Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Political Groundhog Day: This Time Trump Actually Officially Declares He's Running


With UPDATE: What's the going rate to cheer Trump?
(see below)

He's an international sensation! From The Guardian:

Guardian caption: "Donald Trump also claims he would build a 'great, great wall' on the Mexican-American border to prevent the country from not sending the 'right people' across." (Linked Guardian posts: "Donald Trump announces US presidential run with eccentric speech" and "Ecstatic internet gleefully quips about Donald Trump's presidential speech.")

by Noah

Political Groundhog Day came again yesterday as, for at least the fourth time since 1988, Donald Trump, the political world's equivalent of Puxsutawney Phil, climbed out of his hole and threatened to grace us with up to a year and five months more of his sickening megalomania, virulent blowhardness, incessant birther claims that President Obama is not an American, and what amounts to his own unique brand of Tourette's syndrome. (I know he didn't actually officially announce a candidacy all those other times, but it still feels like "déjà vu all over again.")

"Obama: Trump troubles date back to 'growing up together in Kenya' ": Watch the clip ("embedding disabled by request") at the link.

While much of the media, as exemplified by the conservative Washington Post (called liberal by the chronically ignorant of both parties) plays up Trump's alleged business acumen almost as much as he does himself, they, like Trump, don't often mention that Trump-run corporations have had to declare bankruptcy at least four times. (See Claire Suddath's report on "The Bankruptcies," No. 3 in Time's April 2011 compendium of "Top 10 Donald Trump Failures.")

As just one example, in 1991, Trump's Trump Taj Mahal Casino Hotel in Atlantic City was in debt for billions of dollars. Trump's corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and Trump had to surrender half of his ownership in the Taj Mahal. In this day of CEO presidencies, is this what America wants? Who gets half when a President Trump surrenders?

What's Trump running on? Well, for one thing, like Nixon before him, he claims to have a secret plan to "end the war." This time, instead of the Viet Cong, it's ISIS. But just as with Nixon, of course, the secret plan is so secret that it doesn't exist. If it does exist, shouldn't he tell us the details immediately before the next round of beheadings or worse? Or is it just, to Trump, a sicko marketing ploy? You decide.

On immigration, Trump wasted no time in his announcement. In the past he has made it clear that he thinks any immigrants coming to America should be European immigrants, calling them “tremendous” and “hard-working” as opposed to the ways he describes non-European immigrants. Yesterday he voiced the classic republican lines about immigration, talking about building a "great wall" and having this to say about immigrants from Mexico:
They are sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us. They are bringing drugs and they are bringing crime, and they’re rapists.
Trump also claims to have business solutions for creating jobs here in the U.S. so we can compete with China. However, there's no word on whether he plans to stop making any of his own clothing line in China. It seems that, just like the owner of FOX "News," he is heavily invested in China while he hypocritically talks out of the other side of his mouth or some other orifice.

I expect The Donald to do well in these here upcoming Clown Car Debates that everyone is talking about. He is, if nothing else, a crowd-pleasing entertainer. His jingoism, simplistic quarter-baked answers to complex multi-layered problems, and his extensive bigotries play well to the brainwashed pitchfork-and-torch crowd that drives the Republican Party. His substance-lacking one-liners will get cheers and ratings from the single-digit-IQ GOP yahoo base.

Many in the media are already pointing to Trump’s truly staggering negative numbers as illustrated here:

But dismiss this buffoonish whining groundhog-in-a-suit at your peril. Several years ago news became infotainment. Now we have politics as an entertainment reality show. Trump may be a consummate narcissistic jerkoff, and to normal people his speech yesterday may have rivaled the rambling semi-coherence of Fidel Castro's famous four-hour marathon rants, but he's smart enough to know that he can score points by playing to the party base. So his announcement was full of fodder for them, and they vote enthusiastically.

The negatives attached to Trump's name in polls of republicans mean little when one considers that in 2012 such lowlights as Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum all led republican polls at some point of the campaign season.

How does one even weigh negatives in such a party? "Too negative"? This is a party of people who chant “Let him die” and rail against health solutions for their neighbors. This is a party that wants to regulate who you can marry. This is a party that votes against cancer screening for women. Pollution is great! War is great! The more species driven to extinction the better! Tax cuts for the rich are great, especially if you tax the poor to pay for them (see "After Cutting Taxes On The Rich, Kansas Will Raise Taxes On The Poor To Pay For It").

Large numbers of republicans believe that the Newtown massacre of little children and their teachers was a hoax. The Republican Party worships negativity. This is a party that hangs on every lying word they hear from FOX News! It's who they are. In that sense, Trump has a fine chance of being the one they will be drawn to.

Trump says what most republicans think. He speaks for them, and he spoke for them loud and ugly in his announcement. The republican mind comes from Bizarro World, and Trump is a perfect manifestation of its bizarro code.

The Trump campaign will be a farce, and let's hope the joke doesn't end up being on all of us. But which joke would be worse? This one? Rafael “Ted” Cruz? Lindsey Graham? Chris Christie? Carly Fiorina teaching us how to run the country into the ground like she did with four corporations in her time as a CEO? Scott Walker needing to move the Wisconsin state administration from Madison to Leavenworth? Or the punchline to the question "How many members of one family does it take to end America?"

Haven't heard any repug voices reacting to Trump's ugly shit yet. Silence is agreement.


The Donald talks to ABC's George Stephanopoulos:

GEORGE: Back in 1999, when you were thinking of running as the Reform Party candidate, you told Larry King that you'd consider Oprah for vice president.
THE DONALD: I like Oprah. What can I tell you?
GEORGE: Still on your short list?
THE DONALD: Ah, she's great. She's talented. She's a friend of mine. She's a good person. I've been on her show. In fact, I was on her show her last week. She said, could I be on her show with the whole family? I like Oprah. I mean, is that supposed to be a bad thing?
GEORGE: No, so what do you think . . . [overlapping dialogue]
THE DONALD: No, Oprah would be great. I'd love to have Oprah. I think we'd win easily, actually.


As Howie reported earlier today, Neil Young isn't the least bit pleased about being dragged into The Donald's big day, and issued this official statement:
Donald Trump was not authorized to use "Rockin' In The Free World" in his presidential candidacy announcement. Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States of America.


That's assuming The Donald's people didn't welch on their proffered pay rate. The "$50 CASH" for the "less than three hours of work" was promised "at the end of the event." Note the Hollywood Reporter's note that the practice of paying people "to lend the appearance of grassroots support" at a political event "is unsurprisingly considered bad form" (links onsite):

Donald Trump Campaign Offered Actors $50 to Cheer for Him at Presidential Announcement

by Aaron Couch, Emmet McDermott

Donald Trump's big presidential announcement Tuesday was made a little bigger with help from paid actors — at $50 a pop.

New York-based Extra Mile Casting sent an email last Friday to its client list of background actors, seeking extras to beef up attendance at Trump's event.

"We are looking to cast people for the event to wear t-shirts and carry signs and help cheer him in support of his announcement," reads the June 12 email, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. "We understand this is not a traditional 'background job,' but we believe acting comes in all forms and this is inclusive of that school of thought." (Read the full email at the bottom of the post.)

The pay was listed as $50 for less than three hours of work. According to the email, Extra Mile was reaching out to potential extras in partnership with Gotham Government Relations and Communications, a New York-Based political consulting group that has worked with Trump in the past. Gotham GR had no comment.

Questions as to whether the Trump campaign had hired extras were first raised Wednesday by anti-Trump activist Angelo Carusone, who came across an Instagram photo showing a man he recognized as a background actor posing at the Trump event. Carusone screengrabbed the photo of the actor, Domenico Del Giacco, and published it in a blog post. The photo shows Del Giacco with a woman, identified in the now-deleted Instagram post as actress Courtney Klotz. (Del Giacco has since deleted his entire Instagram account.)

When reached for comment about the Trump casting call, a person who answered the phone at Extra Mile said, "We don't know anything about that." When pressed about whether this response was a denial of the story, the person said she couldn't comment further and hung up. Additional calls to Extra Mile went unanswered.

Asked if Trump paid anyone to attend the event, campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said "no," and that he had never heard of Extra Mile or Gotham GR.

"Mr. Trump draws record crowds at almost every venue at which he is a featured speaker," Lewandowski told The Hollywood Reporter. "The crowds are large, often record-setting and enthusiastic, often with standing ovations. Mr. Trump's message is, 'Make America great again.' "

Del Giacco and Klotz did not respond to a request for comment.

In politics, "astroturfing" is when people are hired to attend a rally or event in order to lend the appearance of grassroots support. They are typically contracted out to political consulting firms, much like Gotham GR. The practice is unsurprisingly considered bad form.
And the Reporter presents "the full email from Extra Mile, with contact information redacted":
Hi there—

We are working helping one of are [sic] associates out at Gotham GR - with a big event happening on TUESDAY 6/16/15.

This is an event in support of Donald Trump and an upcoming exciting announcement he will be making at this event.

This event is called “People for a Stronger America.” The entire group is a pro-small business group that is dedicated to encouraging Donald Trump and his latest ventures. This event will be televised.

We are looking to cast people for the event to wear t-shirts and carry signs and help cheer him in support of his announcement.

We understand this is not a traditional “background job,” but we believe acting comes in all forms and this is inclusive of that school of thought.

This event is happening LIVE and will be from 8:45AM-11:30AM. LESS THAN 3 HOURS

This will take place inside / interior.

The rate for this is: $50 CASH at the end of the event.

We would love to book you if you are interested and still available.

Please let us know and we will get back to you with confirmation.

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