Sarah Palin Studied Harder And Knew More In Her Debate Than Trump Did In His

That’s saying something, isn’t it?  You underperformed Sarah Palin in her debate with Joe Biden. When John McCain’s chief campaign strategist Steve Schmidt said, “she knows nothing,” it made McCain’s bid for the Oval Office an impossibility.  But the key was “performed,” and for a few short weeks Palin had some defenders, most male, most who wanted to have sex with her, and all whom were willing to overlook her intellectual deficits. After the VP debate, AlterNet summed it up this way:

This debate wasn’t lost or won based on anything verbal. It was won on nonverbal communication. And the winner was Sarah Palin.
The first thing Palin did upon entering the stage was blow a kiss to the audience, then greet Biden, saying, “Nice to meetcha. Hey, can I call ya Joe?” She was colloquial. She was charming. She took control, and except for a brief moment when a teary-eyed Biden recalled his wife’s death and the experience of being a single parent, she never lost it. When Biden sighed, Palin smiled. He jutted his jaw forward in frustration; she smirked. He furrowed his brow; she winked.

One thing is inarguable: Sarah Palin did her homework, was prepared as best she could be, and either intuitively or through well-managed stagecraft did enough to fake a credible performance under pressure.  It didn’t change the trajectory of the election, but it was actually enough to propel Palin to several years of post-2008 cashing in on her fame… as a performer. Come to think of it, it was infinitely more logical for her to become a tv personality after her political career than what we’re locked into right now: a tv personality using the marginal intellectual skills of reality television and little else to become the president of the United States.

After Monday’s first presidential debate, I hereby conclude that Donald Trump outsmarted himself.  In college, you always had to decide whether to cram and maybe pull an all-nighter before a big exam, or get extra sleep.  Extra sleep seldom worked, and no one ever walked out of the class after the test and said, “damn, I studied too much and should have slept more.”  Trump must have been one hell of a crappy student at Penn if the way he didn’t prepare for the debate was the way he didn’t study at college, thinking his native brilliance and Second City Improv skills would carry the day.

Here’s the irrefutable evidence that Hillary wiped the floor with Trump as he blew his chance to show those outside of his cult that he has the temperament to be president: The Clinton-hating Drudge Report links to an article that has NOTHING remotely to do with the 100% distortive, upside-down, crazy-ass headline.


Trump tired halfway through, floundered, needed water, faded and lost his composure as an interrupting jerk. She was strong, looked great, never lost her original energy… so, just like Trump himself, the official mouthpiece, Drudge, lies to project his deficit onto her. Nice try. If you didn’t really know, which of the two would you guess was dealing with pneumonia recently, based on the strength and stamina shown on that debate stage? I’m sure if Drudge took a poll, 93% would say Hillary! Then Fox News would spread the “result,” and another of Jon Stewart’s trips up Bullshit Mountain is complete.

To complete the Trumpinization of this story… he adds the next layer of lying by denying he has a cold or the sniffles we all saw and heard. Insanely, Trump blames it on a “bad microphone,” which makes zero sense. But, you have to remember the megalomaniacal mind of an authoritarian like Trump, who models himself after Putin and Middle East dictators who dye their hair into their 80’s, always trying to project health and virility (thus the younger wife still having kids). To get a cold (publicly) undercuts his air of strength and invincibility.

So, class, what have we learned?  That Evil Genius/Ex-Fox News Creep/Svengali/Republican/Serial Sexual Harasser/Trainer of Nixon, Reagan, GHW Bush Roger Ailes finally met his Match of Incompetence: Donald Trump.  That was the worst showing by an Ailes-coached politician in a debate ever.  No study, no practice, know nothing. Sarah Palin has been a big Donald Trump supporter, but he’s kept her at a distance for many months.  Never an in-person appearance with her. Ironically, if Trump had gotten debate prep advice from her and heeded it, Monday’s Hoedown Throwdown at Hofstra might have looked a lot different.


The Tax You’ll Never Pay Is The One Trump Wants You To Be The Most Outraged About


I always enjoy batting around the estate tax…. relabeled decades ago the “death tax” by that sleaze Frank Luntz. It’s the tax you’re most definitely not likely to have to pay, and if you do, you’re currently very rich and will be dead when the 40% federal tax is paid on your estate, which must be over $5.45 million for a single person and double that if you’re married. Anything under that is exempt and you can give it tax free to your little Don Jr, Eric, or Ivanka. I became aware of this story Thursday when stopping by the Fox “Business” Channel, which is 92.5 % identical to its big brother, Fox “News,” peddling non-stop skewed right-wing drivel all day long. Of course, bemoaning the End Of The World and Who Would Ever Want To Be Rich and Successful If Death Taxes Went That High, the anchors pandered to their core audience, most of whom are actually near death but not likely to owe any estate taxes. Once again proving my irrefutable theory that all tv news is produced by 22-year-olds, this wonderful screwup on screen that says “Clinton Real Estate Tax Plan” bespeaks of the complete, utter ignorance of these people, not knowing the difference between estate taxes and real estate taxes. I’m lovin it!


Wall St. Journal: “The Clinton campaign is now changing its previous plan—which called for a 45% top rate—by adding three new tax brackets: a 50% rate that would apply to estates over $10 million per person, a 55% rate that starts at $50 million per person and that top rate, which would affect only those with assets exceeding $500 million for a single person and $1 billion for married couples. The 65% estate-tax rate would be the highest since 1981 and marks one of the most enormous tax-policy gulfs between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump, who would repeal the tax. Neither of their proposals stands much chance of succeeding in a divided Congress where Republicans control the House and Democrats can block action in the Senate.”

Can’t wait for Donald “The people that like me best are poor people and middle-income people” Trump to defend his contention that all estate taxes need to be eliminated. Another reason to see his taxes: so we can see how he’s monkeyed around with whatever assets he really has so if he croaks his heirs pay little or no estate tax. Can’t wait to hear him tell the rest of us how we’ll all lose our incentive to build businesses and chase the American Dream if Uncle Sam will take so much of it when we die. Hey Donald, you know the best way to legally avoid estate taxes? Give tons and tons of money to charity. Oh, I forgot, you don’t do that. Not your game. My apologies.

Fleetwood Mac Fades; Widespread Panic Begins

Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon
Going to the candidates debate
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you’ve got to choose
Ev’ry way you look at it, you lose
 -Simon and Garfunkel

Nixon and JFK, moderated by Howard K. Smith, then of CBS, in 1960…


Don’t Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow) played by Fleetwood Mac at the 1993 inauguration celebration of Bill Clinton can be seen here:

No wonder 68-year-old Hillary Clinton… unfairly, in my opinion, is not connecting with younger voters the way her husband did (he was 46 at the time), let alone Barack Obama (47 at his inauguration).  Putting aside the obvious sexist overtones that under-thirty favorite Bernie Sanders just turned 75, Bill and Hillary’s move into the White House in ’93 may as well have been 1893 for anyone under 40.  It’s as far back for them as Eisenhower was for me.  I was five when he left office so I have no direct memory of him as president…. he was only this old, white-haired guy from the moment I was aware of him.  Just like Bill is for younger voters now.

Donald Trump is actually older than Hillary by almost two years, and would be older than Reagan taking the oath.  But as of this writing, he has successfully cornered her on the strength, stamina, and healthy enough to do the job lie.  She’s an old lady who got pneumonia recently; he told Dr. Oz he never gets sick and hasn’t been in the hospital since he was 11.  American voters are no more questioning than that stupid, simplistic evaluation of the presidential medical scene.  He has a much younger wife and a young boy at home; she’s married to Dwight Eisenhower (at least visually for younger voters).

The polls have recently moved in Donald Trump’s direction the past few weeks.  It seems impossible to believe that it is just the “deplorables” comment that offended undecideds and a few Hillary voters to swing his way.  It can’t be those widely not-paid-attention-to teleprompter speeches on his phony economic and child-care ideas.  Credit seems to have been going to slightly fewer completely off-the-rails insults, gaffes, blooper, bleepers, fights, and foulups… a grading on the curve display of presidential discipline shown.  24 hours without drooling on himself is a march to victory, so it seems.  The stakes for the first debate could not be higher.  Hillary has all the experience and knowledge going in; Trump is being coached by the Angelo Dundee of debate preppers, Roger Ailes, disgraced, ousted head of Fox News, serial sexual harasser, and spiritual advisor to Trump, and who knows…. Bill Cosby?  That’s just idle speculation, and I no longer believe Ailes and Cosby to be buddies.  Now, can we get on to the real issue in front of us?

As horrible a human being as Donald Trump is… as unqualified as he is… as ignorant as he is on any public policy… as uncouth, ostentatious and bullying as he is….as dishonest as he is in every facet of life on display… the hiding of his tax returns…. the fake charity scandals… the fleecing of Trump “University” victims and the unpaid bills….the bribing of public officials such as the Florida AG… the fudging of his medical records, his draft-dodging (I know, that description only applies to lefties, right?)… his direct appeal to violence against Hillary and support from white supremacists, Nazis and the rest of the rightwing fringe…. free association riffs about using nuclear weapons…as bad as that all those things are…. ***read the entire Keith Olbermann list of 176 reasons…(needs updating already) HERE*** would his election mean all those predictions about The End Times for us be much closer than we skeptics thought? Keeping in mind the election and reelection of Barack Obama was framed in similar apocalyptic terms also before the ’08 and ’12 elections. Is it different this time? Will those of us who see Trump in Hitlerian terms have to simply depend on his being such a phony candidate that we can only hope he morphs into a normal person as president and that he really never meant ANY of his thin, detail-less claims and boasts and promises to dissemble the entire United States in his own image?

NBC: “Trump has changed his position on a lot of things over the years. But if there’s one consistent thread, it has been his seeming obsession with conspiracy theories that touch on race, religion, or ethnicity.In the case of Obama, Trump spent years spreading separate rumors about not only the first black president’s nationality, but also his religion, and whether his accomplishments were the result of affirmative action.
On the narrow issue of Obama’s birthplace, Trump’s theories were so elaborate that limiting it to the narrow question of whether the president was born in America barely scratches the surface.”  Need more?  Check it out below:

Analysis: Trump’s Lengthy History of Conspiracy Theories and Rumors

As the week ended, Trump went off ‘prompter again, both threatening Hillary with assassination while advising her to ditch her Secret Service detail, which he also has, of course. He never uses that term… they’re always “bodyguards,” which sounds like she’s got Suge Knight’s protection detailAND… revealing his inner con man persona by lying to the media over a press conference he never intended to have as he hyped his new Trump-branded hotel, got a bunch of military hero guys to extol his virtues, then, like a good husband knows CAN’T be done, he spent 7 seconds fake retracting his birther crusade against the president, then walked out the door.  No apology, no why-I-did-it in the first place, no excuses, and two new lies in less than 25 seconds: that Hillary “started birtherism” and he, Trump, “ended it.”  Yea, just like the Warren Report ended and solved any questions about who killed Kennedy.

BONG…. this is a Fox News ALERT!

BARACK OBAMA DECLARED THE DUMBEST (not white) MAN EVER ELECTED PRESIDENT. I know this because he was dumb enough to appoint as his first Secretary of State the person who absolutely, positively, deliberately demanded Obama show his papers, questioning his citizenship and his eligibility for the nation’s highest office, Hillary Hussein Clinton (all Trump surrogates and spokespeople have thankfully informed me of this fact). What a fool! Did he not know? Did he not realize what was going on? He unfairly has been attacking Donald Trump, who heroically picked up this important story and demanded Obama prove himself a natural-born American. I suggest he withdraw his support for Hillary Clinton and get behind Mr. Trump, whose only laudable purpose was to affirmatively legitimize Barack Obama’s presidency, securing his place in (the back of) the Hall of Presidents at Disney World. This has been a Fox News ALERT!


Hillary Announces Outreach & Listening Tour For “Deplorables”–Just Like Donald Did With The Blacks!





screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-3-58-48-pmWhen Donald Trump found out his poll ratings with The Blacks were at intolerably low levels because they hate him because he said Obama was a lying, cheating fraud who wasn’t a US Citizen and was an illegitimate president….. when Donald got wind of The Blacks’ attitude towards him he immediately fixed it by showing up at a black church in Detroit, dancing with them, and telling them that Lincoln was a Republican.  They cheered, forgot why they hated him, and took to heart his promise to rid the streets of crime, create and bestow upon them jobs, and keeping any would-be Motor City-bound Mexicans from moving anywhere near their neighborhoods.  A wall on the Ohio border would be a good start. The blacks loved it. They pledged to give Donald a chance.  They had put the other party in charge of their city for a long time and it’s only fair they give Donald a shot. Donald rocketed in popularity with the Blacks. All the nice, white housewives around Columbus and Philly and Charlotte now like him too because he’s a wonderfully inclusive, generous man who loves all the people and will continue his campaign of inclusion.


Now that Typhoid Hillary dances the Rockin Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu but tried to hide it to prove Donald was wrong when he said she was just like Jeb…. no stamina and low energy… she needs a way out. Not just on the health issue but on her “deplorables” riff from Friday night, which completely turned around a building advantage she’d had when Donald late in the week continued to heap praise on Vladimir Putin and had again demonstrated his complete lack of temperament by threatening war with Iran over ships that “bother us.” He’d already crazily brought back his wish that we should have plundered Iraq’s oil in a war that he continues to lie about his early support of the 2003 invasion.  Hillary gave up all that late-week advantage by going Trump: telling her rally people what they wanted to hear… that half of Trump supporters are less-than-American goons.  Topped with (excuse me for this) Pneumoniagate, she was like a football team up 31-0 at the half determined to blow the game.

For the record, Charles Blow of the New York Times writes, it doesn’t matter if the essence of what Hillary said is true.  It just doesn’t matter. It’s bad politics.  She provided Trumpworld with the Soundbite From Heaven.

“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric. Now some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

Bad news, girl…. they are a part of America and a politician can’t mouth off like that with such cavalier arrogance and not pay a price. Unless your name is Donald and that’s the entire essence of your being. But remember the story at the top of this post and what Trump did to turn it around. (ok, I know he really didn’t turn anything around, but this is for demonstration and entertainment purposes only) As Motown girl Diana Ross wrote:

Reach out and touch
Somebody’s hand
Make this world a better place
If you can

That’s right, Hillary, you gotta get out there and meet those racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, any kind of phobic you’ve offended. Even the arachibutyrophobics, who live in fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of their mouth.  Ok, that’s a fake one that was first mentioned in the Peanuts comic strip.  Back to Charles Blow:

What Clinton said was impolitic, but it was not incorrect. There are things a politician cannot say. Luckily, I’m not a politician. Donald Trump is a deplorable candidate — to put it charitably — and anyone who helps him advance his racial, religious and ethnic bigotry is part of that bigotry. Period. Anyone who elevates a sexist is part of that sexism. The same goes for xenophobia. You can’t conveniently separate yourself from the detestable part of him because you sense in him the promise of cultural or economic advantage. That hair cannot be split.

Furthermore, one doesn’t have to actively hate to contribute to a culture that allows hate to flourish.

Hillary’s Outreach & Listening Tour For the Deplorables!

Out to Idaho to some white supremacist outpost.  Hanging out with 8 Minnesota Vikings fan-guys in a Mankato Mancave on a Sunday afternoon to cover both your sexism and homophobe remark.  Plenty of Coor’s Light, for some reason. Xenophobia can be handled as you uncomfortably make your way though a NASCAR crowd September 25th at the New England 300 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  Your numbers in the Granite state are not as good as they should be.  This could turn it around.  Finally, you need to get good with the Islamophobes.  They’re widely scattered.  I suggest a dinner at an Afghan restaurant in New York with Bill OReilly and Ann Coulter.  Not only can you cover Islam, but they are like a couple human center spaces on your Bingo Card of the Offended.  They really hate you, and everything else that’s not white male Christian.  Make OReilly pick up the tab.  You’ll fare as well as Donald did in Detroit.  Maybe even better!


And She Stumbled Sunday…..Trump Promises To Attend Hillary’s Funeral If She Dies Before Nov. 8.

Getting some practice swings in as a potential Mourner-in-Chief, Donald J. Trump spoke at the service for rightwing icon Phyllis Schlafly, dead at age 92.  New York Daily News: The Republican nominee said Schlafly was “there for me when it was not at all fashionable.” From her hometown paper:

Trump, family and friends mourn a St. Louis icon

1. As always, Trump makes it about himself. As always, as with a thug like Putin, Trump will like you if you say nice things about him.

2. When did it become “fashionable” to support you, Donald? I thought you were the outsider, the politically incorrect everyman speaking for the little guy against the “fashionable”… the establishment. As always, whatever is convenient at the given moment. But at a funeral? Sure, why not?

3. I’ve got a great idea. Let’s, while we’re rehashing everything forever, let’s relitigate the Equal Rights Amendment.  Known as the ERA, let me Trumpsplain it to you.  It’s where I insult you with obvious information like…. “most of you (African Americans) don’t know that Lincoln was a Republican.” The ERA, which lingered for almost a decade before they just couldn’t get the final few state legislatures to pass it, died with Phyllis Schlafly helping to administer the hemlock.  Here is its now seemingly benign aim and actual text:

Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

4. Donald, you can argue against the ERA while sending out Ivanka to lie about how great you are “with the gals” because you hired her. And, you can simultaneously slip in more “strength and stamina” slurs based on Hillary getting overheated and slightly stumbling into a van Sunday at the 9/11 tribute in NY. Don’t forget the painfully obvious joke about “Hillary and her campaign are stumbling. Believe me.  They’ve fallen and they can’t get up!”  C’mon, we want the misogyny and sexism right there in the store window for everyone to see, you Macho Man, you!  Limbaugh’s drooling just thinking about getting the word “feminazi” back on everybody’s radar!screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-1-07-52-pm

Be careful, Donald… if she really DID have to withdraw for health reasons, you’d get wiped by Tim Kaine, whose approval numbers are certainly higher than hers, but surely lower than Vladimir Putin’s.


Less than sixty days until the US presidential election and it has suddenly turned into a reboot of an old idea under today’s reality tv banner:  The World’s Strongest Strongman.  This is not to be confused with The World’s Strongest Man.  That’s an actual international competition held each year.  This is a picture from the 2015 contest of winner Brian Shaw. Screen Shot 2016-09-09 at 10.19.30 AM


The one consistent theme of Donald Trump through his entire life and most definitely the backbone of his campaign, has been strength.  I’m the tough guy, the meanest, take-no-prisoners, rootinest-tootinest baddest gun in the East and West here to save Weakling America from politically correcting itself out of business. Hillary is weak, she coughs a lot, and retreats back to the hospice where the lizard blood injections temporarily revive her for a few days at a time. Most of Trump’s strength, of course, is fake.  It’s flash & bling, it’s bragging, it’s bluster, it’s brinksmanship, it’s intimidation, it’s coercion, it’s thuggery.  It’s inconsistent and incomprehensible upon even the most rudimentary scrutiny.  Braggingly lying about seeing the folly of the Iraq War, pretending he was always against it while essentially declaring our military power emasculated in need of huge defense spending increases…. no need to say how that would be paid for…….  The Big, Gradual Reveal of the Fraud Behind the Orange Curtain continues its rollout when Trump’s super-secret, greatest-ever, If-I-Told-You-I’d-Have-To-Kill-You plan to beat ISIS turned out to be elect me and I’ll give my not-reduced-to-rubble generals 30 days to produce a plan.  Libertarian Gary Johnson got caught being totally clueless about Aleppo, the key city in the Syrian civil war.  I’ll bet if you’d asked Trump, “what would you do about Aleppo?” he’d probably think it’s the name of a new anti-depressant and that the free market should decide drug prices.

The pattern was unmistakable in his immediate phony-but-always-macho reaction to the latest and largest nuclear test by North Korea.  Via USA Today, his spokesperson, Kellyanne Conway:

If North Korea had weapons that could reach the United States, Donald Trump will make sure they don’t use them. How exactly? That’s a secret.Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway appeared on CBS This Morning and was asked about the nuclear test that North Korea conducted Friday. “He’s not going to reveal all of his plans and he’s made that very clear and maybe someone can ask him in a debate. But the fact is that this entire world would be put on notice that there’s a strong leader in the White House,” Conway said. “There would be no failures in Syria, in Libya, in Benghazi. There would be no Russia reset. There would be no advance of ISIS, who our own President called the JV team.”

No sense in hoping that logic, truth, and the constant exposure of Trump as wholly ignorant of every important fact about the world and government matters. Forget thinking his being shown to be a liar, a fraud, and a thief will peel away anybody from his core Celebrity Apprentice fanclub.  Way too late for that.  That Trump has the level of support that he does have is as much an indictment of his low-information voter base and a Republican Party that never delivered on its core promises as it is the persistence and drip-by-drip success of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, well into its third decade against Hillary Clinton.  Often her own worst enemy, she’d be better off to forget everything she ever learned in law school and revert to civilian status.

At the Commander in Chief event in New York, Man of Discretion Donald let it fly once more with his admiration for the Russian President Vladimir Putin, who Trump says has “been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader.”  Senior Trump Whisperer team member Mike Pence doubled down: “I think it’s inarguable that Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader in his country than Barack Obama has been in this country.”

Putin admiration for these guys must include murdering or jailing journalists, invading countries with impunity, essentially acting as a strongman dictator being the true definition of leadership.  I’m shocked that Trump hasn’t attacked Obama on another front this past week…. accusing him of making stop number 49 on his 8-year “Apology Tour” in Laos where he actually didn’t apologize for our 9-year secret bombing campaign of that country.  Steve Bannon, the Breitbart guy at the top of his campaign, must have forgotten to message him with their version of the story that starts with: President Barack Obama continued his international apology tour for American deeds overseas, traveling to the Asian country of Laos to deliver a speech.Obama acknowledged that the United States dropped more than two million tons of bombs in the country, intervening in the country’s civil war. He sorrowfully noted that “villages and entire valleys were obliterated” as a result of the bombing, including the “ancient Plain of Jars.”  The entire piece here:  In Laos, Obama Apologizes for U.S. Bombings

Elect Trump, America, and you’ll never have to worry about that kind of national self-flagellation, weakness and pointless rehash.  Here’s the non-screaming version of the story from the Associated Press:

AP-President Barack Obama paid tribute Wednesday 9/7 to survivors maimed by some 80 million unexploded bombs America dropped on Laos decades ago. “For all those years in the 1960s and ’70s, America’s intervention here in Laos was a secret to the American people, who were separated by vast distances and a Pacific Ocean, and there was no internet, and information didn’t flow as easily. For the people of Laos, obviously, this war was no secret. Over the course of roughly a decade, the United States dropped more bombs on Laos than Germany and Japan during World War II. Some 270 million cluster bomblets were dropped on this country.”

Other Leaders Who Were Way, Way Stronger Than Weakling Obama:

Robert Mugabe, Idi Amin Dada, Chiang Kai-shek, Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, Hitler

Long Before the Stench of Trump And His Bar Mitzvah Plans Polluted My Labor Day Weekend….. Heeeeeeer’s Jerry!

…those Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethons.  They’d start Sunday night at 9:00 or so and run all the way to dinnertime Monday.  We’d make fun of Jerry himself, but never his cause or his passion or his motives to cure Muscular Dystrophy.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 10.42.58 AM

The entertainment was cheezy, the toteboard was manipulated, but who cared? In the end, he’d raised over $2 billion for the service and research programs of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).  Known for his titanic ego, Lewis never considered running for public office, thank God, as his reasoning for being a Trump supporter is this: “I think he’s great…. because he’s a showman…. and we’ve never had a showman in the President’s chair….”  I now admit I only want to see Trump’s tax returns because I want to see how much he donated every year to MD to find a cure for Jerry’s Kids.

Earlier in that short clip from December of 2015 Lewis talks of ISIS and other world crises. Here in September, President Obama spoke of the difficulties in brokering a cease-fire in Syria after a 90-minute meeting with Trump surrogate Vladimir Putin. “Given the gaps of trust that exist, that’s a tough negotiation, and we’ve haven’t yet closed the gaps in a way where we think it would actually work,” Mr. Obama declared at a news conference.  Well, well, well… conventional wisdom now says since Obama now resides in Lameduckville, the world is waiting to see how Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina vote in November to see who the next prez up will be.  But the master… the man whose 100% ghostwritten best-seller “The Art of the Deal”… the ghostwriter Tony Schwartz will go to his grave regretting the BS job he did all those years ago  … has a different point of view worth noting, via the Twitter Feed That Cannot Be Killed…

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 10.31.10 AM

I always thought…. and I thought one of Donald’s rules of dealmaking was… that you walk away from the table rather than make a bad deal just for the sake of making a deal.  Could it possibly, maybe, within the realm of thought, be that no matter what Obama did with Putin that Trump would criticize it? If he made a deal it would be a “cave-in” to Putin.  If there’s no deal it’s because Obama would only make a deal if it were a “bad deal,” like that Iran nuclear thingie.  Or maybe Paul Manafort left the campaign to be free to broker a future arrangement where President Trump would cut the same bargain with Putin that Obama turned down but then trumpet the Triumph of the Deal, possibly a new book title!   Baked into his cake, Trump would blab it as his October Surprise on Twitter.

Meanwhile this is Trump earlier in the weekend in Detroit, where I’m surprised he didn’t alter his walk-on music to a Motown classic with a militant theme like  “Ball of Confusion” by the Temptations. Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 11.24.47 AM

The Times of Israel, covering the reaction on social media presented “both sides” of the issue: “… while some mocked the image of a Protestant presidential candidate receiving a Jewish tallit from a Christian pastor, others saw the incident as pandering to both Jewish and African-American voters.” I, as always, choose to see the positive and now assume Donald is beginning to study in earnest for his Bar Mitzvah, which he will be eligible for when he is 83, a scant 13 years from now.  Not really but it’s Trump, his daughter’s the convert, not him, and he never follows the rules.  Can’t wait for the party afterwards!

The Ambassador From Trumpnutistan’s Failed Mexican Mission

TRUMP SETS THE BAR EVEN LOWER Wednesday night, with the biggest pastiche of incoherent bluster, arrogance, and detail-less promising of an oppressive American police state ever. Incapable of delivering a straight-forward speech on illegal immigration, he threw not only the kitchen sink at the Great Wall he promises (the one for which Mexican President Pena Nieto told him to his face “no pesos for you”)… but he tossed every fixture in the house clanging down the stairs. A speech that approached Fidel Castro-length, he ended with the crassest spectacle of all… parading parents of murdered children at the hands of illegal immigrants. Imagine the reaction if Hillary brought forth at one of her speeches 10 parents of Sandy Hook kids at a speech about gun violence and lax firearm registration/background checks. Wait, she SHOULD do that!…. The sickening irony of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” blasting out right at the end should be lost on no one.

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 9.12.45 AM

Apparently still worried that his Bubba/Cletus base might abandon him for a last-minute entry by Larry the Cable Guy, Trump summoned his inner crazy for a dissembled, near-insane reaffirmation that you need not worry he’d “softened up” his stand on illegal immigration…. while he was actually doing so with a rhetorical conglomeration of confusion.  Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns write in The New York Times:

His approach involves avoiding discussion of his former campaign pledges without renouncing them, and making ostentatious gestures of conciliation toward Hispanic voters and Mexicans without withdrawing — and at times actually repeating — remarks that have offended them in the past.

In the space of a few hours on Wednesday, Mr. Trump veered from avoiding a clash with Mr. Peña Nieto over his proposal for a border wall to goading an Arizona crowd into chants about constructing the barrier.

With some polls beginning to tighten as Labor Day approached, surely due to the rotting corpse of emails that eat away at Hillary Clinton’s support, even from Probably Never Trumpers, the question is: on balance was the Mexico trip and the followup Phoenix speech good or bad for Trump’s chances?  Based on Trump’s standard of any day he dominates the news is a good day….. it was spectacular.  Based on the normal human standard of his being caught in a blatant lie about who will pay for his wall… his gutlessness in confronting the Mexican President over the issue that had been brought up and his subsequent hysterical Phoenix rant that was simply a more verbose version of all of his campaign rallies…. it should have been categorized as a bad day.  But Trump is not human.  I’m sure he ultimately won’t be able to avoid death; so far though, he’s gotten away with avoiding taxes…. or certainly admitting so by releasing his 1040’s from forever.

But….. if his mission was to appear “presidential,” he did so for about 20 minutes… if you turned down the sound on the tv and ignored his hunched-over body language, I’m not interested really in being here, I’m reading perfunctory diplomatic jargon that is foreign to me–that looks like it was plagiarized from boilerplate statements by SALT talk negotiators from 1972.  Who can forget where they were when they heard this:

“The United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, hereinafter referred to as the Parties, convinced that the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems and this Interim Agreement on Certain Measures with Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms will contribute to the creation of more favorable conditions for active negotiations on limiting strategic arms as well as to the relaxation of international tension and the strengthening of trust between States, taking into account the relationship between strategic offensive and defensive arms. Mindful of their obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, have agreed as follows:  BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH YADA YADA YADA”

And a final note on optics and perceptions versus reality:

NBC’s Hallie Jackson, reporting at 7:04pm eastern, after Mexico City and before the Phoenix Meltdown, said these exact words…whether accidental or not, because of ONE WORD being wrong, giving Trump everything he desired:

This was an opportunity to get up there with another head of state and to look, frankly, presidential.

By using the word “another” head of state, instead of “a” head of state, or even “an actual” head of state….. Jackson elevated Trump to exactly where he wants to be.

Trumpism Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry

‘Mistakes Were Made’

Read here about the history of this nebulous, deflective phrase used by politicians to escape blame for things they should be blamed for. Remember though, in Donald Trump’s case, “mistakes were made” would be an entirely new and improved level of thought and responsibility taken by a guy who, even this week, still believes drooling, ugly crowds of followers at his rallies screaming, “lock her up,” are absolute affirmation of his inevitable election in November. That he is laying the groundwork for not only not going quietly if he loses but calling into question the integrity of the entire American system of elections, setting the stage for real civil unrest, may be Trump’s most unforgivable sin.

Questioning If An Election Will Be ‘Rigged’ Strikes At The Heart Of Democracy


Donald Trump’s poll numbers finally have begun to reflect some logical, downward correlation to his now-accelerated aberrant behavior, even for him: the anger, the hate, the bigotry, the insults, the lying, the delusional grandiosity, the policy and knowledge-free promises of instantly fixing everything.  Will Hillary’s lead hold or even expand, not only in the national numbers but in the battleground states that are Trump’s only hope?… you’ll get no official prediction here.  But the ebb and flow of polls is more likely than not going to show a reversal and a closure of the gap, of which we will be alerted to by Donald Trump himself when he starts bragging again about the numbers.  For now he is silent on them, reminding us the press is made up totally of horrible, dishonest people.

Following a week that began with Trump: 1. continuing his fight with Muslim-American Gold Star parents   2. attacking local fire marshalls at his rallies   3. throwing a baby out of a rally then, as usual, pretending it was joke   4. calling Hillary Clinton, “the devil,” early in the week… demoting her to mere “monster,” by Friday   5. asked how his daughter Ivanka might respond to sexual harassment in the workplace, he sensitively responded, “I would like to think she would find another Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.34.15 PMcareer or find another company if that was the case.”  6. ate KFC — with a fork and knife — aboard his private jet, then posted a picture of it online   7.  asked if he’d have changed anything about the last week, he pensively, deeply reflected and looked into his soul, “Maybe,” he said Friday, “I would’ve done a little bit less.”

There’s continuing proof that it isn’t so much that the press is inherently “dishonest,” it’s merely that Trumpism has taken the standards for truth and accountability down to unimaginable levels of absurdity.  Trump is the student for whom a D-minus is trumpeted as a sign of greatness.  Things that fleetingly signal the smallest, remotest hints of normalcy and decency by Trump are rotely parroted as “turns in the campaign,” or signs he’s suddenly become “presidential.” (or even adult!)  Show me a 70-year old guy who’s never been told “no” in his life who suddenly changes his personality and I’ll show you someone who is either acting like a phony now or was a fraud for the first 70 years of his life.  Take your choice or take both probabilities if need be.  So, the press “dishonesty” leans in favor of Trump, not against him when these tiny, always temporary, grudging bows to convention or apology are seen as signs of “the turn.”  Two examples from this week, where the ratings-hungry press always, in the end, roots for the series to be extended, even if a blowout seems possible and a comeback unlikely with one team down 3-1.  And yes, I was surprised to see so little LeBron-Cavalier analogizing done at the Cleveland Republican convention!

  1.  His absolute non-apology for being out there lying for several days about a video that he never really saw. Via CNN:
After repeatedly claiming he had seen footage of the payment — compensation tied to a decades-old debt — during the week, Trump tweeted a reversal early Friday: “The plane I saw on television was the hostage plane in Geneva, Switzerland, not the plane carrying $400 million in cash going to Iran!”
Trump had actually viewed video from news reports showing American prisoners arriving in Switzerland after being released by the Iranians.
Like the mythical, infallible Fonzie on Happy Days, or a deranged dictator drunk on his own self-perceived perfection, Trump cannot apologize or even say the word “wrong,” let alone say he was wrong and that he should not have been out there repeating false information.  He should have said, “mistakes were made…. by me.”  Yea, that’s coming!
2. The non-analytical “reporting”  of the painful, pried-out-of-him-with-a-sledgehammer, begrudgingly given under duress, hostage-tape “endorsement” late in the week of Paul Ryan, Kelly Ayote, and John McCain. The supposedly greatest ad-libbing, free-wheeling, crowd-pleasing (usually) non-teleprompter-using stump speaker in US history had to stiffly read his fake endorsement of the three after hating on them…. forever. “In our shared mission to make America great again, I support and endorse our Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan.”  He gets any kind of credit for that?  Yes, he does, in our new series, Anything to Keep it Close 90+ Days Out. That’s a guy who has never used the phrase, “shared mission” in his life.  That’s not how he talks.  Trump showed all the enthusiasm of a guy reading a statement forcing him to endorse Zika and Ted Cruz.  watch here:–oEDMM8
As the week ended, Trump was Trump again.  I was worried for a moment. CNN reports that,  “the Republican nominee, speaking in Des Moines, Iowa, accused Clinton of being “unbalanced” and “unstable,” called her a “dangerous” and “pathological” liar and warned voters in this swing state that a Clinton presidency would lead to “the destruction of this country from within.”  As he is not a psychiatrist, he is free to make that evaluation.  Actual psychiatrists are being warned to Leave This Man Alone.  Meanwhile, I continue work on my next country hit: How Can I leave You Alone If You Won’t Leave? Washington Post:

Hey Republicans: YOU BUILT THAT!

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 2.01.49 PMForget Mondale, 1984 (won one state + DC, 13 electoral votes to Reagan’s 525, got 40.6% of the vote to Reagan’s 58.8). Forget Goldwater, 1964 (won 6 states to Johnson’s 44+DC, got 38% of the vote to LBJ’s 61%).  Right now Trumpus the Tank Engine is determined to set a new standard for losing a presidential election.  Down there with the 1940 NFL Championship Game, won by the Chicago Bears over the Washington Redskins, 73-0.  Trump wants to make history, and currently seems determined to do so, but not in the way he anticipated after scientifically targeting a surely-shrinking group of blindly loyal followers. As of midweek, he’d triggered talk of a new show on A&E… Celebrity Politician Intervention.

Smart CEO’s underpromise and overdeliver.  Before the Republican convention, this:

“It should be a monumentally magnificent convention and it should be brilliantly staged,” is what Trump told the Washington Post earlier this year. “The convention in Cleveland will be amazing,” is an exact quote of a tweet by Trump himself.

When the chalk dust finally settled, it was a radical case of overpromise and underdeliver.  Apparently Scott Baio, the UFC guy, the wife plagiarizing Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 5.01.03 PMMichelle Obama, and the 75 minute Rebel Yell Acceptance Speech didn’t move the needle the right way:

Two Gallup surveys of 1,000 adults after each convention found that just 36 percent said they were more likely to vote for Trump after watching the GOP proceedings, while 51 percent said they were less likely, a 15 percentage point disadvantage. That was the first time since Gallup began asking the question in 1984 that a candidate has left a convention with a net negative. Previous conventions left candidates with a net positive ranging from a couple percentage points to a 45 point advantage. More below, courtesy Time Magazine:

Forget the ‘Convention Bump.’ Gallup Found People Less Likely to Vote For Donald Trump.

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 2.52.20 PM

Determined to run the table by offending every possible slice of the American electorate and then declaring that each one of those niches (women are a niche?) “love me,” here is the New York Times’ updated Twitter Insult list, as of July 29, that is a bit outdated since it doesn’t include Khizr Khan and Gold Star parents, babies, and the NFL scheduling computer.

The 250 People, Places and Things Donald Trump Has Insulted on Twitter: A Complete List

Less than 100 days before election day, and melting down in front of us is what is left of the Republican Party Hardly of Lincoln.  When he said in 1858 that a “house divided against itself cannot stand,” Lincoln was referring to the divisions over slavery, not a political party itself.  But it sure applies right now, and it’s a party establishment against its own voters, many of whom have decided that frustrated anarchy carried out by an ignorant, unprepared, authoritarian one-man-band of bully is better than anything.  It’s like telling your 5-year-old to go to his room.  Time out.  Next thing you know you hear things crashing and breaking he’s so mad at you. It never ends well.  The lack of courage…. the outright fear in the souls of the members of the Republican party unwilling to put the welfare of the country… the world possibly…. above their own elected selves is a sad, mass case of Profiles in Cowardice.  So far, a few corporate executives and retiring members of Congress have stepped off the runaway train.  But very few.

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 4.27.55 PM

Finally, a quick math lesson. In 2012, Barack Obama harvested 66 million votes.  Mitt Romney got 61 million. In the 2016 Republican primaries, Donald Trump piled up 14 million votes, which was 45% of the Republican primary vote.  In other words, 55% didn’t like him much.  So, he needs every person who’s already voted for him, plus literally every person who didn’t (17 million).  That gets him to 31 million, if he were perfect in the preliminary Republican category.  He’s got to more than double that to win, assumedly by appealing to lots and lots of folks who don’t dislike him as much as they hate Hillary Clinton.  Good luck with that.  She may be best advised to take a 3 month cruise around the world and let Trump roll.

Another math lesson. Trump seems to start out fast and then fade over time.  His glory days as a developer of real estate are certainly behind him, but you’d never know that from the outward sheen of conspicuous consumption… the airplane and the helicopter with his name on them, the younger wife (latest model…. literally), and a braggadocious, bigger-than-life persona that makes one greatly appreciate the understated elegance of Hugh Hefner.  His boasting about the popularity of his Apprentice shows on NBC was always based on knowing no one would ever look up the raw numbers.  Let’s do it here, and you’ll quickly see the fade over time, and don’t add up to presidential consensus popularity:

Number of viewers the first six seasons of The Apprentice, 2003-2007: Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 4.08.23 PM




Rebranded as The Celebrity Apprentice, 2008-2015… a slight bump then the final fade out into political obscurity:Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 4.11.23 PM



It’s not fair to assume Trump’s tv ratings over time are now being reflected in his poll numbers as a presidential candidate.  It’s not fair.  But one can certainly hope.