Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Trump's Big CON: Stay Calm, It Was Just an Old White Guy Committing Mass Murder

UPDATE IV:  Read the Daily Mail, If a Muslim terrorist had committed this Vegas atrocity we'd have a slew of new laws in a heartbeat. But because it's an old white guy with guns NOTHING will happen.

UPDATE III:  "Pre-presidential Trump was a man of many faults and vices, but one endearing quality: He was no hypocrite. He exaggerated his wealth, his success, his physical fitness, but he never pretended to religion or morality.

Trump’s speech to the nation after the Las Vegas atrocity, however, was steeped in hypocrisy. He is the least outwardly religious president of modern times, the president least steeped in scripture. For him to offer the consolations of God and faith after mass bloodletting is to invite derision. “'It is love that defines us,' said President Trump, and if we weren’t heartbroken, we would laugh. . .

But whereas Vice President Pence could have pronounced those words with sincerity, or a convincing simulacrum thereof, Donald Trump looked shifty, nervous, and false. Speeches are watched as well as heard, and the viewer saw a president who wished he were somewhere else because he had been compelled to pretend something so radically false to his own nature.

For once, Trump read the speech exactly as written. Perhaps his aides talked him into it. Because Trump is not a good reader, he read the speech wrong. And because it sounded wrong, he looked bad.

Nevertheless, Trump had to say something. He is the president. At times of national mourning, it falls to him to speak on the nation’s behalf. What could he possibly have said instead? . .

So advice to Team Trump: You can’t make him better, and you can’t make him different. Let him be the man he is, just tidied up a little. Cut the God talk. It’s insulting to those who believe, and no comfort to those who grieve. Cut the appeal to national unity; it rings false from a president who just two days ago was accusing homeless hurricane victims of looking for a handout. Trump voters—there are still many of those—liked it that with him, what you saw was what you got. Be real. Be true. Even Donald Trump must have something authentically human within him. Unearth that, and let it speak. He will never be a compassionate man, but even he cannot be so thoroughly empty and remote as he seemed today."

Read The Atlantic, A Presidential Speech Steeped in Hypocrisy.

UPDATE II:  "In recent years, gunmen have shot up fast-food restaurants, post offices, military installations, a movie theatre, a holiday party, a night club, a health clinic, a congressional softball game, churches, high schools, colleges, an elementary school. Three weeks ago, someone killed eight people at a football-watching party in Plano, Texas. You didn’t hear about it because eight gun deaths barely register as a national news story anymore.

But the most horrific mass shootings force Washington’s political √©lite to respond. Trump addressed the public just before eleven on Monday morning, and he read haltingly from a teleprompter in the Diplomatic Reception Room, where F.D.R. once calmed Depression- and Second World War-era America with his fireside chats.

It was not Trump’s worst public performance. He stayed on script, and read a short and well-crafted statement without making any bizarre Trumpian asides. But it was a classic of the 'thoughts and prayers' model in that it offered no promise of a policy response whatsoever."

Read The New Yorker, Washington’s Ritualized Response to Mass Shootings.

UPDATE:  BTW, The Donald first tweet after the mass murder was: “My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!”

I thought it odd, I haven't been able to find common use of the phrase "warmest condolences".

As I've said before, I think The Donald lacks the ability to empathize.

The Donald spoke calmly, if not robotically, from a prepared script.

"Out of the Las Vegas carnage, however, Trump identified no clear villain. He issued no call to action. A president typically quick to make black-and-white declarations spoke instead in shades of gray.

Trump long ago conditioned both his supporters and detractors to expect him to do the unexpected in the face of tragedy — and time and again, he has capitalized on terror to advance his agenda.

After a bomb attack on a train in London in September, Trump called for a 'far larger, tougher and more specific' travel ban and condemned the person responsible as a 'loser terrorist,' well before London authorities had declared that terrorism was the cause.

When an indebted gambler assaulted a Manila casino in June, killing dozens by starting a fire, Trump called the event 'terrorism' at the White House, even though local police later said the attack was a robbery attempt unconnected to terrorism.

During his campaign, Trump made the shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., which was carried out by Islamic radicals, a centerpiece of his proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. 'I would handle it so tough, you don’t want to hear,' he boasted days after the attack.

And Trump reacted to the shooting at an Orlando nightclub with self-praise, suggesting that the incident was a symptom of weak Democratic policies. 'Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism,' he tweeted the day after.

But the Las Vegas massacre was different, both because investigators have found no evidence linking the shooter to a terrorist organization and because he was a white American, as opposed to a Muslim immigrant.

The emerging facts prevented Trump from following his typical playbook — to rally his supporters against Islamic extremism while speaking and tweeting in a combative, even belligerent tone to try to project strength and resolve.

Rather, Trump uttered just 574 words on Monday and tried to play the role of uniter."

Read the Washington Post, Another tragedy but a new tone: Trump calls for unity after Las Vegas massacre, which noted that "'You compare Trump to other presidents when they’ve seen tragedies in this country, be it from natural phenomenon or from disturbed or troubled people, and he just seems so remote and removed from the suffering,' presidential historian Robert Dallek said. 'He just demonstrates such a lack of compassion and understanding for the troubles of those who are in greatest need and are limited by their circumstances.'"

Trump's Big CON: It's All About the Show, Twitter Edition, CONt. (AKA The Trump Populism CON, CONt. Part 2)

UPDATE:  Advice The Donald will never follow:  "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt."

From Proverbs 17:28: "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding."

"Increasingly . . . Trump’s bloody-minded jihad against the NFL must be seen as an attempt to distract from something far more dangerous to Trump: the malfeasance of his Cabinet and White House staff.

Trump loves to recall his presidential campaign, so he should remember that he campaigned on two themes: draining the swamp and Hillary Clinton’s sense of entitlement. His administration was ostensibly going to be above the cozy perquisites of power of previous administrations. Team Trump would swear off the arbitrary application of rules to others but not to themselves. Trump’s inaugural address blasted how 'The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country,' and declared: 'January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.'

Let’s just review how this populist project has been going in the past two weeks:

    Politico has reported on Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price’s love affair with chartered planes. This apparently started due to a canceled commercial flight because of inclement weather, but grew to be such a habit that Price charted a plane to fly from Dulles International Airport to Philadelphia. Which is nuts. The reports are so bad that Price was forced to acknowledge that “the optics in some of this don’t look good” and suspend the practice. Price’s allergy to commercial travel is so bad that even this White House is distancing itself.

    Price is hardly the only Cabinet official to demand travel perquisites. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is being investigated for using a government plane to fly to Fort Knox to possibly obtain a primo view of last month’s solar eclipse. Mnuchin also started the paperwork to request a military plane to fly him to Europe for his honeymoon. He also used a government plane to fly from New York back to Washington after Trump’s news conference at Trump Tower. Mnuchin has insisted that he needed these aircraft for secure national security communications. As a former Treasury employee, let’s just say that I doubt that assertion. Oh, and Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt is facing a similar investigation into his frequent travel back to his home state of Oklahoma.

    We learned from Politico that Jared Kushner set up a private email account and occasionally used that account to conduct official business with other White House officials. We learned from Newsweek that Ivanka Trump did the same thing. And then the New York Times reported that at least six White House staffers did something similar. That includes this priceless anecdote: “Most of Mr. Trump’s aides used popular commercial email services like Gmail. Mr. Kushner created a domain,, in December to host his family’s personal email.”

So, to sum up: Trump’s Cabinet officers sure seem to be enjoying the perquisites of power, and the Trump White House thinks that the rules do not apply to them in the same way they claimed the rules did not apply to the Clintons. . .

During the transition there were fierce debates among journalists about how to cover Trump’s Twitter feed. Politico’s Jack Shafer argued that it was a massive misdirection engine from real stories. Others argued that it would be inappropriate to ignore them. Eight months into his administration, I think the epiphany should be obvious to everyone. Sure, maybe Trump is trying to pick and choose Twitter fights that he thinks he can win. However, there is too much malfeasance and incompetency to deflect.

If I were Trump I would be tweeting about the NFL, too. I would be tweeting about anything that distracted people from my administration, which has accomplished nothing populist in its first eight months. But no Twitter account, no matter how provocative, can distract from the entitled, God-awful mess that is Trump’s presidency."

Read the Washington Post, The president is going to need a bigger Twitter account.