Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Trump's Big CON: 'Welcome to the Trump Kleptocracy'

UPDATE: Not finished your Christmas shopping yet?  Then help monitize Daddy Donald.

"Donald Trump's adult sons are opening their father's presidency with a high-price fundraiser at which attendees can win a spot on a half-million-dollar hunting trip with Eric and Donald Jr. . .

A million dollars can buy you a 'multi-day hunting and/or fishing excursion for 4 guests with Donald Trump, Jr. and/or Eric Trump,' the invitation declares. And that’s just one of the perks: It also provides a private reception and photo op for 16 guests with Trump, four guitars signed by the performer (advertised as Toby Keith) and 200 general admission tickets to the event, among other things. The package is titled the 'Bald Eagle.”\'

The Grizzly Bear package, which comes in at $500,000, also nets supporters a hunting trip with Don Jr. and/or Eric. But that package provides for only eight guests to pose with Trump, and only two autographed guitars.

On the other end of the spectrum — down past Elk ($250,000), Marlin ($100,000) and Rainbow Trout ($50,000) — is the Wild Turkey package for $25,000. It provides 2 VIP tickets, 4 general admission tickets and the 'Outfitter’s Pro Package with commemorative custom details,' which is mentioned throughout the invitation and defined nowhere on it.

Read Politico, Trump sons bring 'Camouflage and Cufflinks' fundraiser to inauguration

Cha -ching, baby, cha-ching!

Proving once again, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

"The words 'conflict of interest' don’t begin to describe what the Trump administration is shaping up to look like . . .

Anti-nepotism laws prevent Trump from giving his family members jobs in the administration. But don’t think that’s going to stop them from being active participants in U.S. government decision-making, or using the fact that Trump is president to keep money flowing in. In fact, we could see the president enriching himself and his family on a scale that we normally associate with post-Soviet kleptocrats and Third World dictators. . .

[Already] Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry is promoting the bracelet she wore on last Sunday’s '60 Minutes' interview, which can be yours for $10,800. . .

[During the election] nothing we have learned about Trump suggests that he will operate in a remotely ethical way when it comes to opportunities to enrich himself once he becomes president. We’re talking about a man who allegedly ran multiple grifts on gullible customers (Trump University, the Trump Institute, the Trump Network); who used the bankruptcy laws to escape the collapse of his casinos, leaving investors holding the bag while he made out like a bandit in a kind of Atlantic City version of 'The Producers'; who ran a foundation that was essentially a scam from top to bottom; who regularly stiffed contractors when he knew they were too small to fight him; who used undocumented workers and reportedly had foreign models lie to customs officials so that they could work illegally in the United States, who once paid $750,000 to the Federal Trade Commission to settle an antitrust suit, and who was generally revealed to be, if not the most spectacularly corrupt businessman in the United States, then certainly a strong contender for that title.

The irony is that so many of Trump’s supporters believed his preposterous claim that he would be the one to banish corruption from Washington, that he’d 'drain the swamp' and send that crooked establishment packing. He’ll do nothing of the sort, of course; his transition team is drowning in corporate lobbyists, and among his first priorities are cutting taxes for the wealthy and removing oversight from Wall Street. But that’s standard Republican fare; what’s different and probably unprecedented is the way Trump will increase his fortune by hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars while he’s president."

Read the Washington Post, Welcome to the Trump kleptocracy.

"Kleptocracy (from Greek: κλεπτοκρατία, klépto- thieves + -kratos rule, literally "rule by thieves") is a government with corrupt rulers (kleptocrats) that use their power to exploit the people and natural resources of their own territory in order to extend their personal wealth and political power."

Monday, December 19, 2016

Trump's Big CON: Life is Not a Reality TV Show

Trump says "he can make decisions 'with very little knowledge other than the knowledge I [already] had, plus the words 'common sense,' because I have a lot of common sense and I have a lot of business ability.' . .

[But] Trump is about to be thrust into a situation unlike any he has faced before, one in which he will be forced to make an endless string of critically important decisions. . .

Since Trump has neither worked a day in government nor evinced the barest interest in policy, there will be almost no decisions to which Trump will bring any base of knowledge.

That means that perhaps more than any president in history, he’ll have to rely on the people who know more about that particular area than he does to give him the information he needs to make the best decision. This is something all presidents must do, but Trump will be further hampered by what appears to be a deep distrust of anyone who actually has that kind of knowledge.

I suspect that distrust comes from what is obviously his profound intellectual insecurity — no actual smart person goes around saying things like 'I’m, like, a smart person' and 'Let me tell you, I’m a really smart guy' and 'I have a very good brain' and 'Look, if I were a liberal Democrat, people would say I’m the super genius of all time' and 'Look, I went to the best school, I was a good student and all of this stuff. I mean, I’m a smart person,' unless they have some serious issues.

But for whatever reason, Trump is positively contemptuous of those with expertise, as we saw over and over during the campaign. . .

So inside the Oval Office, a particular scenario will likely play itself out over and over. Trump will be presented with a decision he has to make on a matter about which he knows nothing. In order to bring him up to speed, he’ll be given the views of some experts, perhaps in person, or in a document, or communicated by his close aides. He’ll then have to weigh what those experts have told him. And what will he do? There’s no way to predict. On one hand, he has this contempt for experts, yet on the other hand, as Jenna Johnson and Robert Costa reported in August, according to those around him, 'Trump tends to echo the words of the last person with whom he spoke, making direct access to him even more valuable.'

This is all made even more unusual by the fact that Trump has no coherent ideology or policy agenda. . . [so] it’s impossible to predict what he might think about an issue he hasn’t dealt with directly, and there’s no way to know whether what he thinks about it today will be the same thing he thinks about it tomorrow."

Read the Washington Post, Why we should be terrified of Donald Trump’s decision-making process.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Trump's Big CON: No Jobs, No Tax Cuts & No Health Care for Trump Voters

UPDATE III:  Trump is planning "a big, fat tax cut for America's next top heirs.

Republicans, of course, insist that this is really about protecting family farms and small businesses from Uncle Sam's allegedly rapacious grasp, but some facts are in order. According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, only 30 such farms and businesses owed any estate tax in 2015, and they only paid 0.05 percent of the estate tax's total revenue. The reality is that you have to be pretty rich to leave behind more than a $10.9 million estate, which is how much a married couple can give their kids tax-free. And you have to be super rich for the 40 percent tax on anything over that to be a big deal to you. Indeed, the top 1 percent paid $13.8 billion of the $18.4 billion that the estate tax raised in 2015. That's 75 percent of the total. And the top 0.1 percent alone paid $6.4 billion, or 35 percent.

Not only would getting rid of the estate tax be a giveaway to the über-wealthy, but it'd also be a giveaway that probably wouldn't create that many jobs. . .

[W]e're talking about real money here. The Tax Policy Center estimates that the estate tax would raise $225 billion over the next decade. That'd be enough to pay for the Children's Health Insurance Program three times over. . .

[And] deficits will go back to not mattering for at least the next four years.

It will be populism of, by and for plutocrats."

Read the Washington Post, Donald Trump’s 'populism' includes a huge tax cut for his kids.

UPDATE II:  "Researchers have found evidence of a natural gulf between the policy positions of the wealthy and the working class in the United States — and they’ve found that the preferences of the wealthy have been far more likely to translate into action. . .

[E]xtremely wealthy Americans were more likely than the population as a whole to support cutting Social Security, food stamps and health care, as well as somewhat more likely to support cutting homeland security, environmental protection and job programs. They were less likely to support labor unions, increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit and providing unemployment benefits.

Read the Washington Post, What happens to the working class when millionaires and billionaires are in charge.

UPDATE: Watch Late Night with Seth Meyers, Trump's Cabinet of Plutocrats and Hardliners: A Closer Look:

'Some of [Trump’s] proposals — walling off the country with protective tariffs, for example — would make things worse for the middle and working class, while tax cuts for the wealthy will exacerbate inequality rather than lessen it.' . .

Remember: Trump’s tax cut delivers most of its benefits to the wealthy: millionaires get a $300,000 cut; those in the middle-class get $900.

[Trump voters are] also, if Trump and the congressional Republicans have their way with the Affordable Care Act, at risk of losing recently acquired health coverage. What happens then, I don’t know, but perhaps they’ll be more open to an agenda that actually meets their interests."

Read the Washington Post, States with lots of Trump voters didn’t get the jobs. Now they won’t get the tax cuts.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Trump's Big CON: No Balanced Budget

UPDATE II:  "It’s curious to hear Republicans suddenly talking about the urgent need for fiscal stimulus. For the past eight years, including the darkest days of the Great Recession, they tried to convince us that fiscal stimulus doesn’t work, and that the only way to really boost economic growth is to cut the budget deficit. But now that they are about to get their hands on the federal checkbook, Republicans have decided that we are all Keynesians once again.

To anyone serious about economic analysis, it should be obvious that we don’t need Keynesian stimulus at the moment. The unemployment rate is at 4.6 percent, which is about as close to full employment as it gets. The economy is producing more than 175,000 jobs each month, with many industries complaining they could add more if there were trained workers to hire. Wages are rising faster than they have in a decade, and faster than productivity is rising. Corporate profits and share prices are at record levels. And thanks to aggressive bond buying (and bond holding) by the Federal Reserve, monetary policy is still extraordinarily accommodative. Keynes himself would never have suggested that this is an appropriate time to use the government’s taxing and spending powers to boost the economy. In fact, seeing the developing bubble in stock and real estate markets, Keynes probably would be recommending a budget surplus right about now."

Read the Washington Post, Republicans are finally willing to spend on the economy — at the exact wrong time.

UPDATE: "For the last 35 years, Republicans haven't worried about deficits when they've been in power—in fact, former vice president Dick Cheney said that 'Reagan proved' they 'don't matter'—and treated them like the greatest threat to the republic when they've been out of it. So the fact that this would add a lot of red ink wouldn't be a dealbreaker. Republicans are going to resume not caring about the deficit the moment the calendar flips to Jan. 20, 2017."

Read the Washington Post, How Obama’s unaffordable socialism could become Trump’s smart conservatism.  

Read also the Washington Post, How to pay for Donald Trump’s trillion-dollar agenda? Congressional Republicans aren’t saying.

"President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday made his first stamp on Congress as House Republicans bowed to his wishes and announced plans to extend government funding through March . . .

Read the Washington Post, Trump camp calls for short-term spending bill despite Senate concerns.

Balancing the budget is a long-time Republi-CON.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Trump's Big CON: Wall Street Knows It

There won't be any change in trad policy, or balanced budgets.

"Investors have bid stock prices up to historic highs this week, brushing off escalating threats from President-elect Donald Trump to disrupt global trade. . .

Instead, investors are optimistic that Trump and Congress will substantially reduce taxes while spending more on infrastructure and defense, putting more money into the economy and juicing corporate profits."

Read the Washington Post, Why Wall Street still isn’t taking Donald Trump seriously

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sieg Heil Der Donald!, Cont.

UPDATE:  Read the Washington Post, Democrats can stop Trump via the electoral college. But not how you think., which notes:

"To become president, a candidate must get a bare majority of 270 votes when the electoral college meets Dec. 19.

As Alexander Hamilton explained, the electoral college provides a backstop in the event voters select a dangerously unfit candidate. 'The process of election,' Hamilton wrote, 'affords a moral certainty that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.' Electors would use their judgment to prevent the 'tumult and disorder' that would result from 'this mischief' of presidential candidates exploiting 'talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity.' One might call it the cooler-heads college. . .

The only way Democrats stand any chance of persuading Republican electors to abandon Trump is with a dramatic gesture of true bipartisanship. If all 232 Democratic electors pledge to reach across the aisle and vote for a Republican alternative to Trump, it would take just 38 GOP electors to make that person the next president."

Read also the Washington Post, The electoral college should be unfaithful.
"Trump has shown a daunting disregard or ignorance of the Constitution and of law. Regarding the use of torture, he has said that the military must follow his orders — even if they are illegal. More recently, he declared that flag-burning should be a crime and that flag burners be punished by 'perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail.' The remark was one of his off-the-cuff inanities — since 1989, flag-burning has been protected political speech, and citizenship, we’d like to think, is forever. The tweet — so few words, so much meaning — spoke to Trump’s abysmal lack of knowledge but, more important, contained an emotional truth. Trump despises dissent and often reacts emotionally to setbacks or challenges.

Now, ask yourself what might happen if there were a huge terrorist incident on American soil. Might this man of little knowledge and no restraint attempt to suspend civil liberties? . .

I have too much faith in America and its institutions to think that Weimar is the future. It is, however, a warning, not something that shouldn’t be discussed, but something that should be mulled. The differences between Weimar Germany and contemporary America are significant but so, increasingly, are the similarities."

Read the Washington Post, Trump isn’t Hitler. But the United States could be another Germany.

Read also: Sieg Heil Der Donald!

Trump's Big CON: He's Really a Crony Capitalist

UPDATE V:  Trump's "actions are dangerous, and the more so when they generate popular acclaim."

Read the Washington Post, Donald Trump is practicing presidential extortion of companies for symbolic political gain.

UPDATE IV:  "Trump’s transition has ended any remaining doubts that his promise to 'drain the swamp' of corrupt government was a lie. Based on his post-election moves, it seems the Trump White House will be an experiment in crony capitalism on steroids.

After playing to the country’s populist mood as a candidate, Trump has surrounded himself almost exclusively with corporate elites. While the appointments of chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) fired up his base, Trump has loaded up his transition and Cabinet-in-waiting with members of the establishment he claimed he would crush. Trump’s team, with few exceptions, is filled by the 'swamp creatures' we’d expect in virtually any Republican administration."

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s team of faux populists and real crony capitalists.

UPDATE III:  "In the thick of his reelection campaign in 2012, President Obama devoted six paragraphs in his State of the Union address to his plans to reverse a flow of factory jobs to foreign countries.

He called to end tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs, to cut taxes for domestic manufacturers and to levy a minimum tax on multinational corporations. He implored businesses to 'ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country,' and he told Congress 'It is time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America.'

'Send me these tax reforms,' Obama said, 'and I will sign them right away.'

Congress — including the Republican-held House of Representatives — never sent Obama any of those reforms. In the official Republican response to the speech, the then-governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels, chided him for not focusing on a different economic issue, the growing national debt. Later that year, the GOP nominee for president, Mitt Romney, declared in a debate with Obama that 'the idea that you get a break for shipping jobs overseas is simply not the case.'

Obama repeatedly proposed measures to punish offshoring companies and reward domestic producers. None of them were as far-reaching or punitive as President-elect Donald Trump's threat to slap a 35 percent tariff on goods imported from "any business that leaves our country for another country. . .

[Now Republi-CONs are] endorsing a version of the policies they have long derided as 'crony capitalism.'"

Read the Washington Post, Republicans have a double standard when it comes to Trump’s threats of 'retribution'.

UPDATE II:  "[T]here is a whiff of Putinism in the combination of bribery and menace that may have affected Carrier’s decision — the bribery of tax breaks, the menace of potential lost defense contracts for Carrier’s parent company, United Technologies. . .

It may be appealing as a model to America’s president-elect, too.

The problem is that it doesn’t work. Russia’s economy is shrinking, year by year, and no matter how many factory directors Putin humiliates, it won’t start growing again without structural and political reform.

The U.S. economy has challenges, including the loss of manufacturing jobs and the insecurity many workers experience. But it is far healthier than Russia’s, with steady economic growth, low unemployment and a far, far higher standard of living.


A key reason is that the U.S. economy is governed by laws, not by the whims of the nation’s rulers."

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s Carrier deal is right out of Putin’s playbook

Read also the Washington Post, Trump’s Carrier deal could permanently damage American capitalism.

UPDATE:  "Donald Trump promised to punish U.S. companies that ship manufacturing jobs out of the country. Instead, judging from the way he has handled the Carrier Corp. matter, he plans to reward them. Quite handsomely, in fact.

As should be standard practice with Trump, pay attention to the substance, not the theater. United Technologies, the parent company of air-conditioner-maker Carrier, has been threatening to move more than 2,000 jobs from Indiana to Mexico. Trump addressed this specifically during his campaign, vowing to hit the company with a punitive tariff.

'If they’re going to fire all their people, move their plant to Mexico, build air conditioners, and think they’re going to sell those air conditioners to the United States — there’s going to be a tax,' Trump said on 'Meet the Press' in the summer. 'It could be 25 percent, it could be 35 percent, it could be 15 percent, I haven’t determined.'

As it turns out, how about zero percent?

In fact, how about giving United Technologies state tax breaks worth about $7 million over the next decade, in exchange for moving only 1,300 jobs to Mexico? That’s basically the deal offered by Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who happens to be governor of Indiana (and thus in a position to offer the tax relief). . .

The company still gets to lay off many of the targeted Indiana workers and replace them with much cheaper Mexican labor. It gets partial compensation from the state government. And instead of worrying about a potential tariff, United Technologies can anticipate a major reduction in the federal corporate tax rate. That’s something Trump promised on the campaign trail — and also, reportedly, in a recent phone call with United Technologies chief executive Greg Hayes.

In a Post op-ed, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) put it this way: 'Just a short few months ago, Trump was pledging to force United Technologies to 'pay a damn tax.' .?.?. Instead of a damn tax, the company will be rewarded with a damn tax cut . Wow! How’s that for standing up to corporate greed? How’s that for punishing corporations that shut down in the United States and move abroad?'

So imagine you’re a CEO who wants to send, say, 5,000 manufacturing jobs overseas. Having learned from the Carrier example, you might begin by announcing that unfortunately you are forced to eliminate 10,000 jobs because of the crushing tax burden. Even if you really want to move the jobs to Vietnam or Kenya, just say you’re looking at possible sites for a new plant in Mexico. That’s sure to get Trump’s attention.

When Trump calls offering tax breaks or enterprise zone incentives or free rounds of golf in Scotland, whatever goodies he tosses in, hold out for a while — then reluctantly, in the spirit of patriotism and Making America Great Again, announce you’ve agreed to cancel half of the 10,000 job cuts. You’d still be meeting your original goal of eliminating 5,000 jobs, only now you’d also have a lower corporate tax bill and a tee time at Turnberry.

The Carrier deal is just the latest piece of evidence suggesting that Trump’s populist rhetoric about championing the working stiff and cracking down on greedy globalist corporations was all a bunch of hooey."

Read the Washington Post, Trump will helm a government of, by and for corporate America.

Read also the Washington Post, Why lots of people think Trump’s deal to save 1,000 Indiana jobs was a bad idea.

The Republi-CON's new economic strategy -- bribe corporate America.

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s deal to keep Carrier jobs in Indiana includes $7 million in state subsidies.

Read also the Washington Post, Bernie Sanders: Carrier just showed corporations how to beat Donald Trump.

Republi-CONs are hypocrites, they were/are livid whenever there was/is government intervention into private enterprise.

Remember their claims in response to the financial crisis -- that Obama used corporate subsidy to distort the 'free markets' -- and demanded a balanced budget instead.

Now, government debt for corporate welfare is fine.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Trump's Big CON: Time to Call the Bluff on the Republi-CON Socialist Moochers

"In 2004, the journalist and historian Thomas Frank wrote an insightful and prescient book, “What’s the Matter With Kansas?", in which he tried to puzzle out why voters in his native state backed Republicans whose policies undermined their own economic interests. . .

Data compiled by the Pew Charitable Trust found that 10 states that receive less than a dollar back for every dollar they send to Washington: Delaware, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. And here are the states that get more than $2 back for every $1 in taxes paid: Mississippi, New Mexico, West Virginia, Hawaii, South Carolina, Alabama, Maine, Montana, Alaska, Virginia, Arizona, Idaho, Kentucky and Vermont. You don’t have to be a political scientist to see the blue state/red state pattern here. Red state voters may talk a good game about small government and low taxes, but in reality they are socialist moochers. . .

[Time for] watching Trump's voters stew in their own political juices as Red State America finally frees itself from the evil grip of global elites and big government and turns itself into a low-tax, low-wage, low health paradise where it's every man for himself.

As H.L. Mencken once put it, 'Democracy is a theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it, good and hard.'"

Read the Washington Post, Under Trump, red states are finally going to be able to turn themselves into poor, unhealthy paradises.

Read also:

The Repbli-CON Plan to Destroy the Economy, Kansas Edition

Is This the End of Our 'Free Lunch' Fantasy?

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Trump's Big CON: He's a Flip-Flopping Narcissistic Contortionist

"Since winning the election, Trump has made clear that even his firmest positions are open to change and that he can be easily persuaded by the well-known figures now clamoring to give him advice. The president-elect tends to echo the last person he spoke with — or the last thing he saw on TV — making direct access to him all the more valuable, especially as he selects members of his administration. . .

'No one should have ever mistaken Trump for a man of any fixed principles or of having any sort of intellectual framework beyond his self aggrandizement and bluster,' said Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist and longtime Trump critic. 'His followers thought he meant every word he said. But it’s obvious that Trump has little if any actual ideological consistency despite his promises.' . .

Trump’s third and final campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, has repeatedly compared working with Trump to tricking her young children into doing what she wants. Conway has said that she’s careful to not tell Trump what to do and instead gives him a few options to pick between, delivered in snappy soundbites. . .

Praise is often the key to influencing Trump, who has made clear that he does not like to be questioned or challenged.

Nearly a year ago, staffers at the now-defunct gossip website Gawker decided to 'set a trap for Trump' on Twitter, tricking him into retweeting a quote from Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. They created a 'bot' that regularly fired tweets at Trump containing a dictator quote and a dose of flattery. In February, Trump took the bait and hit retweet.

'We came up with the idea for that Mussolini bot under the assumption that Trump would retweet just about anything, no matter how dubious or vile the source, as long as it sounded like praise for himself,' Gawker reported at the time."

Read the Washington Post, The trick to persuading Trump? Flattery, proximity and snappy pitches.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Trump's Big CON: Manipulative Dictator Edition

"President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened loss of citizenship or jail for those who burn the American flag, saying such protests — which the Supreme Court has declared to be free speech — should carry ';consequences.' . .

Flag burning was ruled to be constitutionally protected speech under the First Amendment in a 1990 Supreme Court case, United States v. Eichman, that struck down a law seeking to prevent the flag's desecration. Moreover, a 1967 Supreme Court decision rejected the practice of stripping U.S. citizenship as a form of criminal punishment. . .

Trump’s latest interest in curbing First Amendment protections follows several other actions related to free speech, including his blacklisting of reporters who fell out of favor with his campaign and a suggestion that he would 'open up' libel laws to make it easier to sue the news media.

Read the Washington Post, Trump suggests loss of citizenship or jail for those who burn U.S. flags, which also notes that "Trump's tweet also demonstrated an ability, which has continued beyond his campaign, to divert public attention from other issues of the day."

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Trump's Big CON: "More U.S. Manufacturing Jobs"

UPDATE:  "American workers may be struggling, but American factories are not. . .

American factories actually make more stuff than they ever have, and at a lower cost. Manufacturing accounts for more than a third of U.S. economic output — making it the largest sector of the economy. . .

U.S. factories now manufacture twice as much as they did in 1984, with one-third fewer workers, according to the Federal Reserve.

The reason, of course, is that productivity has risen so sharply. Technology, and automation specifically, allows manufacturers to make more than ever before, at a much lower cost.

The economics are unavoidable and irreversible." 

Read the Washington Post, A single chart everybody needs to look at before Trump’s big fight over bringing back American jobs.

"Donald Trump laid out his plans for his first 100 days in the White House in a brief message Monday evening. What Trump said was not all that remarkable, focusing on standard conservative issues such as energy, regulation and ethics. What Trump did not say was more revealing. The president-elect made no mention of two bold promises he had made to his base on international trade, a crucial issue in his unprecedented campaign.

During his campaign, Trump had said that he would reopen negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement and direct the Treasury Department to declare that China is manipulating its currency on the first day of his administration. Neither item was on his to-do list in the recorded remarks he put online Monday. . .

Noting that curtailing international trade could cause economic chaos, many analysts have been skeptical about how committed the president-elect is to the populist and protectionist agenda that helped him defeat former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. The omission in this week's message leaves open the question of how exactly Trump intends to shift manufacturing from overseas into the United States -- a pledge he repeated often on the stump."

Read the Washington Post, Donald Trump left two key promises to voters off his to-do list

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Trump's Big CON: You've Been Scammed

"While we’re still analyzing the election results and debating the importance of different factors to the final outcome, everyone agrees that white working class voters played a key part in Donald Trump’s victory, in some cases by switching their votes and in some cases by turning out when they had been nonvoters before.

And now that he’s about to take office, he’s ready to deliver on what he promised them, right? Well, maybe not so much . . .

[T]he Trump administration and congressional Republicans are getting ready to move on their highest priorities, cutting taxes for the wealthy, scrapping oversight on Wall Street, and lightening regulations on big corporations.

Imagine you’re one of those folks who went to Trump rallies and thrilled to his promises to take America back from the establishment, who felt your heart stir as he promised to torture prisoners, who got your 'Trump That Bitch' T-shirt, who was overjoyed to finally have a candidate who tells it like it is. What are you thinking as you watch this?

If you have any sense, you’re coming to the realization that it was all a scam. You got played. While you were chanting 'Lock her up!' he was laughing at you for being so gullible. While you were dreaming about how you’d have an advocate in the Oval Office, he was dreaming about how he could use it to make himself richer. He hasn’t even taken office yet and everything he told you is already being revealed as a lie. . .

So what are we left with? What remains is Trump’s erratic whims, his boundless greed, and the core of Republican policies Congress will pursue, which are most definitely not geared toward the interests of working class whites. He can gut environmental regulations, but that doesn’t mean millions of people are going to head back to the coal mines — it was market forces more than anything else that led to coal’s decline. He can renegotiate trade deals, but that doesn’t mean that the labor-intensive factory jobs are coming back. And by the way, the high wages, good benefits, and job security those jobs used to offer? That was thanks to labor unions, which Republicans are now going to try to destroy once and for all.

Had Hillary Clinton won the election, the white working class might have gotten some tangible benefits — a higher minimum wage, overtime pay, paid family and medical leave, more secure health insurance, and so on. Trump and the Republicans oppose all that. So what did the white working class actually get? They got the election itself. They got to give a big middle finger to the establishment, to the coastal elites, to immigrants, to feminists, to college students, to popular culture, to political correctness, to every person and impersonal force they see arrayed against them. And that was it. . .

[M]aybe Trump will find a way to actually improve the lives of working class voters. That’s theoretically possible, but absolutely nothing he has done or said so far suggests that he has any idea how to do it, or even the inclination. So he may try to keep the fires of hatred, resentment, and fear burning, in the hopes that people forget that he hasn’t given them the practical things he said he would."

Read the Washington Post, How long before the white working class realizes Trump was just scamming them?

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Trump's Big CON: Trump 'University'

"In a complete turnaround from his previous position, President-elect Donald Trump is nearing a settlement of the fraud cases brought in New York and California involving his now defunct for-profit Trump University, the Daily News has learned.

Under the emerging deal being negotiated by Trump's lawyers, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the law firm that brought a class action lawsuit regarding Trump University in California, the president-elect will agree to pay between $20 million and $25 million to settle the matter, a source with knowledge of the situation said."

Read the New York Daily News, Donald Trump nearing settlement in Trump University fraud case

Trump needs to settle before the trial exposes him as the CON man he truly is.

Trump's Make America Hate Again!

UPDATE III:  Read these Washington Post articles:

Video shows Pennsylvania teenagers celebrating, shouting ‘white power’ after Trump win

This Indiana church was defaced with ‘HEIL TRUMP’ graffiti — and is keeping it,

White Texas teens chant ‘build that wall’ at Hispanics during high school volleyball match,

‘I voted for Trump! You lost!’: White Starbucks customer accuses barista of ‘discrimination’,

A hiker wore a bandanna for sun protection. Then she found an anti-Muslim note on her car., and

Alabama officer fired over racist meme calling Michelle Obama ‘fluent in ghetto’.

UPDATE II:  "Trump has vowed to ban Muslims from entering the country and to force deportation of Mexicans. He has ridiculed the disabled. He has accepted without criticism the enthusiastic support of the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups that were previously on the fringes of society. He has invoked standard anti-Semitic tropes in his political advertising. And he has made clear that he believes grabbing and groping women is appropriate behavior."

Read the Washington Post, ‘Political correctness’ has become a codeword for hate

UPDATE: Read the Washington Post, Japanese American internment is ‘precedent’ for national Muslim registry, prominent Trump backer says and A Tenn. jail official called the KKK ‘more American’ than Obama. Now he’s out of a job.

Read these Washington Post articles:

Is Trump’s new chief strategist a racist? Critics say so.,

A Baylor student was shoved and called the n-word. This is how the school responded.,

Police officer who drove with Confederate flag at ‘Love Trumps Hate’ rally resigns,

Restaurant denies free Veterans Day meal to black veteran after man in Trump shirt accuses him of lying,

A man in KKK robes waved a Trump flag at a bonfire in Connecticut, police say,

‘Ape in heels’: W.Va. mayor resigns amid controversy over racist comments about Michelle Obama,

‘Why white women shouldn’t date black men’ fliers discovered at Southern Methodist University.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Trump's Big CON: He Stops Nothing

"President-elect Donald Trump claimed credit on Thursday for keeping a Ford plant in Kentucky from moving to Mexico. But the company never planned to move the entire plant, only one of its production lines.

Ford has never announced plans to move to Mexico either its Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, which produces the Lincoln Navigator, or the Louisville Assembly Plant, which produces the Lincoln MKC and the Ford Escape."

Read the Washington Post, Trump just took credit for stopping Ford from moving a plant to Mexico. But it wasn’t planning to.

Trump's next feat of narcissistic vainglory: sunrise!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Trump's Big CON: He Will Continue Obama's Immigration Plan

Trump plans regarding undocumented immigrants is not all that different from Obama's.

Read the Washington Post, This is pretty awkward for people who criticize Donald Trump’s immigration plans

Friday, November 11, 2016

A 2009 Told Ya So: Remortgage America

Remember in 2009 I promoted an economic stimulus program like Remortgage America.

Read the Washington Post, How President Obama might have stopped Donald Trump.

UNBELIEVABLE!!! (Was It a 'Yuge' CON Job By The Donald?)

UPDATE VIII:  "An organizational chart of Trump’s transition team shows it to be crawling with corporate lobbyists, representing such clients as Altria, Visa, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Verizon, HSBC, Pfizer, Dow Chemical, and Duke Energy. And K Street is positively salivating over all the new opportunities they’ll have to deliver goodies to their clients in the Trump era. . .

The answer is, anyone who was paying attention. Look at the people Trump is considering for his Cabinet, and you won’t find any outside-the-box thinkers burning to work for the little guy. It’s a collection of Republican politicians and corporate plutocrats — not much different from who you’d find in any Republican administration.

And it isn’t just personnel. What are the priorities Trump and the Republican Congress will be pursuing right out of the gate?

[Trump will cut taxes for the wealthy, gut regulations, and destroy programs for poor and middle class Americans, and in doing so] Trump is going to be little different from any other Republican president . . .

But one thing it will not be is a threat to the establishment, or the system, or whatever you want to call it. The wealthy and powerful will have more wealth and power when he’s done, not less. There’s a lot that Trump will upend, but if you’re a little guy who thinks Trump was going to upend things on your behalf or in order to serve your interests, guess what: you got suckered."

Read the Washington Post, If you voted for Trump because he’s ‘anti-establishment,’ guess what: You got conned.

UPDATE VII:  First it was the promise to balance the budget, then the ban on Muslims, now Trump is reneging on trade.

Read the Washington Post, A Trump policy adviser is already walking back tough talk on trade.

Trump's election may be the world's biggest CON.

UPDATE VI:  Read the Washington Post, Why Donald Trump can’t govern like a traditional Republican.

Read also, the Washington Post, Is there a parallel between Donald Trump and Arnold Schwarzenegger?

UPDATE V:  "I retain faith in another powerful tool: democracy. By which I mean democracy as defined by H.L. Mencken: 'the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.'" (Emphasis added.)

Read the Washington Post, Americans have voted for Trumpism. Let them have it.

UPDATE IV:  That didn't take long, the election results are not even official and the Republi-CON are already changing their 8-year old tune on the evil of federal budget deficits and government debt, as well as banning Muslims.

"Over the last eight years, the Republican establishment has repeatedly excoriated President Obama for plans that don't immediately balance the budget.

Yet Trump's proposals -- which include an unprecedented $1 trillion infrastructure spending plan over 10 years and trillions more in tax cuts -- would grow the debt far more than under current law."

Read the Washington Post, Republicans look like they could change their tune on debt under a President Trump.

Read also Daily Mail, Has Trump dropped the Muslim ban already? Statement on controversial policy disappears from website shortly after election.

The Republi-CON party is a CON job!

UPDATE III:  As I said earlier, when I initially supported The Donald, I'm still open to the possibility that The Donald is Trump-Brilliant (©!!!!

The Donald didn't get & remain rich believing the $@#% he says.

It is possible that his campaign was all a CON job to get elected, that The Donald brilliantly used  Republicans' fears, anger & hatred to win their votes. 

Remember, he is no social conservative, and many of his economic ideas are  heresy to traditional Republi-CON orthodoxy.

("In a brief victory speech early Wednesday morning, Donald Trump devoted only a few words to his specific priorities for policymaking in the next administration. At the top of the agenda was a new investment in infrastructure.

'We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals,' the president-elect said after making a few introductory remarks. 'We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.'

Infrastructure is a major Democratic priority," something Obama has wanted for 8 years."

Read the Washington Post, Paul Ryan might not be happy about the first item on the agenda in Trump’s victory speech.)

Trump hates failure, and doing the things he promised in the campaign would make him a big FAILURE.

And if he goes along with the Republi-CON party orthodoxy, his supporters will realize they have been conned and will turn on him, making him a big FAILURE.

So did The Donald know that it was impossible to talk reason to Republi-CONs, so he used their fantasies and delusions to control them and win their votes?

And now that he has been elected, will he return to being the brilliant negotiating pragmatic moderate he has always been, in it for nothing more than the challenge of succeeding? "Trump has no clear ideology – only a belief in his own ability to solve problems. He could surprise a lot of people by being a pragmatist who cuts deals with fellow New Yorker Chuck Schumer, to the great chagrin of his base."

The Donald's fear of failure will limit his stupidity, his success will be the country's success.

The Donald may be Trump-Brilliant (©!!!!

So it is ironic isn't it, "Trump's candidacy was premised on the idea that everyone — politicians, reporters, corporations — is lying to you, and lying to you to to feather their own nests."

Yet The Donald's only way to avoid failure is to be a liar also.

UPDATE II:  Ok, climb off the ledge.  It will get better.

President Franken-Trump/Trumpenstein (© & his delusional supporters can't avoid reality forever. (BTW, not all Trump voters are delusional, some just wanted to shakeup DC, and Clinton wasn't the candidate to do that.)

As I have said many time before, call the Republi-CON bluff.

First, balance the budget, NOW!

This has been a Republi-CON fantasy for years. But Obama knew better, he would have taken the blame for the ensuing economic collapse. It can't be done without doing substantial harm to the economy. The people who will be hurt the worst live in red states. (FYI, 44% of Louisiana's state budget is funded by various federal government programs.)

Next, in the bill to repeal Obamacare (which was originally a Republi-CON idea), include a provision that ends all federal government funding of health care.

Currently, about half of all health care spending is paid for by the federal government, probably more in red state. Individual health care is not a federal government responsibility, but federal law requires treatment. Let the states take care of people who are not responsible enough to get health care insurance. Soon people will be dying in the streets, many in red states. (Read my many posts that try to explain Obamacare.)

These are just two ideas that might wake up the American people. Don't let Trump abandon his impossible and unwise campaign statements and lies.  There can be no excuses, Republi-CONs own government — both houses and the presidency.

Triple dog-dare Trump and his Republi-CON supporters to fulfill his many wild promises NOW: build the wall and make Mexico pay for it, abandon NATO, deport foreigners, put Muslims in internment camps, cancel trade agreements and engage in trade wars with China and others, start jailing his political rivals and cracking down on the free press, abandon our allies and encourage them to get nuclear weapons of their own, and more.

If done right, crushing Republi-CON delusions these next four years could be fun!

Remember: "the voters will have the opportunity for more 'change' elections in 2018 and 2020."

UPDATE:  Remember, Trump is a fraud.

"Donald Trump ran against himself and won. The Manhattan billionaire who for decades boasted of his playboy lifestyle, stiffed contractors and vendors, hired illegal immigrants, eschewed churchgoing, embraced liberal causes, and counted Hillary and Bill Clinton as friends and allies pulled off one of the most brazen pivots in American history, selling himself to American voters as a populist hero who understood their frustrations and guaranteed a blizzard of wins. . .

Trump called himself a 'blue-collar billionaire,' and although he had lived a fairly isolated life, working and sleeping in Trump Tower, with no close friends and few trusted advisers, he believed that he had so completely won the hearts of many Americans that, as he put it, 'I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose voters.' . .

Trump believed that through creative use of media, he could build an image that would inspire ordinary people to want to be like him. He believed that if he crafted that image well enough, he could become rich and powerful and ultimately rise to the highest office in the land. On Tuesday, he reached that final step in his half-century-long ascent.

What he will do with it, even he does not know. Asked earlier this year if he has spent much time preparing to actually be president, Trump admitted that his focus had been solely on the campaign. “I’m all about the hunt and the chase,” he said. 'When I get something I really wanted, I sometimes lose interest in it.'"

Read the Washington Post, How Donald Trump broke the old rules of politics — and won the White House.

So play the CON man's game against him, force people to remember who they elected.

The Chicago Cubs won the World Series & Franken-Trump/Trumpenstein (© was elected president.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Soon We Shall Know Ourselves

UPDATE: "I’m going to attempt to demonstrate this with a chart — it is below — that, I believe, objectively captures the sum total of Trump’s arguments, and why those arguments, taken on their own terms, compellingly demand a vote against him.

At the heart of Trump’s case for the presidency lies two components. The first is a hyper-exaggerated narrative of national decay and decline — skyrocketing crime, rotting inner cities, decaying factories, a festering terror threat from within, a border that is being breached by dark hordes of invaders. The second is the notion that our elites are both fecklessly responsible for that perilous state of national decline and too corrupted to fix it — they’ve rigged the system against you, undermining American sovereignty to enrich themselves, while allowing American identity to be degraded by immigrants who are at best parasitic and at worst a lethal threat.

But Trump’s diagnosis runs deeper than that. His argument is not simply that elites are ripping you off from above while enabling those subgroups to rip you off and threaten you from below. Rather, the truly pernicious component of Trump’s argument is that our institutions and our democracy have themselves grown so hopelessly corrupted and compromised that they are no longer even capable of arresting and turning around that decline via conventional democratic processes. The only outcome that can change this state of affairs is electing him president. Any other result would only confirm that our system has been so corrupted that it is fundamentally no longer capable of producing legitimate political outcomes.

Trump sometimes expresses this idea explicitly, and sometimes implicitly. But it is the thread that runs through everything he has been saying and promising for months . . ."

Read the Washington Post, A final plea: The case against Trump’s dangerous authoritarianism — in one chart, which includes this chart:

"Trump would be elected on the promise of fighting, rounding up, jailing or humbling any number of personal and political opponents. Take away this appeal, and there is nothing left but grasping, pathetic vanity. . .

The undercurrents of economic anxiety and cultural disorientation that Trump exploits are real, deserving both attention and sympathy. But Trump has organized these resentments with an unprecedented message: The United States is weak and broken, a hell of crime, terrorism and expanding misery, beset from within and without, and now in need of a strong hand — his strong hand — to turn things around.

The single most frightening, anti-democratic phrase of modern presidential history came in Trump’s convention speech: 'I alone can fix it.' A Trump victory would be a mandate for authoritarian politics. . . a Trump administration would be a concession to the idea that America needs a little more China, a little more Russia, a little more 'so let it be written, so let it be done' in its executive branch. . .

Every constitutional conservative should be revolted. Those who are complicit have adopted a particularly dangerous form of power-loving hypocrisy. . .

It is almost beyond belief that Americans should bless and normalize Trump’s appeal. Normalize vindictiveness and prejudice. Normalize bragging about sexual assault and the objectification of women. Normalize conspiracy theories and the abandonment of reason. Normalize contempt for the vulnerable, including disabled people and refugees fleeing oppression. Normalize a political tone that dehumanizes opponents and excuses violence. Normalize an appeal to white identity in a nation where racial discord and conflict are always close to the surface. Normalize every shouted epithet, every cruel ethnic and religious stereotype, every act of bullying in the cause of American 'greatness.'"

Read the Washington Post, One final election plea, on the behalf of U.S. ideals.

Read also 1 Corinthians 13:12.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Countdown to Birther Fools Day 2016

UPDATE III:  It is just days before the election. What better time to release those 'universe-shattering' revelations.

It would guarantee a Trump election!

But don't hold your breath, it was all a CON job!!!

I triple dog-dare the Sheriff Joe’s Scooby Doo gang to prove me wrong.

UPDATE II:  We are fast approaching 1,000 days (December 26, 2016) since the First Birther Fool's Day.  The election is fast approaching, and Arpaio is being prosecuted for criminal contempt.

And still no 'universe-shattering' revelations.

When will the so-called Pastor admit he was lying? When will 'Gallups' gullibles' realized it was a con job?

UPDATE: To Gallups' gullibles:  Happy Birther Fool's Day 2016!

Another year, another Birther Fool's Day.

On Friday, March 11, 2016, we learned that Pastor Gullible-Gallups got a cute little Special Deputy badge, then got to look at the binders, with dividers, and was told about the "international forensic analytical laboratory" report, which he can't disclose because he's now a "Special Deputy".

Really, is there anyone who still believes anything Arpaio, Zullo and Gullible-Gallups said?  Only fools!

Remember, how much time has past since the 2014 promised 'universe-shattering' revelations:

That sound you hear is the growing laughter at the Birther delusions.

Anyone who gave money to these bozos should sue!  (I think Zullo and Gullible-Gallups are stringing people along until the statute of limitations on fraud has expired.)


Birther Fool's Day was first celebrated in 2014 on the first day after the month that the universe 'shattered', as promised by the "Sheriff Joe’s Scooby Doo gang" to 'Gallups' gullibles' on 'fellatio Friday' in mid-December 2013 (the 'universe-shattering' twist was being promoted elsewhere in late November).

It is no coincidence that Birther Fool's Day is April 1st.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Republi-CON Racism and Sexism

There’s no doubt that if she becomes president Clinton is going to get a lot of sexist vitriol spewed her way. But the comparison with how race has functioned during the Obama presidency is an important one as we consider how it will function and what the effects might be. . .

[L]et’s think about the purposes race has served during the Obama presidency and how things might be different if Clinton were president. First, birtherism was always a way of declaring Obama’s presidency inherently illegitimate. An African-American could not possibly be the president; if he got elected, the whole thing must have been a fraud because he is an alien. Conservatives will have a harder time making a similar argument about Clinton based on her identity, though they may try to say that the 2016 election was stolen, and there are ways they’ll treat her presidency as illegitimate even if they don’t call it that.

But race was also the organizing theme for much of the anger and resentment directed at Obama. If you’ve been a consumer of conservative talk radio or Fox News over the last eight years, you know how often right-wing complaints about Obama are cast in racial terms. It was only six months into his presidency that Glenn Beck proclaimed that Obama had 'a deep-seated hatred for white people.' Whatever policy initiative Obama was pursuing at a given moment was cast as 'reparations,' by which he was supposedly stealing money from hard-working white people to give it to undeserving black people in an attempt at exacting racial vengeance. It’s no accident that at the end of his term you saw the Republican Party nominate a white nationalist candidate essentially promising to restore the old order.

That’s about race, but it’s also about gender. The people who make up the core of Trump’s support are unhappy about the social changes that have displaced them from their position atop the social hierarchy. That loss of privilege, the idea that as a white man you’re no longer granted respect and deference — and even worse, people seem to be constantly telling you you’re being insufficiently respectful of those you consider your lessers — is for many people painful and disorienting.

For many of those voters, no one embodies that change and the threat it represents more than Hillary Clinton. . . If you’re wondering why conservative evangelicals are so strongly behind Trump despite his multiple divorces, adultery, generally libertine history and lack of religiosity, the answer is that Trump is promising a return to the patriarchal order of the past, where men will be restored to their place of honor and uppity women like Hillary Clinton will get the smack down they deserve.

Race and gender are both integral parts of the alienation many (especially older) conservative men feel. As Bill O’Reilly says, 'If you’re a Christian or a white man in the U.S.A., it’s open season on you.' But it’s easy to see how the relative emphasis on race during the Obama years could be turned just 45 degrees, so that the grievance industry run by people like O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh puts more of its focus on gender complaints than racial complaints.

While during the Obama years they were always on the lookout for anecdotes that could be spun into sweeping tales of the oppression of whites for which Obama was at fault, the Clinton years might feature a similar emphasis on gender, as Drudge and Limbaugh and Fox promote one story of oppressed males after another to their audiences, for whom this becomes a framework to understand whatever is going wrong in their lives. . .

[T]heir base will be fed a daily diet of misogynistic bile directed at the president, and “reaching out” will not be what that base is interested in. And that will leave them in the same quandary they’re in now.

Read the Washington Post, If Clinton wins, get ready for an outbreak of conservative male grievance.

Monday, October 31, 2016

How Big is Your Pumpkin?


UPDATE V: Is this a scary pumpkin? It depends on your party affiliation:

UPDATE IV: What is your all-time favorite horror flick? Vote at the Washington Post, Halloween is nigh: What's the scariest movie?

UPDATE III: And what to do with all those pumkins, how about shooting some out of a cannon. Read The New York Times, Smasher, Smasher, How Do Your Pumpkins Throw?

Boys will be boys.

UPDATE II: Just 1,531 pounds. That's puny by comparison. Rea The New York Times, 1,810-Pound Wis. Pumpkin Named World's Heaviest.

And check out these other Guinness World Records other astounding Halloween-themed records this season.

UPDATE: You could always buy an ugly pumpkin.

At the "Pumpkinville" (Ellicottville, NY) pumpkin festival the winning pumpkin weighed 1,531 pounds.

That's a 'Great Pumpkin:'

Happy Halloween!!


Nana - Nana - Nana! I got you first! and you can't get me back!

You've been mooned!!

One rule to this game.... You can NOT get someone who has already gotten you! Now go out there and get as many people as you can, before they get you!

And remember, we do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.

Halloween Light Show


"4 singing pumpkin faces, tombstones, hand carved pumpkins, strobes, floods and thousands of lights":

Why Dogs Hate Halloween

Updated and reposted:

For other photos, click here.

Happy Halloween!


"Hundreds of years ago, ignorance about decomposition and disease sparked fears that the dead returned to drink the blood of the living."

Read Slate, What Vampire Graves Tell Us About Ancient Superstitions

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dems Thank The Republi-CON Media CONplex

UPDATE:  Worse yet, Obama told ya so also!

He "has hit the trail for Hillary Clinton with an elan that recalls his days as a swaggering presidential candidate in 2008. . .

Obama is repurposing a critique he’s been making for years, in public and in private, directed at Republican officeholders themselves. His retooled stump speech is crafted not just to fire up Democratic voters against Trump, but to overwhelm other Republican politicians with a sense of dread by making them recognize the huge mistake they made by not listening to him.

Some of these Republicans are only now realizing that Obama was right all along. But it’s too late. Obama’s taking his argument to the voting public, and Trump is precisely the totem he needs to make it stick.

On the stump, Obama now regularly links Trump’s candidacy, and the bind he’s created for down-ballot Republicans, to a greater theory about the way the right has practiced politics throughout his presidency.

'For years,' Obama said in Las Vegas, 'Republican politicians and the far-right media outlets have pumped up all kinds of crazy stuff about me, about Hillary, about Harry [Reid]. They said I wasn’t born here. They said climate change is a hoax. They said that I was going to take everybody’s guns away.'

Obama went on:

    '[T]here are a lot of politicians who knew better. There are a lot of senators who knew better. But they went along with these stories because they figured, you know what, this will help rile up the base, it will give us an excuse to obstruct what we’re trying to do, we won’t be able to appoint judges, we’ll gum up the works, we’ll create gridlock, it will give us a political advantage. So they just stood by and said nothing. And their base began to actually believe this crazy stuff.

    So Donald Trump did not start this. Donald Trump didn’t start it. He just did what he always did, which is slap his name on it, take credit for it, and promote it. That’s what he does. And so now when suddenly it’s not working, and people are saying, wow, this guy is kind of out of line, all of a sudden, these Republican politicians who were okay with all this crazy stuff up to a point, suddenly they’re all walking away. “Oh, this is too much.” … Well, what took you so long? What the heck?

It should be alarming to Republican strategists that the outgoing Democratic president has a better handle on what’s happened to their party than GOP politicians and conservative intellectuals—many of whom blame Trump’s rise on the media, or liberal dirty tricks.' . .

But the content of Obama’s argument shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who’s been paying attention, because he’s been making it for practically his entire presidency. . .

It is gratifying, in some ways, to watch Obama take this final victory lap. There can be no more fitting repudiation of the the massive resistance strategy Republicans deployed against him than to leave office a political giant, with high approval ratings, and a list of substantive achievements to rival the greatest presidents in U.S. history—while the opposing party’s nominee, the embodiment of the Republican id, loses ignominiously."

Read the New Republic, Obama Was Right About Republican Extremism All Along

Another I told ya so!

In November 2008 just after the 2008 presidential election, I asked: "Did Obama win because FOXNews and talk radio, a constant source of right-wing fantasies, promote obsessions that are not the issues that are important to American voters?" See Dems Thank FOXNews.

Now, eight years later, others are realizing that "Trump's rise was no accident; rather, it was a natural outgrowth of a growing and influential faction of conservative media that for years fed the Republican base a steady diet of fringe theories masqueraded as news.

And Republicans allowed it to happen, as Obama noted.

"They just stood by and said nothing, even though they knew better, while their base actually started believing some of this stuff," he said. . .

Trump did not create the conditions ripe for his candidacy. The conservative media industrial complex and apprehensive Republican leaders were responsible for that.

Years before the real-estate tycoon entered onto the political stage, the conservative press — made up of a handful of websites, talk radio, and Fox News opinion programming — started to move the center of gravity in the Republican base further and further right. . .

Perhaps more important, however, the conservative media industrial complex successfully managed over the years to lock the Republican Party away from access to its own base. Those who consumed conservative media were taught not to trust politicians or, even worse, the mainstream media.

As a result, party leaders were beholden to a handful of individuals who controlled the conservative media and, thus, held the keys to their voters. Elected officials and candidates seeking office dared not criticize the conservative media’s most powerful members, for fear of the wrath that would ensue if they did.

The power the conservative press held allowed its members to decide who was accepted by the base and who wasn’t. . .

Republicans instead allowed their base to be held captive by a conservative press that moved their base further right, pushed conspiracy theories about Obama, and set unrealistic exceptions for them while in office.

So it should not be surprising that when Trump came along in 2016 and aggressively echoed this rhetoric, a significant portion of the base accepted him. . .

Questions about what the Republican Party will do in the aftermath of yet another presidential-election defeat are already buzzing in political circles.

"There is no autopsy this year that does not include dealing with the right-wing media," Sykes said. "There is none."

There is a reason, however, that this issue has been ignored for so long.

The Republican base still remains largely unreachable, locked away in a space in which only figures like talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, Fox News host Sean Hannity, and internet titan Matt Drudge hold the keys.

[And] those 'who were wrong' this year [have] 'an enormous power to control the narrative.'

'Drudge, Breitbart, Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, [Laura] Ingraham — those people are completely invested in another false narrative to cover up the first false narrative, . . . 'and if there's one thing I have ever learned in life, it is far easier to dupe people than to convince them that they have been duped.'"

Read Business Insider, The GOP must do something about the conservative media industrial complex if it wants to survive.

There are many such articles being written, including in the Washington Post:

Friday, October 21, 2016

Don't Vote Hate, Your Vote Must Humiliate & Repudiate

If "Trump is to be denied in his bid to subvert democratic institutions by claiming a rigged election, he needs to be defeated resoundingly, removing all doubt. Clinton needs to run up the score.

The need to deal Trump a humiliating defeat has a sociological basis in the 'degradation ceremony' in which the perpetrator (Trump) is held by denouncers (officeholders and others in positions of influence) to be morally unacceptable, and witnesses (the public) agree that the perpetrator is no longer held in good standing.

Psychologist Wynn Schwartz, who teaches at Harvard Medical School, explained to me that what’s needed to have a successful degradation of Trump is an epic defeat. 'If it is lopsided enough,' he said, 'you don’t have critical masses of people who feel disenfranchised” or “who feel justified in saying that it was stolen.'

But if Clinton’s victory is narrow, the degradation ceremony fails, because a large chunk of the population feels swindled and remains loyal to Trump. 'The margin matters a lot,' Schwartz said.

Trump’s recent actions — talking about a 'rigged' election while laying the foundation for a Trump TV network — suggest that he will attempt to defy the degradation ceremony that a loss typically confers. Hence the importance of a landslide."

Read the Washington Post, Trump can’t just be defeated. He must be humiliated.

Read also the Washington Post, Americans are repudiating Trump’s ‘rigged election’ lies. By voting., which notes that "[o]ne good way for Americans to repudiate Trump’s efforts to shake faith in our democracy — and let’s be clear, this is exactly what he is trying to do — is by voting."

Friday, October 14, 2016

It's HER Fault

"It is time someone got to the bottom of everything that people say about Hillary Clinton. Who is she? More importantly, WHAT is she? . . .

[In 2016 s]he activates a spell cast on Donald Trump decades before at his wedding, which causes everything that comes out of his mouth to sound like the racist, sexist ramblings of a deranged conspiracy theorist. Trump tries valiantly to lay all her activities bare to the American people, but people cannot hear his truth through Hillary Clinton’s powerful cloud of witchcraft, which she uses to summon women everywhere whom he has wronged. "

Read the Washington Post, The hideous, diabolical truth about Hillary Clinton, which has compiled a full "timeline of her life by combining all the actual theories about her. When lined up together, they form quite a biography."

NO NEVER MEANS YES: The Republi-CON Moral Hypocrisy, Debasement & Obscenity in Defense of Donald Trump

 The Republi-CON Party claims it is the paragon of family values.

In the past, I have used examples of Republi-CONs hypocrisy when it comes to those so-called family values they claim to hold in such high regard.

Now, in defense of the indefensible, in order to win the election, none other than the Republi-CON's leading media cheerleader is excusing and condoning rape.

"Rush Limbaugh addressed what he called the 'Donald Trump sex-talk scandal' on his radio show Wednesday, mocking liberals and how, he said, they view the concept of consent.

'You know what the magic word, the only thing that matters in American sexual mores today is? One thing,' the conservative commentator said, according to audio released by Media Matters for America. 'You can do anything — the left will promote and understand and tolerate anything — as long as there is one element. Do you know what it is? Consent.

'If there is consent on both or all three or all four, however many are involved in the sex act, it's perfectly fine. Whatever it is. But if the left ever senses and smells that there's no consent in part of the equation, then here come the rape police. But consent is the magic key to the left.' . .

In 2014, Limbaugh expressed frustration about the definition of consent.

'How many of you guys, in your own experience with women, have learned that 'no' means ‘yes’ if you know how to spot it?' he said on his radio show, according to the Huffington Post. In modern times, Limbaugh said, 'that is simply, that's not tolerated. People aren't even going to try to understand that one. I mean, it used to be used as a cliche. It used to be part of the advice young boys were given.

'See, that's what we've got to change. We have got to reprogram the way we raise young men. ... Are these not lawsuits just waiting to happen?"

Read the Washington Post, ‘Here come the rape police’: Rush Limbaugh reacts to Trump’s ‘sex-talk scandal’

As an attorney (& father), let me be clear, NO NEVER MEANS YES, no matter how rich or famous you think you are!!

Will You Be Voting for Moral Bankruptcy?

UPDATE III:  "It’s no longer a question of who is going to win; that’s a foregone conclusion. The issue is whether a party and individuals want to be remembered for defending a moral monster. And even if those calling for Trump’s head do want Clinton as the lesser of two evils, it’s hard to argue with that assessment. They’re entitled to more credence, not less. They knew months ago he was manifestly unfit." (Emphasis added.)

Read the Washington Post, The 7 dumbest arguments in defense of Trump.

UPDATE II: "Trump continues to display the symptoms of narcissistic alexithymia, the inability to understand or describe the emotions in the self. Unable to know themselves, sufferers are unable to understand, relate or attach to others.

To prove their own existence, they hunger for endless attention from outside. Lacking internal measures of their own worth, they rely on external but insecure criteria like wealth, beauty, fame and others’ submission.

In this way, Trump seems to be denied all the pleasures that go with friendship and cooperation. Women could be sources of love and affection, but in his disordered state he can only hate and demean them. His attempts at intimacy are gruesome parodies, lunging at women as if they were pieces of meat.

Most of us derive a warm satisfaction when we feel our lives are aligned with ultimate values. But Trump lives in an alternative, amoral Howard Stern universe where he cannot enjoy the sweetness that altruism and community service can occasionally bring.

Bullies only experience peace when they are cruel. Their blood pressure drops the moment they beat the kid on the playground."

Read The New York Times, Donald Trump’s Sad, Lonely Life.

UPDATE: It appears some Republicans may not be.

"The Republican Party tumbled toward anarchy Monday over its presidential nominee, as House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) cut Donald Trump loose in an emergency maneuver to preserve the party’s endangered congressional majorities.

Ryan’s announcement that he would no longer defend or campaign with Trump prompted biting condemnations from within his caucus and from Trump himself, who publicly lashed out at the speaker.

It was an extraordinary display of personal animus just four weeks before the election, destroying any semblance of party unity behind a nominee who many GOP leaders said they could no longer stomach because of his character traits and tawdry campaign tactics.

New national and battleground-state polls showed Trump sliding since Friday’s publication of a 2005 video of him bragging about sexual assault, putting Clinton in position for a possible electoral landslide. Clinton surged to an 11 percentage point lead nationally in an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll conducted over the weekend."

Read the Washington Post, The GOP tumbles toward anarchy: ‘It’s every person for himself or herself’.

"Over the weekend, Donald Trump did what he always does when things go south for him. He walked away. He announced he is not the man at 70 he had been at 59 when he had boasted of sexual assault, and he pledged “to be a better man tomorrow.” With that, he effectively declared moral bankruptcy, paying about a dime on the dollar of sincerity.

It was, of course, what Trump had done six times in business, only this time the crisis was not about his finances, but his character. He had been caught talking trash about women. He has been caught boasting about committing the sort of sex crimes transit cops are always on the lookout for. He said he had hit on a married woman soon after he himself had been married. For all of that, he had “regret.”

Then, like the angel he thinks he is, he took flight. . .

Trump’s diversion worked. He lives to fight another day, to continue to bring embarrassment and shame to the Republican Party and the political careerists who would risk a debacle of a presidency rather than take a stand on principle. Lies spill from Trump’s mouth and he exudes bigotry, yet he learned long ago that only suckers pay their debts and take responsibility for what they’ve done. He simply moves on. If he succeeds this time, then we are not his creditors, but as morally bankrupt as he is."

Read the Washington Post, Trump files for moral bankruptcy.