Biden Visits Ukraine; MAGAs Throw a Fit

President Biden’s surprise visit to Ukraine was gutsy, considering it’s a real war zone and he wasn’t surrounded by U.S. troops. I hope some good comes of it. But I want to talk more about the reactions.

The disloyal opposition is singing its usual song about “America first” and “blank checks.” They are also complaining that because Biden visited Ukraine that means he’s turned his back on East Palestine, Ohio. See, for example, DeSantis says Biden ‘neglecting’ domestic problems with Ukraine trip. Somebody might want to explain to DeSantis that real presidents often do have to handle both foreign and domestic crises at the same time.

In fact, the Biden Administration dispatched all kinds of help to East Palestine. But he didn’t actually go there, see, so the relief doesn’t count.  See As Biden Dispatches Disaster Relief to East Palestine, Trump Takes Credit at Mother Jones. In brief, Trump is claiming that Biden wasn’t going to send help to East Palestine until he, Trump, announced Friday night he was going sometime this week. The White House had already gotten several federal agencies involved in East Palestine before that, although I take it there was a delay in sending FEMA. (But if you go, Donald, be sure to take a lot of deep breaths and drink the water!)

See also Will Bunch’s column from yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer. 

In fact, if residents of East Palestine — a modern news desert of downsized or disappeared news sources, which allows misinformation to fester — truly knew the reality, a delegation of townsfolk would likely greet Trump with Tiki torches and pitchforks bought from the Fuller’s hardware store.

Because the truth is that handed the awesome power of the presidency to actually do something for “forgotten Americans,” Trump’s Oval Office actions protected the rich and the powerful — none more so than the nation’s wildly profitable railroads — over the “ignored, neglected and abandoned” everyday people of places like Columbiana County. Any visit wouldn’t be a victory lap, but more like the tendency of a criminal to return to the scene of his crime.

Trump acted specifically to sabotage a nascent government effort to protect citizens from the growing threat posed by derailments of outdated, poorly equipped and undermanned freight trains that were increasingly shipping both highly flammable crude oil from the U.S. fracking boom as well as toxic chemicals like the ones that would derail in East Palestine.

Maybe it was Trump’s bitter spite toward the man who tried to launch that regulatory drive — Barack Obama, the nation’s first Black president. Maybe it was the more than $6 million that the railroad industry, including Norfolk Southern, donated to GOP candidates in 2016, plus millions more spent on lobbying.

Whatever the reason, Trump had been in office for less than a year when he moved to kill the 2015 rule change initiated by the Obama administration that would have required freight trains to upgrade the current braking technology that was developed in the 19th century for state-of-the-art electronic systems. In killing the rule, Trump bought the argument from lobbyists for Norfolk Southern and the rail industry that the upgrade would have cost them $3 billion — six times what the Obama administration found it would cost.

We don’t yet know if the Obama rules would have prevented the accident. But if it’s found that it might have, this needs to make headlines.

And then there’s Marjorie Taylor Greene, who now is allowed to serve on House committees and has already established a pattern of making a complete fool of herself in them. Here is her reaction.

Greene is so “America First” that some of America isn’t First enough for her. She’s been calling for a national divorce.

She seems unaware that most of the red states would sink into abject poverty if they didn’t have blue state money coming in to bail them out. Also keep in mind that Greene is on the bleeping House Homeland Security Committee while calling for the fracturing of the homeland.

In other news: James O’Keefe has been ousted from Project Veritas by its board of directors. Basically, O’Keefe is an asshole who can’t get along with anybody.

See also: When Lt. Jimmy Carter stopped a nuclear meltdown.