad with cold spots?) were going to be SEIZED and her Social Security number had been “fatally compromised.”

The voicemails were stern, forceful, of the devil.

I wrapped an arm around Verlie’s thin shoulders, turned on “The Property Brothers” to keep her calm and reminded her it’s not rude to hang up on creepy scammers, ever.

I couldn’t help but think how these wretched souls remind me of the Trump administration’s State Department which has been, according to The Washington Post, notifying staffers who worked with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton their emails have been “retroactively classified and now constitute potential security violations.”

Horse manure.

Trump’s State Department says this has nothing to do with the president; it just takes a long time to go through all those emails. But to anyone with an above room temp IQ, it’s obvious this is another example of the president abusing his power to punish his political adversaries.

Why would we expect anything else?

There is no difference whatsoever, ethically speaking, between what the State Department goons are doing and what honestly happened to Aunt Verlie on a sunny Saturday at a location I made up. Who knows? Maybe it’s the same people? Maybe “Mr. Adam Drake from the Internal Revenue Service” moonlights.

The Post quotes letters to Clinton’s former staffers and other Democratic key personnel as “You have been identified as possibly bearing some culpability” in, supposedly newly uncovered “security incidents.”

Who does that sound like? Hmmmmm?

Now the wacky thing here is Trump’s State Department clutching its pearls and gettin’ the vapors over Hillary using that private email server years ago but turning a blind eye to Trump’s repeated  blathering nonstop on insecure cell phones and routinely sharing classified information to foreign officials with all the circumspection of a drunk 12-year-old at a slumber party.

You gotta love the stones on this Mike Pompeo guy. Trump’s most recent Secretary of State is said to be overseeing this nonsense at the behest of Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley, 118, of Iowa, who is believed to be the only person still alive who regularly uses the word “consarned” with nary a trace of irony.

That’s the same Mike Pompeo, by the by, who thinks it’s OK to withhold millions of dollars in aid to Ukraine until sufficient dirt is uncovered on Joe Biden because Trump’s woke to the fact that sleepy Joe could beat him.

The threatening language with its “I know what you did last presidency” is typical ham-handed thuggery from an administration that will stop at nothing to divert attention from its crimes.

In the words of that great immigrant, Melania Trump, using your immense power to bully others kinda suck-ski’s.

Celia Rivenbark is a New York Times -bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.

Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Trump getting away with murder?

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today President Donald J. Trump made good on a longtime threat and gunned down someone on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

“I hadda do it,” Trump explained with a disarming grin and shrug of his powerful shoulders. During a hastily called press conference on the south lawn of the White House, Trump also revealed to reporters even though he had no travel on his calendar that morning, he insisted Marine One noisily hover several feet above the ground in the background during his remarks.

“I like the sound of the fast, turny things,” he said, lifting his chin skyward and staring into the sun. “They go zoom.”

The president explained the reasoning behind the shooting, which drew instant praise from Republicans in both houses of Congress.

Said Trump: “Many people have said, you know, Mr. President, I’ve always heard it said you could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and nobody would care. You wouldn’t lose a single voter. So, I thought to myself, why not?”

Republican members of Congress cheered the action as just one more illustration of a president who keeps his campaign promises even when they don’t appear to be popular or even remotely sane.

“If this doesn’t prove that he will go the extra mile, I don’t know what will,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “While some of the elite liberal left will protest the president’s decision to shoot someone in cold blood on such an iconic street, we salute his courage and initiative. He said he could do it, and, by golly, he did it.”

Only George Conway, a highly respected Republican attorney and D.C. insider who has been a frequent critic of the president, disagreed with Trump’s decision.

“He’s a dangerous nincompoop,” said Conway. “What’re ya gonna do?”

During the press conference, which lasted approximately four hours, Trump said his base has shown nothing but support for all his campaign promises and the slaughter of an innocent individual by a sitting president was “just the cherry on the pie.”

While the media tried to keep the president focused on the events leading to his decision to slay someone in broad daylight for no reason other than to rev up his base, Trump chose to jump off script and share  thoughts on a number of topics:

“We are paying billions of tax dollars to our farmers to keep them from going under because of my tariffs,” said Trump. “And our coal miners, why are their faces so dirty?”

“Vladdie and I are working hand in hand to make sure sleepy Joe, Pocahontas and the gay guy don’t get anywhere near the White House, so there’s that…” he rambled.

“And the unborn? Who here is unborn? Nobody? Don’t be shy; raise your hand or nub. We love the unborn, don’t we?”

The identity of the shooting victim was not revealed at the press conference but, once made public, Vice President Mike Pence promised the family “thoughts, prayers and maybe a ham sandwich.”

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.

Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: A social media split on dumb bank thieves

Most of y’all have probably read about the Pennsylvania couple that spent $120,000 accidentally dropped into their checking account at BB&T.

It didn’t take Robert and Tiffany Williams long to spend most of the “found” money on a camper, a Chevy and a race car.

This reminds me of the old joke in which the lottery winner is asked by a reporter how he will spend his millions and the salty old gent responds, “loose women, plenty of good liquor, casino gambling and…well, I’ll probably just squander the rest on foolishness.”

Indeed.

Robert and Tiffany spent $100,000 in about two weeks, including $15,000 on friends who needed money because of woodwork and the things that crawl out of it.

In what sounds like some kind of Amish banking mistake considering the sophisticated computer systems we thought existed, a teller—we’ll call her Gladys because, why not?—mistakenly placed a $120,000 deposit from a local business into the Williams’ checking account.

I’m guessing she didn’t carry the 3. Anyway, poor Gladys has most likely been fired by now but will have a great story to tell once she is elected to Congress, where she can misappropriate all kinds of money, bless her heart.

I’m not here to hate on Gladys or even BB&T, a proud banking institution that, in my town, gives dog treats at the drive-up, which, since I don’t have a dog, makes me ask, “Y’all got a Kit Kat back there for the human customer?” (And, side note, what’s with this business of dogs in stores? Last week, I was trying on a dress at T.J. Maxx and had to negotiate with a customer’s obviously non-service poodle just to get out of the dressing room. If it was a real service dog, it would’ve looked up at me and said: “Yellow, with your complexion? Puleez.”)

Interestingly, the social media nation is divided on whether Tiffany and Robert did wrong. This is odd because they knew it wasn’t their $120,000 (particularly since their previous balance was $1,121.00 and, this just in, no Santa) so of course they should’ve called the bank, told them what happened and, in the process, maybe saved poor Gladys’s job.

In the old days, they would’ve gotten a toaster or set of dishes for such honesty.

When they got caught, and, yes, that’s the correct phrasing, Tiffany agreed to set up a repayment plan with BB&T, but a funny thing happened on the way to being a decent human being.

The bank hasn’t been paid back and now the couple is out on bail for three felony charges of theft and receiving stolen property.

I’m a little shocked that so many proud Americans say they should’ve been able to keep the money. Social media comments boil down to “Banks have insurance. Besides RACE CAR!”

Whether it’s a redneck couple in Pennsylvania or a billionaire who doesn’t pay his income tax, stealing is stealing. Or as true service dog Scooby Doo reminds us: Sometimes, the real monsters are humans.

Celia Rivenbark is a New York Times-bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.

Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Trump dynasty? Lord help us.

Hons, I’m as terrified as a clutch of sorority girls hearing about the nationwide shortage of White Claw.

Yes, there is fear deep in my marrow because Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, recently told a group of enthusiastic supporters in California (!) he believes “The Trumps will be a dynasty that lasts for decades.”

Great. The return of measles and now THIS? (shakes fist at heavens, then feels guilty about it because upbringing)

Please say it isn’t so. Tell us you were kidding, Brad; that you made it up just to make us liberals go ape-poo and, if so, mission accomplished.

But what if Brad’s right? There have certainly been political dynasties in the past. Roosevelts, Kennedys, Bushes… Although, to be sure, a Trump dynasty would be less Ming and more Dodge.

It’s certainly possible we could find ourselves saying “President Tiffany Trump” one day.

Just kidding. You know Jared and Ivanka, Eric and what’s her face and Don Jr. and the woman he left his wife and five children for, wouldn’t let Tiffany have a real job in the dynasty.

They’re like Cinderella’s stepsisters: “OMG, Tiffany, stand on the far left of the stage. No, a little farther, just a little more, OK, almost there, keep going…going… (Tiffany is now behind the auditorium curtain), There! Perfect!!”

Assuming it’s true, who would be next in the line of succession? I’m betting on Don Jr., who is rumored to be in a low-key “cold war” with Ivanka, perhaps because she has long been acknowledged to be her father’s favorite. Like, by a country mile.

A deliciously tea-spillin’ story in The Atlantic this month used interviews with Trump campaign aides, former employees, White House officials and friends of the family to trace the roots of the dynasty, back to the days when Don Jr. eschewed his Park Avenue upbringing and became a hunter/gatherer he-man who could, literally, shoot from the hip. With his lumberjack plaid shirt and manly stubble, it was an easy jump over something dead and endangered to alt-right darling. Daddy may not like him best, but Don Jr. is beloved by the MAGA faithful, more than the lifelike Ivanka with her frustrating low-talking.

Eric (“always a bridesmaid”) Trump would seem to run a distant fourth in the possible dynastic hierarchy, being deemed considerably less valuable than Trump-by-marriage Jared Kushner, according to the magazine.

All of which is to say there is reason to be afraid, very afraid, the makings of a dynasty are falling into place. Scandals, exaggerated shoulder pads (Kushner), backbiting as each one tries to make sure the others don’t trash them to the media behind their backs….

If this was a Netflix miniseries, not real life, I’d be “Michael Jackson eating popcorn in a darkened theater” levels of excited. But…since it’s the fate of the free world, not so much.

The notion of generations of Trump spawn mauling democracy on the daily for years to come is as terrifying as a roomful of rattlers. Redundant, I know.

Celia Rivenbark is a New York Times-bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.

 

Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: America’s obsession with fast food and fast guns

If you need further proof we’re losing our collective minds these days, consider what happened at a Popeye’s restaurant in Houston, Texas, recently.

Apparently, there are two things Americans can’t stand being denied: guns and trendy fried chicken sandwiches. When worlds collided at Popeye’s, it was a weirdly perfect combo platter picture of what ails us as a nation.

Too many Americans are gun-obsessed gluttons filled with “McRage.” Pickle-juice marinate on that for a sec.

A customer was so upset when told there were no more chicken sandwiches, he pulled out his gun in protest. Because how else should an adult male deal with such a devastating revelation? I imagine his first thought was something along the lines of: “No fried chicken sandwich? How can this be? It’s been blowing up my Twitter feed for three weeks now and, without it, I’m not sure I can go on.”

Lettuce discuss.

How perfectly poetic this would happen in Texas, with its famously slack-butt gun laws and mere days after the Odessa mass shooting that killed seven and injured 22.

Side note: I went to Popeye’s around the same time during an out of town trip and ordered THE chicken sandwich the whole world is talking about. Brioche bun? Hot sauced mayo? Pickled, briny goodness? Yes, please.

The place was packed, and cars were ringing the building so I assumed all was well.

“I’ll have the chicken sandwich,” I said.

“Nope, all out,” was the response. “Only two places in the state still have ‘em, last I heard.”

This news didn’t make me homicidal because, despite the fervent declarations of some of y’all, I’m not crazy.

“I’ll have the tenders combo, then.”

“Three piece?”

“No,” (because I’m not in kindergarten, duh) “I’ll have the five-piece.”

She looked oddly respectful of this response. Life went on. The chicken tenders were fine. I recommend the Sweet Heat sauce since you ask.

This is how most of us deal with life’s little—and I mean infinitesimal—disappointments. Sigh, look mildly annoyed and move the hell on.

But for too many in our gun-obsessed culture, the first instinct is to get violent. Thankfully—but sadly, surprisingly—the man in Popeye’s who drew his gun because some Insta influencers told him he hadda have that stupid sandwich didn’t fire his weapon. He huffed and puffed and threw a can through the drive thru window for good measure before leaving and that was pretty much that. Except it never really is for the ones left behind, is it?

The terrified employees who ran to the back of the restaurant will have to process how they could’ve died at the fast food job they take a bus to work at every night.

A recent study found 721 incidents of violence against McDonald’s employees in the past three years. That’s just one restaurant chain.

Meanwhile, the Senate, which refuses to consider a $15 an hour minimum wage bill, might want to reconsider. Turns out, even flipping burgers can be a deadly occupation.

Celia Rivenbark is a New York Times-bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.