Beware of the underdog

Thanks to Donald Trump’s two great strengths, his precision-guided aim when he shoots himself in the foot, and his consistent ability to shout gibberish the moment he looks away from his teleprompter, he is very close to becoming a figure of national and global ridicule as well as the greatest man in the known universe.

Yet underneath this bumbling, dangerously thoughtless, self-centered facade lurks a venal, petty, vindictive man who genuinely believes he deserves to be President because he crushed sixteen real Republicans with his lies, insults, absurdly stupid or false claims, and the willing complicity of the TV media.

All clever critiques aside, the Progressive coalition forces need to remind themselves every day of every week until November 8th that this charlatan is a successful mass-audience TV entertainer, capable by nature of turning any given event or setback to advantage. He has the snake-oil salesman’s knack of persuading his audiences that his words are true and credible — at least until he can jet out of town and on to the next arena of suckers.

Over the past year of observing — and being trampled by — the Trump parade, many others have warned: do not underrate him, and do not underrate the gullibility of the American voter!

Right now, going into the conventions, Trump looks like a wounded warrior. We see a steady march of leading Republicans announcing their support for Clinton. Nate Silver, the polls-reading guru, launched his 2016 election website yesterday with a probability that Clinton has an 80% chance of beating the TV buffoon. Our own “Battleground Scorecard” analysis of her chances makes Silver’s probability seem conservative.

Past U.S. elections should remind us that seemingly relentless trends can be stopped in their tracks. It happens when an unpredicted event suddenly changes or even reverses the perceived appeal of the two contestants. Or when voters conclude that the putative winner is somehow taking unfair advantage of the losing opponent. Or when those in the lead are not listening to the real frustration, anger, hopes and fears of the voters they confidently expect to support them: “But really!” we say amongst ourselves, “All those voters would never allow this odious fraud to become President!”,  as we polish the champagne glasses in anticipation of the night of November 8th.

Not listening to the pain of the past of your supporters is the easiest way to lose their support in the future. Worse, it sets them up as easy targets for a manipulator like Trump.

Over these long months we must all be extra careful not to allow the wounded warrior to re-package himself as the presumptive underdog of the Republican Party. The Donald is adept at costume changes, just as he is quick to reverse his stated “policies”, or at inventing claims about himself or others to justify his irrational rants.

By all thoughtful assessments, he is mad. So, yes, help him paint himself as a mad dog. But do not let him become a mad underdog.

Americans love underdogs. We love the downtrodden when they rise above their circumstances. We root for the victim of evil exploitation when she or he fights back, and we applaud even more when the fight seems hopeless. We love rebels, the ones who take up a noble cause, sacrificing themselves in the interest of others, the ones who fight the “establishment” so their followers will have a chance for a better life.

Do not allow the actor Trump to assume the role of underdog in this fight for the future of our country. He is not downtrodden — he lives in a golden palace high above our greatest city, sneering at the truly downtrodden on the streets below. He is not a victim; he’s a victimizer, intent on defrauding millions of desperate folks of their hopes for a decent life and safe home for their families. He is not a rebel, not by any definition; he’s a complete conformist to the standards of the Legion of Greed. All he’s sacrificed in this campaign is a few rounds of golf at the dozens of golf courses he owns.

Yes, there are underdogs in this election — not Donald Trump but the very people he threatens with his Future of Fear, then woos with his impossible claims of a fantasy stage-set greatness they’ve never experienced. His target audiences are the true underdogs in our society, the people who’ve bought into decades of Republican trickle-down, dumb-down economics. They are the ones we need to be rooting for and working to include in our vision of a progressive America.

If Clinton wins, then we can begin to tear down the accumulated barriers to growth and success that block their way.

But helping them fulfill their hopes then can only be assured if we pay attention to their anger and worries now.

The Three Amigos — Going down (ballot)

H-S-S FIN 20160623

How to support without endorsing

Overheard in the third stall of the Capitol’s Special Reserved Transwhomever Restroom:

Blinders Reince: “Guys, stop dithering! We have to have a standard response that all our down-ballot candidates can use. We must give them some space that isn’t tainted with Agent Orange, right? So, what do they say when they’re asked if they support Mr. T?”

Denyin’ Paul, via his cell phone: “They should say, ‘I’m a totally loyal Republican. I support our Party’s candidates in Illinois (or whichever state they call home.)'”

Blinded Reince: “But what do they say about Trump?”

Denyin’ Paul: “Read the above. Full Stop. Do not sit on the floor of the House.”

Blinders Reince: “Jeez, Mr. Sneaker, that’s really not answering the question.”

Denyin’ Paul: “I told you Reince! Never call me that. No one was sneaking out of the House that night! We finished the business of the House and we all had planes to catch, period. End of story.”

Blinded Reince: “Right. At three AM…Mitch, which answer do you vote for?”

“Zzzzz…Hmmmpf…Zzzzz”

Blinded Reince: “Mitch! Wake up! We need to know how you vote on this.”

Mumblin’ Mitch: “Hmmmpf…Ah-ah-ahhh-hum…Wh-wh-what ‘vote‘? We have no votes scheduled today in the Senate except for the ‘No’ votes. Ah-ah-humpf. What vote are you speaking about? And do you have to speak so loudly about this so-called ‘vote’? And where is my favorite ‘Dumbo’ blankie?”

Blinders Reince: “You left it on your office sofa, Senator, just next to your ‘Tommy the Toddlin’ Turtle” pillow. We need to vote on what our candidates say when the totally biased liberal press ask if they support our national candidate.”

Mumblin’ Mitch: “Meaning, ahum, him?”

Blinders Reince: “Dammit, Senator! We tried to get Romney to take him on, remember? Look how that worked out. Now we have to protect the small fry around the country. You don’t want to lose your majority, right?”

Mumblin’ Mitch: “Hmmmpf…Ah-ah-ahhh-hum…”

Blinders Reince: “Well?”

Mumblin’ Mitch: “What does Ryan say? And why isn’t he here?”

Blinders Reince: “He had to workout. But he’s on the phone, here, see?”

Mumblin’ Mitch: “Ah-ah-ahh…Nope.”

Blinders Reince: “He must have turned the camera off. Just tell us what you think the Party party-line should be?”

Mumblin’ Mitch: “Hmmmpf. They can say, ‘We are the Party of Lincoln, except we’re true Conservatives, unlike that long, tall, Liberal with his stovepipe hat and hard to understand stories and speeches.’ I mean, golly, ‘…of the people, by the people, for the people’? It can’t be all three! A real leader has to choose!”

Blinders Reince: “Yes, Senator, but what do we choose when it comes to Trump? What is a Republican running for the House or Senate to say while he or she is running away from the Bloviater in Chief?”

Mumblin’ Mitch: “I support him, and I support all his positions the Party says we support. And I even bought a red baseball cap, even though I don’t much care for baseball, and the size ‘S’ was still too big for my head.”

Blinders Reince: “OK, Senator, but do you endorse him?”

Mumblin’ Mitch: “I do if at least sixty others do.”

Blinders Reince: “Yes, dammit! But what if they ask ‘Will you vote for him’?”

Mumblin’ Mitch: “HMMMMPFF! How dare you! That, Sir is an invasion of my privacy as a citizen of Washington D.C.! You have no right to that sacred information.”

Blinders Reince: “Hey! That’s pretty good, Senator. It’s a lot better than Mr. Sneaker’s idea. Gets us up there on the high ground. But I think you meant to say ‘Kentucky’, not Washington.”

Denyin’ Paul: “Dammit! I told you Reince! Never call me that!”

Blinders Reince: “OK, OK, Paul, just bangin’ your gavel. How’s the weather there in Wisconsin?”

Denyin’ Paul: “Under House Rule 4812-A, that information will be released after review by the House Rules Committee. Thank you for you patience.”

Blinders Reince: “OK, Mr. Sn…I mean Speaker. But really, just between us, are you going to actually vote for Agent Orange?

Denyin’ Paul: “Do you promise on your undersized executive chair not to tell more than 500 other elected Republican office-holders?”

Blinders Reince: “I promise, Mr. Speaker, really and truly.”

Denyin’ Paul: “Under Party Rule 2427, that information will be released after thorough consultation with the Republican Party Rules Committee on July 19, 2016, assuming the Cleveland Police Department has cleared away the mess of thrown folding chairs and Persimmon Plum Smoothies and we have thereby regained possession of the executive conference room in the Quicken Loans Arena, or a convenient alternative secret meeting location nearby. Thank you for you patience.”

 

Seen on a Shirt — 4

I’m for Trump — What could possibly go wrong?
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the secret of my success is not to tell people the secret of my success
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the Senate is a club, and we are not in it

Your Truthteller wants to know… about Texas

Greetings Mr. Trump. Here’s a question the press and TV folks haven’t gotten around to asking you yet.

Do you concur with the five to three vote U.S. Supreme Court ruling negating Texas’ restrictive laws regulating the rights of women to control their own reproduction choices?

Please make that a “yes” or a “no”. If you don’t understand the question, just say, “Don’t understand the question. Is this maybe about the Brexit thing?”

Please answer within ten days. If you fail to answer then we’ll conclude you have no intention of answering, and that refusal shall be distributed as your response.

Have a nice Day Number 132!

The Nameless Men

nameless-men-career-path

This year we’re mostly dedicating our Truthteller work to explaining the 2016 U.S. Election, at least from our point of view. That event promises to be a fulcrum point in the evolution of the American experiment, so it must necessarily command maximum attention. But the core of our own evolution as a socioeconomic analyst is our decades-long study of and first hand involvement with Big Capital.

“Career Path”

Big Capital is a key player in this election, as our readers surely know. And it’s the driving force behind the American policy of obstructing efforts to understand and mitigate climate change. So we’ll be working to help expose the ways Big Capital controls the trends that control much of our lives.

Those who out of choice or chance find themselves on the outside of the big corporate world looking in may be surprised to learn that for all the humorless BS in that world, there are occasional glimmers of humanizing wit.

As evidence, we offer the first in our series of “nameless men” cartoons.

(Please go to the separate nm page to track the progress of the series.)

George Will won’t

…be a Republican anymore. He has resigned his membership to protest the Party’s selection of Trump. George of course didn’t ask for my advice, but I’ll offer some anyway, personal style:

Dear George,

I would suggest you wait about a month, if it’s possible to temporarily retract your resignation. There appears to be a possibility that the Party may fail to nominate the wannabe Deporter-in-Chief. I’m giving the potential for a (literal) floor fight a probability of 37.8%.

Neva’ Trumpers might actually emerge with the chance to vote for John Kasich, or even your honored self.

Think of that! A 110% legitimate Conservative! Who comes with ready-made campaign slogans like “Let George do it!” and “Will will!”

Sure, the Party will still go down to a crushing defeat, but with its honor partially intact.

And you, Will, will have saved the day. Now, let’s look at the possibilities for 2020…”

Just a “publicity stunt”?

Finally, at about 3 AM Thursday morning, Sneaker Ryan & Company escaped the Capitol building and his mandated responsibilities, cloaked by the night from the shaming, damning eyes of America. His bruising day and night of public humiliation was over, at least until July 5th.

For sixteen hours, he’d proved incapable of forcing the Democratic members of the House to stop demanding simple up or down votes on two wildly popular bills to limit the purchase of guns by those who shouldn’t have them. His inability to do his job as Speaker of the House was displayed to the nation. And to his Masters in the gun lobby, who, after seeing Follower Mitch cave to the “stop the gun violence” faction in the Senate on Monday, now had to stomach the Sneaker’s total loss of control of the House. “Hey Wayne! Where’d we get this Ryan bozo?” the killer industry chiefs must have been asking their brothers-in-harm. “Let’s get Boehner back! With 49 innocents murdered by our product, we could sure use his tears.”

“It’s just a publicity stunt, boys,” the Wayne of Pain probably answered, echoing Ryan’s charge as Mr. Sneaker charged for the Capitol exit.

So ended Ryan’s day of denial.

Now, look: even though we’re dealing with a corporate gang who make their riches over the dead bodies of nearly 33,000 mostly younger Americans every year, we need to be fair.

The sit-in staged by the House Democrats was a publicity stunt. Just like every other political protest.

The aim of such “stunts” is to focus the eye of the voting public on the wrongs, injustices, hypocrisies and flat-out evils done by institutions acting in their interest instead of the interests of their customers, or users, or voters.

The Dem’s well-executed sit-in did precisely that, which is why Ryan quickly turned off the cameras that allow us to watch what he does–or doesn’t do–in the House chamber. He desperately needed to prevent the eyes of the American people from seeing his cowardly style of “leadership” for what it is. Let’s be crystal clear, here: Ryan shut down our cameras, cameras owned not by Ryan or the Republican bottom-feeders but by us. He did it to prevent us from witnessing his shameful dereliction of duty to his office. In doing it, he ignored the rights of his constituents, namely all the people of this country, be they Republicans or Democrats or Independents, be they on the left, right, or sideways, to see what our Congress is up to.

But the House Democrats defeated this blatant attempt to hide the truth from the people, thanks to their smartphones and the internet’s social media platforms.

Unlike the 60+ political stunts staged by Ryan and his party of No, in pointless votes to kill the Affordable Care Act, the protest by the Democrats was a simple, justified plea to Ryan to simply bring two bills to the floor for an up-or-down vote. Just let every member of the House state for the record his or her agreement or objection, so all voters can at last see how their representative stands on this vital issue.

Ryan does not have the courage to honestly state that he is never going to allow such a vote in his House, nor will he state the true reason for his refusal: that a hundred or more members of his caucus would likely go down in defeat come November, once their local constituents see how the NRA is effectively running the U.S. House of Representatives.

So Ryan had no choice (in his weaselish mind) but to declare the House closed, as his gang sneaked out of town under the cover of darkness. But the damage had been done.

Thanks to the timely courage of the House Democrats, we all saw an egregious example of our government in inaction. We all saw their so-called “stunt”, a sixteen-hour wail of pain on behalf of 49 murdered young people, and hundreds of thousands of others, gunned down in the name of the Second Amendment, but really in the name of weapons makers’ profits.

Yes, the Democrats’ sit-in failed. That’s the nature of civil non-violent action, of all attempts to speak conscience to power. The next “stunt” will fail, too, and the ones after that. Then, one day, one of these public outpourings of grief and anger and patriotic love of our country will not fail.

If we act, if we simply go to the polling place and act, then that day could come as early as November 8, 2016.

And then we can learn how a heart-rending call to action by a hundred true patriots began one day as a protest, and ended the next as a chapter in our history.

What to do about Cleveland?

H-S-S FIN 20160623There they sit, Priebus updating his resume, McConnell mumbling to himself and anyone nearby who still listens, and Ryan hiding out in his Capital cave office, all looking for an exit strategy from their entire sham of a political career. At this point, each has to be worried that his appearance at the upcoming convention in Cleveland will be booed by the entire audience: half of them establishment-hating Trump followers, and the other half non-Trump followers, who at this point probably have an even lower opinion of the Republican Party establishment leaders than the Trumpeters.

Surely there is some other way out of the Trump Horror Show…

Let’s put our brains together.

What’s that Pleabus?

OK, so the best Republican brains are endorsing Clinton. No matter; our political spin Doctor has come up with three solid strategies:

  1. Let “The Political Apprentice Show” happen in Cleveland, but tell all the real Republicans to develop a severe case of pre-nausea on July 17th. You know: the kind of nausea you get when you are about to be forced to eat something really rotten.
  2. Boldly announce that the “base” has made it’s choice, and now, the National Republican Party is making its: to rename itself as the New Conservative Party, followed by an executive meeting transferring all assets of the once GOP to the NCP, and a group departure for an immediate executive retreat. Moving quickly.
  3. Instruct all the non-Trump supporters to show up in Cleveland with “Neva Trump!” sleeping bags and stage a sit-in, demanding a voice vote nominating Jeb Bush for President! Wow, there’s a novel idea!

What’s that, Reincid?

Of course it’ll be seen as a publicity stunt….No, it’s not at all like the drive-by sit-in the Democrats pulled off: they have sit-ins for something, while we’re against everything.

OK, if these are too bold for the three of you, your SpinDoc has just one more solution.

Realize that only about 20% of the 65 million or so people who identify as “Republican” actually voted for Trump. Meaning 80% of your members want nothing to do with him.

Let me repeat since cryin’ Ryan was not listening:

The vast majority of rank-and-file Republicans, along with most Republican office holders, most Republican donors, and former students of Trump University do not want this clown to get within ten miles of the White House.

Yes, it’s true: there are millions of people supporting Donald Trump for the Republican nomination, and almost all of them are Democrats!

So, it’s simple: go to Cleveland, and command the Rules Committee to pass a New Rule freeing all delegates from any prior obligation. Then hand out a multiple choice form listing Trump, John Kasich, A Candidate to be Named Later, and None of the Above.

When attendees object, simply point out that nominating Trump is as good as doing Hillary Clinton’s bidding.

Then call 911. You’re going to be needing help.

Update – The Trump campaign meltdown

Watching this contest between a juggernaut and a naught is much like seeing one of those B-movies set in the Coliseum where a squadron of highly trained, organized, and motivated gladiators is taking on a gang of rough, ill-equipped bumpkins. We all pretend to dislike the professionals and their cold, powerful Blue Queen, but we secretly love seeing the over-matched underdogs go down in horrible agony one by one. We don’t feel guilty because we know that just in time, a Hero will emerge among the shabby band of Red outsiders and rebels, and, with amazing feats of swordsmanship and sheer noise, provide a free ride to doom for the brutally efficient forces of Empire, thus saving the day for freedom and justice.

In the present case, all the parts seem well cast, except for the over-aged Red Hero. After Sir Donald’s frankly stupid remarks over the course of just ten days, doubt as to his establishment-overthrowing skills is setting in again with a vengeance. Worse, as his yoooge self-appraised strength as a counter-punching warrior for the people has come even more into doubt, we now learn that his Treasury is, to be charitable, empty, in part thanks to his and his children’s habit of dipping into it.

With no money, no significant battleground state ground game, no supporting surrogates, and no discernible rescuing cavalry on the horizon, Sir Talksalot seems a long way from defeating the Queen and her steely-eyed team. We’re therefore sticking with our forecast of 347 Electoral Votes for Clinton and 191 for Trump, but the way he keeps stabbing himself in the foot makes that estimate of 191 EVs downright shaky. We see 27 to 37 EVs possibly switching to the Queen, with another 49 close to slipping into toss-up land, and thus becoming vulnerable.

What Do You Think: Why won’t Trump show us his tax returns?

Clinton has uploaded decades of tax returns for all to see, but the Donald has yet to show us even one measly year of financial data.

What is he trying to hide? Or is there some other reason he doesn’t want all his followers to see the numbers?

What’s your guess?

  1. He’s so busy being his own campaign manager, press officer, strategist, “speech” writer, and Twit-in-Chief that he simply has no time for boring details like coming clean with the voters
  2. He hid all the records in one of his two dozen homes and now can’t remember which one
  3. Or perhaps you agree with the pundits, who speculate that his returns will show that, although he makes hundreds of millions of dollars each year, he pays little to no U.S. taxes.

As damning as Number Three would prove in the eyes of the 14-plus million who voted for him in the Republican Primary, I’m convinced he’s cowering on this issue for a different reason:

He’s afraid ordinary Americans will be enraged when they learn he takes a multi-million dollar deduction to pay for his fat jumbo jet and its gold-plated fittings, calling it a “business expense”

He’s even more afraid what the media will do to him when they and the people realize that they, the over-burdened middle class taxpayers, are the suckers actually paying for Trump’s flying monster, and each and every one of the ego-trips he takes each tax year

Holy Flyin’ Elephants! All these screaming followers at his rallies have helped pay for Trump’s luxury travel at 30,000 feet. And all they have to show for it is a cheap red hat.

But it’s worse.

If he publishes tax returns showing he effectively didn’t pay any, the meanies of the NY Times and WaPo and Wall Street Journal will then demand to see the returns for his personal corporation, The Trump Organization.   Would they have a case? Well, the company is 100% owned by the Donald, and is therefore a personal asset. All of its income and expenses are, in reality, his income and expenses. So, yes, he would be ethically obligated to show the financial documents for his personal company in addition to the relatively unimportant personal return.

Why would this be a problem? Because the Trump Organization return would necessarily list all the real estate Trump controls, along with other assets which produce rents, operating fees, licensing fees, or any other type of income.

The world would suddenly know just how rich, or not rich, the Orange blowhard is.

In our judgment there is no way he would ever consent to revealing this information.

In 1593, King Henry of France decided to renounce his Protestant faith and become a Catholic, thereby securing the French throne but alienating millions of his Huguenot followers. This was surely as wrenching a political decision as publishing a bunch of personal business tax returns.

When asked why he did it, the witty Henry answered, “Paris (meaning the French throne) is well worth a Mass.”

We have all seen that Donald Trump is incapable of such boldness, and at heart, doesn’t trust the American voters. Faced with the momentous choice of financial transparency or keeping his true wealth, or lack of it, hidden, we feel certain he would look wistfully at the fleeting Presidency, and say, “The White House is not worth the complete collapse of the Trump legend, image and brand.”

We will not see his tax returns. Do not watch this space.