Monday, May 14, 2018

Can Trump's Compulsive Lying-- And The Consequences-- Ever Really Be Normalized?


Yesterday Axios published some advise by Jim VandeHei: How to be the next Trump which starts with an assertion that may or may not be partially true: "Most coverage of President Trump focuses on the negative aspects of his style: the making-it-up-as-he-goes, the lying, the management-by-chaos." Maybe on Chris Hayes' Lawrence O'Donnell's, Rachel Maddow's and Jake Tapper's shows. Most of the mainstream media does not focus on that. And in any case, VandeHei insists it doesn't matter anyway... for 5 simple reasons:
1- People are sheep: Reversing one of the basic assumptions of politics, Trump has shown you can radically change a political party’s core beliefs and brand overnight. Only six years ago, the GOP’s Romney-Ryan ticket was preaching the evils of Russia, the virtue of free trade, the sin of deficits. With no debate and little resistance, Trump has flipped an entire party’s core beliefs. Turns out, voters are far more malleable than we thought-- and candidates and presidents can change minds overnight.

2- Money is overrated; authenticity isn't: Trump has shown that if you can write in a real and captivating way, you can dominate the conversation-- for free...

3- Companies can be bullied, in a good way: If Trump had a longer attention span, his campaign to pressure U.S. companies to keep jobs in America might very well be flourishing more... [T]he right political leaders applying the right kind of pressure can shift some behaviors.

4- A little wild unpredictability goes a long way: Even Democrats begrudgingly tell us North Korea would not be returning hostages and talking denuclearization absent Trump’s mad-man routine. The stilted, scripted, sclerotic ways of tradition are not always terribly effective tactics. Trump takes wild unpredictability way too far. But he has shown how constrained improvisation could be a powerful approach at home and abroad.

5- Anyone can run and win: We always assumed party affiliation was a prerequisite for leading a political party, and some political experience a must. Trump was a liberal Democrat and he hijacked conservatism. The hunger for something different is unmistakable, partly because a big chunk of voters have had it with conventional politics and politicians. No reason another exotic Republican-- or third party, or even a surprise Democrat-- couldn't do the same.

Meh. Analysis-For-Dummies... with a couple of grains of truth. Michael Bloomberg was never taken in by Señor Trumpanzee... just, like anyone with a three-digit IQ, mortified. He reiterated, during a commencement address Saturday at Texas’ Rice University that we're now facing an "epidemic of dishonesty" in Washington that’s more dangerous than terrorism or communism and that that "an endless barrage of lies" and a trend toward "alternate realities" in national politics pose a dire threat to U.S. democracy. "How did we go from a president who could not tell a lie to politicians who cannot tell the truth?"
He blamed “extreme partisanship” for an unprecedented tolerance of dishonesty in U.S. politics. People are committed more to their political tribes than the truth, he said, suggesting that the nation is more divided than any time since the Civil War.

“There is now more tolerance for dishonesty in politics than I have seen in my lifetime,” Bloomberg said. “The only thing more dangerous than dishonest politicians who have no respect for the law is a chorus of enablers who defend their every lie.”

...He warned that such deep levels of dishonesty could enable what he called “criminality.” Asked what specifically he was talking about, Bloomberg noted “lots of investigations” going on, but he declined to be more specific.

Several Trump associates are facing criminal charges as part of a federal probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. Three have already pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI. Federal investigators want to interview Trump himself, although the president’s legal team has resisted so far.

“When elected officials speak as though they are above the truth, they will act as though they are above the law,” Bloomberg told Rice graduates. “And when we tolerate dishonesty, we get criminality. Sometimes, it’s in the form of corruption. Sometimes, it’s abuse of power. And sometimes, it’s both.”

“The greatest threat to American democracy isn’t communism, jihadism, or any other external force or foreign power,” he continued. “It’s our own willingness to tolerate dishonesty in service of party, and in pursuit of power.”
At the same time Bloomberg was giving his graduation speech in Houston, CNN writers Sarah Westwood and Sara Murray, were putting the final touches in a report that shows one small real world consequence of having a liar-in-chief running a criminal con-job on the country: Former Trump campaign aide is helping Russian firm shed sanctions. They're talking about Bryan Lanza, who was a former senior campaign and transition aide to Señor Trumpanzee and "is in regular contact with White House officials, is lobbying on behalf of the chairman of EN+ Group, an energy and aluminum firm presently controlled by Oleg Deripaska and "recently inked a deal to help a Russian oligarch's conglomerate shed sanctions the Trump administration slapped on them last month."

The scam is for the company to reduce Deripaska's ownership in the company enough to be freed from US sanctions while Deripaska maintains "a substantial stake in the company."
The moves by Lanza and Mercury Public Affairs LLC, the firm where he works as a managing director in its Washington office, on behalf of their client don't appear to be anything more than standard lobbying. But the deal is the latest brazen example of how Trump's "drain the swamp" campaign pledge has led to little change in a town where paying for access is a lucrative industry. In fact, Trump has presided over the expansion of a new generation of influence peddlers who have used their actual or perceived proximity to the President to line their pockets.

Corey Lewandowski, who served as Trump's first campaign manager and touts his close ties to the President, started his own consulting business in Washington after the election. Brian Ballard, Trump's longtime lobbyist in Florida and a GOP fundraiser, opened up a Washington office and brought on Susie Wiles, who led Trump's campaign in Florida. Jason Miller, former communications director for the campaign and transition who is also a CNN contributor, landed a plum gig as a managing director in global consulting firm Teneo's strategy group. He worked in crisis communications before the Trump campaign.

Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has weathered the brunt of the scrutiny for allegedly trying to sell access to the White House. But similar arrangements have been rampant in Washington-- under both Democratic and Republican administrations-- and the old way of doing business has continued to thrive since Trump took office.

...Mercury itself has undergone scrutiny over the past year for its role in the Ukrainian lobbying operation that ensnared Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian interference in the election and related matters. The firm has denied wrongdoing and has said its employees have cooperated with investigators.

Lanza's work with the Russian-linked firm comes as Mueller continues to investigate whether there was any collusion between Trump campaign aides and Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump has denied any collusion during the campaign.

Deripaska has intersected with the Trump orbit on a few occasions, most notably with Manafort. While at the helm of the Trump campaign, Manafort used an intermediary to offer Deripaska private briefings about the election, according to the Washington Post. Mueller's team later noted in a March court filing that the intermediary "has ties to a Russian intelligence service and had such ties in 2016."

...As aggressive as Cohen was in his pitches to prospective clients, one source said, Corey Lewandowski-- Trump's former campaign manager -- was more braggadocious about his access to Trump.

The source claimed Lewandowski had pitched companies by telling them "Trump doesn't make a decision without checking with me."

On Friday, AT&T acknowledged that Lewandowski's firm pitched them, but they said they didn't make a deal. AT&T is seeking government approval to acquire Time Warner, CNN's parent company.

Lewandowski, who has so far avoided registering as a lobbyist, continues to enjoy a high level of access to the President. Two sources confirmed he dined with Trump in the White House residence in March. He also joined Trump at a rally in Michigan in late April.

Meanwhile, even lesser-known Trump aides are making a living off their ties to the White House.

Former New York Republican Rep. John Sweeney has made more than $200,000 lobbying on behalf of a European pipeline venture owned by Gazprom, the state-controlled Russian natural gas company, according to federal lobbying disclosures. The New York Republican previously worked on Trump's campaign and assisted with administration hires during the presidential transition. Sweeney declined to discuss details about the clients he represents.

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At 6:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Compulsive lying is already normalized. Obamanation told us he wanted a PO... AFTER he vowed to the lobbies that he would tolerate no such thing; he campaigned on fixing wall street while vowing to their boards that he would never allow any of them to be indicted (and their gratitude flowed freely)... and several more examples.

The difference is that trump lies when he does not have to. he lies to his base and the others. he lies not to fool idiot voters, but to self-aggrandize. he lies to and about other global leaders (who have lied in the mold of obamanation).

Nixon was not a crook; tax cuts would balance the budget; grenada and Iraq were threats; Clinton felt our pain and did not have sex(ual relations) with that woman; bush could not remember selling arms to the Iranians; ... yeah. the lying is normalized.

1) people aren't just sheep. They're morons.
2) money is god. Authenticity only matters to the Nazis. 65 million 'crap voters voted for the world champion bankers' whore and the purveyor of neoliberal death and misery all over the world... I guess thinking she was a progressive champion, which would be laughable if it weren't pathetic.
3) Companies are led by fascists. They might be bullied by THEIR guy (a Nazi). They'd never be bullied by a 'crap, even though 'craps are probably better for them on balance.
4) there is truth here, which is really sad if you think about it.
5) nonsense. just to run, you need wealth or must pledge fealty to wealth... or both. Yes, a lot of voters have had it, but few of them vote that way. In order to win the Nazi primary, you need to be a Nazi. In order to win a 'crap primary, you usually need to pledge fealty to the DxCC, which means to corporations and billionaires.

Bloomberg is full of it. Lying has been tolerated forever. Partisanship is not a consequence of lies per se. It's a consequence of the right being pushed into the Nazi band of the spectrum, which, ironically, is more HONEST. It is also a consequence of the total corruption of the 'craps, their failure in occupying the left of the spectrum and the refusal of their voters to hold them accountable to their own interests, while also refusing to stop voting for them. The left is different that the right only in nuanced ways. So they employ FEAR to keep their voters in line while the right uses HATE.

At 7:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I disagree with VandeHai on details, I believe his piece mostly reflects current political realities. The one point where I differ greatly is bullying corporations to increase hiring. How does on bully the entity which owns you? You are owned so that you cannot bully with the law.

Bloomberg is one to talk about the law. Didn't he buy himself an exemption to a term limit law so that he could be NYC Mayor for a third term?

The White (Man's) House has long been a facilitator for connected businesses, at least back to Lincoln the railroad lawyer. The 1862 Pacific Railway Acts gave away millions of acres of land in trade for the construction of a railroad to the Pacific Ocean, and with practically no oversight. This laissez-faire giveaway led to the Crash of 1873 and later panics which completely buried Jefferson's beloved farmers under corporate control and domination of the economy. The British and Scots were heavy investors in such schemes, no more foreign than today's Trump Russians and McConnell Chinese.

The Grainge and the Progressive Party didn't just spring up out of nowhere!

At 11:26 PM, Blogger News Nag said...

At 6:39 AM, 'Anonymous Democrap', who makes some good points in his explication of the split between parties and the dilemma the country is in, however strikes again with his over-the-top over-reliance on the false equivalency that the Republicans and the Democrats are equally responsible for the Republican turn toward fascism and even nazi-ism. That position is nonsense and a dangerous blurring of blame.

Both have culpability, yeah. And do I wish Democrats would be less compromised than they are by their corporate reliance? Yeah, I adamantly do! But only one side has actually and undoubtedly crossed over fully to the dark side, to so speak. But 'Anonymous Democrap' lets his resentment of and anger at the inherent Democratic weakness get the better of his judgment - Democrats are compromised by money like every political party in the history of the world; that's the weakness - and he claims that weakness to be the key factor in the Republican rise to its fuller sadistic and fascistic self. Therein is the nonsense.

That's like blaming a victim in a domestic abuse situation. Democrats aren't weak or cowards, but they're stuck in a weaker position because they actually believe in a rule of law and process significantly more than do the Republicans. Democrats may be tempted to compromise to please all sides to get something accomplished (for constituents and for business interests both), but Republicans are nihilistic ruthless destroyers, have totally turned truth inside out, and can never return to being plain situational liars. They also burn every bridge they cross and are radical deconstructionists trying to make this country implode, the better to divide and conquer.

Resentment of and anger at a parent, for instance, who can't protect you from the real abuser is natural, but it becomes a serious misreading of the real problem when it becomes an obsession, like with 'Anonymous Democrap'. The real problem is that there is a psychopathic parent on the warpath and abusing everybody in the family and getting away with it. I do wonder why 'Anonymous Democrap' can't uniquely identify the real abuser between the political parties.

We may more easily fall further under the sway of an American fascism if Democrats are disproportionally blamed for the lurid sadistic excesses and mounting cruelties of the real culprit, the Republican Party. That's why I challenge 'Anonymous Democrap' in these comments - to push back against the spurious and insidious false equalivalency that he peddles with half-truths, exaggerations, and misleading-by-omission.

At 6:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NN didn't read then analyzed. A typically American thing to do.

I simply laid out equal examples to support my contention that political lying *IS* normalized, contrary to what the article thinks. Obamanation's lies were better couched than trump's, but just as damaging, especially wrt bank fraud and health care gouging and denial for greater profits.

But ask yourself... or ponder... or whatever it is that you do:

When and why did the republicans begin racing toward the Nazi end of the spectrum?
Why, it was when the 'craps decided to sell their soul to the same money that had been supporting the Rs for a century. Once the same money was being spent and served by the "left", the "right" had to migrate in order to recreate enough of a distinction to remain 'different'. And they found that their electorate was willing and eager to stay with them no matter how far they moved. They also cleverly, or possibly finally, realized that Christianity and greed, hate and fear in this shithole are tightly intertwined, so they figured out ways to exploit those as well. Until 2017, the 'craps had no answer for this. But they've now figured out that they can assimilate at least some of the greed, hate and fear... hoping their voters don't give up.

The republicans BECAME true Nazis because the 'craps became what they were in the '80s. And now the 'craps are trying to become more like the Nazis.

Where will that push the Nazi party?

See where this is going yet?

At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember what Upton Sinclair said, 6:26. You can't make a man understand something when he's paid to NOT understand it (paraphrased).

At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Upton Sinclair did not consider that religion makes people not understand anything at all.

NN would be the same whether he/she gets paid or not. It's a religious thing.


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