Media (427)

 

The Coup That Fizzled

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Monday night, after Michigan certified its election results, Emily Murphy, the Administrator of the General Services Administration, finally acknowledged in a letter that Joe Biden was the apparent winner of the election and therefore the President Elect, although she didn’t use that title. She wrote that she came to that conclusion independently, which was contradicted by Trump, who claimed in a late night tweet that he had ‘allowed’ the GSA to work ‘preliminarily with the Dems,’ but also that his legal fight was not over and that he would never concede to the ‘election fraud.’  It was the end of a week that started with the president’s firing of Chris Krebs, who was in charge of cyber security at the Department of Homeland Security and had reported that the November 3rd election was ‘the most secure in American history.’ Subsequently Trump called the Republican Chairwoman of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers in Michigan, who was going back and forth with her certification vote, to check if she was ‘safe,’ probably with the line ‘it would be terrible if something happened to your beautiful children or your sweet little pooch.’

For his next step the president invited Michigan legislators to the White House, most likely to explore ways to have pro-Trump Electors dispatched to the Electoral College, but the next day his guests said that they had not been given any reason to deviate from standard procedures.  Their visit was followed by a press conference of Trump’s ‘legal team,’ where Rudy Giuliani, once ‘America’s Mayor’ but now more famous for his Four Seasons Total Landscaping performance, with sweat and hair dye dripping off his face handed the crazy relay baton to Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn’s lawyer, who unearthed a conspiracy by Hugo Chavez, who has been dead since 2013, and George Soros to build election equipment that changed Trump votes into Biden votes.  Following that presser Giuliani lost the president’s case in Pennsylvania, because according to the Judge Hizzoner’s arguments we ‘haphazardly stitched together like Frankenstein’s monster,’ and the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, a staunch Trump supporter, according to protocol certified Biden’s win in his state, prompting Sidney Powell to add Kemp to her growing list of anti-Trump conspirators.

Apparently Sidney Powell was too crazy even for Trump and Giuliani, after she had added Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler to the list because Loeffler had not been willing to yield her seat to Doug Collins the legal team issued a statement that Powell was practicing law on her own and had never been part of the team, taking ‘throwing someone under the bus’ to the next level.  On Tuesday Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania was certified and the Biden/Harris ticket passed 80 million votes nationally, but Trump demanded a now futile second recount in Georgia.

Normally the attempt by a sociopathic nominee to lose the same state for a third time would set off alarm bells in the mental health community, but Trump has raised the bar so high that medical professionals cannot get up there with him anymore, although some of his lawyers can.  Monday night for instance Jenna Ellis Esq. tried to convince Ari Melber that the president won by a landslide, following Trump’s tweet that the General Services Administration does not decide who won the election. 

As for the soon to be ex-president’s future there is a new rumor that Trump will not try to build a new streaming service to compete with Fox News and to milk his followers, because it’s too much work, but that he will give paid speeches and sell tickets for his future rallies.  If it all works out for him we’ll witness the transformation of an orange baboon into the Elephant Man, at least until he runs again in 2024.


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Trump Sits in a Cell Already

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Many westerns start with a scene where the main character has been found guilty of a heinous crime and sits in a cell, awaiting his hanging.  He can hear the hammering of the men who are building the gallows and when he gets up he can see the contraption coming together through a small window.  The convicted murderer, bank robber or horse thief is never hanged, because that would make for a very short movie, but he is usually saved by a beautiful young woman who believes in his innocence and sets out to prove it, after which they happily ride off into the sunset together.  Sitting in the Oval Office Trump can hear the hammering of the men who are building the stands for Biden’s inauguration.  Like those innocent convicts in westerns it drives him nuts, and for him the equivalent of maintaining his innocence is incessantly tweeting in all caps that he won the election.  On top of that his campaign is filing – and losing – lawsuits in five states, which the courts are throwing out faster than an exterminator can kill a litter of mice.  And with Rudy Giuliani, who has not litigated since 1992, now in charge of the president’s legal strategy that speed will most likely go up.

Although largely caused by Trump’s mental disorder which makes it impossible for him to accept defeat some pundits see a rational side to his behavior too.  By pretending that he won’t leave the White House the president would be trying to keep his base motivated for the Georgia runoffs for two Senate seats, although one can wonder if Trump gives a hoot about the composition of the Senate after January 5th and will keep up appearances after Biden has been declared President-Elect on December 14th.  More likely is that he wants to keep control of his electorate to be a Republican king maker in future elections and to run again in 2024, unless he yields that honor to his idiot daughter Ivanka.  Maybe more importantly, when his presidency is over Trump will need a shitload of money to pay off at least $400 million in debt, and he will milk his followers for every penny they have via a streaming service where he can deceive them 24/7.  At a MAGA rally in DC last Saturday thousands of Trump fans came to show their colors, inspiring Kayleigh McEnany, the incarnation of a Hatch-act violation, to mistake them for more than one million.

Today the president will have to decide if he’s willing to pony up $8 million for a second recount of votes in Wisconsin.  Because Trump is losing money in business ventures on at least two continents the presidency and his campaign have become his main sources of income, and for this decision a thorough cost-benefit analysis is required, considering that the outcome of the election won’t change but that it will show him as still fighting for ‘justice’ in the eyes of the most devoted members of his cult.  The money would be better spent than his investment in GOP convention fireworks but the president probably prefers to put it in his own pocket.

At a meeting with top advisors Trump was talked out of attacking Iran’s main nuclear site, but the fact that he even considered it illustrates his two tiered pattern of malfeasance: first there was collusion with Russia in the 2016 election and then he conspired with Ukrainian hoodlums, of which at least one was a Russian agent, against Biden; first he had the postal service screwed up and then he used mail-in voting to discredit the election; and first he stepped out of the Iran agreement and  then he wanted to use Iran’s response for a ‘Wag the Dog’ attack.

Unlike the prisoner in a cell the president won’t be saved by a young woman but he’ll be dragged to Mar-a-Lago by a wife who was the first to acknowledge his defeat in a Christmas greeting. If he somehow receives a pardon for federal crimes he’ll still have to answer to insurance fraud, campaign finance violation and tax evasion charges in New York State and City, so that he may very well end up in a real cell after all, without anybody to rescue him.

 

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Escalation of Commitment

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

In the early 1990s the New York Yankees’ owner, George Steinbrenner, was convinced that hitting is more important than pitching, so he kept spending fortunes on sluggers but too little on hurlers.  As a result the Yankees only had losing seasons and some of their batsmen lost their skills because they didn’t get enough playing time.  Things turned around when the owner stopped making personnel decisions and the Yankees won four World Series through the 2000 season.  The mistake Steinbrenner was making is called ‘escalation of commitment,’ and it’s what Trump is doing right now.  Last Wednesday the president declared that he had won the election and demanded that ‘all voting’ be stopped, even claiming victories in states he had already lost.  Since no votes could be cast after Tuesday the president probably meant that vote counting be stopped, which was later nuanced by the demand that counting be stopped in states where he was winning but continue in states where he was losing.  Since then the Trump campaign has filed frivolous lawsuits about election fraud in multiple states, of which it has already lost twelve and counting.

Pundits called the lawsuits ‘an insult to Hail Mary passes,’ and while Biden’s victory was being called things got worse when Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, held a press conference at the Four Seasons landscaping company in Philadelphia, next to a sex shop, apparently because the Trump campaign had forgotten to book the Four Seasons hotel.  As is his unique style Hizzoner blurted out accusations without any proof, only emphasizing that the president is a sore loser.  Trump’s strategy is now aimed at getting recounts in the states that put Biden over the top, in spite of knowing that the eventual result won’t be affected.  Meanwhile AG Barr has given prosecutors permission to look into election fraud, a violation of longstanding policy that made the main election crime expert at DOJ resign.  The president’s shenanigans are a dead end street from a legal perspective, but his campaign still hopes that the Supreme Court somehow will overturn the election result.  Trump’s obstruction of the transition process is nowhere more visible than in the General Services Administration’s refusal to give Biden’s team access to funding and records.  

Scorching the earth before he leaves office the president yesterday fired Secretary of Defense Esper with a tweet.  Esper had once told Trump that he could not use the armed forces to combat unrest in the cities, which was bad enough, but apparently his worst offense was that when asked by an interviewer what kind of a boss Trump is he answered “he knows what he’s doing” instead of the obligatory “he’s great, the best boss ever.” Other retaliatory firings, possibly of CIA Director Gina Haspel and FBI Director Chris Wray, are still expected, and the administrator responsible for the National Climate Assessment was already told to clear his desk. 

Meanwhile White House and campaign staffers got the message that they’ll be fired at the first sign of job search activity, even Fox News pulled away from a briefing where Kayleigh McEnany claimed that Democrats welcome election fraud, and Pfizer was accused of plotting against the president for not letting the good news about a COVID vaccine break before the election.  Pfizer’s CEO made clear that data were not earlier available and refuted Mike Pence’s claim that operation Warp Speed, from which no funding had been received, had produced the vaccine.

When he’s not playing golf Trump is sitting in the Oval Office, raging and ranting, ready to prove that he is the most dangerous national security threat to the US.  In one of his brighter moments the president indicated that he’s planning to run against Biden in 2024, which would at least be a sign that he understands that he has lost, and to secure a Trump dynasty in American politics Trump’s son Don Jr. and his current girlfriend are trying to get control of the RNC.


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Lincoln He Is Not

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

In 1864 Abraham Lincoln won a second term that had looked unlikely a year earlier because the Civil War was not going well for the Union, but Lee’s defeat at Gettysburg and Grant’s victory at Vicksburg turned the tide, and Sherman’s triumph in the Battle of Atlanta sealed the deal.  Lincoln won with 55% of the popular vote and an Electoral College margin of 212-21.  Trump likes to compare himself to Lincoln and even claims to have done as much for black Americans as Honest Abe, maybe even more, but in this election his chances are a negative mirror image of Lincoln’s.  A year ago the president was counting on the strong economy Obama left him and a booming stock market to get re-elected, but then COVID-19 struck, killing over 225,000 Americans and causing over 10 million in job losses to date, representing his Gettysburg and Vicksburg, and this week the stock market started tanking, copying the Battle of Atlanta.  As a result Trump is campaigning in places he won before and has to hold now but where he doesn’t want to be, as he told the voters in Erie, Pennsylvania, while Biden is campaigning to expand the electoral map.

When Trump has died, his tombstone should say ‘Here lays Donald J. Trump, he’s doing a great job,’ because those are the words the president has uttered more than any others during the last four years.  That job apparently didn’t include protecting Americans against the corona virus, because the White House is now semi-officially pursuing a strategy of herd-immunity that will kill millions of elderly Americans unless a vaccine becomes available soon, and Trump is still making fun of wearing masks, with social distancing the only protection against getting infected.  Because spreading the virus is an essential part of this strategy the Trump campaign is staging a superspreader tour with rallies in places where the pandemic is spiking and with very few masks and no social distancing.  Research now shows strong and significant correlations between those rallies and local breakouts of COVID cases, with a national growth of 35% in the last two weeks.  In spite of these facts the president keeps claiming that the US is turning the corner and blames the press for the ‘fake news‘ about COVID, COVID, COVID that doesn’t fit in his alternate reality.

During a Sunday morning show Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows stumbled upon the truth when he said ‘we cannot control the virus,’ waving a white flag while strangely accusing Biden of surrendering because Biden wore a white mask.  Since then the Trump campaign has been in damage control mode, with the president claiming that COVID will be controlled and that masks are handed out and being worn at his rallies.  Reporters checked his claims and found that very few masks are handed out and that they’re only consistently worn in Trump’s immediate environment. In the second debate with Biden the president said ‘we’ll have to live with the virus,’ and five members of Mike Pence’s staff proved his point by becoming infected, suggesting that eventually the only place in the country with herd immunity will be the White House.  Pence, who still heads the Corona Task Force, meanwhile continues to campaign against CDC rules.    

After a cranky Trump walked out of a ’60 Minutes’ interview because Lesley Stahl asked him ‘tough questions’ the White House press secretary gave Stahl a pile of documents she claimed were the president’s health care plan, but that according to Lesley made no sense whatsoever.  Trump’s misinformation campaign continued in Wisconsin, a state he is almost certainly going to lose, where he produced 131 falsehoods during a 90 minute speech, indicating that he’s back in prime form.  In a win for the president the Supreme Court, where Trump’s and McConnell’s wench Amy Coney Barrett took the ninth seat yesterday, ruled that Wisconsin cannot count any votes after election day, possibly disenfranchising tens of thousands of voters.  It goes to show how fearful the president and his band are of the electorate this year.

In a temporary setback for Trump a federal judge ruled that the Justice Department cannot represent him in de defamation case of a woman who claims he raped her, but this case will undoubtedly end up in the Supreme Court where Justice Barrett will side with the rapist.  On Fox & Friends Jared Kushner once more illustrated why the money his father spent to get him into Harvard in spite of mediocre grades was wasted when he blurted out that the president ‘cannot want black Americans to be successful more than they want to be successful,’ effectively blaming the black community for its own problems after slavery, Jim Crow, systematic voter suppression and a myriad of forms of discrimination. 

 

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Running against Dr. Fauci

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

The last couple of days Trump has served up a primer for emerging dictators.  First he joined the chant ’lock her up’ for the Michigan governor who had just escaped being kidnapped and most likely killed by domestic terrorists, expanding it to ‘lock them all up’ to include Joe and Hunter Biden, whom he called criminals. When asked by a reporter exactly what crime they might have committed the president yelled ‘you’re a criminal too, for not reporting about it.’  That reporting would have been about a cockamamie NY Post story involving Hunter’s broken laptop that allegedly showed improper contact between his father and Ukrainians.  This fable almost certainly originated with a Russian intelligence agent, who used Rudy Giuliani to get it to the US media, and was so suspect that the NY Post reporter would not sign his name to it.  Trump had been warned by US intelligence agencies that the Russians were using Hizzoner to peddle horseshit to the Oval Office, but ignored the warning because he wanted the shit. After the Ukraine story failed a similar China story popped up, but by then the source, Giuliani, had become totally unbelievable.     

Although the president keeps spewing disparaging remarks about Biden and demands that he be indicted it appears that he really is running against those who maintain that COVID-19 is a dangerous threat, like Dr. Anthony Fauci and 99.9% of medical professionals.  In spite of an alarming increase in the number of COVID cases Trump maintains that the US is ‘turning the corner’ and continues with a super-spreader tour that takes him to some of the most affected parts of the country.  Growing more aggressive by the day the president called Dr. Fauci ‘a disaster’ and referred to the medical community as ‘idiots.’  His opinion is formed by MRI-expert Scott Atlas, who is not bothered by any knowledge about infectious diseases and whispers dangerous nonsense in Trump’s ear, like that only 25% of the population needs to be infected to achieve ‘herd immunity’ and that 85% of the people who wear masks get infected, information that the president gladly repeats.  Since it is clear that there won’t be a vaccine before the upcoming election the president’s strongest argument for his approach is that people are tired of the virus, although most Americans seem not to be tired of living.  

Trump claims that he doesn’t remember if he was tested for COVID before the first debate with Joe Biden, and instead of a second, virtual, debate there were two competing town halls where a nervous president made the usual ass of himself while Biden, who attracted more viewers, did quite well.  At this point it is not even certain that Trump is no longer infectious, and the Biden campaign will demand irrefutable proof before they let the third debate on Thursday proceed.  Certain is that during the two minutes the participants have to respond to a first question the microphone of their opponent will be shut off, so that the president cannot repeat his disruptive behavior of the last debate.  The Trump campaign first objected to this new rule but eventually figured that he really needs the air time.

Initially the president also refused to give financial assistance to California to deal with the devastating effect of the wildfires, but a public outcry and one call from the governor made him change his mind.  A second stimulus package has been hanging in the balance until now, because Trump didn’t want to pay for testing, but negotiations are ongoing, although McConnell won’t let anything pass the Senate. It was revealed that the 2020 budget deficit was $3.1 trillion, and that the national debt grew to $21 trillion.  In his town hall the president confirmed that he owes someone $400 million in debt, with a personal guarantee that indicates a lack of assets, but he called it ‘peanuts’ and started bragging about his formidable wealth.

To his campaign routine Trump has added a silly dance to the tune of ‘YMCA,’ one of the few songs he is allowed to play at his rallies.  Although he is belligerent he also acknowledges the chance that he’ll lose the election, telling states that he’ll ‘never come back’ if he doesn’t win there and even contemplating leaving the US altogether.  Pundits observe that although in 2016 Trump had a relatively coherent economic message and showed some discipline in the last couple of weeks before the election this time his only message is one of hatred and rage, delivered by an unhinged candidate who doesn’t have anything else left in the tank.


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