Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Deadbeat Theory, an Occam's Razor Explanation of Donald Trump's Subservience to Putin

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"Trump and Russia: Which conspiracy is it?" is the title of this cartoon. What if it's both?

by Gaius Publius

It's very hard to write about "Trump! Russia!" in today's environment, though I've tried. On the one hand, so many things may be true but can't really be proved, and on the other, so many things that may not be true at all are presumed true, that it's hard to find — and even harder to present — the actual evidenciary basis for the many allegations.

Is Trump's behavior "treacherous," as John Brennan, Obama's CIA director, recently wrote? That's quite a serious charge. Treachery means treason, the kind they hang you for.

Is Trump being blackmailed by Putin, as Nancy Pelosi has implied several times? That's quite a serious charge as well, though she won't commit to holding House hearings on the matter if she's elected speaker, which may suggest she doesn't believe the charge herself. But after all, if a president really were being blackmailed — by anyone — isn't it the constitutional duty of Congress to investigate and, if true, stop it? If she believed her words, why would she shirk her duty on such an important matter?

Is Trump an "agent of Russia" or a "Russian asset,"as any number of writers have asserted? This too is a serious charge, and puts us into a John LeCarré world of spies and double dealing.

Finally, as I've asked many times, is it possible there's more to this story than almost anyone is reporting? Could some (but not all) of what Democrats and the anti-Trump media are asserting be correct, while at the same time, some (but not all) of what pro-Trump partisans are saying is also true?

The obvious answer is, yes, of course it's possible. Far stranger things have happened in the world of spooks and government officials. After all, the CIA also had "high confidence" that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Either they blatantly lied — a possibility with any intelligence service — and served up "information" that Establishment consensus wanted served up, or "high confidence" doesn't mean what most people think it means. (Most people think it means "proof.")

George W. Bush, new-minted Hero of the Resistance, looking for Saddam's WMD, the ones our intelligence community had "high confidence" he possessed

And let's not forget, Resistance hero Robert Mueller is also the Bush FBI director who subverted (kinder souls say "bungled") the 2001 Anthrax Attack investigation when it looked like it was pointing in the wrong direction. "Wrong direction" means pointing to a domestic conspiracy that may have involved right-to-life religionists, an angle Mueller's FBI refused for eight years to pursue.

As a result he proved almost nothing. Mueller didn't even prove that the purported "lone gunman" in that attack, Bruce Ivins, who committed suicide after he was finally accused, was even involved, just that his lab was.

Is it possible Mueller is handling the Trump-Russia investigation in the same way he handled that one — and, as before, working for Establishment players whose motives he's not disclosing? Or has he really transformed himself into the paragon of integrity, the shining knight in armor, that we now wish him to be?

What can we truly believe, independent of what we may want to believe, and what the voices all around us are shouting?

The Deadbeat Theory

Let's start here in our search for more solid ground, with a piece by Thom Hartmann. He writes that there are three prominent and plausible (if only remotely) theories that explain Trump's recent apparent subservience to Vladimir Putin. These are:
  • The Manchurian Candidate theory
  • The Wannabe Dictator theory
  • The Deadbeat theory
Each theory has its adherents and logic, but for Hartmann's money, the third makes the most sense. I'll leave you to read the whole of his piece to see his presentation of the first two explanations (his titles are descriptive; the theories assert what you think they assert).

About the Deadbeat theory, Hartmann writes this:
We all know that Trump is both a terrible negotiator and a terrible businessman. Dozens of his companies have gone down in flames, thousands of small businesses and workers have been screwed out of money he owed them, and his bankruptcies are legendary.

If the American people didn’t seem to think this was a big deal, the American banks sure did. After Trump’s last bankruptcy, so far as press reports indicate, he could no longer borrow money at reasonable rates here in the U.S., and a real estate developer who can’t borrow money is rapidly out of business.

So Trump, as his son Eric tells it, turned away from U.S. banks and went to a number of Russian billionaires for his money. In 2014, when asked directly how he could have acquired $100 million in cash for new golf course acquisitions, Eric Trump famously said, “Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.”

So, if President Putin were to order his own billionaires to get their money back out of Trump’s properties and refuse to give him any more, Trump could well end up broke.

Really broke.

As in, losing all his properties, from Mar-a-Lago to Trump Tower.
Imagine Trump in a world in which no human structure says "Trump" but his own mailbox. It's safe to say that aside from his family, or some of its members at least, what Trump prizes most in the world is money and the Trump Organization, a fact that makes Trump uniquely vulnerable to blackmail (including by Robert Mueller, who's investigating its finances).

After describing why "losing all his properties" may terrify Trump, Hartmann continues:
Trump isn’t afraid of being exposed as a lout or a racist; he’s afraid of being financially wiped out if Russian oligarchs pull out of Trump properties.

It’s why he’s even willing to take the risks and political hit by defying the Constitution and hanging onto the Trump Hotel in D.C.—he needs the money to keep his businesses afloat.

In 2016, Fortune magazine analyzed his federal public filings, and concluded that he’s both less wealthy than he says and appears, and that he regularly lies about it.

Occam’s razor dictates that, like with everything else in Trump’s entire life, this is all about money and its relationship to his own fragile self-image. If a few Russian oligarchs said, “Nyet,” he would suffer severe damage, both reputational and business-wise, and it may well be damage from which he couldn’t recover....

A man who depends on you for his financial lifeblood is a man more willing to give in around governmental and policy areas.

Now that Robert Mueller has, according to some reports, acquired access to Trump’s business records, all this may be coming out, which may explain why Trump seems so obsessed with, and frightened by, Mueller’s and the FBI’s “witch hunt.”
He concludes: "This is one of the few scenarios that explain pretty much everybody’s behavior within the Trump Crime Family, as well as the people in their immediate orbit."

It's true we're still hip deep in speculation, and speculation has been getting a very bad name lately, with statements like these — "We just watched a U.S. president acting on behalf of a hostile power" — being bandied about.

Still, Occam's Razor might allow us to restrict our thoughts to motives that, absent other evidence, make the most sense.

GP
 

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5 Comments:

At 2:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...um... DUH!

I know of Hartmann's theories. And the money one has a lot of circumstantial proof to back it up, including those damning admissions of fredo at a time when such an admission was NOT tantamount to treason.

Trump is an amoral idiot who was fortunate to be born into wealth. He doesn't "negotiate". He schmoozes. If that doesn't pay off, he threatens. If that doesn't pay off, he sues. If that doesn't pay off, he will assassinate your character, smile and move on.

Yes, he knows that putin and the Russians have him by his tiny balls. Not only have they "loaned" him hundreds of millions, they've laundered probably multiples of that using trump's businesses. If they called in their paper, he'd be ruined.

And we all know, even his voters, that he doesn't care about people (laughable thought) nor constitution nor nation nor party (which is why the Nazi party stays on his good side by never removing their lips from his asshole) nor anything.

He cares ONLY for his (illusion of) wealth and, surprisingly after 2016, power. He'll do anything to keep those. The self aggrandizing lies and character assassinations and attacks on media are part of that. But with his power, he can (and almost surely will) wage war(s) both to distract and to punish enemies. After all, he don't have to pay a nickel for as many wars as would amuse him.

He'll just have to pick targets that putin will agree to.

And maybe that's putin's biggest asset here. By cozying up to the Russian kleptocracy, a nation can immunize itself from an American invasion by putin's puppet. Even a NON trump American president has had no hesitation to start a war just to show everyone how big his dick is. $hillbillary, having more compensating to do, might have been the worst. Hopefully, we'll never know.

 
At 2:31 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

Yes, Gaius. No matter what the interpretation turns out to be, it has always been all about money. Russians are surely holding money over his head, no doubt about that. The fact that Trump is one of the worst human beings on the planet does not affect his deplorable supporters one bit. Why does Trump suck up to and bow to Putin? Clearly Putin is in charge. He dissed Trump about the invite in the fall. Clearly Putin has little respect for Trump and their relationship is quite lopsided power wise. Trump is totally beholden to him. MONEY.

 
At 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wrt Mueller. I've always suspected that he was picked because he protected cheney/rumsfeld during that charade of an investigation of the anthrax attacks, so he'd be expected to protect trump (and putin) in this one.

He'll ring up a number of ancillary (and non-trump) stooges, but will not find anything actionable against anyone named trump (or Kushner).

Then trump will pardon everyone.

That trump hasn't yet pre-emptively pardoned any of his family kind of proves to me that he knows he won't need to.

 
At 2:45 PM, Blogger Boris Dirnbach said...

This makes the case that "Pee Tapes" exist.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38589427

 
At 1:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes. Occam's Razor.

Trump is a simpleton. He hates and he has boundless greed. The greed is the simplest motive for a true simpleton.

Putin is playing chess while our hero is playing with his freckle-dick... which he's lucky he can find without help.

 

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