Somewhere, somehow, amidst his decadent cavorting with 72 virgins, Osama bin Laden must be smiling. Smiling like a man who's finally seeing his master plan come to fruition.
In the wake of the horrific mass killing at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, where 50 people died in the the deadliest shooting in United States history, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been spewing newly amped up nativist racist rhetoric against refugees, immigrants and Muslims in particular.
Trump early Monday disingenuously attempted to conflate the attack by 29-year-old American Omar Mateen with what he called the threat from Syrian refugees entering the country, going so far as to lie in his claim than Mateen was "born in Afghan." Hours later in a speech in Cleveland, Trump offered an even more outrageously offensive line of attack:
"The bottom line is that the only reason the killer was in America in the first place was because we allowed his family to come here."
Mateen's parents are immigrants from Afghanistan. Mateen was born in New York.
Trump also reiterated his plan to temporarily ban Muslim immigration, specifically from countries where he believes the threat of terrorism was greatest.
"We cannot continue to allow thousands upon thousands of people to pour into our country, many of whom have the same thought process as this savage killer," Trump said, promising to only lift the ban "when we as a nation are in a position to properly and perfectly screen these people coming into our country."
He continued, "Many of the principles of Radical Islam are incompatible with Western values and institutions... Radical Islam is anti-woman, anti-gay and anti-American" (many, by the way, would argue this could also be said about Trump himself).
When bin Laden masterminded the horrific September 11 attacks which killed 3000 people on U.S. soil, he of course sought to kill Americans and cause catastrophic destruction in the process. But there was a more likely goal: to forever change America. To turn American against American. American against immigrant. American against Muslim. bin Laden's aim was to prove to the Muslim world that America was in fact as ugly, ignorant, racist and anti-Islam as he preached to his jihadis. Give America time, he believed, and everything it stands for, everything it believes in, its core tenets, its morality, its free press and even its precious rule of law, will be turned on its big fat arrogant head by scapegoating, hatred and violence. The bullies and fascists will take over, and democracy as we know it would be corrupted forever.
And now, fifteen years later, comes Donald Trump, the rabble-rousing, wall-building anti-Muslim isolationist gift-wrapped in a bloated orange box. The birthday present bin Laden always wished for but never lived to receive. Trump is the perfect vessel to realize bin Laden's ultimate dream of destroying America. He's everything the brutal monster hoped for and wished upon "The Great Satan." If Trump were to become president, America loses, but more tragically, bin Laden finally wins as he always...
Trump simply cannot help himself. Like a child. Or an addict. Unfortunately for him, he is incredibly thin-skinned. He is super-sensitive. He cannot hear even the slightest challenge or criticism without coming out swinging like a ranting, raving, unhinged, emotional lunatic, which sends him careening off message. And that's when anything and everything can and will come out of his mouth. No matter how irrational, incoherent or offensive. No matter how un-presidential.
Safe to say, last week was not a particularly good one for Trump. He faced a mountain of criticism over his controversial racist comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who's presiding over the Trump University civil fraud case. The case itself also took the news spotlight, with Trump accused of essentially robbing seniors and low-income folks out of their savings. Trump also imploded at a press conference he held to address accusations that he reneged on a promise to raise $6-million for veterans causes. And there was that brilliant Hillary speech, which was so unsparing and scathing that it left Trump a terrified sweaty mess the rest of the week.
The media may have also reached a tipping point with Trump. At his press conference he unleashed a tirade of insults, referring to journalists as "dishonest" and "disgusting" while calling one ABC News reporter "sleazy." At almost every Trump rally he also relishes calling them "scum" and "slime." It would seem that the media's love affair with the bloviating, sexist, racist billionaire may finally be over, in which case he will face a tsunami of scrutiny the likes of which will result in even greater Hillary-landslide-causing temper tantrums.
To be sure, what we witnessed last week was that there's clearly just one adult in the room. Which is why Hillary should stay on point, discussing substantive policy issues while defining Trump as "dangerous" and "incoherent," drawing a stark contrast between them. She should demonstrate experience, leadership and presidential temperament, just as she did in San Diego. And she can bet that Trump will continue to do and say outrageously offensive things, and will pout, whine and stomp his feet like a spoiled, petulant 6-year-old every time he's "insulted," treated "unfairly" or not properly "praised." Hillary should simply let him...
The conventional wisdom is that there's a huge difference between angry white male Republican primary voters and the general electorate. Given that roughly 16% of Americans voted in the Republican primaries, and that Trump garnered about 45% of them, that would mean his "fans" comprise approximately 7% of the general electorate. Now while we've learned that with Trump there is no conventional wisdom, it's still hard to fathom how he can expand his base to achieve the 51% majority need to win in November, especially without women, Hispanics, independents, moderate Republicans and with a 60% unfavorable rating.
But what's really difficult to fathom is that America could be led by a fascist dictator like Trump. Someone who's blatantly and shamelessly attacked the likes of immigrants, minorities, women, the disabled, veterans, war heroes, world leaders and the Pope. An attention-starved thin-skinned narcissist who's run an insult-laden campaign built on bombast, bullying and false bravado. A mean-spirited, nasty, divisive, polarizing loose-cannon with an utter disdain for America's free press, the bedrock of a democracy. A tone-deaf, self-serving, entitled megalomaniac and pathological liar who's promised to shut the Department of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency and the IRS; withdraw from NATO; expand nukes globally; defund Planned Parenthood; punish women for getting abortions; deport 11-million immigrants; and register and ban Muslims. In short, someone who is fundamentally unqualified to be president.
Trump is so dangerous and self-destructive that he'd turn America into a domestic and international joke, similar to Italy under controversial power-hungry billionaire Silvio Berlusconi's indictment-ending reign of greed, corruption and sleaze. Under "President Trump," America would degenerate to its ugliest, darkest days. He would single-handedly destroy its reputation and the 240-year-old principles on which it stands.
And that is precisely why Donald Trump cannot, will not, be elected president. Because I believe my fellow Americans are inherently good, decent, moral and patriotic people. Unlike the small minority of Republican primary voters, I refuse to accept that they will vote for a self-aggrandizing empty-suited reality-tv buffoon like Trump, who in just 12 months of campaigning has tarnished the office of the presidency like no one since Richard Nixon, the disgraced Republican whose career-ending unethical, amoral and criminal behavior paled in comparison to Trump's sexist, racist, xenophobic offenses.
Yes, I believe America is better than Trump. That the general electorate will ultimately demand more than an angry, vulgar, crass, impulsive, intolerant, intellectually-bankrupt peddler of negativity and doom as leader of the free world and commander-in-chief of the greatest military on the planet. That's my new prediction. God help us if I'm...
Bernie Sanders has run one of the most successful "outsider" campaigns in the history of American politics. The self-proclaimed socialist has done so largely as a crusader against income inequality.
Yet in 2014 Bernie and his wife Jane earned $206,000 according to...
Dear Bernie Supporters:
Enough with the "rigged system" claims. Please. The system is not rigged. Or corrupt. Or disenfranchising any of you. Last time I checked, you guys are all over the place 24/7. On TV, at rallies, in the voting booth. You've...
Dear Trump Supporters:
We all know how "angry" you are, and that it's been that anger that Donald Trump has tapped into and exploited in order to win the Republican presidential nomination. But it's about time you turn all that anger towards the man who's been pulling the wool over your eyes ever since he entered the race. He's lied to you, he's used you, and now he's turning his back on you to get what he wants, which is all that Trump ever cares about: himself.
Let's start with campaign financing. You love Trump because he's "self-funded" and is therefore not beholden to lobbyists, special interests, big donors and corporations. It's been the hallmark of his campaign. And while he's spent about $40-million of his own money to win the nomination, fighting a general election war against Hillary Clinton will require upwards of $500-million. Trump himself believes he may need as much as $1.5 billion. Which is why he's recently sought the GOP's help with traditional fundraising. So much for self-funding. A huge broken promise.
How about his flip-flop on raising taxes on the rich? As the NY Times reported this week, Trump essentially now says 'Just kidding!' Taxes for the rich will actually go down under his plan. So much for taxing the rich. Another broken promise.
How about his flip-flop on raising the minimum wage? He went from "no" to "l'm looking at it and I haven't decided in terms of numbers. But I think that people have to get more." So much for not raising the minimum wage. Another broken promise.
How about his flip-flop on the Muslim ban? Trump originally teased you with "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." But last week it was watered down to merely "a suggestion." So much for the ban. Another broken promise.
How about his flip-flop on releasing his tax returns before the election? That's because he doesn't want you to see how little taxes he pays, or that his effective tax rate is likely lower than yours! What if his charitable contributions show that he hasn't supported veterans like he says he has, or that he's donated to pro-choice and gun control organizations or to leading Democratic politicians? Would you think that's "none of your business," as Trump claimed last week? What if the returns show that he's not as rich and successful as he's claimed? Or that he's in debt up to his eyeballs. So much for seeing the tax returns. Another broken promise.
How about his opinion that transgender people should be able to use whichever bathroom they prefer? Hmmm...how's that one sitting with you social conservatives!?
And how about the way Trump has manipulated you into thinking he'll clamp down hard on trade deals and keep jobs in America, yet when it comes to his own pocketbook, he's shipped jobs overseas, and away from you, by having his suits and other apparel merchandise made by cheap labor in China, Mexico and elsewhere. So much for keeping jobs in America. Another broken promise.
Make no mistake: Donald Trump is a lying, flip-flopping, closet liberal and likely financial fraud who's used you to get the nomination and duped you into thinking he's someone that he's not. He's just another double-talking politician who promises one thing and does another. Who actually pretends to be someone else, as we learned last week in the fake publicist "John Miller" scandal, to promote his self-interests. Think about all that as you contemplate what to do on November 4th. Maybe that should get you...
도널드 트럼프는 별명을 좋아한다. 1년 동안 요란한 유세를 펼치며 그는 여러 라이벌들에게 별명을 붙였다. 거짓말쟁이 테드, 꼬마 마르코, 비뚤어진 힐러리, 에너지가 낮은 젭, 얼빠진 엘리자베스, 미친 버니(Lyin' Ted, Little Marco, Crooked Hillary, Low-energy Jeb, Goofy Elizabeth, Crazy Bernie) 등이다. 그러니까 이제 우리가 트럼프에게 별명을 붙여주자. 파산한 도널드라고.
왜 파산한 도널드냐고?...
Donald Trump loves nicknames. Over the year-long course of his bombastic campaigning he's come up with a bunch of 'em for various opponents: Lyin' Ted, Little Marco, Crooked Hillary, Low-energy Jeb and his latest, Goofy Elizabeth and Crazy Bernie. So it's time we slap a label on Trump himself: Broke Donald.
And why Broke Donald? Because his refusal to release his tax returns raises major suspicion that he's either insolvent and/or involved in business transactions or investments that portray him in a negative light. Is there another explanation for why he refuses to hand them over until at least after the election, if at all? He claims he "can't" release them because he's in the middle of an audit. But as I wrote back in March, even the IRS states that the decision to release his tax returns is Trump's and only Trump's.
Every presidential nominee for the past forty years has released tax returns before the election. So Trump's refusal raises the billion-dollar question, what's he hiding? Is he broke? Will the returns show low income? Low tax rate? Massive debt? Business losses? Do the returns show an embarrassingly low amount of charitable contributions? And to whom he's contributed to, or not? For example, has he not supported veterans as he's claimed? Do the returns show questionable deductions and/or offshore investments and shelters? Something even worse? As the GOP's 2012 nominee Mitt Romney suggested Tuesday, is there a "bombshell" in there?
Contrary to Trump's claim that "tax returns show very, very little," these official documents actually show quite a lot, and provide an official window into an individual's true financial standing. So maybe Trump's insistence that they remain private is because they're the house of cards that could bring down the house of Trump.
And there's the problem. For an individual who's anchored his entire narrative to his "huge" wealth, perhaps those tax returns would be a devastating blow to the Trump mystique and brand. Imagine what life would be like for Trump if it appeared that he wasn't worth the $10-billion he's claimed? If he couldn't brag about his success and those billions. Shielding his tax returns from the public certainly allows him to continue his relentless trumped-up self-aggrandizing.
Let's be clear: it's not been the American people who've entered Trump's personal wealth into the campaign as the candidate's primary political asset. It's been Trump himself who's consistently claimed for a year now that his personal fortune and business success are his core presidential calling cards. Which is why verifying those claims should be an essential part of the vetting process.
Hillary Clinton should embrace "Broke Donald" and run with it. She should define the presumptive Republican nominee as a financial fraud. She should attack him where it'd hurt the most. The one button that when pushed would rattle Trump like no other. His wealth is how he defines himself. Attack the money and you attack the man. And it's what she should do non-stop until November. It'd keep her on offense and him on defense.
Imagine the following ad: "Broke Donald. Refuses to release his tax returns. What's he hiding? Is his "huge" wealth just a myth? Is Donald Trump a financial fraud? I'm Hillary Clinton...and I approved this ad..."...
Seems like hardly a nanosecond ago Donald Trump, the Republican front runner, sounded like an ignorant, intolerant, sexist, racist buffoon. And since his big win in the New York primary last week, he's put much of the nastiness on hold and, according to the mainstream media, is sounding more "presidential." Talk about setting the bar low.
Welcome to Trump's new reality show: The Pivot. In a flash, he's all but replaced his controversial campaign manager Corey Lewandowski with Paul Manafort, the embodiment of the very political establishment which Trump excoriates, a theme on which he's built his entire campaign; a campaign fueled by the candidate's Morton Downey-esque blistering persona and incendiary rhetoric.
But now Trump appears to be on a calculated mission to make nice with the GOP, RNC chairman Reince Priebus, and moderate voters in an attempt to win enough delegates (preferably the 1237 minimum) to win the nomination and avoid an all-out war at the party's convention this Summer in Cleveland.
Manafort, who cut his teeth delegate-hunting in 1976 for President Gerald Ford, dropped a bomb last Thursday while addressing about 100 RNC members in a closed-door meeting in Hollywood, FL. He 'assured' the group that Trump's campaign thus far has been an act. That he's been playing a "part."
"He gets it," Manafort told RNC members. "The part that he's been playing is now evolving into the part that you've been expecting. The negatives will come down, the image is going to change, but 'Crooked Hillary' is still going to be 'Crooked Hillary.'"
The Pivot even had Trump criticizing North Carolina's recent "bathroom bill." When asked whether well known transgender reality star Caitlyn Jenner would be free to use any bathroom she wanted in Trump Tower, he said, "That is correct."
The big question raised by The Pivot is, what happens when a candidate like Trump, whose 'authenticity' and anti-establishment bona fides have been the primary source of his appeal, suddenly appears inauthentic and very establishment? And how will his legion of angry blue-collar white dudes feel about their hero's new open bathroom policy?
Trump's rabidly loyal fans will surely be put to the test now. Will these same folks, who've unequivocally excused and defended his inflammatory rhetoric over the past year, accept an abrupt shift to the center by "Lyin' Donald?" Have his comments about North Carolina and Caitlyn Jenner stunned them into re-thinking the 'truer' conservative Ted Cruz? Does Trump now appear like the closet Democrat many have suspected him to be all along?
Stay tuned to The Pivot. The next episodes promise to be quite...
"The system, folks, is rigged! It's a rigged, disgusting, dirty system."
Welcome to the newest Donald Trump campaign strategy, or perhaps the launch of his exit strategy. Still hot under the collar from getting his unprepared, unorganized butt kicked last Saturday by Ted Cruz, who snagged all 34 Colorado delegates in that state's GOP convention, Trump is starting to sound like a man who's finally found the right excuse to get the hell out of politics, a "dirty" business he got into only to feed his rapacious id and have some fun for a few months.
But little did Trump know that he'd become the clear front runner by awakening the "silent majority," those mad-as-hell-and-I'm-not-gonna-take-it-anymore blue-collar white dudes who misguidedly think the best candidate to fix the broken, inequitable system they feel screwed them all these years is the Ivory Tower billionaire who's exploited that very same system to become rich and powerful beyond their wildest dreams.... all the while bankrupting businesses, hiring undocumented workers and refusing to support a $15/hour minimum wage increase.
"The economy is rigged, the banking system is rigged, there's a lot of things that are rigged in this world of ours," a shrill Trump ranted at his Albany, NY rally this week. "Rules are no good when you don't get Democracy. The rules are no good when they don't count your vote....when you have to play dirty tricks to pick up delegates!"
Trump's latest salvo puts the blame of his Colorado loss not on his ineptitude and ground-game deficiency, but squarely on an allegedly corrupt process that disenfranchised voters and stole his delegates. A process, mind you, that Cruz seemed to understand and capitalize on quite well.
Which fits nicely into a future narrative of, "I could be president, I would've been president, but the corrupt Republican establishment's backroom brokers changed the rules so I couldn't win. I'm outta here!"
This would be followed by lawsuits against the GOP, individual states and the U.S. government. And as a final kick in RNC Chairman Reince Priebus's balls, Trump would announce a last-minute independent candidacy, all but assuring a Hillary Clinton landslide in November. A scenario which, by the way, fits my narrative of a secret conspiracy by Trump to help Madam Secretary get elected.
It should be noted, however, that even Trump doesn't believe his own "rigged system" conspiracy. "I'm not complaining about the states I won...those are ok!," Trump smugly boasted. That's been Trump's mantra from day-one: 'When I win, it's great. When I lose, it's everyone else's...
My fellow Republicans:
What the heck has happened to our party!? I don't recognize us anymore, and haven't for many, many years. I can't believe what we've become. This is the party of Lincoln? Of me?
I've listened for years now as candidate after candidate invokes my name as...
It was 1967. The Summer of Love. A defining moment in America's social history which symbolized the hippie counterculture movement. Over 100,000 young people descended upon San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district amid free love, awesome music and lots of hallucinogenic drugs. Just two years...
In the 1970's, Travis Bickle, the fictional character in director Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver," attempted to assassinate a politician in a psychotic, delusional haze motivated by political disenchantment and racism.
Also in the 70's, New York City serial killer David Berkowitz, the infamous Son of Sam, claimed that a demon in the form of his neighbor's dog ordered him to kill innocent people.
Given the current, unprecedentedly volatile political landscape, it would be incredibly naive and irresponsible to believe that there's not one psycho out there right now who, in similar fashion to Manson, Bickle and Berkowitz, believes Donald Trump is speaking directly to him. That Trump's mantra to "make America great again," coupled with his incendiary, race-baiting rhetoric, is a direct call to take up arms, fight Trump's war, and be a 'hero.' Just one. That's all it will take to cause a horrific, bloody tragedy.
To be sure, there's a palpable level of toxicity and hatred that permeates Trump's events. And it's the direct result of the candidate himself. Of one protester in Las Vegas, he boasted that "I'd like to punch him right in the face." Of other protesters in Iowa, he urged the crowd to "Knock the crap out of them." He's also defended some of his "fans" for punching and kicking a #BlackLivesMatter protester saying, "Maybe he should have been roughed up."
As CNN's Michael Smerconish said Saturday, "Donald Trump has shouted 'fire' in a political theater."
At Trump's North Carolina rally last week one angry old white dude sucker-punched a black protester in the face as he was being removed by security. Afterwards, he chillingly threatened that"Next time we see him, we might have to kill him." Can someone, anyone, tell me how this sort of hate-speak is making America great?
There was more violence Friday at a Trump rally in St. Louis, and later that night his massive rally in Chicago was cancelled after violence erupted in the arena.
And over the weekend a protester charged the stage at Trump's rally in Ohio and was taken down by Secret Service before he reached Trump, who looked terrified as three agents bear-hugged him to prevent an attack.
So what happens next? Will Trump himself become more of a target? Will he ultimately get the message that he's the one inciting the violence and start to bring down the temperature in the room? Or will he continue to ratchet up the toxic rhetoric until it leads to an awful tragedy? Unfortunately, it appears Trump, in some very twisted way, is getting off on it all.
"Honestly can I be honest with you?" he said after the cancelled Chicago rally. "It adds to the flavor, it really does, makes it more exciting."
I bet it won't be so "exciting" if and when someone gets...