December 30, 2017

I’ve been looking around for the full transcript of the New York Times/Trump interview from Thursday, 12/28.  Most links purporting to have the full transcript refer us back to the NY Times piece that clearly says in the title “excerpts”.  I primarily prefer raw data to analysis.  Analysis can be colored by someone’s perceptions; I would rather use my own crayons.

I did manage to find what seems to be the full interview, but it feels short for a half hour.  It came in at about 12 pages; I feel like it’s missing pages.  Meh.

Let me say first, the interview as handled by Mike Schmidt, is about as good as we can get.  Some people are complaining the Schmidt should have grilled Trump and not allowed him to lie or make stuff up.  That wasn’t going to happen in this setting.  Trump would have just got up and left.

Trump doesn’t hold solo press conferences for a reason.  He doesn’t want to be in a position where he would have to know what he is talking about.  He doesn’t want to have to be responsible.  He doesn’t want to be caught not having any facts at hand.  He doesn’t want to be found out.  That being said, I’m not sure that if Trump did hold a solo press conference, that the national media would be capable of holding him to account in matters of import.  They would most likely question him hard about whatever dumb-ass thing he tweeted that day, or ask him about whomever it was that he insulted recently, to the exclusion of seeking in-depth explanations on important topics of policy and legislation.

The ideal setting would be a one-on-one interview by someone of solid standing from any of the major networks except Fox.  And we all know, that ain’t gonna happen.

So, in this case, giving Donny the rope to hang himself with, is acceptable.

Yes..he does say, “No collusion,” many times.  What is really baffling is that not only has he convinced himself there was “no collusion” (the term is not even in the Mueller mandate by the way, but the administration and Fox news are fixated on the word), he has seemingly convinced himself that everyone else believes the same thing.

The interview starts out this way:

MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT: You’re O.K. with me recording, right?
TRUMP: Yeah. Virtually every Democrat has said there is no collusion. There is no collusion. And even these committees that have been set up. If you look at what’s going on — and in fact, what it’s done is, it’s really angered the base and made the base stronger. My base is stronger than it’s ever been. Great congressmen, in particular, some of the congressmen have been unbelievable in pointing out what a witch hunt the whole thing is. So, I think it’s been proven that there is no collusion.

I’m positive we wouldn’t be able to find one Democratic Congressperson on record as saying that there was, “No collusion.”  The smart ones wouldn’t even use the word because it’s irrelevant.  Yet, here is Trump stating this ridiculous lie as an obvious truth.

From this, Trump segues into reliving the election…yet again.  Some bad track and golf analogies and Schmidt tries to get him back to the original topic at hand:

SCHMIDT: What’s your expectation on Mueller? When do you —
TRUMP: I have no expectation. I can only tell you that there is absolutely no collusion. Everybody knows it. And you know who knows it better than anybody? The Democrats. They walk around blinking at each other.
SCHMIDT: But when do you think he’ll be done in regards to you —
TRUMP: I don’t know.
SCHMIDT: But does that bother you?
TRUMP: No, it doesn’t bother me because I hope that he’s going to be fair. I think that he’s going to be fair. And based on that [inaudible]. There’s been no collusion. But I think he’s going to be fair. And if he’s fair — because everybody knows the answer already, Michael. I want you to treat me fairly. O.K.?
SCHMIDT: Believe me. This is —
TRUMP: Everybody knows the answer already. There was no collusion. None whatsoever.

Oh okay.  Now, not only do all of the Democrats know it, but everyone knows it.  It’s become an unassailable fact in Trump’s mind.  Following this, Trump goes on to explain that if there were any collusion, it was between the Russians and the Democrats.  All of the Trump campaign/Russian collusion stories are a ploy, because the Democrats lost the election.  So….the Democrats colluded with the Russians to win the campaign, and then when they lost, they said the only reason Trump won, was because he colluded with the Russians.

SCHMIDT: So they had to do this to come after you, to undercut you?
TRUMP: No, no, they thought it would be a one-day story, an excuse, and it just kept going and going and going. It’s too bad Jeff recused himself. I like Jeff, but it’s too bad he recused himself. I thought. … Many people will tell you that something is [inaudible].
SCHMIDT: Do you think Holder was more loyal to. …
TRUMP: I don’t want to get into loyalty, but I will tell you that, I will say this: Holder protected President Obama. Totally protected him. When you look at the I.R.S. scandal, when you look at the guns for whatever, when you look at all of the tremendous, ah, real problems they had, not made-up problems like Russian collusion, these were real problems. When you look at the things that they did, and Holder protected the president. And I have great respect for that, I’ll be honest, I have great respect for that.

Of course Trump doesn’t want to use the word “loyalty”.  He can at least remember that’s a no-no now, but he sure does love himself some blind loyalty, even if it is not at all true in the case of Holder.

After this, we have about a page of Trump explaining again how the Republicans losing the Alabama seat is not at all his fault.  Moving on, if the Democrats had come to Trump and kissed his ring, he would have done more for high tax state’s ability to deduct state/local taxes in the tax reform package.  he calls it “Doing bipartisan,” like it’s going out to eat Chinese food.

TRUMP: Now, in my opinion, they should come to me on infrastructure. They should come to me, which they have come to me, on DACA. We are working. … We’re trying to something about it. And they should definitely come to me on health care. Because we can do bipartisan health care. We can do bipartisan infrastructure. And we can do bipartisan DACA.

<I cut a page here>

SCHMIDT: Yeah.
TRUMP: But the Democrats should come to a bipartisan bill. And we can fix it. We can fix it. We can make a great health care plan. Not Obamacare, which was a bad plan. We can make a great health care plan through bipartisanship. We can do a great infrastructure plan through bipartisanship. And we can do on immigration, and DACA in particular, we can do something that’s terrific through bipartisanship.
SCHMIDT: Do you think I’m wrong to think next year could be the year of you being a real deal maker, in a way you maybe weren’t in the past year?
TRUMP: I was. I make deals with the Republicans. I had nobody to make a deal with the Democrats. The Democrats could have made a much better tax deal for Democrats if they came to see us, but they didn’t come. They never thought I’d be able to get this over the line. And especially when McCain, when John McCain left and went to Arizona, they thought they had it made.

What is becoming clear here, is the infantile way in which Trump views how the legislative process works.  To him, all that needs to happen, is the people involved come and pay homage to him, they all go out for a bite to eat, and BAM!!!  legislation.  DONE.  Would only take, like…a couple of hours tops.

SCHMIDT: You said about the oil, that China. …
[Cross talk.]
SCHMIDT: What’s going on there. Tell me about that.
TRUMP: Yeah, China. … China’s been. … I like very much President Xi. He treated me better than anybody’s ever been treated in the history of China. You know that. The presentations. … One of the great two days of anybody’s life and memory having to do with China. He’s a friend of mine, he likes me, I like him, we have a great chemistry together. He’s [inaudible] of the United States. …[Inaudible.] China’s hurting us very badly on trade, but I have been soft on China because the only thing more important to me than trade is war. O.K.?

So, China on trade has ripped off this country more than any other element of the world in history has ripped off anything. But I can be different if they’re helping us with North Korea. If they don’t help us with North Korea, then I do what I’ve always said I want to do. China can help us much more, and they have to help us much more. And they have to help us much more.

This is by far, the absolutely creepiest part of the interview for a summation of just how messed up Donald Trump is.  I guess that, for me, when I analyze Trump and his motivations, like half the time I’m hoping his core followers can read this shit and just have it hit them, “Holy fuck!  Yeah, there’s something wrong with this cat, we need to put an end to this now!”  But, that isn’t going to happen.

This shit is really scary.  What we’re reading here is affirmation that Trump’s perception is not only reality, it is the rightful, correct, and only perception of reality that any sentient creature could have.  Just as in “No collusion,” is a Trump created fact that is now true for everyone, his enjoyment of his trip to China is now the biggliest bestliest reception anyone has ever received when visiting China in the history of mankind.  Why?  because Trump experienced it, therefore the world experienced this truth.  It’s self-evident.  The world is only what Trump himself experiences.  There is nothing else.

He treated me better than anybody’s ever been treated in the history of China. You know that.

Policy-wise, this mess doesn’t even make sense.  China treats us horribly.  They are getting away with murder, yet Trump is soft on them.  If China helped with Korea, he would be soft with them.  if they don’t help with Korea, he’ll be hard on them.  So wait, they’re already getting away with what you’re saying you’d be tough on them about…  where’s the incentive to help you exactly?

If they don’t help us with North Korea, then I do what I’ve always said I want to do.

This line, I thought at first he meant that he’d like to go ahead and start a nuclear war with North Korea, which I don’t doubt he’s itching to do, but no.  He means, that if China doesn’t help with North Korea, he’ll be tough on the Chinese for getting away with the stuff they’re already getting away with.

PLUS!!!  Confirmation of what we already knew.  Winning the presidency was just a game.  A reality show game.  Because it was important to Trump to WIN BIGGLY, it necessarily follows that Trump winning is the only important thing to anyone anywhere.  It’s the only thing that matters.

TRUMP: We’re going to win another four years for a lot of reasons, most importantly because our country is starting to do well again and we’re being respected again. But another reason that I’m going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes. Without me, The New York Times will indeed be not the failing New York Times, but the failed New York Times. So they basically have to let me win. And eventually, probably six months before the election, they’ll be loving me because they’re saying, “Please, please, don’t lose Donald Trump.” O.K.

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I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays and hopefully some time off.  I plan to get back to regular writing soon : )

 

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December 26, 2017

Trump and the State Propaganda news network continue hammering away at the FBI, DOJ, and the Mueller investigation.  Meanwhile….

There are a couple administrative movements that concern me quite a bit.  They have been ongoing and at this point appear to be continual, concerted efforts.  The first one (the one I want to talk about today) takes shape in the destabilization and militarization of the world.

Trump has made clear his feeling that the US should not act as a peacekeeper or financier of global social programs or party to global pacts with peace in mind.  His administration has made it clear that they feel the ability of the State department to negotiate and promote common causes and peace is unnecessary to the point of it’s utter dismantlement.

Instead, Trump wants to arm Japan, to deal with North Korea directly.

The US approved an arms deal with Qatar, whom are in direct conflict with Saudi Arabia presently.

The US approved another new arms deal with Saudi Arabia…in conflict with Qatar and an ongoing heightened conflict with Iran currently taking place in a humanitarian crisis of inhumane proportions in their Yemen proxy war.  The current in-state intrigue in Saudi Arabia appears to be tacitly approved by this administration and we have yet to see what emerges from what could be the new ideological state of the house of Saud.

The Trump administration continues to disparage the peacekeeping forces of UN and NATO, removed the US from the Iran nuclear pact, declared it’s intentions to put the US embassy in Jerusalem which creates mass turmoil, has dismissively allowed Russian backed evil forces in Syria to prosper, regularly attempts to goad N. Korea into military action, and we don’t even know yet what the Kurdish-Iraqi situation is going to play out like yet, but I imagine it involves arming both sides from the US.

This administration’s goal is clearly to further financially prop up the US arms dealers and to dump billions into our own military.  This, in effect, is a type of social program that conservatives find more appealing than anything perceived as overtly social.  It’s not particularly effective though.  These billions and trillions would be better spent on direct social funding, nationally and internationally; an idea this administration finds anathema to it’s core beliefs.  Money spent on education, health, and housing is eminently more effective both short term and long term, rather than the reduction in mouths to feed via exportation of conflict and murder.

The current Administration cannot wrap it’s collective head around the idea that our money spent on peace will show no clear immediate return on investment that cannot be ascertained without a view for the long-term via intelligent, thoughtful diagnosis.  Tis nothing compared to the immediate, cold, hard cash received for the sale of military hardware.

I believe it is fully intentional that this administration seeks to create global destabilization and to broker sales for the conflicts born of the effort.

For future reference: US military personnel are disproportionately from Southern states.

December 21, 2017

A Confederacy of Dunces: Act II

As I’ve outlined in previous posts, we get to the next exciting stage of how not to run a government. With a bizarre budget in hand, and tax reform promising to add to the debt, congressional Republicans now need to pass continuing resolutions to keep the government open for business.  All of this has been so goddamned predictable.

It’s most likely that comprehensive spending appropriations won’t happen until January, so this will be another temporary funding package.  At that time, the House Republicans will argue among themselves and patch something together, and then…and then, the Senate will need at least 8 Democrats to pass the bill.  So this part of the idiot play is where the Democrats will gladly agree to the continuing resolutions so long as their demands are met.  Demands likely to include some of these items: DACA provisions, Government funding to prop up what has just been undermined in the ACA via tax reform, long term CHIP agreement, and any other dollar for dollar spending on social programs that is on parity with defense spending.

This will add even more to the burgeoning debt and the Republicans will have to agree to it.  We could see this coming from a long way off, it’s easy to predict the budgetary sides of it through politics.  Financially speaking, this is all one big mess, what we haven’t mentioned yet is how the politics of this plays out.

I suppose it’s fairly obvious how Republicans can try to play ballooning debt as “all the Democrats fault,” and chances are, that’ll play decent.  I mean..come on, they’re going to shut down the government if we don’t add to the debt, right?  How far back we want to look at how this all started is the pivot point.  generally speaking, Americans don’t want to have to examine our Federal government in that great a detail.  That’s the way it’s supposed to be.  This is a representative democracy and the damned politicians are supposed to handle all of that shit so that we can concentrate on doing the stuff we’re doing.

The true cause of why we’re in the crap we’re in is because Republicans, in their current configuration, are simply not equipped to govern and the buffoon they have sitting at the top of their hierarchy ain’t helping none.  Plain and simple.  The facts of how we got here are undeniable.  The electorate’s desire to parse through all of it, however, is questionable.  Each fact of how we came to this point will be an internet meme, each truth diminished and tarnished beyond the recognizable.  Relegated to a “whataboutism,” as opposed to it’s actual causal relationship.

Here is a fine example.  Before Hillary Clinton ran for President the second time, she had occasion to be undertaking a paid speech in Brazil.  At some point in the speech, Clinton declared how ideal it would be to have, “Open borders.”  A nifty little accusatory catch-phrase we have with us today in conservative media and out of Trump’s mouth as a rallying cry against Democrats.  All of whom surely want to throw open the borders and allow the invading horde to pussygrab all of our fine young women….no doubt.

Did she say that?  Yeah she did.  She was at a conference of energy providers and she was referring to a distant point in time where there could be an open marketplace in which energy could be exchanged.  Those borders are the ones she was referring to: a theoretical open energy marketplace.  Did anyone listen when she half halfheartedly mentioned that in a rebuttal of Trump’s assault on her in their debates?  Nah.  Why?  because to listen to the full story would require our attention and examination of not only the facts, but why we would rather believe it not to be true.

Maybe we don’t want open marketplaces, so the point cannot be made to any effect.  Worse still, the real problem is, what is our aversion exactly?  What would be so wrong with being in a place where an economic plan exists where commodities like power flowed freely?  Are we afraid we’ll lose our identity, are we afraid of foreigners?  What elicits such a frightening prospect about the idea of open borders anyway, even if she had meant national borders? …which she didn’t.

The implications was, if the time came where we were at a mutually beneficial economic point where we could share power, why shouldn’t we?  The frightening extension of that is, what if we were at a point in time where we shared social, economic, and compatible cultural values with our neighbors, to the point that borders were no longer necessary?  Is that a bad thing?  What exactly is wrong with that?

Why should we have to think about such things?  It’s a representative democracy.  We hire politicians to mind the details of governance.  It is much easier to simply believe foreigners are, and always will be, “the others.”  We don’t have the time to understand how we got a couple words out of Clinton’s mouth wrong.  We certainly don’t have the time to be forced into admitting our fears have been played to great effect.

This is a problem.  Our government is simply requiring of us too much time to figure out their shit.  This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.  This administration, like all administrations should have begun it’s tenure with a real desire to do good.  It has not.  Congress should display a real desire to work hard together to create the framework by which our populace is afforded the environment in which to build cars, write books, perform plays, and cook meals to the best of our abilities without worrying about the crazy fucking shit going on in DC.  They have not.

They are instead beholden to their masters and vying for the real estate of our mindspace to plant the spin, the whataboutism of yesterday, the narrative; and to wholly purchase their ideologies which make every lie seem reasonable and much easier to digest without spending the time necessary to chase truth.

OLD WHITE RICH DUDES STAGE HARDCORE REPUBLICAN PORN SCENE IN ROSE GARDEN

You’d think that in this age of extra sensitivity to the offense women would rightfully take to overt misconduct, such a brazen display of Republican circle-jerking could not be possible.  But to expect that, is to miss the message entirely.  It’s not, “Fuck women,” no no no!  This obscene presidential & congressional photo shoot proudly declared, “Fuck everyone!”

Republican porn veteran Mitch “Gobbler Chin” McConnell played second diddler to the Star, Golden Donnie Trump, in the opening scene of this jizzcash extravaganza.  Mitch’s expertly delivered foreplay-dirty talk is an instant classic.

“You’ve ended the over-regulation of the American economy, and that coupled with what we did last night and what the House finished this morning means America is going to start growing again,” McConnell said. “Thank you Mr. President for all you’re doing.”

..and couple they did.  Mitch with a roll of hundreds in his slobbering mouth.

Exciting, fresh faced, bottom-boy, Paul Ryan made a noteworthy cameo in his introduction of the new word, “exquisite,” into Trump’s limited vocabulary.  A word sure to make an appearance here on out,  somewhere between, “very, very, very…,” and, “over a period of time.”

Exquisite presidential leadership.

The real money shot was provided by the Octogenarian Fluffer, Orrin Hatch, with his declaration that Trump was, “perhaps the best President ever,” to the visible delight of Donnie Trump, as the ensemble shot their loads into wads and wads of cash.

This first offering by the arousing, new franchise is set with two follow up jizzcash productions:

“Children Don’t Need Health Insurance,” and, “DACA?  Fuck You Too”.

December 19, 2017

It looks as if Congressional Republicans and their billionaire donors shall have their dream come true.  The Senate will vote to finalize their Tax Reform bill tonight or tomorrow and the House will re-vote tomorrow after a ridiculous ruh-roh of having violated the rules of the simple majority vote, by voting on the inclusion of some terms that are violations of the chamber’s rules.  I mean, come on, how are they supposed to know what’s in there if no one, except lobbyists, are reading it???  Come on!  What’s in it doesn’t matter so long as the donors are happy, and Congresspeople themselves are coincidental benefactors.  Time is of the essence!

The many times I have written about this legislation…from the beginning, I had highlighted the untenable position into which the Republicans have placed themselves.  There was no way out except to either just say “fuck it” and vote on a bill that fiscally makes no sense or do nothing.  Doing nothing wasn’t an option.  They have convinced themselves that doing something awful, is preferable to the alternative.

I have no doubt there are a core of Republicans who believe in the spirit of this bill either at face value or, more sinisterly, in the likelihood that the apathy and low-fact nature of a portion of our electorate will see a few more dollars in their paychecks come February and be all like, “hey okay, this is working,”  and therefore their actions as congresspeople is just and correctly applied.

It is true I believe, that as a whole, Americans don’t begrudge rich people their piles of cash.  We don’t.  We admire it, especially if it seems abstract and distant or if the wealthy individual is a known quantity that is socially active and agreeable.

I also do not doubt that a minority of the republicans voted for Tax Reform because they were told to by McConnell and Ryan.  A still smaller minority voted for it because it was explained how they themselves would benefit.  In the specific case of Susan Collins she was promised passage of future bills that would fix up the damage that the majority of Republicans would like to do to the ACA.  My take is, somehow she is dumb enough to think this is a get out of jail free card for 2020 re-election campaign.  I don’t believe she is dumb enough to take McConnell at his word, everyone knows it’s not going to happen.  In the case of Bob Corker, it’s hard to walk away from the concept that he is seeing $ signs because he isn’t going to run again anyway and by his own admission, he didn’t even read the damn thing, so what else could it be?

So what’s the play?  I’m going with- the Republicans incorrectly banking on the belief that Americans seeing a few extra bucks in their paychecks will mollify them long enough to be able to successfully kick the can down the road to that time when it’s suddenly necessary, in  the name of fiscal responsibility, to slash all social programs.  Even if Americans don’t begrudge the rich their dollars, they don’t dig being lied to and they certainly aren’t going to go along with the reduction of their “entitlements.”

So, we’ll go ahead and offer some neato cash repatriation terms to large international corporations and over the next couple of years, those moneys will leave US treasury notes, where so much of it is sitting now, and head into the hands of shareholders.  The Chinese can buy up more of our debt (the extra debt that this reform just created and in response to the siphoning off of corporate owned t-notes) and merrily continue the trade imbalance.  There’s no reason to repatriate the actual business activities of US corporations themselves.

There is very little unused capacity in US business to invest in.  There would have been if we worked on an infrastructure bill instead of tax reform.  There is no measurable amount of the unemployment rate to spend money on either.  All things being equal, we’re set-up for some massive inflation and the Fed battling it by rapidly increasing the lending rate.  The thing is, we won’t see that in 2018, we’ll see it in the middle of 2019 when Democrats control both houses.

Here is the other sinister play of the Republicans.  They think they’ll  be able to get their “entitlement” cuts in before they lose both houses, allow Democrats to take control and blame them for everything that’s going wrong in 2019.  Run on that for 2020.

Only choice Democrats would have in that case, is bite the bullet and attempt to fix everything the Republicans have wrought in a very short period of time.  Ugly.  it would be extremely hard to do that unless they took the exact same approach that the Republicans have: no committee meetings, no expert witnesses, no 2/3 majorities…just shove it down yer throat, simple majority clusterfucks.