2018: The Year the President Broke

County news, national news, world news—and news from whatever nutty planet that guy in the White House lives on

January

News of the World On Jan. 31, reported the BBC, a woman tried to bring her “emotional support peacock” onto a United Airlines flight. “The airline could not accept the animal due to its weight and size.” She had better luck with a dodo bird, according to the fake news National Enquirer.

Closer to Home Silver Screen Festival returns to Santa Rosa with a focus on the heroines of horror. Napa State Senator Bill Dodd agitates over fake news with a media-literacy bill. Jeff Sessions makes some loud noises about California’s horrible experiment with legal weed. Calistoga’s under construction, with 50 new homes being framed out right where the Tubbs fire started.

Meanwhile, in Trumplandia On Jan. 1, Trump gets the year off with a bang when he tweets, per Kim Jong-un: “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” On Jan. 12, the Wall Street Journal reports that Michael Cohen paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 in hush money.

February

News of the World Bitcoin bit the cryptocurrency dust in February after a attaining a 2017 peak value of $20,000. “Common sense and a realization that, well, you can’t really use Bitcoin in a lot of places,” dropped its value to around $5,900, according to CNET.

Closer to Home Coffey Park celebrates completion of Dan Bradford’s rebuilt home—the first house to be rebuilt there after the 2017 wildfires.

Meanwhile, in Trumplandia On Feb. 5, Trump says Democrats committed treason by not applauding his speech at the State of the Union. White House official Rob Porter resigns two days later, after it’s revealed that he beat his wife. On Feb. 19, Trump Tweets, “Without more Republicans in Congress, we were forced to increase spending on things we do not like or want in order to finally, after many years of depletion, take care of our Military. Sadly, we needed some Dem votes for passage. Must elect more Republicans in 2018 Election!”

March

News of the World Amid a year of senseless gun violence in schools and elsewhere, CNN reports on March 13 that a California teacher “accidentally fired off his gun, injuring one student” during a gun-safety demonstration. The injuries were minor, but the irony was not.

Closer to Home Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch reverses course and announces her office will proactively start to expunge low-level pot offenses in the county, following on a similar move undertaken in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, in Trumplandia On March 3, Trump says he wishes the United States were more like China, where Xi Jinping is president for life. “Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot some day.” On March 11, he declares that arming teachers is best way to stop mass shootings at schools. Two days later, he fires Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Tillerson later recollects his interactions with Trump, which generally arced along these lines: “Mr. President, I understand what you want to do, but you can’t do it that way. It violates the law.” On March 20, Trump meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the White House, and two days after that, H. R. McMasters resigns as National Security Advisor.

April

News of the World Residents of Flint, Mich., were quite skeptical when elected leaders assured them that the water was safe to drink again, “and therefore the free bottled water program will end,” reported CNN.

Closer to Home Bohemian reports that PG&E has hired Darius Anderson firm to lobby for it, as fire-related lawsuits pile up and Erin Brockovich howls on local radio.

Meanwhile, in Trumplandia Trump sends the National Guard to the Mexico border on
April 4, and a few days later does his “Maybe I’ll fire Mueller, maybe I won’t” routine. On April 13, he pardons Bush-era felon Scooter Libby, and calls former FBI director James Comey a slimeball who belongs in jail.

May

News of the World CNN reports that on May 12, Delaware “became the first U.S. state to fully ban child marriage,” as it banned any nuptials of under-18 lovebirds, even if the parents are cool with it.

Closer to Home Bohemian reports on state GOP’s struggles with a neo-Nazi challenger to Dianne Feinstein in Senate race ultimately won by Feinstein, of course. Meanwhile, a bunch of scary people from out of town engage in home invasions, seeking cannabis.

Meanwhile, in Trumplandia On May 8, the White House denies a New York Times report that claims Trump is pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal. That same day, Trump says in a speech that the U.S. is pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.

June

News of the World Reuters reports on June 25 that giant panda Mei Xiang “may be pregnant.” The Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo was hoping for a bun in the bear oven, but alas, it was not to be. CNN reports on California wingnuts’ latest attempt to divide the state into three. The ballot measure is thrown out before the November midterms.

Closer to Home Race for Sonoma County Sheriff ends when SCSO Capt. Mark Essick wins three-way primary in a landslide.

Meanwhile, in Trumplandia Trump declares that it’s time for a MAGA rally! He says some ridiculous things, and people cheer wildly.

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July

News of the World As Trump’s immigration policies tear children from their parents, CNN reports on a July 4 moment of glory when a woman “climbed the base of the Statue of Liberty” to protest the family separation policy. And in Texas, a shark is stolen from an aquarium, but Miss Helen (that’s the shark) is soon reunited with her fellow dead-eyed demons of the high seas, reports the BBC.

Closer to Home Popular Napa Porchfest music event brings much joy to participants. Residents throughout the North Bay worry about July 4 fireworks and fires.

Meanwhile, in Trumplandia Corrupt EPA administrator Scott Pruitt resigns on July 5, and a few days later, Trump nominates blackout college rapist Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. On July 13, Robert Mueller indicts a dozen Russian spooks over 2016 election-interference inquiry, and two days later Trump tweets, “Congratulations to President Putin and Russia for putting on a truly great World Cup Tournament—one of the best ever!” Next day, Trump is blasted for kissing Putin’s ass at the Helsinki summit. Former CIA director John Brennan: “Nothing short of treasonous.” Later in the month, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani claims Cohen tapes actually exonerate Trump, Mueller subpoenas Roger Stone, Trump calls “this whole Russia thing” a hoax, and says he’ll shut down the government if he doesn’t get his wall. Paul Manafort trial begins on July 31, while Trump defends voter ID laws, given that Americans have to show an ID to buy groceries.

August

News of the World Reuters reports that an 11-year-old boy was able to hack into a replica of Florida’s voting website, in 10 minutes. “Once in, he was able to change the tallies and the names.” Officials were . . . concerned . . . about the possibility of hacking “during nationwide elections.” In November, voter suppression efforts in the Sunshine State throw the governor’s election to the Republican, while a 10-year-old American president cheers.

Closer to Home Bohemian rocks it at 2018 NorBay Music Awards Winners Party held at the Beer Baron in Santa Rosa. Also: big symposium in town plays matchmaker for wine and weed businesses, highlights county divide over Wine Good, Pot Bad.

Meanwhile, in Trumplandia On Aug. 2, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders doesn’t disavow Trump’s claim that the press is the enemy of the people. Not long after, Trump calls Omarosa Manigault a dog, and revokes John Brennan’s security clearance. On Aug. 19, Giuliani declares that “truth isn’t truth,” while fake news pioneer David Pecker is granted immunity in porn-payoff plot on Aug. 23.

September

News of the World CNN reports that a Philadelphia museum “announced that someone had stolen thousands of live spiders, scorpions and other exotic insects.” Inside job, reports the network.

Closer to Home Napa Valley Snell fire burns 1,900 acres in wine country.

Meanwhile, in Trumplandia On Sept. 11, Trump tweets: “Rudy Giuliani did a GREAT job as Mayor of NYC during the period of September 11th. His leadership, bravery and skill must never be forgotten. Rudy is a TRUE WARRIOR!”

October

News of the World Reuters reports that Pennsylvania was poised to make hazing a felony, after some dumb college kids killed Timothy Piazza at Penn State.

Closer to Home Sonoma and Napa residents reflect on a year after the October 2017 wildfires with numerous events and discussions about why it happened, why it can never happen again, how it could definitely happen again and whether building 35,000 new homes—”affordable” or not—to replace 5,000 is really such a great idea.

Meanwhile, in Trumplandia On Oct. 4, Trump mocks Kavanaugh sexual-assault victim Christine Blasey Ford in Mississippi. Kavanaugh is confirmed by the Senate a few days later, and a few days after that, U.N. Ambassador Nicki Haley resigns. Trump expresses “concern” over the murder and dismemberment of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi on Oct. 11, but on Oct. 15, reassures his cult following via Twitter that he “Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened ‘to our Saudi Arabian citizen.'”

November

News of the World Reuters reports on a Food and Drug Administration push to “curb the teenage vaping epidemic” by banning the sale of flavored vapes at convenience stores and gas stations. Also: the Pentagon is audited for the first time, and fails the audit. “The discrepancies could take years to resolve,” Reuters notes.

Closer to Home Gavin Newsom elected governor, as California’s GOP congressional delegation gets totally shellacked. Paradise fire breaks out on Nov. 8 and soon fills the region with smoke from the distant fire. Sonoma County homeless crisis reaches new levels of nightmare.

Meanwhile, in Trumplandia Republicans lose the House of Representatives on Nov. 6. The next day, Jim Acosta of CNN is banned from the White House. Later in the week, Trump tweets, “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!” He visits Paradise shortly thereafter and calls it Pleasure, and soon thereafter tweet-exonerates the Saudis from complicity in the Khashoggi murder. On Nov. 27, he declares that the “Fake News Media builds Bob Mueller up as a Saint, when in actuality he is the exact opposite. He is doing TREMENDOUS damage to our Criminal Justice System, where he is only looking at one side and not the other. Heroes will come of this, and it won’t be Mueller.” Two days later, Cohen pleads guilty for lying to Congress.

December

News of the World Grammy-winning torch-song singer Nancy Wilson dies. Not that Nancy Wilson, the other Nancy Wilson.

Closer to Home On Dec. 18, after a five-year legal battle, the Sonoma County Supervisors announce that a $3 million settlement has been reached stemming from the 2013 shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a Sonoma County deputy sheriff.

Meanwhile, in Trumplandia On Dec. 6, the Senate rebukes Trump for lying to country about the Khashoggi murder. Mueller files court docs related to sentencing of former national security advisor Michael Flynn. Trump nominates Fox alum Heather Nauert as Ambassador to the U.N. on Dec. 7 and two days later declares that “The Trump Administration has accomplished more than any other U.S. Administration in its first two (not even) years of existence, & we are having a great time doing it! All of this despite the Fake News Media, which has gone totally out of its mind—truly the Enemy of the People!” On Dec. 18, Trump shuts down Trump Foundation as New York Attorney General reports of a “shocking pattering of illegality.”

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