Trump Surrogate To Trump Supporters: You’ve Been Had

Remember how the Trump phenomenon is a referendum on the decades old bait-and-switch scam practiced by the Republican Party?  You know, how every election the rubes get promised an end to abortion, teh gheys prayed-away, Obamacare repealed,  the Kenyan Mooslim Usurper hounded out of town — and especially how they were going to get their country back from all those folks of the wrong hue, speaking the wrong language and flooding across the border with canteloupes for calves?  And how after every election all that never happened and it was back to business as usual and Washington’s just a sack of skunks with a reek you can smell in Topeka?

I bet you remember too how Trump rolled the whole rotten corpse of your granddaddy’s GOP and all its deal-making, C.R.E.A.M.ed leaders traitors by speaking the unspeakable and vowing to do what none of the weaklings and failures would or could dare to imagine.  Round up the invaders and ship them — toddlers and abuelos alike — through the yuuuuge, classy gate in that yuuuge and beautiful wall?

Well, guess what Trump-rubes.  You’re being rolled.  Again.


Here’s Trump-surrogate and GOP congressman Chris Collins blowing the gaffe:

Collins said he believed the wall Trump promised to build along the US-Mexico border would be more an idea than a physical wall. “I have called it a virtual wall. Maybe we will be building a wall over some aspects of it; I don’t know….

“I call it a rhetorical deportation of 12 million people,” Collins said.

He then gestured toward a door in his Capitol Hill office.

“They go out that door, they go in that room, they get their work papers, Social Security number, then they come in that door, and they’ve got legal work status but are not citizens of the United States,” Collins said. “So there was a virtual deportation as they left that door for processing and came in this door.”

Collins added: “We’re not going to put them on a bus, and we’re not going to drive them across the border.”

And there you have it folks.*  Trump is, as ever, a fraud.  His prominent supporters know it.  His opponents know it.  The only question is when his voters figure it out, should, FSM-forbit, the scalp ferret and its pedestal ever take up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

*Please note that, of course, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing that a prominent Republican acknowledges that there isn’t going to be a terrifying episode of ethnic cleansing here in these United States.  I’m just drawing attention to the fact that, in what should surprise no one, the con is strong in this candidate and this party.

Image: Georges de la Tour, The Cheat with the Ace of Clubsc. 1634 or before

Trump-proofing the Republican nomination process in the future

This post is speculation. It assumes that Trump will lose and lose big in November and that the Republican establishment as defined by a variety of rules committees has the power and the will to institute changes to the Republican primary process to Trump-proof the process.

The easiest way for the Republican Party to Trump-proof itself is to stop lying to its supporters. The Republican Party elite is fundamentally not trustworthy to its base voters. The core example is the promise that a Republican House and a Republican Senate could force President Obama to unwind PPACA while he sat in the White House. That was not going to happen. Trustworthy elites won’t happen as there is too much money to be made from fleecing the rubes. Once we take policy honesty off the table, rule changes are the next step.

Trump is the delegate leader (and presumptive delegate majority holder once the process plays out) with a low proportion of the total vote.

He benefited from a split field and a rules system that allowed factional plurality leaders to amass delegate strength out of proportion to their actual vote counts. Winner take all elections with more than two candidates have this common failure. There were two sets of winner take all elections in this current Republican primary. The first was state level delegates where the winner of a state received a significant bonus number of delegates and then winner take all at the Congressional District level. The Republicans assigned three delegates to each Congressional District without regard to how many Republicans actually lived or voted in that district.

538 has a good example of how this flat allocation of winner take all delegates by district helped Trump:

If Ted Cruz wins by a huge margin in Milwaukee’s suburbs, as expected tonight, he’ll get all three delegates from Wisconsin’s 5th Congressional District, which cast 257,017 votes for Mitt Romney in the 2012 general election. But in two weeks, Donald Trump could capture just as many delegates by winning a majority of the vote in New York’s heavily Latino, Bronx-based 15th Congressional District, which cast only 5,315 votes for Romney four years ago.

Three weeks ago, Trump won three times as many delegates — nine — at the Northern Mariana Islands convention, which drew just 471 participants.

This is problem #1. The GOP primary delegation process favors plurality winners and it favors candidates who can win in very low turnout environments. There is a massive variance between the minimum number of votes needed per delegate and the maximum number of votes needed per delegate. Some districts are extremely efficient and some are extremely inefficient places to win. The Republicans treat districts like the Senate treats states. The first rule change would be to scale the delegate award to some measure of Republican vote strength.

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Annals Of Grift, Chapter [n]: “Pastoral Medicine”

This story is a perfect example of a truly elegant con.  On one side, the marks:  suffering, credulous, and primed to both reject and crave authority.  On the other, the grifters, offering valiant rebellion against the establishment, all the comfort of faith, and the knowledge that the truly dedicated marks will become repeat customers.

Ladles and jellyspoons, I give you pastoral medicine!

You’ve probably heard of the credentials M.D. and R.N., and maybe N.P. The people using those letters are doctors, registered nurses and nurse practitioners. But what about PSC.D or D.PSc? Those letters refer to someone who practices pastoral medicine — or “Bible-based” health care.

It’s a relatively new title being used by some alternative health practitioners. The Texas-based Pastoral Medical Association gives out “pastoral provider licenses” in all 50 states and 30 countries. Some providers call themselves doctors of pastoral medicine.



V0011224 Doctor and Mrs Syntax, with a party of friends, experimentin Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images Doctor and Mrs Syntax, with a party of friends, experimenting with laughing gas. Coloured aquatint by T. Rowlandson after W. Combe. By: William Combeafter: Thomas RowlandsonPublished: - Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

And how do these fine practitioners roll?

[Stephen] Barrett [a retired psychiatrist and founder of the consumer protection] says the Pastoral Medical Association functions like a private club. Patients sign confidentiality agreements, pay out of pocket and are prohibited from suing if they’re unhappy with the care they receive. Any disputes are handled by an ecclesiastical tribunal.

“They’re claiming that ‘Any advice we give you is pastoral in nature,’ ” Barrett says. “In other words, ‘If I give you health advice that’s not health advice, that’s pastoral advice.’


The article goes on to dig up one person who felt helped by her pastoral “advisor” — a woman who believed “heavy metal detox, special diet and herbal supplements helped her lose weight and gain energy.”  And good for her! I’d hope she’d derive some comfort from her ~$5,000 donation to what the Pastoral Medical Association calls “the Almighty’s Health Care workers.”

A closing thought.  In the deregulated paradise sought by the Republican party and its Koch and Koch-esque paymasters, there’s no problem with such charlatanism.  Let people put their money where they like, regulatory oversight be damned, and let the market (and morbidity/mortality outcomes) decide the matter.  That sick people might not be fully at liberty to exercise their function as a homo economicus is somebody else’s problem.

Which is to say — this particular grift takes the form of the familiar American religious confidence game that has taken in its suckers since before the birth of the Republic.  At the same time, it’s a pretty good proxy for the long con being run on too many Americans by the folks who have come to use the Republican Party as its front.

Image:T. Rowlandson after W. Combe, Doctor and Mrs. Syntax and a Party of Friends Making an Experiment in Pneumatics, 19th c.


Open Thread: GOP Has-Beens for Trump

From The Hill:

GOP White House hopeful Donald Trump huddled with Washington, D.C., Republicans in the shadow of the Capitol on Monday, an attempt by the political newcomer to appear more presidential as he zeroes in on his party’s nomination…

Not a single member of House or Senate GOP leadership attended the two-hour confab, however. Most attendees, like Hunter, were backbencher lawmakers who have already endorsed Trump. They include GOP Reps. Tom Marino (Pa.), Scott DesJarlais (Tenn.), Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) and Chris Collins (R-N.Y.).

Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) were on hand as well. Sessions has endorsed the real estate mogul, while Cotton not backed a candidate.

Former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), now president of the conservative Heritage Foundation, also attended, as did former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), a failed presidential candidate in 2012, and his wife, Callista.

The Gingriches were later swarmed by reporters and TV cameras. Asked by The Hill for his main takeaway from the meeting, Gingrich replied: “The lunch was pretty good.”

Trump did pick up one endorsement after the gathering. Former Rep. Bob Livingston (R-La.), who resigned from Congress in 1999 over an extramarital affair and is now a lobbyist, said he voted for another unidentified candidate but now is going all in for Trump…

The businessman also said he’ll release a list of seven to 10 potential choices for the Supreme Court to push back against concerns that he might not nominate a conservative — a charge made repeatedly by his main rival, Ted Cruz…

The Heritage Foundation is helping to draft the list of potential court picks, Trump said.

In case you’ve forgotten the details, Bob Livingston fled congress when Larry Flynt turned up evidence that he’d been calling for Bill Clinton’s impeachment while carrying on his own adulterous affair. I guess he admires Trump as a more successful hypocrite…

(Okay, it was a SurveyMonkey web poll… but I couldn’t resist.)

Late Night Open Thread: Tactics

For your reading pleasure, Molly Ball at the Atlantic on “The Final Stage of Republican Grief”:

There are times when you can look at Donald Trump, presidential candidate, and almost see something normal. Or certain Republicans can, anyway. Newt Gingrich—the former speaker of the House, a man who has spent his life seeing things others could not—can.

“Here you have a guy who is talented enough to come from a standing start and dominate every poll, who has won state after state, who dominates the media, who has brought thousands of Democrats and independents into the party,” Gingrich told me, referring to primaries in which non-Republicans are allowed to vote. Under normal circumstances, he said, party leaders would be celebrating the arrival of such a figure.

But Trump is not a normal circumstance. Even as he barrels toward the nomination—winning at least three of the five big states voting on Tuesday, knocking Marco Rubio out of the race, and claiming a large lead with more than half the delegates awarded—his party remains mostly in shock at his rise. Over the past week, as he has refused to discourage the violence erupting at his events, many in his party say they are frightened by the specter of authoritarianism and the possibility of escalating conflict.

But in other precincts, it’s possible to detect a thaw. They couldn’t beat him. And now many Republicans say it may be time to join him, to make the best of the situation, to try to refine and civilize Trump, to nudge his candidacy toward normalcy…

“In the end, whoever the nominee is, the party will, to one degree or another, rally around him,” predicted Ron Kaufman, the longtime lobbyist and Republican National Committee stalwart. Kaufman supported Jeb Bush this year and was a close adviser to Mitt Romney, who has recently come out strongly against Trump and what he represents. But Kaufman saw no need for such hysterics. People walked out of the convention on Ford in ’76 and Reagan in ’80, he said, but they were the exceptions.

Kaufman waved off concerns that Trump’s rhetoric has reached a dangerous and unprecedented level. “Lots of folks say lots of things that probably they don’t mean,” he said. “I’m not in any way, shape or form defending things these candidates have said, including Donald Trump, but in the end, this is about governing.”…

Of course New Gingrich is ready to acknowledge a fellow grifter as his king, as long as he thinks there’s a few bucks to be made from that king. But Ron Kaufman is the epitome of a political coatholder, a lifer whose security lies in enabling the whims of the foremost GOP leading light, however dim and smokey that light might be. If he’s willing to publicly announce a provisional fealty to His Royal Vulgarity, it’s all over but the head-bashing in Cleveland.

Adios, Grifters

We’ve talked about these scumbags a good pit, so you all should realize that this is objectively good news:

The two top executives of Wounded Warrior Project were fired Thursday by the board of directors.

Americans donate hundreds of millions of dollars each year to the charity, expecting their money will help some of the 52,000 wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But CBS News found Wounded Warrior Project spends 40 to 50 percent on overhead, including extravagant parties. Other veterans charities have overhead costs of 10 to 15 percent

Wounded Warrior Project’s Chief Executive Officer, Steven Nardizzi, and Chief Operating Officer, Al Giordano, were fired after a meeting Thursday afternoon in New York.


Late Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread, Christianist Edition

This tweet has been bouncing around the ‘tubes, but since it’s Dinesh D’Souza, who knows whether “marrying” is a verb that applies to the present or the indefinite future? Wikipedia links to a wingnut-welfare-sponsored YouTube clip of D’Souza’s marriage proposal to Deborah Fancher, “conservative political activist and mother of two”, so at least she should have a pretty good idea of what she’s signing up for. Note, this is not the young groupie blogger for whose charms D’Souza divorced his first wife and ended his career with King’s College; perhaps Ms. Joseph failed to sever ties with her existing husband, or maybe she didn’t care to marry a convicted felon?
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