Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Trump's Big CON: He's Become Irrelevant

"It is more than five months since the election, three months since the inauguration — enough time to be able to make an informed prognosis about economic and domestic policy under President Trump and the Republican Congress.

What we know, first and foremost, is that it hardly matters what Trump says because what he says is as likely as not to have no relationship to the truth, no relationship to what he said last year during the campaign or even what he said last week. What he says bears no relationship to any consistent political or policy ideology or world-view. What he says is also likely to bear no relationship to what his top advisers or appointees have said or believe, making them unreliable interlocutors even if they agreed among themselves, which they don’t. This lack of clear policy is compounded by the fact that the president, despite his boasts to the contrary, knows very little about the topics at hand and isn’t particularly interested in learning. In other words, he’s still making it up as he goes along.

What all this means, in effect, is that in terms of formulating and passing legislation, or even a budget, Trump and his White House are mostly irrelevant, except to the extent that he establishes a credible threat to veto legislation he decides not to like."

Read the Washington Post, What happens if the president doesn’t matter?

Read also the Washington Post, Wall Street is giving up on Trump.

The read the Washington Post, Democrats to Trump: You don’t have the leverage. We do., which notes that government funding is about to run out at just about the 100-day mark of Trump's presidency, and the timing is likely to show "that Trump and Republicans are making an enormous mess of governing."

Meanwhile, Trump plays golf.

Trump's Big CON: His Voters Have Been Hoodwinked

UPDATE IV: Did not-reality TV forshadow The Donald?

"On the show ['The Apprentice], Trump’s politics were rarely visible, but his methods and values certainly were. The familial favoritism, the bravado, the blame-shifting — it was all right there. The lack of evidence-based decision-making. The refusal to take responsibility for an action. That was the Trump we saw week after week. . .

Two years ago, when Trump faced television critics at a news conference for his final season of “The Celebrity Apprentice,” he was the same person we have watched during his first 100 days in office. He took credit for things he couldn’t possibly be responsible for, such as the fame of people who were on a show based on their fame. . .

Backed into a corner about blatant falsehoods — in this case, inaccurately claiming high ratings for his flailing show — Trump’s only concession was vague blame: “That’s what I was told,” he said of the ratings.

Sound familiar? Those are the words Trump used in a February news conference when challenged about his false claim that he’d secured the biggest electoral college win since President Ronald Reagan . . .

Reality television continues to be blamed for Trump’s rise, or at least used as a label to demean him: He’s a reality-TV president, not a real president. But reality TV was only a window into Trump’s behavior and methods, not the cause of them.

Reality television is, of course, still edited and produced. Could it have presented him as worse than he really is? That’s not likely. Editors who worked on “The Apprentice” said they were instructed to excise the frequent contradictions in his statements and create a coherent narrative out of often nonsensical decisions.

But even edited, sanitized Trump was the one who told a female contestant that 'must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees' on television. He was not fundamentally different from what voters saw unfiltered for more than a year during the campaign, nor from the version we’re seeing in office.

He was authoritarian, once threatening to fire any of the celebrities who said they wouldn’t vote for him. He valued loyalty to a contestant’s team over rational arguments. He replaced his trusted, experienced advisers with his children. He was reckless and persistent once set on a particular course by the latest thing to capture his attention."

Read the Washington Post, Forget 100 days — we’ve been watching this Trump for years.

UPDATE III: Trump has been hoodwinking, deceiving, tricking, fooling, cheating, defrauding, double-crossing, swindling, scamming, conning (you get the idea) in every way his whole life.

For one example, read the Washington Post, What Trump's giving to charity -- or lack thereof -- foreshadowed about his presidency.

UPDATE II:  "President Trump’s ethical sloth and financial conflicts of interest are unique in American history. (The Harding and Grant administrations were rife with corruption, but the presidents did not personally profit. Richard Nixon abused power but did not use his office to fatten his coffers or receive help from a hostile foreign power to get elected.) But it keeps getting worse.

Ryan Lizza’s stunning report reveals ample evidence that Trump misused the intelligence community and manipulated Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) to concoct a plot meant to distract from the investigation into his Russian ties . . .

On the financial side of the Trump sewer, matters are going from bad to worse. Trump never divested himself of his business holdings or released his tax returns. The extent of his conflicts of interest are therefore unknown. He has now amended the trust (showing how flimsy it is if it can be altered on a whim) to allow him to withdraw funds and to receive periodic briefings from his son Eric (who “can do that as chair of the trust’s advisory board, and told Forbes magazine last month that he plans to give his father big-picture financial briefings every quarter or so”). All this should underscore how ludicrous it is to claim separation between Trump and his business operations.

Now, the sludge has engulfed Ivanka Trump. The Associated Press reports:

    On April 6, Ivanka Trump’s company won provisional approval from the Chinese government for three new trademarks, giving it monopoly rights to sell Ivanka brand jewelry, bags and spa services in the world’s second-largest economy. That night, the first daughter and her husband, Jared Kushner, sat next to the president of China and his wife for a steak and Dover sole dinner at Mar-a-Lago, her father’s Florida resort.

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s ethical squalor is worse than you thought.

UPDATE:  Read also the Washington Post, Trump administration grudgingly faces reality on the Iran nuclear deal.

To Hoodwink is to: deceive · trick · dupe · outwit · fool · delude · inveigle · cheat · take in · hoax · mislead · lead on · defraud · double-cross · swindle · gull · scam · con · bamboozle · hornswoggle · fleece · do · have · sting · gyp · shaft · rip off · lead up the garden path · pull a fast one on · put one over on · take for a ride · pull the wool over someone's eyes · sucker · snooker · cozen

And to Trump's voters, that about sums it up.

"In the past week or so, Donald Trump has decided not to be totally Donald Trump. He has changed his positions on many issues, often by simply contradicting himself and sometimes by repudiating what he once said. However he does it, it comes down to this: If policies were gender identities, Trump wouldn’t know which bathroom to use. . .

These reversals represent nothing less than a retreat to the status quo ante — that halcyon era before Trump and his cast of mental munchkins started messing with foreign policy. The policies that now seem to be in place are ones that even former president Barack Obama might support. In fact, with the exception of hitting Syria, he did. . .

NAFTA remains in place, Obamacare is still the law of the land, tax reform ain’t coming soon, and the swamp that was supposed to be drained has been replenished with, among others, former Goldman Sachs executives — most prominently Gary Cohn, once No. 2 at Goldman and now, for much lower pay, apparently No. 2 at the White House. . .

This reversal by personnel was not triggered by unforeseen events — Syria’s use of a nerve agent, for instance. It is, instead, a strong indication that Trump’s campaign was a lie. His wooing of the American working class was insincere. For instance, he put more effort into denouncing Obamacare than he did in preparing legislation to replace it. Those who thought Trump was somehow going to pay their doctors’ bills simply got taken. They were — as were the students of Trump University — suckered.

Sooner or later, Trump’s supporters will realize they have been seduced and abandoned."

Read the Washington Post, Meet the new Trump . . . same as the old Trump?

Read also the Washington Post:

Trump’s no populist. He’s a swamp monster., which notes that "ProPublica and the New York Times reported over the weekend that the Trump administration is being populated with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who are making policy for the industries that had been paying them."

Trump’s true ideology has been revealed, which observed that "It's just the same old conservatism rebooted for reality TV."

And read also Trump's Big CON: He Won't Be Draining the Swamp, Quite the CONtrary.