Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Trumped!:pick your favorite scandal edition

The Atlantic has helpfully posted a 'cheat sheet' list of Trump crimes and scandals, summing the situation up this way:
The 2016 presidential election could be the most scandal-plagued match-up since 1884 when James Blaine’s allegedly corrupt business deals squared off against Grover Cleveland’s alleged illegitimate child. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is the nominee, bringing with her a train-car’s worth of baggage. But the Republican candidate is at least as saddled with controversy as Clinton is—and while many of the Clinton cases involve suspicion and shadowy links, many of Trump’s are fully documented in court cases and legal proceedings.
The breadth of Trump’s controversies is truly yuge, ranging from allegations of mafia ties to unscrupulous business dealings, and from racial discrimination to alleged marital rape. They stretch over more than four decades, from the mid-1970s to the present day. To catalogue the full sweep of allegations would require thousands of words and lump together the trivial with the truly scandalous. Including business deals that have simply failed, without any hint of impropriety, would require thousands more. This is a snapshot of some of the most interesting and largest of those scandals.
 It is hard to wake up every morning to the hard fact that we are living in a country where nearly half of the voters are willing and ready to vote for a con artist, that the US military prefers this member of the Putin fan club  to Clinton more than 2-1,* that late night tv hosts goof around with him the way they would with any celebrity guest. But we have to deal with these hard facts, and try to square them with the unending list of cons, harms, lies, crimes that trails Trump like used toilet paper clinging to his Ferragamo's. His voters know he is a liar, thief and bully, but really would rather install a known sleazy rip-off artist and serial bankrupt in the white house than vote for a spectacularly credentialed if admittedly politically conventional woman, and they will do this in part because of misogyny and in part because they are so angry they would rather push the US off a cliff in order to stick it to the establishment.

*[though his edge over Clinton is much much less than that of the GOP candidates over Obama in prior elections; that "What's A Leppo" Johnson is virtually tied with Trump (38-37) in this poll shows the unease that the military feels about Trump, even as it pisses all over Clinton (at 16% in this poll)]

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Warren annihilates Wells Fargo CEO Stumpf

Warren is on fire.
What a shame that the Wells fraud is tl/dr for voters and bank customers. What's the chance that the defrauded customers will be made whole?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Trumped!: Bomb edition

How did he know? People are wondering:
Donald Trump said at a campaign rally here Saturday night that a "bomb went off" in New York City, as initial reports about a possible explosion in Manhattan were circulating.
"I must tell you that just before I got off the plane, a bomb went off in New York and nobody knows exactly what's going on," said Trump shortly after he deplaned at a rally at a hangar here. It was not immediately clear based on reports what exactly unfolded in New York.
The Associated Press reported around the same time as Trump's remark that firefighters were at the scene of a possible building explosion in the city.
Did he have it planted? I'm not asking, but I've heard that some people are.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Trumped!: DC press edition

Back on the Holodeck campaign trail, it seems that the US news media just got pwned again by Trump, this time to broadcast, live, an infomercial for his built-to-fail DC hotel:
Donald Trump beautifully played the D.C. press into airing what amounted to a 90-minute commercial for his new hotel today.
Billed as a press conference on the vitally important issue of where Donald Trump thinks President Obama was born, most of the major networks began airing footage of the ballroom around 10:15 a.m. Trump—who showed up 90 minutes late, by the way—appeared twice: once to tout the hotel, and once again to lie.
“Nice hotel. Under budget and ahead of schedule. Isn’t that nice?” Trump said, taking the stage. “Amazing, amazing how good our country can do when we want to do it. But we have put in tremendous amounts of work and energy—and money—and I really believe, I said this will be the best hotel in Washington. I think it may be one of the great hotels anywhere in the world. That’s the way it turned out. So, really honored to have this as our first event.”
Honored my ass---he'll probably bill the networks for their use of the ballroom.
But Trump’s extreme trolling of the D.C. press corps wasn’t yet over. According to reporters on the scene, he then locked the reporters in the ballroom and took the pool cameras on a promotional tour of the hotel. When ABC reporter Candace Smith, the designated pool producer, attempted to accompany the cameraman, she says she was “physically restrained.”
In today's suggestion box for the US news media:stop broadcasting Trump events live.

The holodeck election

Juan Cole is on fire today:
If the Gulf War was a television spectacle, the 2016 election is much more of one, with the added phony copies of reality flying around on social media. Not only did the election not take place, Donald Trump did not run. He has virtually no campaign machine, few functioning district offices. He holds rallies, which are dutifully televised by the cable “news” networks– they actually just turn their airtime over to him on a regular basis (while not doing any such thing for Hillary Clinton). His campaign is his staged rallies, which then are piped out to millions gratis. Trump is given free airtime because he is a creature of television, a reality show star, famous for being famous (i.e. for no particular reason; lots of real estate magnates are not famous, e.g.) He is given air time because viewership rises when he is on tv, and networks can charge advertisers more if they have more viewers.
Trump, in other words, functions for cable news in the same way as the ghostly Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 did for CNN in particular. Apparently hundreds of thousands of Americans were riveted by 6 months of rank speculation as to whether the airliner had landed in Tibet’s Shangrila or been kidnapped by Vladimir Putin’s air force. We are told that

“From 10pm-12am, [CNN’s] All Business: The Essential Donald Trump ranked #1 among adults 25-54 with 448k, beating the combined delivery of Fox News and MSNBC. Fox News averaged 193k. MSNBC trailed with 101k.
Let’s repeat that. A quick and dirty basic cable documentary on Trump outdrew both Fox and MSNBC live magazine news shows among the target demographic (the elderly, from a marketing point of view, do not actually exist). The non-Trump, the copy of Trump over at CNN, overshadowed Greta van Susteren and Lawrence O’Donnell’s news shows, which faded into unreality in comparison. Van Susteren demonstrated her own inability to grasp reality when she doubted that Fox poobah Roger Ailes had been a serial sex harasser; but then as reality sank in, she began to flicker and after a while, when she had accepted the non-televised non-Fox reality, she could no longer be found on the airwaves herself. Not only is there no election, but those who acknowledge the hard facts obscured by the 24 hour “news cycle” also come not to exist.
Did the press demand that Trump, the oldest person ever to have the prospect of taking office as president for a first term, reveal his physician’s health report?
Trump has an eccentric doctor write up a very brief one-pager, and then Trump shows it to Dr. Oz, Oprah’s physician, on afternoon television. Done. The health report is “public” because televised. No matter that it was a skeleton report, and raised questions about weight and cholesterol. There was no real health report of the sort the reporters had in mind, and which past candidates had released. There was only a phony copy of such a report in the form of a t.v. broadcast with a t.v. quack, half of whose statements about medicine and treatment appear to be ungrounded in reality.
As with a scripted reality show, Trump creates and keeps tension in his story line. His character is the grumpy anti-immigrant who shouts, “You furriners get off my lawn!” But if he does that consistently there is no tension. So in late August he asked the audience at a “town hall” (a phony t.v. town hall) whether he should “soften” his stance. He created a frenzy. Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter, bit players in the reality show, are stricken, in tears, angry and betrayed. Donald, you were our great white hope– how could you do this to us. Serious journalists were made to sit in televised roundtables (phony t.v. substitutes for actual reportage) and discuss ad nauseam whether Trump was “softening.” Or the serious journalists were switched out for campaign “surrogates” like Corey Lewandowski, hired by CNN to parrot Trump even though he was still on Trump’s payroll. Cable news journalism made its own journalism disappear. “This is not a journalist,” the ticker underneath should read.
Then the scripted reality character grumpy Trump comes out and gives a fiery speech denouncing immigrants, resolving the tension he had artificially created.
The one-week “softening crisis” never actually took place. There was no softening. Just as there is no election.
The unreality of the election is easily demonstrated. The controversies broadcast both on television and radio and on social media do not refer back to any verified, reasoned facts. More dramatic tension was introduced just yesterday when the Trump campaign (which doesn’t really exist) announced that Barack Obama was not actually born in Kenya. But the star, Trump, is sulking and won’t say that, won’t allow the concrete reality of the hospital in Hawaii in 1961 to seep into the televised rally, the holodeck of Trump’s spaceship.
I don't remember the rules of the holodeck, but I do remember that if you die in the matrix, then you die. And so if Trump's fans end up voting in large enough numbers, he's president.
Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Built to be bankrupt: Trump DC hotel edition

Don't blink, or you might miss the entire lifespan of the new Trump DC hotel. Here's the scoop from the Daily Beast's Asawin Suebsaeng:
For weeknights this fall, the hotel’s least expensive rooms will run you a minimum of $735 per night. For comparison, other luxury hotels that will compete with Trump for business ring in at $400 a night at The Jefferson for October (around the time of the opening of the Trump hotel), and roughly $300 at The Willard. Both are boutique and historic hotels in the District.
The room rates at Trump’s new establishment aren’t by simple design, but by necessity.
In a filing with the General Services Administration, lawyers for one of Trump’s competitors argued that for Trump’s hotel to stay afloat, it would have to charge some of the most exorbitant rates in the nation’s capital.
“A properly conducted price reasonableness analysis would have resulted in the conclusion that the minimum base lease proposed by Trump would require Trump to obtain hotel room revenues which are simply not obtainable in this location based on the concepts for the redevelopment,” the lawyers for the competing development team wrote.
But surely you can enjoy world class dining there:
Originally, Trump had assured future patrons that his D.C. hotel would include two world-class restaurants. The two celebrity chefs, José Andrés and Geoffrey Zakarian, who had agreed to oversee the menus for their respective restaurants, pulled out of their deals shortly after Trump launched his White House run by loudly slamming Mexican immigrants as rapists. Trump, in a retaliatory strike, sued both celeb chefs. (Publicists for the chefs did not respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment on Monday.)
The hotel opens now with only one two-floor restaurant located in the lobby—BLT Prime, a chain steakhouse.
The bad news for Trump Hotels doesn’t stop there. Some industry estimates have reservations at Trump hotels down almost 60 percent since September of last year—and the word on the street is that Trump’s legal tiff with the two celebrity chefs has tanked his family and brand name in the eyes of the restaurant community.
“He’s clearly a racist and makes racist comments, and we have an industry that has always reached out to an immigrant population and built on the work of an immigrant population,” Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio, the owner of Craft who was reportedly approached by the Trump Organization after Andrés and Zakarian bailed, told Mother Jones magazine. (Colicchio is also a friend of Andrés.)
But perhaps the elegance of the surroundings will more than make up for the exorbinate room charges or the chain restaurant dining experience.
Every item of decor, from the turquoise and faux-gold armchairs to the candy dishes made out of fake dimes and nickels, was handpicked by Ivanka Trump with the help of design firm HBA. The overall aesthetic is somewhere between real, inoffensive luxury and a Red Roof Inn patron’s conception of what a stylish, upper-echelon hotel must be.
Candy dishes made out of fake dimes and nickels. Nothing but class.

This hotel will be bankrupt in months.

His other hotels seem to be taking a hit as well, as Suebsaeng noted. The Boston Globe writes:
Surveys and booking sites show that many consumers are avoiding hotels in Trump’s portfolio.
The booking site Hipmunk reported that its reservations for Trump hotels are down nearly 60 percent over this time last year.
It gets worse:
a poll from travel trend tracking website Skift found many respondents hesitant to stay in a Trump property. In the survey of more than 2,000 Americans, 56.9 percent of respondents said they were less likely to stay in a Trump hotel because of his campaign.
Only 23.4 percent said they were more likely, and almost 20 percent said they were unaware that Trump had hotels. Women were less likely to stay in a Trump Hotel than men.
Those most likely to stay in a Trump Hotel are over 65, from a rural community in the South, or earn between $50,000 and $75,000. Least likely to stay in a Trump hotel are travelers between 25 and 34.
People in the top three income tiers of the study said they were less likely to stay at a Trump hotel. That’s troublesome news for a luxury hotel chain.
Ya think?

A lot of people are saying: Trump edition

I've been hearing people saying things about Trump's taxes: that he isn't being audited, that he isn't being audited because he pays off IRS agents, that his taxes reveal that he spends 100k/month for his hair weave, that his biggest debts are to Putin connected Russian oligarchs, that his net worth is below 100 million, that he is faking his medical report, because he doesn't want to reveal that he takes viagra and diet pills, and has prostate issues. I don't know whether any of this is true, but people are saying this, so Trump needs to address this.

(btw Kellyanne Conway, people aren't just calling Trump a liar, they have proven him to be liar. Bigly.)