Thursday, June 30, 2016

People Learned The Hard Way That If Anything Has The Word Trump Attached To It, Run Away As Fast As You Can


New polling from PPP shows Clinton running ahead of Trump in every battle-ground state (unless you count Arizona as a battle-ground state, where he is leading her narrowly. Here are their latest results:
Wisconsin: Clinton 47%, Trump 39%
New Hampshire: Clinton 43%, Trump, 39%
Iowa: Clinton 41%, Trump 39%
Ohio: Clinton 44%, Trump 40%
Pennsylvania: Clinton 46%, Trump 42%
Arizona: Trump 44%, Clinton 40%
The voters in these states-- including Arizona-- do not trust Trump to nominate a Supreme Court justice; every one of them has majorities that say they would prefer Obama to replace Scalia than Trump.

As voters have gotten to know who Trump is-- for real (not as part of a scripted TV sit-com) they have realized how untrustworthy he is. Mark Leibovich, chief political correspondent for the NY Times Magazine, explored, in some depth, the identity crisis roiling the GOP. First a video of him pimping the story on Morning Joe just before it was published:

He spent a lot of time this spring interviewing Reince Preibus for the essay; most other GOP officials passed on doing interviews, hoping to not tar themselves with any kind of Trump association.
[T]he degree to which he seems unconcerned with his pariah status among name Republicans remains a key feature of his pursuit. To a comical extent, top Republicans willed themselves invisible when I reached out to them for this article, fearing, not incorrectly, that the conversation would turn to Trump. This included some of the most typically quotable Republicans, including former Trump challengers like Graham (“He’s sorta had his fill talking about Trump,” a spokesman emailed), Perry (“Thanks for thinking of him”) and Ted Cruz (“Not great timing on our end”); the previous nominee Mitt Romney (“You are kind to think of me,” he wrote); Trump stalwarts like Chris Christie (“We are going to take a pass this time”); Trump-averse Republican governors like Charlie Baker of Massachusetts (“The governor won’t be available”); and senators like Mike Lee, of Utah (“Senator Lee would love to talk to you about the state of the G.O.P. and conservatism in general. We are free anytime after Nov 8.”).

I tried Rubio, who has undergone more public agony than perhaps anyone about Trump. Rubio looks nauseated whenever someone asks him about the man he called “the most vulgar person to ever aspire to the presidency” but who later said he would be “honored” to speak for at the Republican convention before clarifying that if he did speak, he would only “speak about things I believe in, not somebody else’s platform.” Rubio also holds the astonishing position of saying he’ll vote for someone he has previously declared unfit to hold the American nuclear codes. You envision him under a mushroom cloud, assuring his kids that it could be even worse-- at least he didn’t vote for Clinton.

There’s a palpable weariness among Republicans, and it’s still only June. Every day, it’s something else. “What it does is suck all the oxygen out of the chamber,” Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, told me. “I’m trying to do my job as a senator, which does not end because we have a contentious and bizarre presidential candidate.”

...There is a distinct sense among leading Republicans that if you take proper precautions-- Trump-proofing-- it’s possible to avoid contagion. Ryan agreed to be interviewed for a Father’s Day feature in People Magazine but only on the condition that no Trump questions be asked.

Trump seems to fundamentally welcome the party’s revulsion. As Ryan wavered over supporting him, Trump was privately saying that Ryan’s rejection might actually help him, that he was just the kind of political lifer whom Trump positioned his campaign against. His social-media director (and a former caddie), Dan Scavino Jr., actually went public with this, tweeting out a link to a column in Breitbart headlined, “Paul Ryan Is the Reason the G.O.P. Is Losing America.”

While Ryan is trying to refashion and sell the G.O.P. as a party of innovation and heart, Trump is a creature of mouth and gut and other lower-body drivers. They can try to operate in parallel G.O.P. universes, but the two styles are often in obvious conflict.

...Ryan views himself as a guardian of conservative “ideas.” “Ideas” is one of those fetish words, popular among ambitious young pols (conservative ideas-mongers are constantly dropping Kemp’s name). As the speaker of the Florida House, Rubio published a book in 2006 of “100 innovative ideas” and spoke about his love of ideas during his presidential campaign, before he started making pee-pee jokes about Trump. Bobby Jindal, the Louisiana governor who was then considered one of the rising-star innovators of the party, warned after Romney’s defeat in 2012 that the G.O.P. must stop being “the stupid party” and urged fellow Republicans to talk “like adults” and swear off “offensive and bizarre” rhetoric. He then embarked on a presidential campaign in which his most memorable “idea” was suggesting that Trump “looks like he’s got a squirrel sitting on his head.” (Jindal dropped out in November; Trump barely bothered to insult him.)

Jindal’s “stupid party” remark reflected a concern among idea conservatives that was marinating well before Trump came along: that the Republican Party has taken on an increasingly anti-intellectual bent. There has been a strong populist allergy to elitism within the G.O.P. coalition for a long time. But Sarah Palin’s emergence as the vice-presidential nominee in 2008 and subsequent tenure as a party celebrity was a benchmark. Lesser imitators like Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain took turns as Republican front-runners in 2012. Trump made his name as a national political figure in 2011 and 2012 with his flamboyant campaign to prove that Obama was not born in the United States, an oft-discredited notion that was especially offensive to African-Americans. Four years later, the leader of what many Republicans had hoped was a nativist fringe movement is the party’s presumed nominee.

Ryan believed that he and fellow idea-mavens in Congress could preserve the party’s substantive core. This would be the laboratory from which he could remake the party’s conservative identity while attracting new Republicans, including young and minority voters. “I have to protect conservatism from being disfigured,” Ryan told me. His focus, he said, is on “ideas, temperament and the future of conservatism.”

Ryan has little confidence that Trump cares at all about his ideas, possessed that temperament or had thought at all about the future of conservatism. Trump almost never talks about “ideas,” unless you count blustery promises to “build a wall and make Mexico pay for it,” end lousy trade deals and “win” again.

...If grass-roots Republicans rebelled against the “establishment” in the primaries, Trump has provided the establishment with mounting ammunition to fight back in the 11th hour. The first half of June has been a running train wreck for Trump, beginning with his crusade against Judge Curiel. Trump has been provoking increasing alarm among Republicans at the moment he should be proving himself nominally “presidential.” The Republican senator Mark Kirk of Illinois announced that he could no longer support Trump in the aftermath of Curiel (“I think he’s too bigoted and racist for the Land of Lincoln”); Lindsey Graham did the same and urged other Republicans backing Trump to rescind their endorsements. Top Republicans voiced widespread opposition post-Orlando to Trump’s reiterated calls for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country.

Trump in turn called party leaders “weak” and pounded them for not falling in line behind him. “Just please be quiet, don’t talk,” he railed at them at a June 15 rally in Atlanta. “We have to have our Republicans either stick together or let me do it by myself,” Trump said. “I’ll do very well.” He would be banking on the two-party system being sufficiently hobbled that allegiance to him would prevail over partisan loyalty. Republicans wouldn’t hold it against Trump that he’s anathema to their establishment while Democrats would feel no loyalty to their traditional home team, let alone to Hillary Clinton. Trump appeared at this moment prepared to begin an independent general-election campaign under the nominal banner of the Republican Party, while using their abundant resources. This looked more like a jail break than a pivot.
Nor is it just Trump; the whole Trump family is, quite literally, as disgusting as he is-- and as predatory, dishonest and narcissistic. The first time I noticed the little shit most like his father, Eric Trump (age 32) he was on TV last December yammering about how his "picks incredible people. I think he'd have the greatest cabinet in the history of cabinets." His exact words; he's exactly like his father, who is notorious for picking really reprehensible people to go into business with, from Roy Cohn to one of the leading mafia kleptocratic families of Azerbaijan.

Saturday, Mike McIntire, also writing for the NY Times took Donald Jr. to task for emulating his father's con-man, rip-off artist style, specializing in ripping off widows of veterans. He's on the board of and a paid pitchman for a shady organization called Cambridge Who’s Who, a vanity publisher promising "branding services" of which he is the "executive director of global branding." Cambridge Who’s Who generated hundreds of complaints to the Better Business Bureau and to state consumer protection agencies "that it deceptively peddled the promise of recognition in a registry, as well as branding and networking services of questionable value. Dozens of people who paid Trump-endorsed businesses were also sold products by Cambridge, which benefited from its partnership with Donald Trump Jr. through 'leveraging relationships built by the Trump empire,' according to Cambridge." The owner-- another very typical Trump-type associate-- is "Randy Narod, a Long Island, N.Y., nightclub and bagel store owner barred from the securities industry for having had an impostor take his licensing exam."

Cambridge gained the Trump imprimatur when the younger Mr. Trump came on board in 2010 and began promoting its services as a way for people to distinguish themselves in a tough economic climate.

He worked in plugs for Cambridge during interviews on the Fox Business Network and, did a promotional video and appeared in photos with Mr. Narod. Among them was one with another Trump executive at Trump Tower in New York, where, according to a news release, the three men discussed “strategies to expand the personal branding and professional networking services offered by Cambridge Who’s Who.” Mr. Narod’s company said on its website that it had embarked on a “global expansion with the Trump Organization.”

“Branding is the best way to gain recognition and exposure, and nobody knows this more than the Trump Organization,” the younger Mr. Trump said in a promotion for Cambridge.

Cambridge employees played up the Trump association when pursuing customers.

“We had scripts to read when we made our calls to people, and when Donald Trump Jr. came along, our scripts were changed to include him in it,” said Joy Debono, a former Cambridge telemarketer. “We would basically say that Cambridge was a good company because Trump was involved in it.”

The “who’s who” industry has a long and dubious history.

There are some well-established companies that publish directories of professionals in various fields, such as lawyers and top corporate executives. But there are many others that target people of little distinction, shower them with accolades and then try to sell them costly “honors” such as placement in a directory or wall plaques.

Cambridge and its subsidiary, Worldwide Branding, took the model a step further, adding the promise of branding-- news releases, video biographies and a personalized web page-- and networking with other Cambridge customers who paid a membership fee to join.

When Donald Trump Jr. joined Cambridge, the company had already had about 400 complaints filed against it with the Better Business Bureau since 2006. Scores more appeared in online consumer forums like Ripoff Report, where customers vented about misleading sales calls, worthless products and difficulties getting refunds. Many of the complaints describe a similar pattern of aggressively steering people into ever more expensive products.
Monday, Wonkette took on the crooked daughter and prime Trump henchman, Ivanka. Based on an L.A. Times investigation of another Trump scam, it "details how she works alongside her father to fleece anybody who’s not named 'Trump.' After Trump 'licensed his name' to some crap developers for a resort in Baja, those partners took $32 million from nice people who wanted to buy stupid gold-crusted condos and then accidentally did not build a resort in Baja. Donald Trump (and his children) denied any responsibility for giving people their dumb condo money back, or anything at all. They had just licensed their names! They never said they were the developers! Except for like 50 times they said they were the developers. On video, in newsletters, at fancy cocktail receptions, in skywriting maybe." Ivanka and her pa were leveraging the Trump brand the same way they do everywhere, to make a few bucks while Trump associates rip off and fleece everyone they can with it. Wonkette wanted to know what was Ivanka doing to convince nice people to lose all their money and never get it back and then settle for "an undisclosed sum" that, if they followed Trump’s hundreds of other settlements, would be for pennies on the dollar?

As the Trumps and their partners promoted the condos with sleek brochures and what they called “VIP” cocktail receptions in San Diego County, they often left the impression-- or said outright-- that Trump was one of the developers. Their marketing team determined that the Trump name was the No. 1 draw for buyers, according to documents that surfaced in the lawsuit.

“We are developing a world-class resort befitting of the Trump brand,” Ivanka Trump said in a video on the Trump Baja website. “I’m very excited about it. I actually chose to buy a unit in the first tower.”

Her father appeared in the same video saying he was proud “that when I build, I have investors that follow me all over.”

“They invest in what I build, and that’s why I’m so excited about Trump Ocean resort,” he said.

...Garten, the Trump counsel, did not respond directly when asked by email why condo buyers were told that Trump Jr. had bought a unit. In general, Garten said, allegations in the lawsuit “were never proven.”

A July 2007 newsletter sent to condo buyers also stated that the resort was being “developed by one of the most respected names in real estate, Donald J. Trump.”

Further buttressing buyers’ belief that Trump was one of the developers, not just a brand name, Trump personally signed an August 2007 letter to condo buyers that identified him as exactly that. It was on the letterhead of P.B. Impulsores, the Mexican company named in unit purchase documents as the resort developer.
In the end, Wonkette concludes that "Trump’s one redeeming quality (his hot daughter) is not very redeeming after all, because she is a gross grifty pathological liar. (But hot.)" Yesterday Trump was in Pennsylvania trying to persuade blue collar swing voters there that he's trustworthy on economic issues and won't rip them and their families oft way he has ripped off everyone who has ever entered into a deal with him. The man who outsources everything he can to low-wage hell-holes around the world and who uses the cheapest components he can find for anything with his name on it-- from steaks and drywall to entire buildings-- declared America's economic independence. Over the course of the campaign you no doubt heard Trump bellowing about the outrageous behavior of companies like Nabisco, Ford, Carrier, and other U.S.-based companies for outsourcing manufacturing. What you might not have heard was what Trump always hides, that he was investing in and profiting from those same outsourcing firms, even as he criticized them for shipping jobs overseas. He didn't mention that at his Pennsylvania rally yesterday, which would have been more honest had it been called "Trump First" instead of "Declaring America's Economic Independence."

And, yeah, he's the guy who always stands up and pledges huge sums of money to charities to tremendous acclaim and applause-- but then systematically stiffs the charities
In May, under pressure from the news media, Donald Trump made good on a pledge he made four months earlier: He gave $1 million to a nonprofit group helping veterans’ families.

Before that, however, when was the last time that Trump had given any of his own money to a charity?

If Trump stands by his promises, such donations should be occurring all the time. In the 15 years prior to the veterans donation, Trump promised to donate earnings from a wide variety of his moneymaking enterprises: “The Apprentice.” Trump Vodka. Trump University. A book. Another book. If he had honored all those pledges, Trump’s gifts to charity would have topped $8.5 million.

But in the 15 years prior to the veterans’ gift, public records show that Trump donated about $2.8 million through a foundation set up to give his money away-- less than a third of the pledged amount-- and nothing since 2009. Records show Trump has given nothing to his foundation since 2008.

...In the 1980s, Trump pledged to give away royalties from his first book to fight AIDS and multiple sclerosis. But he gave less to those causes than he did to his older daughter’s ballet school.

In recent years, Trump’s follow-through on his promises has been seemingly nonexistent.

The Post contacted 167 charities searching for evidence of personal gifts from Trump in the period between 2008 and this May. The Post sought out charities that had some link to Trump, either because he had given them his foundation’s money, appeared at their charity galas or praised them publicly.

The search turned up just one donation in that period-- a 2009 gift of between $5,000 and $9,999 to the Police Athletic League of New York City.
That's one of the (many) reasons he's refusing to release his tax returns. They'll show just how uncharitable he is, and has always been... despite all the bragging about his generosity.

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