Et tu, Marcolito?

Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald dropped a bombshell on the Trump campaign this morning:

Documents show that the Trump company spent a minimum of $68,000 for its 1998 foray into Cuba at a time when the corporate expenditure of even a penny in the Caribbean country was prohibited without U.S. government approval. But the company did not spend the money directly. Instead, with Trump’s knowledge, executives funneled the cash for the Cuba trip through an American consulting firm called Seven Arrows Investment and Development Corp. Once the business consultants traveled to the island and incurred the expenses for the venture, Seven Arrows instructed senior officers with Trump’s company—then called Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts—how to make it appear legal by linking it after the fact to a charitable effort.

The payment by Trump Hotels came just before the New York business mogul launched his first bid for the White House, seeking the nomination of the Reform Party. On his first day of the campaign, he traveled to Miami, where he spoke to a group of Cuban-Americans, a critical voting bloc in the swing state. Trump vowed to maintain the embargo and never spend his or his companies’ money in Cuba until Fidel Castro was removed from power.

Sounds legit. The Trump Foundation operates as Trump’s personal piggybank / tax evasion scheme, so why not use a charity as a cover for an embargo-busting business expense?

This latest Trump scandal could have huge implications in Florida. Even Marco Rubio, who acknowledged that Trump is a conman but endorsed him for president anyway, issued what passes for a tough statement from that quarter:

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Donald Trump will have to “answer some questions” about a Newsweek story reporting that a Trump-owned company allegedly violated the United States’ trade embargo with Cuba in the late 1990s.

“This is something they’re going to have to give a response to. I mean, it was a violation of American law, if that’s how it happened,” Rubio said on the ESPN/ABC “Capital Games” podcast.

A real profile in courage, is our Marcolito. But the vote in Florida is on a knife’s edge, thanks in part to an aging bloc of voters who reflexively vote Republican because of hostility toward the Castros. This might complicate that a bit.



Two Score and One

The NYT (yes, I’m still occasionally reading it even though I canceled my subscription in a huff…) has an account of how Team Trump is handling the debate debacle and planning to improve on their man’s calamitous performance. An excerpt that describes how things went so wrong:

Mr. Trump’s debate preparation was unconventional. Aides have introduced a podium and encouraged him to participate in mock debates, but he has not embraced them, focusing mostly on conversations and discussions with advisers.

During the primaries, the group briefing him for debates was small and closely held. By the weekend before the debate on Monday at Hofstra University, there were nearly a dozen people preparing Mr. Trump, including the retired Army generals Michael Flynn and Keith Kellogg, neither of whom has experience in presidential debates.

There were early efforts to run a more standard form of general election debate-prep camp, led by Roger Ailes, the ousted Fox News chief, at Mr. Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, N.J. But Mr. Trump found it hard to focus during those meetings, according to multiple people briefed on the process who requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. That left Mr. Ailes, who at the time was deeply distracted by his removal from Fox and the news media reports surrounding it, discussing his own problems as well as recounting political war stories, according to two people present for the sessions.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and a friend of Mr. Trump’s who has been traveling with him extensively, took over much of the preparation efforts by the end. But with Mr. Trump receiving so much conflicting advice in those sessions, he absorbed little of it.

The team had primed Mr. Trump to look for roughly a dozen key phrases and expressions Mrs. Clinton uses when she is uncertain or uncomfortable, but he did not seem to pay attention during the practice sessions, one aide said, and failed to home in on her vulnerabilities during the debate.

Trump aides, including revolting sexual predator Roger Ailes and serial 9/11-humper Rudy Giuliani, are casting about for a new strategy so Trump doesn’t get steamrolled during the upcoming town hall-style debate in a week and a half.

But doesn’t the story behind Trump’s shitty debate performance raise a larger question, such as whether a candidate who relies on a degenerate like Ailes, is unable to focus and retain information, etc., is fit for the presidency in the first place? Not to Trump super-fans like the Twittiot below, who are coming up with absurd conspiracy theories to explain why Hillary kicked Trump’s ass:

“Coughing prevention machine”? OMFG! Or maybe it’s a lapel mic power pack — do these people not watch “Ellen”?

It would be odd indeed to wear an earpiece on one’s back. But even dudes — gay or straight — understand that bras often have hooks in the back to allow the wearer to put the bra on rather than the bra magically enfolding the wearer’s boobs, right?

41. More. Days.

[H/T: Buzzfeed story on loopy conspiracy theories]



Orangmandias

orangmandias

Y’all may have already heard this, but it has been confirmed that President Obama’s humiliation of Trump at the White House Correspondents Dinner five years ago is indeed what set Trump off on his quest for the presidency:

After the humiliation of President Barack Obama raking him over the coals for pushing birther conspiracy theories, a top surrogate for Donald Trump said he will have his “ultimate revenge” when all of his critics have to “bow down” to him in the White House.

In a clip previewing an upcoming special from PBS Frontline, published online Thursday, Omarosa Manigault spoke about the abject humiliation Trump felt after Obama did an extended bit about the real estate mogul at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner.

“Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump,” Manigault said. “It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, who ever disagreed, who ever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.”

Roger Stone, a longtime Trump confidant [and crackpot scumbag! — ed.] with loose ties to the campaign, called the 2011 event “the night that [Trump] resolved to run for president.”

Yeah, nothing deranged and egomaniacal as fuck about that! Since this confirmation is coming from a top campaign surrogate, maybe Lester Holt could ask Trump to explain how the public pantsing he got from PBO figured into his decision to run and whether it’s appropriate to make the American people and indeed the world’s entire population bit-players in Trump’s ego-driven psycho-drama.

While he’s at it, Holt might also ask both candidates to weigh in on the question of whether or not the U.S. president is really the “most powerful man in the universe.” Have leaders throughout the entire universe been considered, not just the Magellanic Clouds (large and small) and Andromeda?



Tinkle Hell (Open Thread)

toilet-hole

My husband and I get along famously because we’re both Pisces. Well, that’s not why — astrology is a steaming load of hooey, of course. But we are both gentle, artistic, empathetic souls who would rather make sure other people are having a good time than assert our will over each other or a group.

Our biggest conflict is usually that neither of us wants to make some dumb minor decision like where to have breakfast. Where do you want to go? No, where do YOU want to go? This can go on past lunch.

But that all fell apart the other day because of a toilet. And maybe because now it’s just the two of us living here, so we can no longer blame household mishaps on our daughter, who has flown the nest for college.

The main toilet, i.e., the one that’s NOT in the master bedroom, overflowed. (HE was the last one who used it, please note!) When it became clear the plunger wouldn’t fix the problem, my husband started taking more drastic measures, like snaking the drain.

As he did so, he was doing the usual grumbling about some people using too much toilet paper or not holding the handle down long enough. This is a recurring theme from him that my daughter and I used to roll our eyes at, but this time, it pissed me off because it was obviously directed at me and not womankind in general, which is annoying enough in its own right.

Well! I told him he could just knock it right the fuck off with that bullshit. I reminded him I’m a grown-ass woman who has been potty-trained for decades and that I know how to flush a goddamned toilet, having done so approximately 100,000 times.

And furthermore, I noted that it’s ridiculous to complain about women using more toilet paper — duh, we sit down to pee! And I assured him my toilet paper usage was well within normal range, thankyewveramuch, so get the fuck over it already and just fix the fucking toilet or let me call a goddamned plumber.

So that shut him up, and he fixed that toilet. Then a few days ago, the other toilet overflowed. He’s been working on it intermittently since, and it came to pass that the entire thing had to be replaced, an operation that is currently underway.

When he removed the bowl, there were these fucking little fibrous roots growing up through the pipe, which is just a horrifying thing, IMO. He poured some chemical down there that may kill every tree on the place, I don’t know. I hope not. But all I could think about was naked mole rats or some eyeless rodent from hell using the roots as a highway system to come bite my ass. Wine! Immediately! The end.



The Beclowning

According to Don King, “every white woman should cast their vote for Donald Trump.” Uh, thanks, Mr. King. Got any hairstyle tips for us? I’m sure they’ll be just as on point.

King also dropped the n-bomb during his remarks (not captured above), causing some audience members to grimace and others to bury their faces in their hands while Trump’s mug froze in its trademark smirk. Of course, that’s what Twitter latched onto, but I thought King’s rationale for voting for Trump was actually more interesting.

King says that voters shouldn’t choose “Donald Trump the man” but rather vote for him as an instrument to “knock out the system.” I suspect that’s a common sentiment among Trump supporters who aren’t consciously white supremacists but are nonetheless willing to countenance rampant discrimination and chaos to burn everything down.

I know we’re supposed to feel empathy for such folks, but I can’t bring myself to feel anything but contempt for them. Drew Magary captures that contempt perfectly in a DEF-COLE 1-style essay on GQ entitled, “If You Vote for Trump, Then Screw You.” An excerpt:

Because while Trump is a miserable bastard, YOU are the people who have handed him the bullhorn. YOU are the people willing to embarrass this nation and put it on the brink of economic ruin all because you wanna throw an electoral hissy fit. YOU are the people who want to revolutionize the way America does business by voting for its worst businessman, a disgusting neon pig who only makes money when he causes problems for other people instead of solving them. YOU are the thin-skinned yokels who clutch your bandoliers whenever someone hurls the mildest of slurs at you (“deplorables”), while cheering Trump on as he leaves a bonfire of truly hateful invective everywhere he goes. YOU are the people willing to overlook the fact that Trump is an unqualified, ignorant sociopath because DURRRR HILLARY IS BAD TOO DURRRR.

You know what? No, she’s not. She’s fine. I lived through one Clinton, and I can live through another. My reasons for hating Trump are better than your reasons for hating Hillary. Show me all the arguments against her you like. You guys don’t give a shit about facts and research when it comes to Trump, so I’m not gonna give a shit about whatever clumsy meme you cook up to explain why she did Benghazi. Nope. Sorry. Fuck your arguments, and fuck you. Trump has shown no respect for anyone, so I don’t see why you deserve any either. Whatever mildly frustrating centrist liberal bureaucracy that Hillary presides over will be fine compared to the spray tan mushroom cloud that would arise all because YOU thought Trump was such a brave, un-PC dickhead to everyone within shouting distance.

Yeah. What he said. Every word.



Let’s Help Make Lea Hudson of Cheatham County, Tennessee Internet Famous!

This is what counts as thinking from the wingnut community:

“Any park ranger will tell you: don’t feed wildlife. The reason behind this is that they become dependent and will not forage for themselves any longer. A disturbing trend is affecting American wildlife. Animals that formerly were self-sufficient are now showing signs of belonging to the Democratic Party. They have apparently learned to just sit and wait for the government to step in and provide for their care and sustenance.” (The Unpopular Truth, March 14, 2012)

Isn’t this what Hillary and the Democratic Party are doing — continuing to make more and more people dependent by continuing to “feed them?”

Food stamps, children’s lunch programs, child care programs, housing subsidies, farm subsidies, student loans — the list is endless.

In fact, there are over 1,800 social welfare programs funded by hard-working taxpayers to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars.

Let’s skip past the fact that she is talking about people, and not animals, and in many of those cases CHILDREN who can’t provide for themselves (wonder where she stands on abortion). All of that is deplorable, but let’s watch where this goes next:

Folks, this is the most important election of our time — we must stop the pathway the Democrats/Socialists are leading us down.

Our grandchildren don’t stand a chance! Will working for a living become obsolete? Will the rest of us who have worked hard for our whole lives find our ability to hang onto what we have impossible?

Will we lose our basic freedoms like the Second Amendment, freedom of religion and freedom of speech?

So please don’t feed the animals. America deserves better. We all deserve better!

We have to stop feeding hungry kids to defend our grandkids who might lose their right to own a gun. This is what government by your grandfather’s chain emails looks like.

It will not surprise you that darling Lea is all in for Trump, will it?



Electile Dysfunction (Open Thread)

After getting pantsed by Trump repeatedly, the Beltway media might be in the process of remembering how to do their jobs, but this still made me laugh:

As of this posting, the cops in NYC are still trying to sort out who set off the bomb that injured 29 people. They’re calling it an “intentional blast” and have found a second device that may have been another bomb that failed to detonate.

The Washington Post has an interesting article authored by Terrence McCoy. It’s about a dangerous explosion of another type: the proliferation of open carry laws nationwide. It focuses on one Trump-supporting dude in Georgia who is too afraid to shop at Walmart without his AR-15. An excerpt:

Jim [Cooley] goes everywhere now with a gun — if not the AR-15, then his sidearm — and is so reliant on one being close by that it surprises him to think the majority of his life was lived otherwise. He was raised in a working-class family in Chicago, where he can’t imagine living now because of its strict gun laws. But they didn’t bother him then. He didn’t hunt. He didn’t fear for his safety. If his dad had a gun, no one knew. He grew up without a gun, went to church without a gun, married Maria without a gun, began raising two children without a gun, and settled into a life that felt as safe as it was dependable.

But then it began unraveling, starting when he was fired from a trucking job days after telling Maria, who was pregnant with their first child, to quit her job and focus on the baby, that he could support them both. Their first bankruptcy filing wasn’t far behind, then the second, and the third, and then they were moving to Florida, where Maria had family and where Jim got a job with a grocery chain. It transferred him to Winder, and he moved the family into a middle-class neighborhood struggling with crime and drugs.

So here’s at least one Trump supporter who actually is dealing with “economic anxiety.” The article alludes to “crime and drugs” in his Georgia neighborhood but doesn’t elaborate on any actual dangers Cooley faces other than money woes. Those suck for sure, but they aren’t something you can shoot.

The article suggests Cooley is living on disability checks and that he went broke when he incurred huge hospital bills after having a heart attack while uninsured. Trump and the state and local-level GOP knobs this dude probably also supports want to slash the social safety net and kill the ACA, thus ensuring millions more Americans go broke from medical bills.

But these facts probably don’t enter into Cooley’s calculus. He’s afraid, so he arms himself with weapons of war, and he supports a racist, sexist, xenophobic demagogue who promises “change,” even though the few changes Trump has articulated would negatively affect Cooley.

It’s not a rational choice, any more than the decision to carry an assault rifle into Walmart is. Oddly, Trump and the gun both seem to function as penis extenders.