Hello, Cleveland! No Cavalier-Sized Victory Parade Scheduled For Trump This Week.


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One thing that is a 100% sure bet:  The Republican Convention in Cleveland will draw the highest television ratings we’ve seen in our lifetimes.  Why wouldn’t it?  Trump’s Delusion…. that he’ll actually be elected president… makes its last stand in a totally controlled environment this week.  When the Nielsens come in huge he’ll predictably brag about them and add the rating number to the insufferably boring recitation of the victorious glory days of primaries past he spits out, from memory, to kill 40% of the time at his rallies.

Speaking of controlled environments, I was in Cleveland over the Fourth of July weekend and one of my lifetime complaints has been addressed Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 10.59.44 AMthere: smoking in casinos.  I wondered if I was the only person in the world who liked to play blackjack but hated smoking and the smell of the casino.  The Jack Casino in downtown Cleveland is smoke-free. Delightful. Las Vegas made the calculation years ago that the connection between smoking and gambling was too strong to risk banning it.  Risk what?  That people just won’t gamble, or gamble as much if they can’t smoke for a few minutes or hours at the Bellagio?  That always made as much sense as the fake warnings airlines issued when it was suggested flying become smoke-free. (the law officially changed in 1990) Nervous flyer-smokers were supposedly being denied their Constitutional rights, would stop flying and the airline business would come to an unprofitable end.  Try telling someone under 40 that at one time you could smoke on an airplane.  They won’t believe you.

“Sincerity – if you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

That stolen George Burns/Groucho Marx quote appears to be what will decide this presidential election that eclipses all others in having two candidates with such high negatives, albeit for different reasons.  If you’re an undecided voter, you need to consider whether you think that the past, horrible or allegedly horrible things that the candidates have done in their public and business lives are likely to be a replicable roadmap to their behavior as president.  Or, are the most egregious errors that will be pointed out simply unfair exaggerations that can always be countered with, “yea, but what about?…..”

No matter what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did regarding her cavalier attitude towards email security, do you believe she’d actually try to continue to have a private server as President Hillary Clinton, caring so little about state secrets that she’d continue her careless ways unabated… she must hate America even more than Barack Obama?  If not and you think that last sentence was written by Sean Hannity, then she should get your vote.  If you don’t think she went on a 15-hour bender, sleeping through the Benghazi disaster, only to wake up for 3 minutes to call off the readily available troops to rescue Chris Stevens and company, then she should get your vote.  If you think the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy outweighs Hillary Clinton’s own personal foibles and insecurities, she should get your vote.

If you don’t believe that Donald Trump stiffs his contractors and workers, trying to negotiate them down, he should get your vote…  if you don’t believe that in 2006 he started Trump Mortgage specifically to become a lending slumlord, read this: Cleveland’s Pain Was Donald Trump’s Gain.

A deeply reported story on NextCity.org from local writer Dan McGraw looks at how the Republican Party is about to nominate in Cleveland a man who encouraged investors to exploit the foreclosure crisis. Donald Trump “once sold subprime mortgages through a short-lived venture called Trump Mortgages and taught America, through a for-profit education company he founded called Trump University, how to profit from foreclosures,” the story notes. In the same year that Slavic Village neighborhood of Cleveland lost 783 homes to foreclosure, Trump University “was running ads with a picture of its founding namesake and the message, ‘Investors Nationwide are Making Millions in Foreclosures … And So Can You!,’ ” McGraw writes.

If you think the above is malarkey, vote for Trump.  If you believe his explanation on why he, allegedly the richest guy to ever be a nominee, refuses to release his tax returns (it’s not the law that he has to…. he’s under audit… the Yankees lost 3 in a row….)…. if you don’t care that his returns would show how little he’s ever given to charity, how much lower his yearly income is than would be typical of someone of his alleged net worth, how little in actual income tax he has been paying…. that he hypocritically demanded the VP-Political Apprentice candidates show him their returns…. then vote for Trump.


My macro-confidence grows over some things that have always stuck out, for me, about Trump.  He is the richest, most brilliant businessman guy I’ve ever seen who has never produced one person who has said, “he made me rich.” Every other mogul spawns disciples.  The real people who’ve had any kind of financial dealings with Trump, directly or indirectly, seem to be people he’s ripped off and destroyed through schemes and scams over the decades. The tax return thing is so far beyond inexcusable that it cannot be explained away.  And picking Mike Pence to show what a Team Unity Player he is should be seen as the transparent, ultimate flip-flop that it is.  The establishment Republicans can like me…. they can really like me!

Here are some key words for the Republican Convention Drinking Game: God, Obamacare, 35%, Mexico, China, the blacks, the Hispanics, women, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, bathrooms, Second Amendment, tennis balls, law and order, Benghazi, Lyin Hillary, Radical Islamic Terrorism, Obama, Nobama, Lebron, apologize, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, dishonest, illegal alien, Cleveland Orchestra, Republican Party, Titanic.  Enjoy the show!

So Jesus, Moses, and Loretta Lynch Are In The Airport. Guess Which One Bill Clinton Chooses To Talk To?

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One of the worries of the Hillary campaign surely has always been about whether Bill… along with his overall popularity and his baggage would be, on balance, an asset or a liability. Additionally, would he be disciplined enough to not go off the rails like he did in South Carolina in 2008, when he went hard after Barack Obama’s claims he’d been against the Iraq War, and noted that Jesse Jackson had been able to win SC in ’84 and ’88?

It’s almost as if there’s a pathological need by the Clintons to periodically supply their enemies with a new Dangling Participle of Scandal That Never Was, which gets added to the Permanent Pile of The Never Really Proved.  Nice move there…. shifting the “can he be disciplined and not say or do stupid stuff?” card, even temporarily, away from Trump.

Two versions of this latest entry from the What the Hell Were You Thinking Dept, Unforced Error Division:

Bill Clinton, AG Loretta Lynch meet on tarmac in Phoenix…..

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Bill Clinton meet privately in Phoenix before Benghazi report

An aide to Bill Clinton confirmed to CBS News that the meeting wasn’t planned in advance: President Clinton saw the attorney general on the tarmac and wanted to say hello, so he boarded her plane to talk….

The meeting comes as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is still under investigation for her email practices–and also came the day before House Republicans released a report criticizing the Obama administration’s response to the 2012 Benghazi attacks.

Lynch told reporters that the topics of Benghazi and Clinton’s email server did not come up, and that she and Clinton spoke largely about his grandchildren, golf and travel.

“Actually, while I was landing at the airport, I did see President Clinton at the Phoenix airport as I was leaving, and he spoke to myself and my husband on the plane,” she said. “Our conversation was a great deal about his grandchildren. It was primarily social and about our travels. He mentioned the golf he played in Phoenix, and he mentioned travels he’d had in West Virginia.”

“There was no discussion of any matter pending for the department or any matter pending for any other body,” Lynch added. “There was no discussion of Benghazi, no discussion of the State Department emails, by way of example.”

Yes, we know Bill Clinton is just so damn friendly that his good, Southern manners absolutely wouldn’t allow him to not pay a visit to the one person on earth who, if she were not above reproach, might possibly be influenced by the husband of Hillary Clinton, subject of the Hardy Boys latest:  The Case of the Dripping E-Mails.  How serendipitous for them: two ships in the Hillary Navy passing one another in open water in the Phoenix airport!

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The stupidity of putting Attorney General Lynch in the position of having to say specifically the things the two of them didn’t talk about (no discussion of Benghazi, no discussion of the State Department emails) will mean to the Never Hillary crowd, led by Trump, to say those items were exactly what they talked about.  If I was advising the Republicans here I’d take the Lynch denial and merge it with “I want you to listen to me,” he said. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” And the issue will float along right up until election day, even though nothing can be proven and Lynch’s integrity is unassailable. Just add it to the list.  Just don’t call it Lorettagate.


WWDD-What Would Donald Do? Plug In a Real Event and Play At Home!


You really do need to play the WWDD game before you even think of voting for Trump.  To play, you have to take him at his hyper-rhetorical face value and not assume that campaigning is all show and shtick and bluster and insult and brag, while a President Trump will be a contemplative, fully rational actor who weighs the facts and checks emotional decision-making outside the Oval Office door.  He has convinced a large number of Americans that every problem, every issue, every policy, every world event can be deftly handled with threats, intimidation, and (military) power, enacted by steamrolling dreaded political correctness, which has ruined everything.  I’m not sure how it is possible for anyone to tolerate listening to this guy repetitively freelancing his vomitus ego at each appearance, droning on about his poll numbers, the size of the crowd, and how everyone on earth is a moron except Carl Icahn (fellow billionaire bully) and himself.

Say hello to Anger Mismanagement.  Imagine if Trump were president last week when the Iranians grabbed a couple of US Navy patrol boats.  You don’t have to think very hard to realize we’d already be at war over this humiliation beyond humiliation.  But since “we’re gonna’ have so many victories, that, at some point, they’re just gonna’ be coming out of your ears!” has been promised…..  I must be crazy to think the upcoming Shoot First/Don’t Ask Questions Ever Twitter presidency will be a non-stop barrage of Jump The Gun/Jump The Shark daily headaches and crises.  The Wrap reported on Trump’s coolheadedness:  “We want our hostages back NOW!” he tweeted. And just to be sure he typed “now” using ALL CAPS… You know, to make sure the Iranians knew he was dead serious….Just one problem with that. The sailors had already been released hours earlier.”   Try to contemplate our collective fates had Donald Trump been in the Oval Office in October of 1962 when the Soviet Union was intent on deploying nuclear-armed missiles in Cuba.  A standard campaign commercial of recent vintage has been the “Red Phone 3am” ad.  Hillary Clinton used it in 2008 against the young, first-term Senator Barack Obama.

Four years later in 2012, the Republican National Committee produced the first spinoff version, featuring Benghazi.  They never aired it.  Seems pretty tame by today’s standards, or lack of them.  Word was that Mitt Romney himself scotched it because he was worried it would take the emphasis off of his sterling plans for the economy.  Maybe he was just too decent to run it.

Another four years later, to today…. “13 Hours,” the just-opened film about Benghazi, was probably marketed too much as a rightwing hit piece that would destroy Hillary Clinton’s chances at being president… just like the smoking gun emails, the hearings, the hearings, the hearings….. would.  Forbes film writer Scott Mendelson put it this way:For the record, when I referred to 13 Hours as a would-be “next American Sniper,” when the first trailer dropped last July, it was merely on the notion that the film might capitalize from the unexpected popularity of the Clint Eastwood action drama, in a sense playing to at least a decent chunk of the audience that turned that Bradley Cooper film into a $350 million sensation…First of all, it’s quite possible that the distinctly partisan nature of the narrative surrounding the Benghazi attacks basically scared off everyone except the would-be “loyalists.”…13 Hours was somewhat trapped by its inherently political origins. I would argue the aggressive pitch to conservative outlets was both a necessary action (in case nobody else showed up) and something of a detriment (because it arguably scared off a huge chunk of those who just accepted Lone Survivor and American Sniper at face value).” 

Taking the strained metaphor of the “nuclear football” to its limits, the nation will have turned over its future to the guy who has already blown it in the real football arena.  Among the many past failures Donald Trump has had that demonstrate his unfitness for public office is his near single-handed destruction of the United States Football League, which went out of business 30 years ago. Actor Burt Reynolds — one of the partners of the USFL’s Tampa Bay Bandits — was blunt about the demise when interviewed for “Small Potatoes,” an ESPN documentary about the league released in 2009. “I still feel and will always feel that his ambitions — his personal ambitions — were what sunk the league,” Reynolds said of Trump.  Keith Jackson, the retired ABC sportscaster, told ESPN that “greed and patience don’t live together very well.”  More from nj.com.

Did Donald Trump really kill a professional football league?

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