As I have noted, in the general election campaign Trump will start with Hillary’s jugular and go from there. Hillary’s cackle at the end was a nice touch. One would never know from the ad that the Donald and the Clintons were best buds just a few brief years ago. In any case the Democrats are now running against a Democrat, Trump, who will campaign in precisely the same filthy manner as most Democrats. We will see how much they like it.
I expect the Democrats to highlight Trump’s well known connections to the Mafia and various independent gangsters and swindlers. Reporter David Cay Johnston outlines what is known about such contacts:
These questions ate at me as I wrote about Atlantic City for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and then went more deeply into the issues in a book, Temples of Chance: How America Inc. Bought Out Murder Inc. to Win Control of the Casino Business. In all, I’ve covered Donald Trump off and on for 27 years, and in that time I’ve encountered multiple threads linking Trump to organized crime. Some of Trump’s unsavory connections have been followed by investigators and substantiated in court; some haven’t. And some of those links have continued until recent years, though when confronted with evidence of such associations, Trump has often claimed a faulty memory. In an April 27 phone call to respond to my questions for this story, Trump told me he did not recall many of the events recounted in this article and they “were a long time ago.” He also said that I had “sometimes been fair, sometimes not” in writing about him, adding “if I don’t like what you write, I’ll sue you.”
I’m not the only one who has picked up signals over the years. Wayne Barrett, author of a 1992 investigative biography of Trump’s real-estate dealings, has tied Trump to mob and mob-connected men.
No other candidate for the White House this year has anything close to Trump’s record of repeated social and business dealings with mobsters, swindlers, and other crooks. Professor Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian, said the closest historical example would be President Warren G. Harding and Teapot Dome, a bribery and bid-rigging scandal in which the interior secretary went to prison. But even that has a key difference: Harding’s associates were corrupt but otherwise legitimate businessmen, not mobsters and drug dealers.
This is part of the Donald Trump story that few know. As Barrett wrote in his book, Trump didn’t just do business with mobbed-up concrete companies: he also probably met personally with Salerno at the townhouse of notorious New York fixer Roy Cohn, in a meeting recounted by a Cohn staffer who told Barrett she was present. This came at a time when other developers in New York were pleading with the FBI to free them of mob control of the concrete business.
From the public record and published accounts like that one, it’s possible to assemble a clear picture of what we do know. The picture shows that Trump’s career has benefited from a decades-long and largely successful effort to limit and deflect law enforcement investigations into his dealings with top mobsters, organized crime associates, labor fixers, corrupt union leaders, con artists and even a one-time drug trafficker whom Trump retained as the head of his personal helicopter service. Continue reading
Oh, not in regard to having orange hair or in possessing several billion dollars, but rather in their mode of operation in matters of controversy. Dave Griffey at his blog Daffey Thoughts nailed this back in March, and now that Shea has given his blessing to votes for the pro-abort
Cruella de Ville Hillary Clinton in pursuit of his crusade against the Trumpster, I thought the readers of TAC would be interested in Griffey’s sharp observations on the subject:
Donald Trump, Mark Shea and the Facebook Generation
By that, I don’t mean Mark supports or likes Donald Trump. Quite the contrary. Mark routinely takes on Trump and Trump’s supporters the way Mark does most things: in the same manner as Donald Trump. In fact, that’s my point. If you want to be brutally honest, you’ll admit that Mark Shea is simply a Catholic Internet version of Donald Trump. If you visit Facebook or similar Social Media sites, you’ll see that Mark is far from the glaring exception. Go onto most Internet sites, including major media outlets, read the comments and you’ll see Donald Trump all over. And in some cases, such as Daily Kos or Salon.com or even such esteemed sites as the Huffington Post, you might find published editorials that aren’t much different.
I hate to say it, but my boys are correct. Donald Trump is the candidate that the Facebook generation deserves. And it isn’t because of a few radical exceptions to the rule. It is the rule. We are the generation that liberal society has been striving for over the decades. From the 50s through the 60s and 70s and beyond, Trump is what we’ve been aiming at.
Just look at Mark Shea as an obvious example. Mark is familiar to most Catholics on the Internet and is highly regarded by many. And yet, not only does he resemble Trump in his approach to topics and interaction on his various sites, he does so as a representative of the Catholic Church. At least Trump just represents politics. And yet Mark is quite the hero for many Catholics. For many non-Catholics, too. Including those who are quick to attack and bemoan the Trump phenomenon.
How can I be so heartless and judgmental to compare Mark to Trump? Or compare others on Social Media to Trump? Easy. I read. I listen to Trump and what people criticize him for, and then visit various Facebook pages, including Mark’s, and I see no difference. Trump, beyond the policies he advocates – when we can figure them out – is brash, crude, rude, vulgar, sinful, mean spirited, ill-informed and simply a lousy person because of how he interacts with others and treats others who dare disagree with him.
So how is that different than Mark, or even Mark’s own followers? Or the followers on any one of a million sites? For instance, Mark’s own lack of substance and knowledge of topics he comments on outside of Catholicism is legendary. Even those who support him and agree with him have hung their heads over his approach to such topics as the Death Penalty or Gun Control. The same is a common complaint about Trump. Mark thinks nothing of using the same language Trump is condemned for using. Mark attacks through name calling and condescension and scorn any who dare disagree, unless Mark happens to be friends with the violators. Mark isn’t even above making false and slanderous accusations against people, even to the point of libel.
But Trump says horrible things! He mocks people for things they can’t help. He made fun of Carly Fiorina’s looks. He talks about killing people. He talks about destroying other countries. So does Mark. One of his Facebook followers recently said that things would be better off if America was burned to ashes. Mark only disagreed because he said Americans, being the murderous barbarians that we are, would take millions of innocent lives with us. Mark justified his view of America by reminding us of the millions of Indians and Slaves who fell to our murderous, barbaric ancestors. Imagine if Trump or a Trump supporter produced the same dialogue about another country, like Mexico or China. Imagine the outrage and anger.
And Mark not only uses death and suffering to advance his opinions, he even has begun to mock people murdered by guns – if those same people were hard right wing activists. That might seem understandable to some. But remember, Mark and many others were shocked at how many celebrated the death of Osama bin Ladin or Hugo Chavez, saying that the only appropriate Christian response was to pray for their souls. Yet many of those same Catholics are rightly shocked when Trump appears so callous and cruel to other people in the world. Notice a trend? What about making fun of others like Trump does? Last election cycle Mark was forced by his own readers to remove a post he had submitted that made fun of Michelle Bachmann’s eyes and facial features. Sound familiar? Continue reading
Well, Mark Shea has restarted his old blog and is giving a big thumbs up to Catholics who want to vote for the complete pro-abort Hillary Clinton in order to stop Donald Trump:
you do not have to say a word in praise of Hillary’s evil policies. You can bash them all you like (and I do). Her support for abortion is evil (just like Trump’s). Her cynical ease with lying is repellent (just like Trump’s). Her bellicose ease with violence and war is wicked (just like Trump’s). Her shady associations are creepy (just like Trump’s).
But if you support Trump, you also are supporting evil she does not advocate such as torture, racism, misogyny, mockery of the disabled, mockery of POWs, and fiscal fantasism. You have to, like Mike Huckabee, say stuff like “We’re electing a President, not a pope” and chuck overboard your claims to be thinking with the mind of Christ in order to pretend that Trump has “grown in virtue” and “evolved” on abortion when the reality is that he has not changed a bit. You need to back him on *his* “non-negotiables” while abandoning your own.
I will be voting third party since Hillary won’t need my help to win Washington and the goal is to stop Trump, not help Hillary. But I will not fault any Catholic who takes Benedict XVI’s permission and votes to lessen the clearly greater evil posed by Trump.
The greatest of those evils is the fact that every single “prolife” Christian who supports him will invariably find that they must immediately abandon the fight against abortion and devote all their *real* energies to *his* non-negotiables of racism, misogyny, Mammon-worship, violence, and grinding the faces of the poor.
Go here to read the comments. Now as faithful readers of this blog know I am not going to be voting for Trump because I view him as a liberal Democrat in Republican disguise. However, I can understand people who decide to support Trump in order to stop an unprincipled crook like Clinton from running the nation, especially due to the fact that while I am dubious about Trump’s conversion to the pro-life cause, I have no doubt that Clinton is an ardent pro-abort. However, it is truly laughable for an ostensible pro-lifer like Shea to champion Clinton. His arguments in her behalf are delusional. She revels in anti-white racism in order to whip up the black vote; she supports partial birth abortion which is torture as well as murder; in regard to misogyny, anything Trump has done on that score pales in comparison to her rapist hubbie Bill, who she has assiduously shielded from such charges; she supports abortion for unwanted disabled kids; she was partially responsible for our men in Benghazi being left to die and then lied to their parents about it; and as for fiscal fantasism, I guess Shea has been asleep for the last eight years in regard to the administration that Clinton was a proud part of. Shea’s arguments are rubbish and he is intelligent enough I trust to realize they are rubbish. The simple truth is that Shea has gone hard left, and on that score, and only on that score, Clinton would be preferable to Trump.
Back in 2009 Shea referred to the Catholic leftists of Vox Nova as the debate club at Auschwitz, because of their downplaying of the fight against abortion in order to support Obama. Go here to read that post. Well boys and girls, welcome the newest member of the Catholics Who Don’t Really Give a Damn About Abortion Club. Give a big hand for Mark Shea!
In all my voting life there is only one candidate I have voted for, rather than as the lesser of two evils: Ronald Wilson Reagan. Reagan biographer Paul Kengor explains why Trump is the anti-Reagan:
I have published six major books on Reagan, several of them bestsellers, ranging from (the first) God and Ronald Reagan (HarperCollins, 2004) to Reagan’s Legacy in a World Transformed (Harvard University Press, 2015). Some of those in between include The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism (2006) and 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative (2014). Two of these books are the basis for the Reagan/film bio-pic, Reagan: The Movie. That film, like my books, are positive affirmations of Reagan. I am and have long been a Reagan conservative. I am hardly an “establishment RINO.” In fact, I literally wrote the book on Reagan conservatism. And my next book, scheduled for release next spring, is a 1,000-page-plus Cold War work on Reagan.
I have done thousands of articles, speeches, and radio and TV and print interviews on Ronald Reagan. I have personally interviewed hundreds of people who lived with or knew or worked with the man and I’ve spent endless days in the Reagan Library, at the Reagan Ranch, at Reagan’s Eureka College, in his hometown, at the river where he lifeguarded, in nursing homes talking to elderly women who were baptized with Reagan in the summer of 1922, etc., etc., etc. I have read countless letters written by Reagan, and still far more pages of words scribbled by others. It’s quite possible that I’ve read more by or about Ronald Reagan than any living person on the planet. I assure you I’m in the top 10.
This is very much a short list (two paragraphs) of my (embarrassing) amount of life activities dedicated to illuminating the person, life, and mind of Ronald Reagan.
My point in presenting this isn’t to toot my own horn. (Quite the contrary — all of this Reagan focus makes me seem rather strange, I think.) The point is that this is what I study. I have some credibility on the matter of Ronald Reagan. If someone wants to try to compare Donald Trump to Ronald Reagan, my opinion ought to have at least some degree of informed merit.
So, with that said, let me state unequivocally and undeniably that not only is Donald Trump not the “next Reagan,” but he is the anti-Reagan. Really, I find not only that the two men have preciously little in common, from their policies to their person, but I think there may be no two men more glaringly different. Donald Trump is a polar opposite of Ronald Reagan. Continue reading
Faithful readers of this blog know that while I detest Trump and will not vote for him, I also believe that he likely will beat Clinton in the fall. Polling evidence is beginning to indicate this:
In Florida, Clinton leads Trump, 43 percent to 42 percent, while Sanders earned 44 percent to Trump’s 42 percent. While Clinton holds a 13-point advantage among Florida women — 48 percent to 35 percent — Trump’s lead among men is equally large, at 49 percent to 36 percent. Independent Florida voters are split, 39 percent to 39 percent, while along racial lines, white voters said they would vote for the Republican candidate 52 percent to 33 percent. Among nonwhite voters, 63 percent to 20 percent said they would vote for the Democrat. Clinton’s favorability in Florida is a net negative 20 points (37 percent to 57 percent), though Trump earned the same numbers. For Sanders, 43 percent said they had a favorable opinion of him, 41 percent unfavorable and 14 percent said they did not know enough to have an opinion.
In Ohio, registered voters preferred Trump to Clinton, 43 percent to 39 percent, while Sanders edged Trump 43 percent to 41 percent. Trump leads among men in Ohio, 51 percent to 36 percent, while women prefer Clinton in the state 43 percent to 36 percent. While 49 percent to 32 percent of white voters go for the Republican candidate, a whopping 76 percent to 14 percent of nonwhite voters said they will go for the Democratic candidate. Among voters ages 18 to 34, Clinton leads 43 percent to 39 percent, while voters older than 65 preferred Trump 46 percent to 40 percent. Among independents, 40 percent said they would back Trump and 37 percent would go for Clinton.
In Pennsylvania, Clinton leads 43 percent to 42 percent, mirroring the gender and racial gaps in the other swing states. Among women, Clinton leads 51 percent to 32 percent, while Trump leads with men 54 percent to 33 percent. Clinton holds a 7-point lead among voters ages 18 to 34 (49 percent to 42 percent), while Trump commands the same level of support among voters 65 and older. White voters said they would support the Republican candidate 48 percent to 37 percent, while nonwhite voters said they would support the Democrat, 74 percent to 14 percent. Continue reading
Donald Trump let us in on his fiscal policy yesterday. Apparently it consists of borrowing and debt repudiation if necessary:
After assuring Americans he is not running for president “to make things unstable for the country,” the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, suggested that he might reduce the national debt by persuading creditors to accept something less than full payment.
Asked on Thursday whether the United States needed to pay its debts in full, or whether he could negotiate a partial repayment, Mr. Trump told the cable network CNBC, “I would borrow, knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal.”
He added, “And if the economy was good, it was good. So, therefore, you can’t lose.”
Such remarks by a major presidential candidate have no modern precedent. The United States government is able to borrow money at very low interest rates because Treasury securities are regarded as a safe investment, and any cracks in investor confidence have a long history of costing American taxpayers a lot of money.
Experts also described Mr. Trump’s proposal as fanciful, saying there was no reason to think America’s creditors would accept anything less than 100 cents on the dollar, regardless of Mr. Trump’s deal-making prowess. Continue reading
Chris Cilliza understands how difficult it can be to run against a candidate willing to say or do anything:
The best way to explain Trump is through pickup basketball. (Pickup hoops is the best way to explain lots and lots of things in life. I have long maintained that I can tell what kind of person someone is in their life by playing two games of pickup basketball with them.) In any pickup game, there are usually one or two excellent players — guys who played at some level in college who know the game, know how to get their shots and just make it look easy. Those guys aren’t easy to guard — they’re athletic and good after all — but, if you play against them enough, you can develop a strategy on how best to slow them down. Crowd them. Make them drive. Deny them the ball. Make them work on defense. Whatever. There is a game plan that can be built against them, because while they are good, they are predictably good — they usually do the same good stuff in roughly the same way over and over.
Then there is the one guy who plays super unorthodox. It’s usually someone who is a good athlete but has never played organized hoops in his life. He jumps off his right foot to shoot a right-handed layup. He takes shots from all sorts of weird angles that go in. He passes when he should shoot. He shoots when he should pass. That guy, weirdly, is harder to game-plan for than the predictably excellent guy, because you have no idea what he’s going to do next. He might pull up from 30 feet and shoot. He might try some weird up-and-under layup move. And somehow it works for him in a way it wouldn’t for someone who spent 15 years playing organized basketball. He breaks rules he doesn’t even know exist, even as you are trying to defend him within those rules.
That’s Trump as a candidate. He touts his own unpredictability as an asset, and in the context of a campaign it absolutely is. The likes of Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz could never develop a consistent plan of attack against Trump because he was, day in and day out, not only doing and saying things no “normal” candidate would but also changing up what he said and how he said it constantly. Bush always seemed somewhere between bemused and alarmed at Trump during the campaign. Why? Because Bush is the classic example of a pol who wants to know the rules of the game, commit them to memory and then play as hard as he can by them to win. He has no idea what to do with a guy who laughs at the rules and is willing to do whatever it takes to win. Continue reading
Trump Cultists will explain how this is a grand development:
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign announced Thursday that Steven Mnuchin, a former partner at Goldman Sachs who has donated to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, will serve as his national finance chairman.
Mnuchin has also worked as an investment professional for Soros Fund Management LLC, a hedge fun management firm run by George Soros, a billionaire Democratic donor who has sent millions to pro-Hillary Clinton PACs this election cycle. Continue reading
If Donald Trump is elected president a TrumpWatch will be joining PopeWatch. Superficially these men, who obviously have little use for each other, have little in common. Dig a bit deeper, however, and certain similarities emerge.
1. Vituperation-Both men have endless names for those who rouse their ire, although the Pope never descends to the vulgarity of Trump.
2. Facts-Both view facts not as stubborn things, but infinitely malleable tools.
3. Conspiracy Theories-Both are given to believing and broadcasting conspiracy theories.
4. Conservatives-Neither of them are conservatives.
5. Stream-of-consciousness-Both of them make stream-of-consciousness speeches when they depart from texts. Continue reading
Like most man made disasters, the question “Why Trump?” has several answers:
1. Out of Touch-The Republican Establishment has long been out of touch with its base, most notably on immigration. Trump opportunistically and mendaciously played upon such legitimate grievances.
2. Too Many Conservatives-This was a crowded field. At one time 17 people were running, almost all conservatives. This gave Trump a chance to stand out from the crowd early.
3. Trump the Clown-Early in the race, Trump was regarded as the clown of the race, a freak show attraction. Trump was ignored or condescendingly complimented by other candidates who assumed he would be out of the race soon in any case.
4. Not PC-Trump is a vulgar low brow. However, to his audience he came across as politically incorrect, and not as a rich man aping the manner of how he perceives blue collars, like my late sainted parents, behave and think. His performance I always found insulting, but it resonated with a lot of people.
5. Truth-Any lie is effective only if it contains some truth, and among the endless lies that Trump spewed were several truths: “America doesn’t win anymore” “Nothing gets done anymore” “It is time to win again”. Truisms and bromides, but they went to the core of the people who believe the country has been on the wrong track for quite a long while. Continue reading
Fox has called Indiana for Trump. It looks like he will win by twenty points over Cruz. Trump is now certain to gain the nomination. I confess to almost being relieved. With Trump and his delusional followers screaming that the nomination was stolen, a contested convention that resulted in a Cruz nomination would have been virtually certain to end in a general election defeat. This would have given life to Trumpism for another try in 2020. Now, there will be two possible results in the general election. If Trump goes down to defeat that effectively spells the end of this exercise in madness. If Trump is elected, I think he will prove to be a President who swiftly betrays his followers and that will break his spell, except for the most delusional members of his Cult.
Update: Cruz Suspends Campaign:
My co-blogger Darwin at his blog Darwin Catholic has a great post taking on the idea that Trump is a defender of Western Civilization:
Trump cannot be a protector or champion of Christianity or Western Civilization because he is one of the people degrading and neglecting Christianity and Western Civilization. Electing him might annoy feminists, but feminism is not wrong to object to men calling women they don’t like “ugly” or “pigs”. Not is feminism wrong to object to ideas of beauty and sexuality which lead to a photo shoot of one’s wife lying naked on a fur while handcuffed to a suitcase full of jewelry. Feminism is wrong when it asserts that abortion is necessary for women’s equality and liberation or when it asserts that marriage and childbearing represent sources of cultural repression rather than being some of the key purposes of human culture. But Trump is not going after these errors of feminism, nor will he, because it’s unclear that he even disagrees with feminism on these points.
It’s claimed that Trump will protect American institutions and culture by stemming a flood of immigrants. But does Trump have any understanding of what it is in American culture and government that is worth protecting, other than the relative whiteness of its current inhabitants compared to those coming from Mexico and South America? His rhetoric and policies would be far more at home in Peron’s Argentina or Chavez’s Venezuela than in our own republic. Trump offers the doubly depressing prospect of excluding Latin America’s people while importing some of its worst tendencies of government.
Does Trump support (or even understand) the principles of American constitutional republicanism? Of limited government? Does he support the cultural and moral ideas that make Western Culture something worth maintaining? No. At best he represents a crass “up with us, down with them” approach to attacking perceived enemies, without and within, while promising to funnel jobs and money to “real Americans”. He cannot make America great again because he does not even know what made and makes America great. Continue reading
One of the frustrating thing about this campaign for sentient observers is the absurd claim of the crony capitalist Donald Trump to be an outsider running against the establishment. John Boehner, former Speaker of the House, put paid to that notion yesterday:
A few months ago I asked a Washington insider for the scoop on Ted Cruz. His first words were, “No one likes Ted.” Well, John Boehner certainly doesn’t:
The longtime Ohio powerhouse had not been very outspoken on the race since retiring last year, but he held little back when asked about the Texas senator and underdog GOP presidential candidate during a forum at Stanford University.
“I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life,” he said, according to The Stanford Daily.
Boehner also called Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh.” Trump, on the other hand, he described as a “texting buddy.” Continue reading
This surreal election year continues with Trump victorious in the primaries of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware. After tonight Trump has about 950 delegates pledged to support him on the first ballot. He needs 1237 to get a first ballot win. There are 622 delegates left to be awarded.
In other news Trump apparently has rejected attempts by his new advisor, Paul Manafort, to make him appear “more presidential”. Trump the ego-maniac of course only wants yes-men and yes-women around him, and it was predictable that he would reject any attempts to have his campaign strategy be anything other than the next fool thing he wishes to utter. In almost any other election year such a “strategy” would be disastrous, but Trump is riding a wave of voter discontent and the normal rules of politics appear not to apply to him, at least not yet.
To show how invidious the Trump Cult is, listen to the video above where radio talk show host Laura Ingraham makes lame excuses for the fact that the candidate she backs, Donald Trump, sold out the pro-life movement in regard to abortion as to the Republican party platform. This comes as no surprise, because Trump is neither pro-life nor a conservative. But to Laura Ingraham, who has always claimed to be pro-life and a conservative, none of this apparently matters in regard to her support for Trump. In reaction to this, she absurdly lashes out at the Republican Establishment for being insufficiently pro-life or anti-gay marriage, as the candidate she supports prepares to jettison both issues. Being a member of a cult means never having to think again and that appears to be what has happened to Laura Ingraham since she joined the Trumpsters. Sad and pathetic.
I had assumed that Trump was going to hold off running to the center until after the Republican convention, assuming he got the nomination. However, Trump has such contempt for conservatives that the sellout is currently well under way. Having already decided that abortion should remain legal after being savaged for his remark that women obtaining abortions should be punished, Trump is now all in favor of fake women using female rest rooms:
Via Legal Insurrection, something for the “but he fights!” file. Is this one of those answers, as with abortion, where he just doesn’t know what a conservative candidate’s supposed to say? Or is this him pivoting to a more “traditional” campaign for the general, staffed by Paul Manafort’s lobbyist cronies (rigged system!) and chock full of left-ish talking points for swing voters?
Mediaite has a transcript. Note Trump’s rationale: It’s not just that he thinks this issue is much ado about nothing (“there has been so little trouble”), it’s how heavily the risk of economic boycotts seems to weigh on him (“what they are going through with all of the business that’s leaving”). If, like many conservatives, you worry about corporate America smashing legislative backing for state RFRA laws designed to protect religious small-business owners from having to cater gay weddings, you’re getting a taste of what kind of support you can expect from President Trump.
“North Carolina did something that was very strong, and they are paying a big price and there’s a lot of problems,” responded Trump.
“North Carolina, what they are going through with all of the business that’s leaving and the strife– and that’s on both sides. Leave it the way it is. There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate, there has been so little trouble,” he said.
Team Cruz, hearing this, saw their opportunity to needle Trump about political correctness and took it: Continue reading