Donald J. Trump, The First Snapchat President, Playing Russian Roulette With America And The World

 

 

The temptation to compare what we’re seeing these first few weeks of Trump’s presidency to Nixon and Watergate is irresistible. Via the UK Independent: 

Carl Bernstein, whose reporting with Bob Woodward and Ben Bradlee helped expose the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, has told his 26,000 Twitter followers: “The most dangerous ‘enemy of the people’ is presidential lying – always.  Attacks on the press by Donald Trump [are] more treacherous than Nixon’s.”

Apparently questioning Trump’s mental stability, Bernstein added: “Real news (not fake) is that Donald Trump is trying to make conduct of the press the issue instead of egregious (and unhinged) conduct of POTUS [President of the United States].”

Donald Trump’s brain and his way of doing business have been the human forerunner of Snapchat for his entire 40 years in public life.  We just didn’t know to call it that. Thoughtlessness and statements and insults spill out of him, have their desired effect, then disappear from his head within seconds, replaced by the next round.  They may linger and do damage like unexploded land mines for everyone else, but for him they’re just stepping stones to the next snap.  In coincidentally perfect Art of the Deal symmetry, SNAP is now available for public investment as a stock the same week that the minute-to-minute transactional simplicity of Donald Trump is collapsing all around him.

I’ve been waiting, as have many, for the collective weight of all the lying to be like that unavoidable bullet pass to the face that implants “Spalding” on your cheek.  The reality, the pain, it hurts… but you dare not cry. It feels a bit different this time. However, there have been dozens of moments of “this is it… this is a line he crossed that he’ll finally never recover from” the past two years, so nothing is certain. Will the gutless, spineless propaganda machine on behalf of Trump at Fox that generates these kinds of fake fair and balanced headlines fend off the dogs, as in the past:

Mistake or Misunderstanding? Jeff Sessions defuses media uproar, recuses himself from probe

I doubt it this time. Misunderstanding?  Sure….

I believe this is how the Greatest Con Ever Sold spun out of Trump’s control:

Always remembering that he hides his tax returns because they surely show business and financial relationships with Russia that truly would have killed his candidacy and possibly those deals and future deals themselves, Trump went down a dangerous road where he thought he couldn’t lose.  As initial feelers of support came from Putin and Co, he allowed and encouraged that support via the nonstop Wikileaks Democratic email reveals, looked the other way while associates and subordinates like Paul Manafort, Jeff Sessions, and Michael Flynn kept the highway clear with meetings… and in the end, the winkidink on sanctions.  No problem, Trump must have thought, since there was no way he’d win the general election anyway and no one investigates a loser’s tactics. But why worry since his business/financial relations with the Russian regime would be hugely strengthened by the comraderie fortified during the losing-but-noble campaign.  In other words, I’ll either be president, or I’ll be even richer than I am. A Donald win-win…. for Campaign Trump or the Trump Organization.  Of course we now can see that the either/or analysis turns out to be a false choice, since Trump is shamelessly using the office of the presidency to not only be president, but to get rich.   That easily explains his admiration for and his reluctance to criticize Putin and Mother Russia.

Josh Marshall puts out an important piece on Michael Cohen, Trump’s secretive lawyer, consigliere and his real conduit to Russia and Ukraine.

Trump has repeatedly insisted he has no loans from the Russia and no ‘deals’ in Russia. There is no specific evidence to refute his claims. But Trump’s real need has been for investment capital and wealthy people to purchase units in his luxury projects or those to which he licenses his name. And there is voluminous evidence for both.

Press attention has tended to focus on people like Carter Page and Paul Manafort and Mike Flynn. But Cohen plays a far more central role in this era of Trump’s business history than these others. He is also the only one who shows up clearly acting as a go-between to the President for someone trying to shift administration policy to reduce or eliminate sanctions on Russia.

Like Watergate, it will get down to Howard Baker’s famous question, “What did the president know, and when did he know it?” Except this time, it will not take several years to get the answer.

 

 

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.

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-5-22-03-pm

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.

 

TRUMP QUITS “CAMPAIGN,” ADMITS SLOGAN IS STUPID AND “AMERICA HAS ALWAYS BEEN PRETTY GREAT.”

White Suburb, MI (AP)- Donald Trump threw in the towel over the weekend following his compassionate and timely distribution of much-needed Play-Doh to flood-ravaged Louisiana, ending the biggest con of his career… a fraudulent Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 9.16.24 AM“campaign” for a job he never really wanted, never dreamed he might actually attain, and knew all along he was unqualified for–President of the United States. A body of thought has been emerging that Trump is tanking the election…. losing on purpose for a post-November world of a Trump mega-media venture; thus the suicidal hiring of the alt-right, racist, super-hateful Breitbart guy, Stephen Bannon. Following the airing of his first campaign ad, which shows illegal immigrants running wild in a crime-ridden, dark, disturbing country under Hillary Clinton… contrasted with a Trump-led sunny, law-abiding, happy “(Morning In) America” homeland, Trump admitted it really was one, big, scam.

Two clues emerged the past few days indicating that Trump, unbeknownst to his most ardent supporters, would soon be returning officially to the Democratic Party. First was the stellar performance of the US Olympic team in Rio de Janeiro. Trump had pre-planned and prepared a series of brilliant tweets that were to have connected the anticipated failure of the American athletes to Hillary Clinton and President Obama, under whom we “never win anymore… not in trade, not with our decimated military, and not in the Olympics. Sad.” This strategy, insisted upon by former campaign CEO and Russian liaison Paul Manafort, backfired spectacularly when the United States team performed magnificently. Manafort had insisted that this strategy had worked when he was advising president Sergei Danislovsky, dictator for life of Obfuscaristan, when he was running for office in 1997. Trump fired Manafort when it became numerically impossible for the United States to not be great at the Games, undermining the plan.

The second clue that Trump was a Manchurian Republican intent on losing was his consistent use of the phrase, “Democratic” Party, instead of the preferred slur “Democrat” Party. Long used by Republican politicans, operatives, and especially radio talk jockeys like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Michael Savage, “Democrat” Party indicates you are a true hater, a part of the club, you wish to reach back to the ugly days of Tom DeLay and Richard Nixon, who used the word with impunity and style, inspired by Joe McCarthy and even Wendell Wilkie before him. To not use “Democrat Party” is to show an inexcusable degree of respect and to signal that you’re not on the Republican team. In Wisconsin last week while ordering black people to vote for him, (see his book, “The Art of the Seduction,”) Trump said, “The Democratic Party has failed and betrayed the African-American community,” In Michigan he said, “The inner cities of our country have been run by the Democratic Party for 50 years. Their policies have produced only poverty, joblessness, failing schools, and broken homes. It is time to hold Democratic Politicians accountable for what they have done to these communities. It is time to hold failed leaders accountable for their results, not just their empty words.” The King of Insult Politics…. the man who knocked out more than 15 opponents in the primary portion of the campaign with a non-stop General Sherman-style march of misogyny, anger, hate, racism, unapologetic bile… now can’t call the opposition the Democrat Party? Pathetic. Weak. Over. See Trump say Democratic here:

Nick Cage Stars in Political Remake of ’97 Thriller About Trump: Con Hair

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 11.34.52 AM

The guy who never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity delivered (in his name) a deliberately less than completely inflammatory reaction (for him) to the police shootings in Dallas.  But it was bad enough.

Sorry, Trump does not merit even the tiniest benefit of the doubt with his pathetic, boilerplate “statement” Friday morning. Read it closely:

“It is a coordinated, premeditated assault on the men and women who keep us safe. We must restore law and order. We must restore the confidence of our people to be safe and secure in their homes and on the street. The senseless, tragic deaths of two motorists in Louisiana and Minnesota reminds us how much more needs to be done.”

The first word that had no place in there was, “coordinated.”  That would indicate more than one person was involved.  Trump didn’t know whether that was true when the statement was issued.  It is a textbook example of rushing to judgement with no facts, just misinformed speculation.  He may turn out to be right…. then will brag he “knew” it first and predicted it. It makes sense, however, when you remember he’s America’s Conspiracy Theory Champion… conspiracies by definition involve more than one person.  Like the one where all the people helped fake Obama’s birth, citizenship, and education.  Or new FOD (Friend of Donald) Ted Cruz, now speaking at the convention, whose father was involved in the conspiracy to kill JFK.  Remember, Trump learned that courtesy of the National Enquirer…. which provides the all time greatest campaign scoop headline: “JOHN F. KENNEDY’S SECRET SON ENDORSES DONALD TRUMP!”

Nice dog whistle code putting Nixon’s “law and order” in there, too. Does a generalized call for law and order have anything to do with Philando Castile of Minnesota, the motorist (actually a passenger) who you (conveniently) forgot to mention was black, who got shot obeying a policeman’s order? The sloppiness of calling them “two motorists” when Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge was not in a car is pathetic. That it was semi-corrected later means nothing.  It shows a total lack of attention to facts and detail.  Amazingly, he’d have been better off just calling them “two black guys.”

“Our nation has become too divided. Too many Americans feel like they’ve lost hope. Crime is harming too many citizens. Racial tensions have gotten worse, not better. This isn’t the American Dream we all want for our children,” Trump said. “This is a time, perhaps more than ever, for strong leadership, love and compassion. We will pull through these tragedies.”

But most importantly of all, I have this question: did the campaign tie up Trump in a rubber room, not permitting him to call “the shows,” forcing out this type of mealy mouthed politician statement? Aside from the NYC Police Commissioner telling Trump to f— off when he wanted to visit a local precinct to pose for a photo op with NYC cops, they must have put him in a straight jacket most of the day. The statement was so obviously written by someone else… not Trump… that it is, in the end, worthless. That’s not his voice. He doesn’t talk like that, he doesn’t write like that…. it’s not his language. Spit at the tv if you hear Trump given some kind of “credit” for this “presidential”-type statement in these circumstances.

Later, he put out another non-Trump-type statement on Facebook.  I have to tell the truth…. it’s both amusing and sad, very sad, believe me.… to see the guy who trashes Hillary for using a teleprompter  brag about his lack of need for one using a teleprompter under duress.

Bored with the minutia and work involved in going all-in attacking Hillary for the credibility issues she faces because James Comey followed the law, he’d rather defend his retweeting anti-Semitic appeals to the white supremacist crowd, the Unappreciated Greatness of Saddam Hussein, and the sleeping habits of Chuck Todd of NBC.  That was his week of rallies until Dallas.

Trump used to flippantly say that every disaster was helpful to him… the poll numbers seemed to bear that out after Paris and San Bernadino.  But that was long ago in political time.  We’ll find out soon enough if the country is not any kind of expanded version of the Republican primary electorate.  It doesn’t feel like it.  Josh Marshall brilliantly chips away at the Infallibility of He Who Will Make Us Sick of Winning…. Trump, Dominance Politics and the Limits of the Bullshit Production Model

So much of Trump’s whole way of approaching, or rather attacking life is, as I’ve said, sensing the crowd, sensing the audience and either telling them what they want to hear or knocking them off their stride with unpredictable, aggressive tactics. You can do that in a sit-down with a fellow mogul over lunch where you go from 0 to 60 with over the top tactics they’re not expecting or used to. But that’s an immediate, almost intimate encounter; you can likely only pull it on the same person a limited number of times. (Remember, only one major bank, DeutscheBank, will do business with Trump. He’s shut out at all the rest.) But the stage Trump is now is quite a different one. There are a lot of people out there and people have a lot of time to watch. Trump has passed himself off for decades as a great philanthropist. Only under the hot glare of presidential election scrutiny has that claim been revealed to be more or less baseless.

A great salesperson can say something so magnificently and convincingly that you believe because you want to believe even if it makes no sense at all. Salespeople tell stories, beautiful or horrifying ones. Trump can say Hispanics actually love him. But in his meeting this morning with House Republicans he was talking to people who have been inundated by evidence and have an existential need to know the truth. The standard issue bullshit is just no easy match for that audience under those circumstances.

“Show Me Yours And I’ll Show You Mine”…. As It Applies to Presidential Tax Returns. What Did You Think I Meant?

Donald J. Trump’s never given anyone reason to doubt his word before. I’d even go so far as to describe him as a man whose word is gold pyrite.

Birther-in-Chief, 911-Truther-in-Chief, and Cruz’s-Daddy-Palled-Around-With-Oswald Conspiracy Theorist in-Chief Trump is 100% sure he can get away with fudging one of the two great inescapables: taxes.  He refuses to release any of his tax returns, saying there’s nothing to be learned from them and it’s none of your business, so STFU.  His followers are probably convinced by now that he’ll even look death in the eye and say, “you’re fired,” and knock that one on its ass too.

While it’s inarguable that the Trump Sheeple will overlook this, excuse it, and falsely analogize it with something akin to: “yea but what about Obama’s grades or Hillary’s Goldman Sachs transcripts?”… I’d like to Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 10.57.14 AMthrow this issue of hiding tax returns into the Slippery, Rancid Pot of Things Donald Trump Has Done/Said that will doom him for good, beyond redemption, can’t come back from, nail in the coffin, it’s over…

Without drilling down into stats and polls here, there’s no doubt Trump can only win by expanding a universe of supporters who simply find him less onerous, less unlikable, less dangerous, and less dishonest than Hillary Clinton, the probable/inevitable Democratic opponent.  If he doesn’t cave on this and put out his tax returns, this will dog him nonstop to election day, and undercut his air of invincibility, strength, and being Mr. Tell It Like It Is.  Again, this will not shake loose one current Trumpanista, but it will so severely limit his ability to expand his appeal that, short of the unknowable black swan event, he’s toast.  Unless you think that Bill Clinton’s sex life will decide who the next president will be.

We now have 40 straight years of every major party candidate releasing their income tax forms.  Delicious irony that Mitt Romney, (apparently, allegedly) not as rich as Trump, initially resisted putting out his returns. Think Progress puts it this way:

In January 2012, Trump told Greta Van Sustren that Romney “was hurt really very badly” by his initial refusal to release his tax returns. He advised Romney to “release them now.” Romney released his 2010 return and a summary of his 2011 return later Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 11.07.34 AMthat month. After Romney released his full 2011 tax return in September, Trump praised Romney for releasing his returns and said they were “very honorably done.” Although Trump now claims no one is interested in reviewing tax returns, he said he personally reviewed Romney’s, calling them “absolutely beautiful and perfect.”

He then advised Romney to offer to release more years of tax returns in exchange for Obama’s college transcripts and passport records.

Trump’s 100% false, pointless, deceptive, distracting, droning repetition that he just can’t put out his returns because he’s being audited goes into my Why Isn’t He Directly Confronted On This Lie to His Face By a Compliant, Enabling Media?  I guess my question is answered by my question.

Right in the middle of the Watergate scandal unfolding, Richard Nixon….. that’s right, Richard Nixon… released his tax returns.  His famous line, “I’m not a crook,” actually came in response to a question about his taxes.  So, at this moment, Donald J. Trump is choosing to hide all of the things that a tax return would show the public.  How much he gives to charity.  How much he has donated to Democrats and liberal causes over the years. How low his tax rate is after crafty work by accountants. The reasons he’s being audited.  The possibility that his income is actually very low compared to his obnoxious, ostentatious public lifestyle and whatever wealth he has is all tied up in illiquid real estate.  The revelation that he never intended to nor could he actually fund his own campaign. It’s quite simple.  If his tax returns boosted his claims of “I’m really rich,” and helped cement his support among people who think the Celebrity Apprentice guy is automatically a business and financial genius…. he’d have released them the day he announced he was a candidate.  They don’t, so he didn’t. Crain’s New York Business begins this way: The presumptive GOP nominee said “there’s nothing to learn” from releasing them. Wrong!

Here’s why Trump doesn’t want you to see his tax returns

The vote for president, in the end, is a very personal thing.  We scoff at the “which candidate would you rather share a beer with?” question.  There’s no choice this time. Not only is Trump lying about his taxes, he doesn’t drink alcohol.

6 Reasons Why You Should Never Trust Someone Who Doesn’t Drink