Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree

Josh Marshall has a tweet stream going talking about the Trump-Russia alliance.  As he sees it, the Manchurian-by-way-of-Queens Candidate isn’t even trying to hide his alliance with/subservience to Putin.

I’m not sure I wholly believe it, but I can’t come close to ruling it out, and that cranks the dangers of this election up to eleven. Which is why I found this story a welcome bit of comic relief:



Shop Ivanka’s look from her #RNC speech: #RNCinCLE


This isn’t Ivanka Trump tweeting, technically. It’s @IvankaTrump, but that’s the Twitter handle If one has one’s own clothing line, it seems natural that you’d wear pieces from it; perhaps the marketing folks saw an unplanned opportunity to plug the outfit on Twitter. It’s $138 at Macy’s; apparently her father’s boycott of the chain doesn’t apply to her. The garment is described as a “sophisticated sheath dress” that “works wonders at both social and professional occasions” — and, clearly, political ones.

Oh, also? The dress is “imported,” according to its description.

So perhaps this was a just a smart move by the site’s marketing team to capitalize on the moment. Possible. Or perhaps Ivanka Trump has been doing this for the entire convention, posting a series of photos from the event at her website with personalized captions to each — and links to where you can buy all of the things she’s wearing or carrying.

So yeah, maybe the Trump campaign is Putin’s Hail Mary attempt to reverse the outcome of the Cold War.  And maybe it’s just one long grift, the true family business now being carried on by the smart child.

Of course, there’s no reason that what we’re seeing isn’t both a floor wax and a dessert topping.

Image:  John Singer Sargent, Madam X (Madame Pierre Gautreau)1883*

*Yeah. This is one of those posts that exist at least in part so that I could post that picture. Sue me.


Triumph of the Vile: RNC in CLE Night #4

(via the Guardian)

And the old Obama hand keeps us from getting too giddy at the confusion of our enemies…

Buckle your seatbelts, it’s gonna be a long night.

We All Need A Giggle

An hairpiece-free excursion (by request!) to bring howls of joy to your day:


And, (apologizing for the nod to the orange one from whom we so need respite) a reminder of the wellsprings of political philosophy that animate our “friends” across the aisle, not just the nominee, but his entire foreclosed on, possession taken, bust-out-begun party.


I know what’s happening when Donald Trump is one tight election away from Götterdämmerung ain’t even remotely funny.  But Messrs. Python are, and sometimes we all can use a break.

Open thread.

Open Thread: Paul Manafort Has / Is A Problem

Conventional Wisdom is that Corey Lewinski Lewandowski was Donald Trump’s favorite political manager, but Paul Manafort was the Trump kids’ choice. (They are, after all, the spoilt spawn of a tinpot autocrat, and Manafort has many years experience dealing with clients who think “but I wanna!should have the weight of law.) Lewandowski’s “firing” was supposed to signal Manafort’s triumph in the struggle. But now Corey is safely embedded in CNN’s hide, somebody’s got to be held responsible for the RNC clusterfvck, and it sure ain’t gonna be The Donald…. or any of his offspring.

Jon Chait, of NYMag, is a man exquisitely attuned to every shift in the prevailing CW currents:

Donald Trump is not a Russian agent in the sense that Philip and Elizabeth from The Americans are Russian agents. There’s no hidden radio in his laundry room where he transmits secrets to the Kremlin. But his relationship with Russia is disturbing and lends itself to frightening interpretations.

Franklin Foer has detailed the connections between the Republican nominee and the Kremlin. In short, it includes a long series of economic and social ties, which fit the pattern Vladimir Putin has used to infiltrate and undermine governments elsewhere — including in Ukraine, a coup Putin pulled off through Paul Manafort, who is now Trump’s campaign manager. Michael Crowley and Julia Ioffe have both described how the Russian propaganda apparatus has thrown itself behind Trump’s campaign. As Foer notes, Trump’s lack of creditworthiness makes him unusually reliant on unconventional sources of financing. This makes him vulnerable to financial leverage by an unscrupulous foreign entity.
Read more

Open Thread: Pastor Dobson Has A Sad

James “Focus on the Family (While I Pick Your Pocket)” Dobson is very, very disappointed by all us haterz who cruelly mock his optimistic embrace of “baby Christian” Donald Trump…

And not just the unsaved Christianist-haters, either:

Poor saintly Mr. Dobson just wanted to remora Deadbeat Donald’s #WINNING grift while that shark is still moving — living off a host’s, uh, leftovers is an honorable tradition among his clan. How was he to know how rapidly the gilt would wear off the Trump scampaign, once it was exposed to the acid examination of non-believers?

Empty Promises: #Deadbeat Donald Cheats Charities

If anyone was wondering why the Trump scampaign banned the Washington Post from its press pool, here’s David A. Farenthold’s latest – “Trump promised millions to charity. We found less than $10,000 over 7 years”:

In May, under pressure from the news media, Donald Trump made good on a pledge he made four months earlier: He gave $1 million to a nonprofit group helping veterans’ families.

Before that, however, when was the last time that Trump had given any of his own money to a charity?

If Trump stands by his promises, such donations should be occurring all the time. In the 15 years prior to the veterans donation, Trump promised to donate earnings from a wide variety of his moneymaking enterprises: “The Apprentice.” Trump Vodka. Trump University. A book. Another book. If he had honored all those pledges, Trump’s gifts to charity would have topped $8.5 million.

But in the 15 years prior to the veterans’ gift, public records show that Trump donated about $2.8 million through a foundation set up to give his money away — less than a third of the pledged amount — and nothing since 2009. Records show Trump has given nothing to his foundation since 2008…

In recent years, Trump’s follow-through on his promises has been seemingly nonexistent.

The Post contacted 167 charities searching for evidence of personal gifts from Trump in the period between 2008 and this May. The Post sought out charities that had some link to Trump, either because he had given them his foundation’s money, appeared at their charity galas or praised them publicly.

The search turned up just one donation in that period — a 2009 gift of between $5,000 and $9,999 to the Police Athletic League of New York City…

What has set Trump apart from other wealthy philanthropists is not how much he gives — it is how often he promises that he is going to give….

These promises seemed designed to reassure potential customers and voters and to reconcile two sides of Trump’s public persona. On one hand, Trump said he had so much money that he didn’t need more. But on the other hand, he was always selling something.

The explanation was that the money Trump was making wasn’t for him to keep…

Apparently it was for him to to pass on to his creditors– a forty-year game of financial musical chairs, which bears some resemblance to what economists call a Ponzi scheme, IIRC.

… Trump’s representatives have repeatedly said there have been many charitable donations from Trump in recent years but that he has purposely kept them under wraps.

This year, The Post got the same response when it probed a separate claim that Trump had made about his charitable giving. At the launch of his campaign, Trump said that he had given away $102 million in the past five years. That figure turned out to comprise mostly land-use agreements and free rounds of golf given away at Trump’s courses.

Trump’s campaign said that none of the $102 million it had counted was actually a cash gift from Trump’s pocket. Such gifts existed, Trump’s staff said. But they were private. If so, those gifts are remarkably difficult to find.

Of the 167 charities reviewed by The Post, 39 declined to comment. Forty others — including the Eric Trump Foundation — did not respond to The Post’s inquiries.

An additional 77 charities had no record of receiving a personal donation from Trump.

That left 11 that acknowledged receiving the kind of personal donation that Trump claims to be giving all the time.

The most recent of those was the gift to the Police Athletic League in 2009.

Insert your own jokes about the Policeman’s Ball.

Much more detail at the link. Joking aside, it looks like the late great Tunch (through his minions in the Balloon Juice community) might’ve funneled almost as much money to animal charities as Donald Trump has actually donated to charities not intimately connected to his own family (his son’s private school, his daughter’s ballet school). And Tunch never tried to use his celebrity to run for higher office.

The Jokes, They Write Themselves

There’s lots more serious stuff to blog about today (and everyday!), but this is too good not to use to chum the Balloon Juice lagoon:

Numerous members of the British parliament have complained that they have received multiple emails from the Trump campaign asking for a donation.


“Members of Parliament are being bombarded by electronic communications from Team Trump on behalf of somebody called Donald Trump,” Sir Roger Gale said on Tuesday, according to Politics Home. “Mr Speaker, I’m all in favour of free speech but I don’t see why colleagues on either side of the House should be subjected to intemperate spam.”

Sir Roger seemed to have trouble even deleting the Trump emails.

“Efforts to try to have these deleted have failed. I wonder if you’d be kind enough to intercede with the Digital Services Department to see if they may be blocked,” he lamented.

“Somebody called Donald Trump…”


Image: Peter de Hooch, Man Handing a Letter to a Woman in the Entrance Hall of a House1670.