Monday, July 31, 2017

Trump's Big CON: The Reality TV President (AKA Stupid Is As Stupid Does, CONt.)

UPDATE IV:  "The Court of Mad King Donald is not a presidency. . .

The problem is not just that President Trump is selfish, insecure, egotistical, ignorant and unserious. It is that he neither fully grasps nor minimally respects the concept of honor, without which our governing system falls apart. He believes 'honorable' means 'obsequious in the service of Trump.' . . He believes everyone else’s motives are as base as his.

The Trump administration is, indeed, like the court of some accidental monarch who is tragically unsuited for the duties of his throne. . .

Why bring in Scaramucci? Because, I fear, the mad king is girding for war. Trump is reckless enough to fire Mueller if he digs too deeply into the business dealings of the Trump Organization and the Kushner Companies. . .

Do not become numb to the mad king’s outrages. The worst is yet to come."

Read the Washington Post, The worst is yet to come

UPDATE III:  The Donald has no morals or character. So what did you expect?

Are you surprised that he appointed "a communications director who, before even unpacking his bags, is disparaging the president’s chief of staff as a 'f—ing paranoid schizophrenic' and the president’s chief strategist as a man who is just 'trying to suck [his] own c—.' A staffer who professes loyalty to the president but demeans the presidency and everything it stands for. Who tweets one thing, then retracts it and lies about what he meant.

You might say, what do you expect? This is the kind of person who will be hired by a president who boasts about grabbing “p—-,” mocks a disabled journalist, hijacks a Boy Scout rally, publicly humiliates his own attorney general — and yet dares call himself 'more presidential' than Ronald Reagan, Franklin Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson or George Washington."

Read the Washington Post, The most appalling line in Scaramucci’s rant contained zero profanity.

UPDATE II:  "Donald Trump, like many a businessman-turned-politician before him, argued that if he was elected, he would bring his managerial acumen to Washington, making government run like a business with efficiency and skill.

What we’ve seen instead is the most chaotic and incompetent White House in living memory. And it’s only getting worse.

Let’s begin with the Trump administration’s new media superstar, communications director Anthony Scaramucci. Despite having no experience in politics or press relations, Scaramucci was hired because President Trump saw him on cable TV, and he is indeed a perfect creature of that medium: not well-informed, but absolutely confident in everything he says. Scaramucci has some other critical qualities, especially his over-the-top love for Trump, but what makes him unique is his propensity for moments of absolutely shocking candor, of a kind we don’t normally expect from professional spinners.

So now, in a White House that Trump once described as 'a fine-tuned machine,' the chief of staff and the communications director are in open war with one another. . .

The Sessions story is another indication of what an incredible mess this administration is. While the communications director is seemingly accusing the chief of staff of committing a felony, the president is giving interviews and tweeting about what a terrible job his attorney general is doing. . .

Or look at how Trump went about announcing a dramatic policy shift at the Defense Department, in which transgender service personnel will be banned from the military. He first sent a tweet saying:

    After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow……

… which was followed by a nine-minute pause. Pentagon officials had no idea what was coming, and BuzzFeed reports:

    At the Pentagon, the first of the three tweets raised fears that the president was getting ready to announce strikes on North Korea or some other military action…Only after the second tweet did military officials receive the news the president was announcing a personnel change on Twitter.

The announcement caught everyone off guard. Even the president’s own spokeswoman seemed to have no idea how it might be implemented.

While this was happening, the secretary of defense was on vacation, and it’s unclear if he approved this policy change. Interestingly enough, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has reportedly been frustrated with Trump and the White House, is also 'taking a little time off,' according to a spokesperson. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t taken a vacation since Trump was inaugurated, and my job is somewhat less critical to the fate of the nation than the secretary of state or the secretary of defense.

I’m sure this all makes the Trump administration an exciting place to work — from one day to the next you never know who’s at war with whom, who’s getting fired, what sweeping policy changes will be made, or what the president will tweet next. Most of Trump’s agenda is stalled, half the key jobs are vacant, senior officials can’t wait to get out of town, and everybody’s leaking to the press about what a mess it all is. This is one fine-tuned machine all right."

Read the Washington Post, Incredibly, the White House is spiraling even further into chaos.

UPDATE:  "If Thursday morning is any indication about what the Scaramucci Era will look like, it will make the first six months of the Trump administration look tranquil.

The new White House communications director just called into a morning show and suggested that White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, who would be his boss in any normal West Wing, may be behind the leaks that are plaguing the administration. He also mused openly about their strained relationship and suggested the president may have to decide between them.

What's more, he did it all in response to a story written by a reporter who says nobody leaked anything to her, as Scaramucci had alleged. . .

This is the kind of reality-TV drama that the president thrives on: Having two of his closest advisers battle it out for loyalty, including one of them doing it in an impromptu appearance on Trump's obsession, cable news. To the extent Scaramucci is now running the show in the West Wing — and Priebus's stock certainly seems to be declining — we can apparently expect plenty more of this.

But even if Trump approves of all this — and it seems likely he does, particularly given that Scaramucci said he had been talking to Trump just before calling in — it's still his top advisers engaging in a very public battle, live on cable TV. It's really difficult to see what benefit all of that has.

Lizza's response to the scene pretty much said it all.

Ryan Lizza

This is surreal
6:10 AM - Jul 27, 2017 " [Twitter link added.]

Read the Washington Post, The Trump White House just went full reality TV.

"In many ways, President Trump behaves just how poor people imagine rich people do — with garish, ostentatious displays of wealth, imperiousness toward the common folk and disregard for the rules others must follow. He and his staff also act how dumb people imagine smart people behave. Trump talks in circles, repeating stock phrases so as to deflect any questions that might reveal his ignorance. (Heaven forbid someone should ask him what was in the House health-care bill). He says he has a very good brain, something people with very good brains never say. He never apologizes, because he is never wrong; the facts others cite are wrong. He is smarter than all the generals, you see. In Trumpland, it’s axiomatic that everyone with experience and detailed knowledge is “stupid”; by contrast, they (the Trumpkins) require no expertise or experience because they are so darn smart. Trumpkins are certain that getting rich (even by inheritance) is evidence of competence and smarts.

The sight of people much less smart than they think they are shooting themselves — and each other in the foot — would be uproarious if not for the dire consequences to the country. We saw the case of Jared Kushner, a sitting duck for Russian intelligence operators. . .  A 30-something-year-old convinced of his own brilliance and whose knowledge and experience is scant outside the real estate world seems to have thought he could fake his way through governing at the highest levels. Better that he should have taken an internship on the Hill instead.

Speaking of comical dunces, Anthony Scaramucci seems to have styled himself as a character out of 'Goodfellas.' . .

This clownish performance is now a familiar one in Trump’s administration — arrogant man, well out of his depth, whose hunger for the limelight exposes his own stunning lack of judgment and gravitas.

But it’s no mystery why Kushner and Scaramucci are where they are. They were hired by the person most grievously out of his depth and most embarrassingly ignorant, the president. Trump only wants a few people around him whom he knows really well and who are in no position to recognize the president’s intellectual shortcomings. He relies on family and other businessmen whose obsession with moneymaking has left little time for anything else and whose arrogance prevents them from acknowledging what they do not know (most things). In other words, he hired people much like himself with exactly the same flaws, just a little less rich. He’s an intellectual giant, you see, among the apple-polishers he has put in high offices.

The Keystone Kop administration stumbles on. Unfortunately, this is real life and the results they produce are anything but funny."

Read the Washington Post, The gang that couldn’t shoot straight.

Honestly, I have no idea how The Donald, and his family and friends, got to where they are?

Stupid is as stupid does, and Trump has proven himself to be too stupid to be president.

Read also Trump's Big CON: Stupid Is As Stupid Does.

Trump's Big CON: His Supporters Love the CON, CONt. (AKA Broken Campaign Promises, Health Care Edition)

UPDATE:  "A large segment of Republican voters should try turning off Fox News and allowing reality to permeate the shell they’ve constructed to keep out ideas that interfere with their prejudices and abject ignorance. Unfair? Take a look at the latest poll to suggest that Trump voters like their cult hero feel compelled to label inconvenient facts “fake news.' .  .

[As reported on Morning Consult:] . .

Allan Lichtman, a professor of history at American, said in an email Tuesday that Trump has 'perfected the technique of the Big Lie' — which, as he wrote in an op-ed last fall, is to 'repeat a lie loudly, over and over until people come to believe it.'

'These results show that again that like ‘Birtherism,’ which launched Trump’s political career, the Big Lie continues to work, at least among those who want to believe it,' noted Lichtman, a professor who won professional acclaim last year after correctly predicting Trump’s victory. . .

I’m sure all this makes the Trump staff and surrogates laugh uproariously as they admire their handiwork in bamboozling the angry mob. But they and the network of right-wing enablers have done real damage to our society and politics, making differences impossible to bridge and reasoned debate nearly impossible. . .

And here’s where the executives at Fox News, the 'serious' conservative media, elected GOP officials and even self-identified conservative pundits need to be held to account. They know much of the rubric of the Trump cult is absolutely false, yet they repeat, propagate or just tolerate it. It’s a game in which the only rule is to beat 'liberal elites' or run a successful money-making operation where gullible donors can be fleeced with an appeal to stop perceived enemies (i.e., those who won’t drink the Kool-Aid).

Democracy presupposes a minimally informed, responsible adult electorate. Right now it is clear the GOP is dominated by fact-deniers and willfully ignorant folk. Whether they got that way because sleazy politicians conned them and Fox News lulled them into a stupor or whether spineless pols are simply filling a niche remains a matter of debate. But here’s the thing: The rest of the country should empathize with their economic plight and sense of alienation, but that does not mean we should coddle them in their ignorance nor defer to judgments based on fabrication. They feel 'disrespected' when fellow Americans point to reality? Trumpkins think elites are condescending when they call them 'low information' voters? (It should be non-information voters.) Sorry, economic hardship does not bestow moral authority to lie, invent facts, smear opponents, blame foreigners or support lawlessness. And for elected Republicans to defer to the ignorant, beguiled voters is an abdication of their role and oaths.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) bellowed at his colleagues to 'stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and television and the Internet.' Here’s a better idea: Stop deferring to a horde of know-nothings."

Read the Washington Post, The frightful state of the GOP.

"As Republicans struggle to figure out which spectacularly unpopular, viciously cruel, and perfunctorily considered version of their health care bill they want to become law, one former member of the House leadership has come out with an extraordinary admission about what a scam the whole project is. In an interview with Elaina Plott of Washingtonian magazine, former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who was defeated in a primary in 2014 by a Tea Party extremist, explains that Republicans knew they were lying to their base about their ability to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but they just couldn’t help themselves . . .

What’s truly remarkable isn’t that a bunch of cynical politicians thought they could ride their base voters’ anger into control of Congress by lying to them about what they could actually accomplish, it’s that their voters actually believed it. And then those voters got even angrier when it turned out that the president had the ability to veto bills passed by a Congress controlled by the other party. Who knew! So instead of looking for a presidential candidate who would treat them like adults, they elected Donald Trump, a man who would pander to their gullibility even more.

Which brings us to where we are today. Republicans couldn’t be bothered for seven years to actually think about what repealing and replacing the ACA might involve, or whether there would be tradeoffs and choices to make, or whether setting up a system that accorded with their conservative philosophy might not actually solve the problems of the health care system. They thought it would be enough to tell their voters to get mad, and worry later about what it would take to keep the promises they made.

So now they find themselves with a bill that nearly everyone hates. If it passes (in whatever form), it will be a disaster for the health care system, and will be a political disaster for them as well. But they’ve convinced themselves that the only thing worse politically would be to not pass anything, because that would incur the wrath of those same base voters. In other words, their current position is, “We know how catastrophic this bill would be. But we got here by lying to these knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers for years, and if we don’t follow through, they’ll punish us.” They believe that their voters will say, 'Okay, so I lost my health coverage because of you, but you’ll get my vote again because you kept your promise.' . .

That was just one of the many lies they were told, and they ate it up. Now we’ll all have to pay the price."

Read the Washington Post, Trump and Republicans treat their voters like morons.

Read also Trump's Big CON: His Supporters Love the CON.