Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Guardian News / YouTube Five times Donald Trump refused to...

The “Likability” Issue

Yesterday. All my troubles seemed so far away. Now I need a place to hide away   The Beatles   Yesterday It’s pure music to my ears. Over the last 7-10 days I’ve been hearing it more and more on both MSNBC as well as CNN, and unlike Don McLean’s American Pie, I never feel like changing the station when it comes on.   Both the White House, but especially the campaign are confused and tres irritated, because they can’t seem to formulate a coherent message to run on. They wanted to run on the economy, but even with the partial recovery of the stock market, they can no longer ride that horse over the finish line. Then they tried to pass the coronavirus off as some minor irritant that would one day magically disappear, but that isn’t working out either. And in that Vacuum, Trump is stepping in with even more virulent racism and nativism to fill the void, in direct contradiction of the national mood of the moment. The real reason for their stumbling and fumbling comes from the fact that after all of this time, they have yet to be able to come up with a handle for Joe Biden. Their original plan was to paint Biden as as corrupt as Hillary Clinton. But thanks to his inept stupidity, Trump got caught out in trying to extort the Ukraine into digging up existent or non existent dirt in such a public way, and the notion so thoroughly debunked, that it had to be pulled off of the table. Then they tried to paint Biden as old, feeble, and mentally unfit for the job. But seniors only had to compare the two side by side, and now Trump is losing the senior vote. They are reduced to hammering Biden on China, which isn’t resonating. The problem is that nobody really likes Donald Trump. How can you? The man is a pig on two legs. Even Trump’s supporters don’t really like him. That Trump’s supporters love about Trump is his persona. They love Trump because he says, and actually does the kinds of things that they’d love to say and do themselves, if only they didn’t have bosses and spouses to answer to. They live vicariously through Trump’s antics. 2016 was tailor made for Trump. Because a whole lot of people really didn’t like his opponent either, Hillary Clinton. Just think of your own office politics. It’s always easier to be acceptable when slamming the boss nobody likes than the one that buys pizza for the office. Trump didn’t have to make himself more popular, he just had to make Clinton less popular. And for a lifelong sexist, misogynist, and serial liar, and considering his base, it was doable. That won’t work in 2020 because too many people just flat out like Joe Biden. Is Biden the answer to every problem? Of course not. But over a 40 year history in politics, Biden has proven by consistency to be a decent, friendly, approachable, moral man of faith and compassion, and more than educated enough to handle the cascade of issues that beset a President. In other words, everything Trump isn’t. In the primaries, the #1 word that was on the lips of every pundit and Democratic primary voter was Elect-ability. Who could actually beat Trump in a long, grueling, negative campaign. But as the campaign has ground on, it turns out that likability has […]
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“It’s almost as if he only has one tool in his toolbox…”

The title is taken from a quote attributed to historian Michael Beschloss and refers to the limited arsenal of behaviors that Trump possesses.  He shares that legacy with fellow malcontent Richard Nixon, who touted his...

Trump’s Vision For 2020 Is Straight Outta Fox News, Tucker Carlson To Be Precise

Poor Donald Trump. All he ever wanted to do was be president. He sought the title, not the actual job. He wants the good stuff, the cheers and the crowds, being photographed with celebrities, cameras and flashbulbs and glory. And of course it’s cool to have a bullet proof limo and a luxurious bunker, because you never know, and to be able to send Marine 1 out for pizza. But the job beyond that sucks. You know it, and I know it, and he knows that we know it. Donald hates the gig but Vladimir says he can’t quit, or else. And if that isn’t bad enough, the rest of the GOP won’t stop bugging him. Lindsey didn’t talk about anything else on the golf course. He kept demanding that Donald actually get up in front of people and say something about the state of the country and what he intends to do about it, because — well, because that’s what a president does. So, okay, fine, Donald will read off the teleprompter, and he’s doing it for you, you guys, Lindsey, Mitch, all of youse. And since there is no plan and never has been one for this administration other than Fox News talking points, well by golly, that’s what the GOP platform for 2020 is going to be. Plain and simple. Roger Ailes was just given his own forge and bellows in Hell, because his vision has manifested, and Satan is mightily pleased. Trump’s Mt. Rushmore address was pure Tucker Carlson talking points, with a light rewrite by Stephen Miller and that isn’t coincidental. Where Trump and Fox News are concerned, the past is prologue, no matter how hard he might rage tweet at them. Trump and Fox News are symbiotically joined at the hip and will remain so until surgically separated by the electorate, at which time Trump will probably slink off to OANN and Fox will regroup. But until then, here’s what it was July 3, and this is what it’s going to be until November 3. Axios: Trump vs. Carlson: Below are grabs from Carlson monologues over the past month, followed by quotes from Trump’s July 3 speech. Carlson: “For more than a month, mobs of violent crazy people have roamed this country, terrorizing citizens and destroying things.” Trump: “Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our Founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities.” Carlson: “The education cartel, enforced on your children, enforces their demands.” Trump: “In our schools, our newsrooms, even our corporate boardrooms, there is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance.” Carlson: “Few people ever could have imagined that Teddy Roosevelt would be canceled. Roosevelt was the most popular president in American history.” Trump: “One of their political weapons is ‘Cancel Culture.'” And in a separate part of the speech, “Theodore Roosevelt exemplified the unbridled confidence of our national culture and identity. … The American people will never relinquish the bold, beautiful, and untamed spirit of Theodore Roosevelt.” Carlson: “For weeks we’ve asked, ‘Who will stand up for this country?’ And the answer we’re learning is Americans. Americans will. It’s up to them. Small groups of citizens are beginning to come forward to defend their laws, defend their history and their culture.” Trump: “They think the American people are weak and soft and […]

The Gift That Keeps On Giving. Forever?

Oops, I did it again   Brittney Spears Because he will never take the safe way, never admit to an error, never think before he speaks, never think anything through before he acts, and most of all because he will never shut up!, both myself as well as a whole lot of other people like to refer to El Pendejo Presidente as The gift that keeps on giving. But according to one senior GOP strategist, we may not even know the half of it yet. A little earlier this evening, Kasie Hunt had veteran GOP strategists Matt Gorman and Michael Steele on Kasie DC. Kasie had run the chat through the current map, polling, and apparent difficulties facing GOP Senators up for reelection this year with Trump on the ballot. Then she moved on to the fact that Trump is already laying the groundwork for claiming in case he loses, and the possible embarrassment to the GOP if he refuses to concede. And that’s when Matt Gorman dropped a neutron bomb onto the set. He told Kasie something like, Kasie, that doesn’t really bother me. Whether he admits defeat and leaves, or whether he has to be escorted onto Marine 1 by the Secret Service on January 20th, either way he is not going to go quietly into that good night. For me the real fun begins on January 21st, when we see what Trump does next. Then he went into detail, and those details were cogent, intelligent, well thought out, and have to scare the living shit out of the GOP. His point was that Trump is an insecure national media whore, and even if he loses in November, will consider himself some sort of GOP elder statesman, or some such shit. Trump has already explored the option of starting up his own television network, and may in fact make that his platform. Or he could get his own show on FUX News, or at least be a frequent contributor. Or he could land at the Sinclair network. But wherever he lands, he will continue to tweet like 1000 bastard maniacs, and those tweets will be full of grievance. Which brings us to 2022. Trump will have two years to fester, and he’ll be loaded for bear. Through tweets, and from whatever other platforms he’s using, he will be vicious in tearing into GOP Governors, Senators, and any surviving House members whom he feels were not sufficiently loyal to him. Two years after his demise, GOP candidates may be faced with the unpalatable choice of having to swear fealty to a deposed madman, just to gain access to his base. And if he’s still alive and kicking in 2024, what’s to say that Trump won’t at least threaten, if not follow through and run for his second term on the GOP ticket? This is truly an apocalyptic scenario for The Lincoln Project, as well as the remnants of the traditional GOP that still exist out there. How do you begin to re-brand, retool, and rebuild when the disaster you’re trying to recover from is still plowing through the house like an 800 lb gorilla? It’s kind of hard to recover from cancer surgery when the damn doctor didn’t get the cancer out in the first place. Also senseless. The real tipping point in this possible crisis will be […]

When Simple And Safe Are Also Smart

The present is the living sum-total of the whole past   Thomas Carlyle When the Oval Office is about to become vacant, the election for a new President is commonly referred to as a change election. Normally, the country has had 8 years of the presidential administration of one party, and the election boils down to whether the people want more of the same, or a change. This was the case in 2016, when an actual minority if inattentive fools forced their opinion on the rest of the country. But normally, when a President is running for his second term, that election is almost always referred to as a referendum election on the performance of the current sitting president. The opposition candidate takes every pot shot that presents itself at the performance of the incumbent, who instead points to his many accomplishments, and lays out a vision for the next four years. God knows that is the kind of election Trump would like 2020 to be. That’s why he stumbles around, standing behind a podium in 2/3 empty buildings, tossing out whimsical and often nonsensical bullshit disguised as the positive accomplishments of himself and his band of flying monkeys. But consider this. Two weeks ago, His Lowness stood behind a podium at a rally and made positive accomplishments out of being able to walk down a ramp, and drink from a glass single handed, two things most people do without even thinking about it every day. The prosecution rests. But as much as Trump would like this to be a referendum election, it is actually going to be something else. It is going to be a contrast election. And it’s going to be a contrast election because it’s in Joe Biden’s best interest to make it one. Normally, the differences between the two parties are pastoral and ideological, and listening to the two sides is as comfortable and calming as reading the Sunday paper in your slippers. But because Donald Trump is so corrupt and corrosive, so vicious and petty, so spiteful and divisive, the most effective way to beat him to to offer battle weary voters a stark. linear.choice. And that’s what Biden is doing. Earlier today on MSNBC, Joshua Johnson played the new ad that the Biden campaign just dropped, on the middle class. When the ad was over Johnson said something like, When I watch that ad, I’m torn. On the one hand it features the middle class and is inspirational, classic Biden. But on the other hand it’s a replay of every Democratic ad for the last 50 years. Is Biden playing it too safe? No Joshua, he’s not. From where I’m sitting, Biden is running a bifurcated media strategy, and he’s doing it flawlessly. More and more frequently recently, when Trump says or does something stupid, or there is negative news or a controversy, Biden is taking directly to the airwaves. He slams Trump for his incompetence and the pathetic results, which covers the referendum part of the equation, but by continuing on to espouse simple, common sense solutions, he covers the contrast base as well. Likewise with the advertising, Trump’s aspirational ads are so blatantly and malignantly misleading that four Pinocchio’s should automatically pop up under the Trump 2020 logo at the end. But Trump’s attack ads can’t just attack, or they wouldn’t be Trump. Instead they’re sarcastic, nasty, and demeaning. Red meat for […]
Associated Press / YouTube Richmond Mulling Fate of Confederate Monuments 1581529363.jpg...

Confederate memorials are not about Confederates

Confederate statues are killing people right now. You don’t need me to tell you this—just ask any Black American. People are still suffering from the attacks of the “brilliant” Jackson. They are still being...
Guardian News / YouTube Trump and Putin chat at Apec...

Putin Hates America and Trump Can’t Fawn On Him Enough

We’ve all seen the photos, where Donald Trump preens and panders to Vladimir Putin. We’ve seen the handshake, where Trump’s hand is underneath Putin’s, a subtle yet obvious hint of who is dominant in the relationship. And it’s widely known that “the president dissuades, if not prohibits, the mentioning of any intelligence which is not favorable to Russia.” Last week, the lid finally blew off when it was revealed that Putin has paid bounties to Taliban rebels in Afghanistan to kill American troops. Former ambassador Michael McFaul, nails the Putin/Trump dynamic in a Washington Post editorial, which is both pithy and powerful. While deeply disturbing, this effort by Putin is not surprising: It follows a clear pattern of ignoring international norms, rules and laws — and daring the United States to do anything about it. Putin sees the United States as his central enemy. He fears our democratic values; believes that we actively promote these values to undermine autocrats, including himself; and loathes the liberal international order, which, in his view, serves American hegemony and weakens Russia. This latest act is designed to keep the United States bogged down in Afghanistan. More alarming is President Trump’s response: Nothing. This, too, follows a pattern of fealty before Putin, as the president has consistently praised Putin, dismissed Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, never criticized Russian annexation of Crimea, and uttered not a word about violations of human rights and growing autocracy in Russia. Trump’s embrace of Putin, despite the clear costs to U.S. national security, has tightened. But this latest moment of indifference — silence about the killing of American soldiers — marks a new low. […] Equally disturbing, Trump’s alibi for his lack of a response to the apparent Russian-ordered contract killing of American soldiers in Afghanistan is incompetence. The Washington Post Fact Checker staff has documented more than 19,000 falsehoods uttered by Trump as of June. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that Trump was not orally briefed about this intelligence. That in itself is a damning indictment of the president and his national security team. National security adviser Robert O’Brien receives the Presidential Daily Brief, as do other senior national security officials. Why did none of them tell Trump about this intelligence since the White House learned of it last year, especially before he called Putin a half-dozen times, invited him back to the Group of Seven or announced American troop reductions in Germany? During my five years in the Obama administration, the president reviewed relevant intelligence before calling any head of state or undertaking any major foreign policy decision. That process does not appear to be functioning in the Trump administration. […] But even if Trump just learned about the bounties, he has still not said what he will do about them. Instead, he has denounced the reporting on this intelligence as “Just another HOAX,” again defending Putin instead of siding with U.S. intelligence officials and our soldiers. It’s no wonder Putin thought he could order the killing of American soldiers and face no serious consequences. What a cast of characters. The KGB assassin who rose to become dictator of Russia and one of the world’s richest men and the trust fund baby, game show host, who improbably and impossibly became the leader of the free world — with the KGB assassin’s help. There is no telling […]

Trump Campaign Appropriating Nazi, White Supremacist Symbols. These are Not Mistakes.

There comes a point when something can no longer be called a “coincidence” or a “blunder.” We’ve hit that point — passed it, really — with the Trump administration and the campaign (they are one and the same, of course). The Nazis created the “Nazi Eagle,” or the “Iron Eagle,” in the 1920s, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Of course, like other Nazi images, it is now popular with American white supremacists, neo-Nazis and neo-Confederates — the rock-solid core of Trump’s electoral base. So, when we see the logo of the Trump 2020 campaign, should we be surprised? Trumps new logo for 2020 is eerily familiar, where have I seen this before? 🤔 — YS (@NYinLA2121) July 1, 2020 So far this new logo is sold on T-shits that you can get for a cool $30 from the Trump campaign site, which I will not link to because you don’t want the shirt unless you want to give the Trump campaign $30 for the privilege of ceremonially burning it. I wouldn’t bother. As you might imagine, American Jews — or Jews anywhere, I would imagine — are not happy with this. Trump & Pence are proudly displaying a Nazi-inspired shirt on their official campaign website. They are promoting genocidal imagery yet again — just days after President Trump retweeted a video of a supporter chanting “white power.” Link: — Bend the Arc: Jewish Action (@jewishaction) July 1, 2020 Bend the Arc: Jewish Action wrote: It’s not an accident. Bigotry is their entire brand. If some right-wing bootlicker wants to try the “it’s a coincidence” or whatever argument, just respond with this, and don’t forget to punch a Nazi: They look nothing alike — Lyndsay 🎮 (@LyndzLP) July 2, 2020 But the campaign isn’t calling it a mistake. Of course, they’re doubling down on it, claiming that the problem is with the perception and not the reality of the symbol. Trump 2020 communications director Josef Goebbels, er, Tim Murtaugh, said: “In Democrats’ America, Mount Rushmore glorifies white supremacy and the bald eagle with an American flag is a Nazi symbol. They have lost their minds.” Apparently criticism of the logo is “moronic,” in Murtaugh’s words. The “America First” slogan, another key element of the logo, also has a deep, and ugly, history. — usurper (@usurper19) July 2, 2020 Early in his campaign, Trump said: I’m not isolationist, but I am “America First.” So I like the expression. I’m “America First.” Steven Miller and Steve Bannon co-wrote that March 2016 campaign speech. Both Miller and Bannon are neo-Nazis and white supremacists, and were brought into the Trump campaign because, not in spite of, their stances. (Don’t forget, Trump’s first Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, is an unrepentant white supremacist and neo-Confederate.) The America First Committee (AFC) was founded in 1940, and initially focused on its opposition of the US entering the war on either side. Its members included socialists, conservatives, and Americans from prominent and wealthy families. Future US President Gerald Ford was a member, as was future Vice-Presidential candidate Sargent Shriver, future Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, and others. But, anti-Semitism and an increasing pro-Nazi slant began to define it, Less than eight weeks before the Pearl Harbor attack, AFC spokesperson Charles Lindbergh delivered a wildly anti-Semitic speech on […]
Official U.S. Navy Page / Flickr Members of U S Navy Riverine...

The Mutiny of “The Bounty”

When the history of the 2020 election is written, it is the story broken by the New York Times, chronicling the scheme hatched by Vlad the Imp to pay a bounty for the lives of US soldiers in Afghanistan that may well have been the final nail in the Trump reelection coffin. For generations now, veterans and active duty military personnel have been two of the richest veins for the GOP to mine. And they worked hard at it. For generations the GOP has portrayed itself as the patriotic party, ready to shovel boxcar loads of cash at the military, and with an almost religious reverence for the veterans who served this country. And now it’s all coming down around their greedy, lying little ears. Donald Trump basically picked up a bullhorn, and bellowed, What a bunch of bullshit! From day one, Trump has done nothing but disrespect both the military as well as veterans. He removed a progressive VA Chief who was trying to drag the agency, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century. He disrespected the days of gold star widow of Sgt. LaDavid Johnson, sloughing off her pain with a cavalier He knew what he signed up for. Trump has repeatedly moved to politicize the armed forces, calling them his army, like some tinpot despot. And even worse, he took tens of millions of dollars of funds earmarked for improvement of bases, especially schools and daycare centers, to build his stupid vanity wall. And he let the Veterans Administration fall even farther into disrepair with a political hack appointee. But it is the crisis currently embroiling the Trump administration over this scandal about Russia paying a bounty for dead American soldiers that is going to have a catastrophic effect on the election. Because it is current, it is visceral, and it is intolerable. The Trump administration has fallen back on it’s traditional strategy of bifurcated bullshit. Call the whole thing a media and Democratic hoax, and then deny that the case against Russia hasn’t  been proven. There is no way that Trump will risk waking up some morning and seeing that Wikileaks has decided to drop a cache of documents showing how the Trump organization has been nothing more than a massive ruble laundromat for decades, obfuscate he must. But that obfuscation is about to tear Trump’s electoral map to shreds. Trump is already down double digits nationally, trailing in every battleground state, and states once thought safe are in play. Now, with that in mind, think about the number of major military installations in the United States, and the number of not only veterans, but families of active service members spread throughout the United States. Trump’s actions have just placed the entire eastern seaboard of the United States in play. There are major military installations in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. And sailors, soldiers, and airmen know bullshit when they hear it. Trump already alienated the Navy by removing the commander of a nuclear powered aircraft carrier for pleading for assistance for his sailors stricken with the coronavirus. Trump has taken the military for granted from day one. Now, let’s just take a look at all of the military bases in Texas, and Arizona, states where Trump is struggling. The men and women who make the conscious choice to wear the cloth of this […]

Every Poll Has TWO Numbers. Why I’m So Up About Biden

If you ever get annoyed, look at me I’m self employed. I love to work at nothing all day   BTO   Taking Care of Business Many moons  ago, in my street rat days as a Chicago political junkie, I once went to a Democratic gathering. It was actually a cross between a seminar and a convention. My reason for going was to meet my idol, iconic Chicago political reporter, Mike Royko. Meet him I did, and it was everything I had hoped for. But I actually ended up spending a significantly greater amount of time with a man who did more to shape the way I look at politics, and especially polls, than anyone in my life. His name was Jacob Perlman, a successful Chicago Democratic strategist, and long time pollster, a subject that has always fascinated me. He was kind enough to sit down at a table with me, and kill off a couple of bottles of Old Style, while he initiated the rookie. And what he said is one of the reasons I’m so bullish on Joe Biden. Kid, he told me, there are actually two numbers in every poll, and the one you can’t see can be as important as the one you do. The poll number you see is the support for your candidate, but there are actually two kinds of support, hard and soft. And the soft number rises or falls exponentially from the hard number. Let’s say that your candidate has 40% support. Basically you can figure that about 3/4 of that is hard support, people are mostly locked in on him. The other 25% is soft support, maybe they just saw a yard sign, or a billboard, and his was the first name that came to mind when the question was asked. Those are people who could change their minds tomorrow. Now, let’s say your candidates support rises to 45%. That should bring his soft support to 35%, right? It doesn’t, it’s actually at 38-39.5%. Don’t ask me why. I think it’s because as a candidates support number climbs, more people wanna ride the winning horse, so they lock in. All I know is that it is what it is. The Holy Grail is, of course 50%. If you can hit that, then your hard support is 48-49%, and you’re gonna be in it to the finish line. If you can hit 53%, then your hard support is at or above 50%, and unless you’re a Republican in Chicago, there’s no way you can lose! After which he laughed in that way that only Democratic political insiders in Chicago can laugh, malicious glee brought on by a good, old fashioned fix. Jesus, that conversation must have been close to 40 years ago, and I’ve never forgotten it. Partly because as I’ve gone on in my life, I’ve regularly applied Perlman’s Principle as I call it to so many races I’ve watched, and never found it to be off by more than 1%. I don’t know why any more than he did, but as he so aptly put it, it is what it is. This is one of the reasons I’m so high on Biden’s chances, and why I basically said that it’s over as long as we don’t get complacent. The latest Monmouth poll has Biden 53-41% nationally. If you use the Perelman Principle, Biden is actually somewhere between 59-51.5% hard support nationally. But don’t forget, the […]

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