• Trump Only Cares About Trump

    Always remember that the only thing Trump ever cares about is himself. Never his country, never his party, certainly not the people. Just Trump. There was a good reminder of this in The Washington Post today.

    Just days before Rubio offered to speak on Trump’s behalf at the Republican convention, the presumptive nominee declared the 1993 suicide of Vince Foster to be “very fishy,” especially given Foster’s “intimate knowledge of what was going on” with the Clintons. And Trump attacked the Republican governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez, for allowing Syrian refugees to be “relocated in large numbers” to her state. “If I was governor,” he said, “that wouldn’t be happening.”

    This is Trump on his best behavior, trying (once again) to act “presidential.” A previous column I wrote — examining Trump’s penchant for conspiracy thinking on issues from vaccination to the death of Antonin Scalia — appeared on the same day as Trump’s implication of Hillary Clinton in Foster’s death. One challenge of detailing Trump’s lunacy is the need for hourly updates. His allegation in the Foster case involved the exploitation of a personal tragedy, amounting to the mockery of a family’s loss. It revealed a wide streak of cruelty.

    The attack on Martinez demonstrated another less-than-desirable leadership quality. Trump’s charge against her had nothing to do with refugee policy. During her time as governor, just 10 Syrian refugees have been relocated to New Mexico. Trump was attempting to punish Martinez because she has been noncommittal about endorsing him. In making judgments about people, Trump’s primary measure is not ideological or even political. He likes people who support him and disdains people who don’t. So Martinez and liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) are lumped in the same category of lèse-majesté. It doesn’t matter that Martinez is known as an effective Republican governor. Trump demands the unity of adulation. He is incapable of magnanimity.

    Of course his claim that Martinez allowed refugees to be “relocated in large numbers” is a lie. He lies so casually, and about so much, that he probably doesn’t even notice he’s doing it.

  • Ignorance Is Not a Virtue

    President Obama:

    Facts, evidence, reason, logic, an understanding of science — these are good things. These are qualities you want in people making policy. These are qualities you want to continue to cultivate in yourselves as citizens. That might seem obvious. That’s why we honor Bill Moyers or Dr. Burnell. We traditionally have valued those things. But if you were listening to today’s political debate, you might wonder where this strain of anti-intellectualism came from. So, Class of 2016, let me be as clear as I can be. In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue. It’s not cool to not know what you’re talking about. That’s not keeping it real, or telling it like it is. That’s not challenging political correctness. That’s just not knowing what you’re talking about. And yet, we’ve become confused about this. … when our leaders express a disdain for facts, when they’re not held accountable for repeating falsehoods and just making stuff up, while actual experts are dismissed as elitists, then we’ve got a problem.

    Pretty sad that this needs to be called out explicitly. It should be the implied foundation on which everything else is built. I guess the next speech will be, “Reading and writing is good. Math exists and we should learn about it.”

  • Donald Trump Masqueraded as Publicist to Brag About Himself

    The ridiculous clown show continues:

    A recording obtained by The Washington Post captures what New York reporters and editors who covered Trump’s early career experienced in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s: calls from Trump’s Manhattan office that resulted in conversations with “John Miller” or “John Barron” — public-relations men who sound precisely like Trump himself — who indeed are Trump, masquerading as an unusually helpful and boastful advocate for himself, according to the journalists and several of Trump’s top aides.

    And:

    “Actresses,” Miller said in the call to Carswell, “just call to see if they can go out with him and things.” Madonna “wanted to go out with him.” And Trump’s alter ego boasted that in addition to living with Maples, Trump had “three other girlfriends.”

    Miller was consistent about referring to Trump as “he,” but at one point, when asked how important Bruni was in Trump’s busy love life, the spokesman said, “I think it’s somebody that — you know, she’s beautiful. I saw her once, quickly, and beautiful . . . ” and then he quickly pivoted back into talking about Trump — then a 44-year-old father of three — in the third person.

    In 1990, Trump testified in a court case that “I believe on occasion I used that name.”

    But of course, when asked, he lies about it just as casually as he lies about everything else:

    “It was not me on the phone. And it doesn’t sound like me on the phone, I will tell you that, and it was not me on the phone.”

    Then, Friday afternoon, Washington Post reporters who were 44 minutes into a phone interview with Trump about his finances asked him a question about Miller: “Did you ever employ someone named John Miller as a spokesperson?”

    The phone went silent, then dead. When the reporters called back and reached Trump’s secretary, she said, “I heard you got disconnected. He can’t take the call now. I don’t know what happened.”

  • Trump Is Not Going to Change

    From The New York Times:

    Donald J. Trump’s behavior in recent days — the political threats to the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan; the name-calling on Twitter; the attacks on Hillary Clinton’s marriage — has deeply puzzled Republicans who expected him to move to unite the party, start acting presidential and begin courting the female voters he will need in the general election.
    But Mr. Trump’s choices reflect an unusual conviction: He said he had a “mandate” from his supporters to run as a fiery populist outsider and to rely on his raucous rallies to build support through “word of mouth,” rather than to embrace a traditional, mellower and more inclusive approach that congressional Republicans will advocate in meetings with him on Thursday.

    Why has this “deeply puzzled” anyone? Trump continues to be Trump. What a surprise. It’s wishful thinking to believe he’ll shift into something else now that he’s going to be the nominee. All these cowards who were extremely hard on him during the primary but who are now changing their tune should be ashamed. If he was a danger before, he’s a danger now, and he’ll be an even greater danger if he wins in November.

  • Woody Allen Is a Child Molester

    This is from 2014, but I totally missed it then:

    What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie? Before you answer, you should know: when I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me. He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we’d go to Paris and I’d be a star in his movies. I remember staring at that toy train, focusing on it as it traveled in its circle around the attic. To this day, I find it difficult to look at toy trains.

    What a monster. And what does it say about our society that we let people get away from this just because they make movies?

  • Donald Trump’s Idea to Cut National Debt: Get Creditors to Accept Less

    What’s fiscal policy? Who cares?

    Asked 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 vaguely sketched 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.

    And:

    Repurchasing debt is a fairly common tactic in the corporate world, but it only works if the debt is trading at a discount. If creditors think they are going to get 80 cents for every dollar they are owed, they may be overjoyed to get 90 cents. Mr. Trump’s companies had sometimes been able to retire debt at a discount because creditors feared they might default.

    But Mr. Trump’s statement might show the limits of translating his business acumen into the world of government finance. The United States simply cannot pursue a similar strategy. The government runs an annual deficit, so it must borrow to retire existing debt. Any measures that would reduce the value of the existing debt, making it cheaper to repurchase, would increase the cost of issuing new debt. Such a threat also could undermine the stability of global financial markets.

    In 1979, for example, what the government described as “bookkeeping problems” temporarily delayed $120 million in interest payments. In the aftermath of the delay, investors pushed up interest rates on Treasuries by about 0.6 percentage point, according to a 1989 study by Terry L. Zivney of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and Richard D. Marcus of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. That cost taxpayers roughly $12 billion.