Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Trump Hits The Road, Trying To Change The National Narrative That He's A Petulant, Tantrum-Throwing Baby. Tells Crowd He Might Stay In Office For 16 More Years.

Trump Claims He Beat Biden So Badly In Debate That Biden Is "Canceling The [Other] Debates"
President Trump on Wednesday told a large campaign rally in Duluth, Minnesota, that he defeated Joe Biden during the first presidential debate.

"Joe Biden is too weak to lead this country. You know Biden lost badly when his supporters are saying he should cancel the rest of the debates," Trump said about Tuesday night's battle.

The acrimonious debate in Cleveland was ridden with insults and interruptions and Trump told the crowd moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News was overly deferential to Biden.

"I was debating two people last night," Trump said at the rally, again knocking Wallace . . .

Trump boasted of the debate's 73 million TV viewers . . .

"Liberal media is upset that I took the fight to Biden and exposed his very dangerous agenda. Arson is OK, but challenging Sleepy Joe is totally off limits. . . . Now I understand he's canceling the debates, let's see what happens. I think that's not going to be a good move."
Even Fox News [sic] admitted Trump did poorly, with Brian Kilmeade lamenting: "Trump blew the biggest layup in the history of debates by not condemning white supremacists."

Biden is not in charge of whether additional debates are held or not. But since Trump believes the feeble Biden can "hurt God", controlling the debate schedule would probably be relatively easy. But Biden has not suggested any cancelations. Any talk on social media about trashing the other two debates is solely because of Trump's puerile and petulant antics.

Trump's 2020 Superspreader Tour.
Duluth, Minnesota.
A Perfect Trump Parody

As far as acting like a petulant, tantrum-throwing baby:

Chris Wallace: We're going to go to the next segment. In that segment, you each are going to have two uninterrupted moments. In those two interrupted minutes, Mr. President, you can say anything you want. . . . But I think that the country would be better served, if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions. I'm appealing to you, sir, to do that.

Donald J. Trump: Well, and him too.

Chris Wallace: Well, frankly, you've been doing more interrupting than he has.

Donald J. Trump: Well, that's all right, but he does plenty.

Chris Wallace: Well, sir, less than-

Donald J. Trump: He does plenty.

. . .

Joe Biden: The fact is that everything he's saying so far is simply a lie. I'm not here to call out his lies. Everybody knows he's a liar.

Donald J. Trump: But you agree. Joe, you're the liar. You graduated last in your class not first in your class.

Joe Biden: God, I want to make sure-

Chris Wallace: Mr. President, can you let him finish, sir?

Joe Biden: No, he doesn't know how to do that.

Donald J. Trump: You'd be surprised. You'd be surprised. Go ahead, Joe.

Joe Biden: The wrong guy, the wrong night, at the wrong time.

Donald J. Trump: Listen, you agreed with Bernie Sanders and the manifesto.

Joe Biden: There is no manifesto, number one.

Chris Wallace: Please let him speak, Mr. President.

Joe Biden: Number two.

Donald J. Trump: He just lost the left.

Joe Biden: Number two.

Donald J. Trump: You just lost the left. You agreed with Bernie Sanders on a plan that you absolutely agreed to and under that plan . . . they call it socialized medicine.

Chris Wallace: Mr. President. . . .

. . .

Joe Biden: The issue is the American people should speak. You should go out and vote. You're voting now. Vote and let your Senators know strongly how you feel.

Donald J. Trump: Are you going to pack the court?

Joe Biden: Vote now.

Donald J. Trump: Are you going to pack the court?

Joe Biden: Make sure you, in fact, let people know, your Senators.

Donald J. Trump: He doesn't want to answer the question.

Joe Biden: I'm not going to answer the question.

Donald J. Trump: Why wouldn't you answer that question? You want to put a lot of new Supreme Court Justices. Radical left.

Joe Biden: Will you shut up, man?

Donald J. Trump: Listen, who is on your list, Joe? Who's on your list?

Chris Wallace: Gentlemen, I think we've ended this-

Joe Biden: This is so un-Presidential.

Donald J. Trump: He's going to pack the court. He is not going to give a list.

Chris Wallace: We have ended the segment. We're going to move on to the second segment.

Joe Biden: That was really a productive segment, wasn't it? Keep yapping, man.

Donald J. Trump: The people understand, Joe.

Joe Biden: They sure do.

Donald Trump Is A Proud, Life-Long Racist, But He's Also A Coward And Won't Say It Directly


Still Flatly Refusing To Do It New York Times Engages In Its Usual "Both Siderism" Before Printing The Truth In The Actual Paper, Calls The President Of The United States "The Biggest Threat" To The Country's Democratic System Delusional Can He Name Even Two Of Those Six Polls He "Looked At"? Biden "When The Clown Shoe Fits" How Could Anyone Have Anticipated That Trump Would Ignore The Agreed-Upon Rules And Do Whatever He Wanted And Act Like A Spoiled Five-Year-Old For 90 Minutes?

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Wallace Cedes Control Over Debate To Trump, Who Treats The Event Like A Rally Monologue, Constantly Interrupting Biden; When Asked Directly, Trump Refuses To Say Anything Negative About Any White Supremacist Group (Or White Supremacy, In General)

Chris Wallace sat in the moderator's chair during Tuesday night's debate, but he was utterly ineffective, allowing Donald Trump to keep up a running monologue for most of the night.

It is impossible to believe the Commission on Presidential Debates, remembering how Trump behaved during the 2016 debates and knowing his desperation must be at an all-time high, did not discuss what should be done if Trump decided to treat this debate as one of his rallies and turn on the spigot of his unhinged, stream-of-consciousness babble. Each man's microphone should have been turned off when it was not his turn to speak. At a minimum. (Will anything be done before the second debate?) But instead, it was a complete free-for-all, a train wreck, with Trump at the controls.

Here's a fun exercise: Try imagining the press' reaction -- or just the reaction at Fox News [sic] - if Hillary Clinton had refused to stop talking for an entire debate, bulldozing her way over the moderator as if no other person was speaking.

From the debate's first minute, Wallace did nothing as Trump prevented Biden from speaking. Wallace allowed Trump's interruptions to sidetrack the main questions. Trump refused to slow down his yammering even as Wallace interjected impotently, "Mr. President, Mr. President". That worked about as well as trying to reason with a four-year-old in the middle of a full tantrum-meltdown.

Did Trump's pathetic and transparent attempts to "work the ref", claiming several days ago that Wallace would be biased in favour of Biden, actually work? It's not out of the question. A moderator must establish herself as the voice of authority, and be given the proper tools to keep the debaters in check. Wallace never assumed control of the debate. His performance was a spectacular failure.
tl;dr The First Trump-Biden Debate, Moderated by Trump No, He Doesn't "Will You Shut Up, Man?" Trump Refuses To Say Anything Negative About Violent White Supremacist Groups Or About White Supremacy In General The Return Of The Exploding Trees Dana Bash, Chief Political Correspondent, CNN

Hours Before First Debate Begins, Trump Sends Email To Supporters Saying He Just Finished Debating Biden & He Won

The debate that is raging in his mind, I guess.

Biden Should Ignore Trump's Tax Cheating, Focus On His Epic Failure In Business, Which Forced Him To Shill For Ringtones, Laundry Soap, And Double Stuf Oreos To Stay Afloat

Amanda Marcotte, Salon, September 29, 2020
Using its agenda-setting powers for good instead of evil for once, the New York Times has released the second in a series of stories detailing exactly what kind of fraud Donald Trump is, using recently obtained copies of the tax returns the president has spent years desperately trying to hide.

This second one is a doozy, focusing as it does on how Trump, desperate for cash to prop up his failing empire, faked being a successful businessman on "The Apprentice." Then, because he is unbelievably bad at business, Trump managed to burn through the $424.7 million windfall he "earned" from that show, leaving him apparently dead broke before he announced his presidential campaign in 2015. 

Much attention has been paid to the revelation from the first article in this series that Trump is a promiscuous tax cheat who uses all sorts of shady strategies — paying his daughter Ivanka as a "consultant" to hide money from the IRS, for one — to keep his income tax bill at zero in most years.

But this second article focuses on what is likely a far more potent slam against Trump in the eyes of the voters he'll need to win over if he wants to be re-elected in November: He is a comically terrible businessman. His real estate empire was kept on life support through ads with cartoon sheep and selling ringtones, as well multi-level marketing schemes and other ploys to defraud desperate people. 

On Tuesday night we will see the first debate of the general election campaign. Right now, most liberal commentators are urging Trump's Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, to talk about Trump's extensive tax cheating. That would actually be a mistake.

Instead, Biden should focus on how Trump's entire claim to be a captain of industry is a lie, and the fact that he's barely stayed afloat through laundry soap ads and tricking people into taking phony classes at "Trump University." . . .

[T]here's a real danger for Biden in harping on the fact that Trump is a bad person: Doing so runs the risk of making Trump look tough, smart and strong. Instead, Biden should characterize Trump as weak and stupid, which is far more likely to turn off the kinds of voters Trump needs to win in swing states. . . .

Trump's propagandists on Fox News and talk radio get this. Rather than denying that Trump is a tax cheat — something Trump himself has bragged about — they're hyping the cheating as evidence that Trump is smart and knows how to work the system. . . .

Biden runs the risk of looking like the nagging police chief in an '80s cop drama, scolding our rogue-cop hero for bending the rules. Instead, Biden should try to kneecap Trump's efforts to look clever or strong by focusing on the fact that Trump was such an epic failure at business he needed to shill for laundry soap to keep his companies from collapsing entirely. . . .

I attended the Republican National Convention in 2016, and one of the most interesting things was how much the programming avoided mentioning "The Apprentice." Instead, Trump was portrayed as this Ayn Rand-style titan of real estate, with lots of photos of cranes and men in hard hats.

Propping up this lie that he's a successful real estate mogul is central to maintaining the Trump mystique. The truth — that his real estate empire is a failure, which was barely kept alive by cash from reality TV, commercial endorsements and fraud — offers the only hope of dimming Trump's reputation, among a certain segment of voters, as a smart and successful businessman. 

Focusing on Trump's failures as a businessman is not only a delicious way to humiliate him and degrade him in the eyes of his fans, it offers a path to connect Trump's failings to the real-life impact on voters. . . .

Trump is such a failure at real estate that he was forced to hawk mattresses and marketing scams in order to stay above water. Over the last four years, Trump has run the government exactly like he ran his businesses, by failing miserably to do his job and covering up his failures with a bunch of lies and TV pageantry. . . .

Trump doesn't care that he failed, because he believes he can fake success, "Apprentice"-style. Just last week, Trump declared on Fox News that he has done a "phenomenal job" and deserves an "A+" for his work on the pandemic.
Roger Sollenberger, Salon, September 29, 2020
Salon reached out to a number of Trump and Biden associates — as well as campaign veterans, including Omarosa Manigault-Newman, Michael Cohen, A.J. Delgado and Philippe Reines — to find out how each candidate can come out on top. . . .

Philippe Reines, the longtime Democratic strategist who played the role of Trump in 2016 during Hillary Clinton's debate preparation: . . .

"After four years now, there are a million people who can impersonate Donald Trump, but if you don't know Joe Biden, that doesn't do much good," he said. "But remember that Trump is the most predictable, unpredictable person. In 2016, I told the Clinton team that 100% of what I'm about to say is going to sound insane, but 95% of it are the things he says all the time. Five percent he has said before but doesn't repeat often, and only the last 5% is my guessing of what he might say." . . .

"Trump only has his rants, his rallies and his press conferences" to draw on, Reines said. Of contentious exchanges with reporters, "hardly any of it is a debate," and Trump "often ends press conferences in the middle of a question by walking out of the room." Given this record, Reines found it shocking that some pundits still predict that Trump could deliver a competent performance.

"Everything about him debating is a f**king mess," he said. "It's 2020. We've been through this for four years now, and I really hope there are no humans left on the plant who are saying, 'Will tonight be the night? Will he be presidential?' If you just plug in the guy we've all seen on TV for the last four years, take that guy and plug him into an audience a thousand times larger than what he's had on cable news — that's not going to go well for him," Reines said.

Former Trump 2016 campaign adviser A.J. Delgado said Trump no longer had a fastball to pitch. Instead, 2020 is "Trump Campaign: The Remix."

"Trump is losing. He knows it. His campaign knows it, so he's under a lot of pressure to turn the tide," she said. "He'll try to obfuscate tonight and turn the conversation to non-issues and fluff. He doesn't win on the economy — one recent study said Biden's jobs plan would create 7 million more jobs than Trump's," she continued. "He doesn't win on his handling of COVID. He doesn't win on any substantive issue. So he will try to spin, spin, spin and hope to sow confusion. . . . He has the most low-energy campaign team in history, with no new ideas." . . .

Manigault-Newman also highlighted a few area where she viewed Trump as particularly weak. "Trump will be reluctant to talk about Russian bounties, lack of a health care alternative and his disastrous COVID response," she predicted. "Oh, and of course, taxes. He will stick to his audit lie."

Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen appeared to agree on that front. He told Salon that Sunday's bombshell New York Times report about Trump's tax returns . . . is probably taking up valuable psychological space.

"Donald Trump's financial records are the Rosetta Stone for understanding the depth of his corruption and crimes, and the more it is unraveled the more he will unravel," Cohen said. "It's the reason he's fought so hard to keep it under wraps: His entire image and self-worth is based on an inflated financial worth." . . .

Delgado contended that Trump was hurting from a dearth of campaign veterans who had lost control of an already-erratic candidate.

"There's no preparing him and, to be frank, he doesn't have top brass, top talent available to prep him anyway," she said. "We can already see they have nothing. They're out on social media tweeting lazy memes and questions like, 'Where's Hunter?' Look: No one cares about Hunter. And it's foolish, anyway, to open up that door to discussion of Ivanka's Chinese trademarks, Jared's inability to obtain security clearances, the Trump Organization's foreign entanglements and on and on," she said.
Dan Froomkin, Press Watch, September 29, 2020
[S]ports-style coverage has never been more inappropriate than it is today, because it also fundamentally equates the two candidates. It suggests that they are playing the same game, when they are playing entirely different games. It casts them as competing on an even playing field, when they are nor playing by remotely the same rules.

First and foremost, of course, Trump notoriously doesn't care about facts. Debate rules should require truth-telling, and include methods for the moderators to call out outrageous violations and exact some sort of penalty. But real-time fact-checking has actually been ruled out by the debate organizers (to their shame).

The sport-style coverage also normalizes this highly abnormal election.

The story of this race is not: Biden and Trump are both running for president, you pick. It's: America is on a precipice. As I wrote in my inaugural Press Watch column, 11 months ago – before impeachment! Before the pandemic! – re-electing Trump would be an act of collective national insanity.

It's only truer today. . . .

Even before the debate, Trump was already making outrageous insinuations against Biden — projecting, if past is prologue — and the New York Times simply considered it a sign of the "absence of guardrails."

And don't look to journalistic fact-checking as is currently practiced to solve anything. While I'll eagerly watch what looks to be an aggressive fact-checking initiative from CNN, I don't think fact-checking should be independent of the main coverage.
Bob Cesca, Salon, September 29, 2020
For the past several decades, Donald Trump has been widely regarded as a great big phony. Everything about him is a mirage. He steals credit for the accomplishments of others, especially his predecessor, Barack Obama. His business model is all about slapping his goofy name on properties built by others. Even his outward appearance is a fraud: his unsubstantiated self-confidence, his hair, his clown makeup, his baggy suits designed to hide his doughy frame, even his shoes, which appear to have unusually high heels — it's all intended to make him appear physically more powerful than he actually is. Fake, fake and fake.

It's all a big show. In reality, he's nothing more than a petty, brittle, small man — and a business failure. . . .

Between 2008 and 2009, during the Great Recession, the Trump Organization itself lost $1.4 billion. Trump exploited this loss to claim a $73 million tax refund from the IRS, which subsequently launched an ongoing audit of Trump's taxes. If he ends up getting the fuzzy end of the audit, he could owe the government $100 million. . . .

Despite his garish penthouse and private jet, Trump is broke. His properties are failing and he needs the money. Badly. Turns out, not only is Trump a craptastically bad businessman, but you and everyone you know is paying to help mitigate his investment nightmares nearly every damn weekend. . . .

It's worth mentioning that in addition to forcing taxpayers to finance his money-losing properties, Trump paid zero in taxes during 10 of the last 15 years. Remember the debate about "makers vs. takers?" Trump is absolutely a taker. Indeed, based on these numbers, he's taken a million times more than he's paid into the federal government in recent years. Talk about a welfare queen. . . .

We already knew his zealous reopening obsession was about keeping the stock market afloat long enough 1) to keep his portfolio in good standing, and 2) to haul his ponderous bulk into a second term. But reopening too soon could also have been about those crappy golf resorts. . . .

More than 205,000 Americans are dead, while 7.1 million have been infected, in part because Trump is desperately worried about the solvency of his vacation properties. In other words, the president of the United States is so freaked out about falling deeper into debt that he may very well be making life-and-death decisions for the entire nation based on the failing financial status of his janky resorts.

Think about that for a second. The president is metaphorically grinding down American bodies and fertilizing his golf courses with the remains. Hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens are dead so Trump can be re-elected (or so he hopes) while generating blood money for his failing golf courses. On these terms alone, he's the deadliest sociopath ever to occupy the White House.

Round 1: Trump vs Biden

Debate #1

Trump Claims Biden Doing PEDs To Sound Coherent
(Trump Accused Clinton Of Taking Drugs In 2016)

Trump Criticized Biden For Preparing For Tonight's Debate
(Whereas He's So Busy Running the Country, "I Don't Have That Luxury")

Trump Began Laying His Foundation Of Excuses 
For His Poor Performance Last Week Washington Post, September 28, 2020: "Trump's Campaign Is Making Up Fake Debate Excuses In Advance. Sound Familiar?"
Shortly after former vice president Joe Biden clinched the Democratic Party's nomination for the 2020 presidential race, President Trump and his allies invested heavily in a particular line of argument. Biden was old and enfeebled, they asserted, and could barely function physically or intellectually.

Over and over, they made this argument, even releasing ads compiling snippets of Biden stumbling over words. There was no small irony to attacking Biden as old or prone to misstatements, of course, but it was the strategy they dropped like a blanket over the political conversation.

Then the Democrats held their convention and Biden was obviously not the caricature that his opponents had suggested. So Trump pivoted: Clearly, then, Biden was cheating.

Over and over again, this was the mantra. Biden was using performance-enhancing drugs of some sort, Trump claimed, demanding a drug test. It's an extremely weird claim, presuming that Olympic-style rules should apply to everyday situations, and one without any evidence. (At a news conference on Sunday, Trump insisted that the claim could be proved if one were to "check out the Internet.")

As Tuesday's debate neared, the claim got more specific: Biden would be using an earpiece during the debate to take instruction from aides and allies. As of writing, it's the top story on Fox News's website . . . Trump's campaign demanded that Biden reject the use of drugs and earpieces, a request that Biden laughed off. . . .

[T]his mirrors the Trump campaign's election strategy more broadly.

What Trump's team wants to do with these allegations is twofold. First, they want to disparage Biden as a cheater and untrustworthy. Second, they want to have an excuse for Biden doing better than Trump's supporters might expect. That exchange in which Biden damaged Trump? Well, that was just because he had an earpiece or was on Adderall.

This is precisely what's happening with Trump's focus on mail-in voting. He and his allies are broadly asserting that such ballots can't be trusted, despite the complete absence of evidence that there's any broad effort to rig voting and the absence of evidence that any such scheme could work. Trump keeps insisting that Democrats are actively promoting absentee voting so the election can be stolen — a clunky effort to impugn his political opponents as cheats.

But, then, there's that second reason: Insisting falsely that mail-in ballots are rife with fraud gives Trump an excuse for any loss. . . .

What he's doing with the debate and what he's doing with the election are the same thing. In each case, he's asserting that his opponents cheat, and in each case, that gives him the space to claim victory regardless of the outcome. Of course, we shouldn't be surprised by this. It's how Trump approaches politics in general, wildly disparaging his opponents and injecting as much uncertainty as possible about objective facts.
It also fits Trump's incessant and very transparent habit of projecting his own crimes and fears onto others. In this case, Trump is the drug-using, gaffe-prone, vote-fraud-causing candidate with dementia.

Trump Has Been Claiming Biden Has Dementia
(A Case Of 'Takes One To Know One'?)

Trump recently bragged on live television (on multiple occasions!) about passing a test meant to detect signs of dementia. (He has not said why he was given that test.) 

Over the last four years, there have been countless instances of Trump committing some gaffe or broadcasting his extraordinary ignorance about extremely common matters. 

Trump has trouble operating a speaker phone. He has been defeated more than once by an open umbrella. He says he has met with the president of the Virgin Islands and the Prince of Whales. He implied that both Frederick Douglass (who died in 1895) and Thomas Edison (who died in 1931) were still alive. He stared directly at the sun during an eclipse. 

Trump thinks (still, in late 2020) that stealth planes are actually invisible. He believes testing for COVID-19 creates cases. He believes hurricanes can be stopped with nuclear bombs. He tweeted about a "taco bowl" in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. He described Puerto Rico as "an island sitting in the middle of an ocean—and it's a big ocean, a really, really big ocean". In May 2019, Trump misspelled "stolen" as "stollen", which is a type of fruit bread served in Germany on Christmas. 

When welcoming his wife home after she spent five days in the hospital for kidney surgery, Trump called her "Melanie". He blamed the Kentucky Derby results on "political correctness" and referred to the state as "Kentuky". In his 2019 Fourth of July speech, Trump spoke of the American troops who "took over the airports" during the Revolutionary War and later blamed a telepromoter that had stopped working (why would a non-functioning teleprompter force Trump to talk about airports existing in the 1770s?). In October 2016, Trump told a crowd in Panama City, Fla., that Election Day was November 28. (It was November 8.) 

In September 2019, he misspelled "little" as "liddle", "describing" as "discribing" and did not know the difference between a hyphen and an apostrophe. Trump copied an anti-Semitic image used by white supremacists of a six-point star and piles of $100 bills to depict Hillary Clinton, then blamed the "dishonest media" for the controversy. He retweeted a quote from fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. When Trump arrived in Scotland the morning after the "Brexit" vote, he tweeted: "Just arrived in Scotland. Place is going wild over the vote." (Scotland had voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU.)

During an interview with the editorial board of The Washington Post in 2016, Trump hit on an editor, discussed his glove size, and avoided a question about ISIS by saying "I'll tell you one thing, this is a very good looking group of people here." He congratulated the state of Kansas City after the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl (the Chiefs play in Missouri). 

Trump has referred to the day the World Trade Center towers were destroyed as "7-Eleven". In April 2020, Trump tweeted "Happy Good Friday". In August, he tweeted about his visit to "Frorida" (the l is nowhere near the r on a keyboard). Also during that month, he mispronounced (twice) one of the US's most famous national parks as "Yo-Semite", stated the 1917 influenza epidemic caused the end of World War II, and claimed that vote-by-mail ballots were being sent to dogs. (The influenza epidemic occurred in 1918, World War II ended in 1945, and as long as the dogs don't mail back the ballots, what's the problem?) 

Trump has coined numerous new words, phrases, names, and countries: chocked, hamberder, Nipple and Button, Nambia, text massages, Global Warning, covfefe, the US will heel itself, lasting peach in the Middle East, unpresidented, elements of medical, smocking gun, Tim Apple, what are the oranges of that.

He has also misspelled his own last name in tweets, twice: "Ttump".

Trump Hired A "Faux-Bama", So He Could "Ritualistically Belittle" And Fire The First Black President