Bob Schwartz

Tag: Donald Trump

Making America Crazy Again: How to Survive and Thrive After the Election

make-america-crazy-again

You don’t want to hear this, but things may get crazier after the election.

If Hillary Clinton wins, she will be the least liked, least trusted President to ever take office. All the assumptions and suppositions about how the Clintons’ good intentions have been mixed with and compromised by expedient centrism, ambition, greed, secrecy and overall ugliness have been confirmed.

Progressives who tried an insurgency within the Democratic Party will learn that if they have a place at the table, it will be set with modest meals, if not mere crumbs.

Republicans will be gleeful at the prospect of obstructing everything and unwinding anything, without much of a plan of their own. Their glee is misplaced, since there is no Republican Party left, not one recognizable as such. Instead, it is merely the shaky platform for another set of would-be Presidents to start jockeying for position as the candidate in 2020.

And then of course there’s Donald Trump, whose hat should have first read Make The GOP Crazy, then Make The Election Crazy, and finally Make America Crazy Again. He is good at each of these. There is no doubt, whatever form his public pathology takes, he will help make 2017 a year we will not forget, just as 2016 is an election we will not forget, no matter how we try.

And so, some suggestions for getting on with our lives, not just surviving, but thriving, after the election.

  1. Religion, spirituality, philosophy, or something like them. Principled views of reality and the world can be very helpful. There is nothing inherently wrong with making stuff up as we go along. Except that when the wind blows, which it does pretty much all the time, and sometimes with hurricane force, we might want to have something to keep us steady.
  1. Media diet. When I see the ad for that cheeseburger with six strips of crisp bacon on top, something in me wants one. Except I don’t eat cheeseburgers any more, don’t eat bacon anymore, and if I did, I don’t think it would be in that particular configuration, since I plan to live a long and healthy life. The news media, even the supposedly respectable ones, are mostly offering us the equivalent of 1-pound burgers with an entire package of bacon on top, hour after hour. If you don’t want to be crazy unhealthy, please watch what you eat.
  1. Learning. You don’t have to learn about anything or anyone. You can learn exactly as much as you need to get on with your life and through the day. If you do choose to be interested in something, including public affairs, do try to learn and discern. We have spent the past year in a storm of misinformation and disinformation, lies and nonsense. That is not going to stop after the election. In fact, it could get worse, hard as that is to believe.
  1. Silence.

Trump as Political Philosopher: The Conceptual Endorsement

hegel

From The Hill:

In an interview with Florida’s WJXT-TV, Trump touted his endorsement from the national Fraternal Order of Police as well as other groups and organizations.

“We had a fantastic meeting with the folks, [a] pretty large group of folks, and they’re very upset about the way they’re being treated, and I understand that fully,” Trump said.

“And they’ve endorsed me, endorsed me fully. I’ve been endorsed by virtually every police department and police group. And I’ve been endorsed largely, conceptually at least, by the military and by the vets,” he continued. (emphasis added)

It’s time to stop talking about Donald Trump as a candidate. Now let us consider him as one of the most creative political thinkers of this or any era.

There are so many examples of how he has turned conventional political thinking inside out and upside down. It is sometimes hard to tell whether he does it out of cleverness or by accident and ignorance. Either way, we continue to be exposed to one novel thought after another.

The latest is this idea of the “conceptual” endorsement. As with many advanced political philosophers—Hegel and others come to mind—it is sometimes hard to tell exactly what he means. He knows, but even he struggles to make it clear to lesser minds like ours.

So we now have some sort of endorsement that isn’t “actual” in the conventional sense. Instead, these military folks have “endorsed” him without technically “endorsing” him. Instead, they embrace a “concept” that endorses Trump, if concepts could endorse a candidate. That might totally misconstrue what Trump meant. But no matter what Trump meant, the idea of conceptual endorsement, as with so many innovations he has given us, will live on long after this election is over.

Are we all happy and enlightened now?

The Political Opera Isn’t Over Until the Fat Cats Sing

Fat Cat Singing

If you were wondering whether the Trump soap opera/nightmare would end sometime before the actual vote, it is now official.

Cut Ties to Donald Trump, Big Donors Urge R.N.C. reports the New York Times:

Several of the Republican Party’s most generous donors called on the Republican National Committee on Thursday to disavow Donald J. Trump, saying that allegations by multiple women that Mr. Trump had groped or made inappropriate sexual advances toward them threatened to inflict lasting damage on the party’s image.

To an elite group of Republican contributors who have donated millions of dollars to the party’s candidates and committees in recent years, the cascade of revelations related to Mr. Trump’s sexual conduct is grounds for the committee to cut ties with the party’s beleaguered standard-bearer, finally and fully….

Bruce Kovner, a New York investor and philanthropist who with his wife has given $2.7 million to Republicans over the same period [since the 2012 election], was just as blunt. “He is a dangerous demagogue completely unsuited to the responsibilities of a United States president,” Mr. Kovner wrote in an email, referring to Mr. Trump.

It is indeed unfortunate that money speaks so much louder and more forcefully than the voice of ordinary people in current, post-Citizens United America. But if at this moment, this helps us to move on, even just a little, from this bizarre political hell we seem to be stuck in, I’ll take it. When the fat cats sing, the parties listen. And this particular song should be music to our ears.

Donald Trump Jr.: The Only Time Normal People Pretend to Talk and Act Decently Is When They Are Running for President. Otherwise…

I can’t resist unpacking this statement from Donald Trump Jr., talking about his father’s infamous Access Hollywood comments:

“I’ve had conversations like that with plenty of people where people use language off color. They’re talking, two guys, amongst themselves. I’ve seen it time and time again. I think it makes him a human. I think it makes him a normal person, not a political robot. He hasn’t spent his whole life waiting for this moment to run for the presidency.”

Off color: This is sort of a quaint description, usually meaning foul or coarse language. It is true that Trump used coarse language in his otherwise highbrow conversation with Billy Bush. But that is hardly the issue.

A normal person: Normal is a moving target, of course, both in terms of culture and of time, i.e., the old normal v. the new normal. To quote a favorite line from Arcade Fire’s Normal Person, “If that’s what’s normal now, I don’t want to know.”

He hasn’t spent his whole life waiting for this moment to run for the presidency: This is the best one. It implies that everybody—or at least “two guys”— always talks this way, unless they are going to run for President, in which case they keep it all behind closed doors. Junior doesn’t explain how a guy and a girl might talk, or how two girls might talk, if they are running for office. Presumably, the same rules apply.

No Photos of Donald Trump Standing with or Hugging Republican Women Governors, Senators and House Members

Women for Trump

This was supposed to be a post containing photos of Donald Trump hugging, or just standing with, Republican women Governors, Senators and House Members. The point is that these women will have to hug, or just stand with, Donald Trump if he becomes President, because he will be the leader of their party.

I can’t, however, because I was unable to find almost any such photos. Why do you think that is?

Note: The photo above is from the Trump campaign website. The page for these Women for Trump shirts includes this:

Please refer to Fitting Guide when ordering; these are very form fitting shirts.

Trump and Triumph: The Insult Comics

Triumph

Donald Trump said Wednesday that derogatory statements he has made toward women were all for the sake of “entertainment” and did not reflect his true feelings. “A lot of that was done for the purpose of entertainment; there’s nobody that has more respect for women than I do,” the real estate mogul told Las Vegas’ KSNV-TV.

Or, as Triumph the Insult Comic Dog would say: “I keed. I keed.”

The first thought—the only rational thought—is that Trump considers himself a sort of insult comic. In his day, Don Rickles entertained millions by unmercifully insulting celebrities. In real life, it is reported that Rickles was actually a sweet guy.

Today, if you think of insult comics, the one that comes to mind is Triumph. Triumph is outrageously entertaining, because he is funny, he speaks with a Russian accent, he knows no limits, he is a dog, he is a puppet, and he smokes a cigar. And because his catchphrase is the perfect exclamation for any insult: “I poop on you.”

And now here’s the really weird thing about thinking of Trump as Triumph: they share the same letters in their name. Seriously. T-R-U-M-P is found in both Trump and Triumph.

Is it possible that somebody is trying to tell us something? I would like to think that this is absurd, but given the way things are going with the campaign, is anything really absurd?

19 things Donald Trump knows better than anyone else, according to Donald Trump

Normally, I would quote a little bit of an article, and provide a link to the whole thing.

19 things Donald Trump knows better than anyone else, according to Donald Trump by Aaron Blake at the Washington Post today is simply too amazing for that. So the link is above, but here it is in its entirety:

I understand the tax laws better than almost anyone, which is why I’m the one who can truly fix them,” Donald Trump claimed Monday in Colorado.

It is one of many issues on which Trump is one of the world’s foremost experts, according to Trump. In fact, you might say he’s the best at being a self-proclaimed expert.

Below is a list of the many things about which Trump says he knows more than just about anybody. Even for a guy who’s fond of hyperbole, it’s a lot to take in.

1) Renewables

“I know more about renewables than any human being on Earth.” — April 2016

2) Social media

“I understand social media. I understand the power of Twitter. I understand the power of Facebook maybe better than almost anybody, based on my results, right?” — November 2015

3) Debt

“Nobody knows more about debt. I’m like the king. I love debt.” — May 2016

4) Taxes, again

“I think nobody knows more about taxes than I do, maybe in the history of the world. Nobody knows more about taxes.” — May 2016

Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
I know our complex tax laws better than anyone who has ever run for president and am the only one who can fix them. #failing@nytimes
7:22 AM – 2 Oct 2016
15,459 15,459 Retweets   41,208 41,208 likes

“Nobody knows more about taxes than I do — and income than I do.” — May 2016

5) Banking

“Nobody knows banking better than I do” — February 2016

6) Wall Street bankers

MATT LAUER: You’re a guy who said you know the Wall Street bankers better than anyone.

TRUMP: Better than anyone.

— April 2016 on NBC’s “Today” show

7) Money

“I understand money better than anybody. I understand it far better than Hillary, and I’m way up on the economy when it comes to questions on the economy.” — June 2016

8) The U.S. system of government

“I think nobody knows the system better than I do.” — August 2016

“I am a person that used to be establishment when I’d give them hundreds of thousands of dollars. But when I decided to run, I became very anti-establishment, because I understand the system than anybody else.” — July 2016

“Nobody knows the system better than I do.” — April 2016

9) Campaign contributions

“I used to be, George, the fair-haired boy — you know, when I was a contributor. I know more about contributions than anybody.” — November 2015

10) Politicians

“Nobody knows politicians better than Donald Trump.” — February 2016 rally

11) Sen. Cory Booker

Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
If Cory Booker is the future of the Democratic Party, they have no future! I know more about Cory than he knows about himself.
10:14 PM – 25 Jul 2016
10,079 10,079 Retweets   34,725 34,725 likes

(We’re putting this on the list assuming that nobody ELSE knows more about Booker than Booker, which would make Trump the world’s foremost non-Cory Booker expert on Cory Booker.)

12) Trade

“Nobody knows more about trade than me.” — March 2016

13) Jobs

Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
I hope all workers demand that their @Teamsters reps endorse Donald J. Trump. Nobody knows jobs like I do! Don’t let them sell you out!
5:03 PM – 8 Jan 2016
2,170 2,170 Retweets   5,972 5,972 likes

14) Infrastructure

“Nobody in the history of this country has ever known so much about infrastructure as Donald Trump.” — July 2016

15) The military

“There’s nobody bigger or better at the military than I am.” — June 2015 Fox News interview

16) ISIS

“I know more about ISIS [the Islamic State militant group] than the generals do. Believe me.” — November 2015

17) Defense — and offense

“So a general gets on, sent obviously by Obama, and he said, ‘Mr. Trump doesn’t understand. He knows nothing about defense.’ I know more about offense and defense than they will ever understand, believe me. Believe me. Than they will ever understand. Than they will ever understand.” — July 2016

18) The ‘horror of nuclear’

“There is nobody who understands the horror of nuclear more than me.” — June 2016

19) The visa system

“Because nobody knows the system better than me. I know the H1B. I know the H2B. Nobody knows it better than me.” — March 2016

© 2016 The Washington Post

Respected Political Journalist John Heilemann Calls Trump a Lunatic

Eclipse

You lock the door
And throw away the key
There’s someone in my head but it’s not me

John Heilemann is one of the most respected, talented and fair-minded political journalists in America.

He and his partner Mark Halperin  have written two of the most insightful and entertaining presidential campaign books of all time: Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime  and Double Down: Game Change 2012. They are the Managing Editors of Bloomberg Politics. They have a weekly show about the campaign on Showtime called The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth. They have a daily show for Bloomberg Politics that airs on MSNBC called With All Due Respect.

It was on that show that something extraordinary happened yesterday. It was a tiny moment, one that could go unnoticed and unremarked. Talking about Donald Trump and the week he has had, Heilemann called Trump a lunatic.

One possibility is that despite the overwhelming evidence of a career marked by even-handed reporting, Heilemann has all along been a substandard journalist with a secret partisan agenda. The other possibility is that Heilemann is a great professional journalist who just finally had enough and could not avoid speaking the obvious.

In the event, hearing the word brought to mind the song I think about any time the word lunatic pops up, Pink Floyd’s Brain Damage from Dark Side of the Moon. It is the penultimate track on the album, leading into the closing Eclipse. The song is inspired in part by the tragic story of original Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett, whose genius was paired with and compromised by mental illness.

This may have absolutely nothing to do with the presidential campaign and election. Then again…

The lunatic is on the grass
The lunatic is on the grass
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
Got to keep the loonies on the path

The lunatic is in the hall
The lunatics are in my hall
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more

And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

The lunatic is in my head
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You re-arrange me ’til I’m sane
You lock the door
And throw away the key
There’s someone in my head but it’s not me

And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

Donald Trump Stays Up All Night Tweeting About National Security (Just Kidding)

Twitter Bird

The Twitter bluebird never sleeps. Neither does Donald Trump.

Last night, his tirade of overnight tweets wasn’t actually about national security, the economy, or anything else significant. Instead, he couldn’t sleep because of, among many other topics, a comment Hillary Clinton made in the Monday debate about the possibility that Trump is rudely disrespectful toward women/human beings. Specifically, toward Alicia Machado, a past winner of his Miss Universe pageant, who Trump mercilessly criticized for gaining weight during her royal reign. (Note the times of the tweetstorm, which began around 3:00am, and here resumes after 5:00am.)

Trump Tweets

Millions of people stay up all night tweeting nonsense. It’s a free country and a free social medium, and God bless those who have the time for this or don’t need the sleep. But Donald Trump, as has become apparent, is not one of the millions. He is one in a million, maybe one in a billion. And he is running for President.

It might be interesting to learn what he would be tweeting in the middle of the night if he becomes President. But not nearly interesting enough to have anything to do with helping to make that happen.

How to Prepare Spiritually for the Debate

The Clinton-Trump debate is taking place tonight, if you hadn’t heard. People will watch for a whole lot of different reasons. Some to see the candidate they like succeed, some to see the candidate they don’t like that much succeed, some to see the candidate they really don’t like be destroyed, some because they just like to watch twisted spectacles and disaster movies. Sharknado, maybe?

The term soul-sucking may be colloquial, but there’s real truth in it. Some things just seem to draw the life force right out of you, creating a spiritual vacuum. Depending on your perspective, this debate could be one of those.

Here are three optional steps for dealing with this.

  1. Don’t watch. Estimates are that over 100 million people may watch this. This might include friends and loved ones, and it might include you. Which makes it unlikely that you won’t watch a little of it, or the whole thing. Friends don’t let friends watch alone.
  1. Prior to watching, read something or do something that will settle you firmly on the ground and in reality. This may already be part of your regular practice. If not, this may be a good time to start.
  1. After watching, you will notice seemingly millions of talking heads trying to spin what you’ve already seen and heard, or trying to prove how smart they are by repeating what you’ve already seen and heard, and then telling you about it, attempting to impart meaning to what you may regard as meaningless. At that point, if you insist on listening to them, repeat Step 2.