Stable genius

A few quotes to ponder:

“I am a stable genius,” said Donald J. Trump on several occasions, most recently after he threw a tantrum to abruptly end a meeting to discuss infrastructure.

“You have been telling me you are a genius since you were seventeen. In all the time I have known you, I still don’t know what you mean,” sang Steely Dan in “Reeling in the Years.”

“We were out-prepared,” testified former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson under oath to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as he described a meeting between Putin and Trump.

More colorfully, Tillerson commented while Secretary of State after the President changed his mind again, “He is a f**king moron.”

Testifying under oath to a House Committee, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer said “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-man and a he is a cheat.”

“You will have to do a deal with the European Union,” said German Chancelor Angela Merkel eleven times in one sitting to Trump until it finally sank in he could not do a trade deal just with Germany.

“Donald Trump lies every day even about things of no consequence,” said former Trump attorney Thomas Wells.

Finally, former National Economic Advisor Gary Cohn said after witnessing the President lie about what he said to the Australian Prime Minister, “He is a prodigious liar.”

Lastly, at 60 years-old, I am hard pressed to recall a very smart person bragging on how smart he or she is. These folks need not brag.

I could go on, but that will give you a sense. The title of this post depict two words that are not top of mind to me to define the US President – stable or genius.

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Instead of labels, consider these thoughts

I do not like labels. I think they are shortcuts to demean. There are plenty of labels used by people Trump appointed that are quite caustic as they crudely define Trump’s relative smarts and inconsistent truth-telling, some from Woodward’s book and some from earlier reporting. Rather than repeat those labels, I would prefer to cite comments about his actions from people who have worked with Trump or know of his organization.

From Woodward’s book, there are two stories attributed to Gary Cohn which I find telling. Cohn, who is Jewish and was the head of the White House Economic Council, said the biggest mistake he made was not resigning after Trump’s comments on Charlottesville which gave the White Supremacists a hall pass. The other is he is one of the people who took things off Trump’s desk. Mind you, Cohn was one of Trump’s most proficient hires, who openly disagreed with his tariffs and trade policies. Cohn resigned over the latter issues.

The other one I often cite comes from Thomas Wells, an attorney who worked for Trump for years. Among many other observations around his lack of interest in understanding issues and job requirements, he said “Donald Trump lies everyday, even about things of no consequence.” Mind you, there are far more succinct quotes in the Woodward book that state this premise, but I prefer Wells’ comments as they focus on the act of lying not the person lying. If his base would react to more succinct critique, I refer them to what his attorney John Dowd said in the Woodward book.

The final one came from a contractor familiar with the Trump organization who was asked in a voter panel, what he thought of candidate Trump. He succinctly said, “Word on the street is if you deal with the Trump organization, get paid up front.” This is consistent with a modus operandi of Trump stiffing contractors because of bad service. Wells noted if Trump did this a few times, that would be one thing, but he regularly cited bad service to get out of paying, one reason for the large number of Trump’s lawsuits. Many a contractor got stiffed, accepted less payment or went out of business because of one Donald J. Trump. What the contractor panelist did was corroborate what has been published.

The above paint a picture with actual examples. I do wish Cohn had resigned with the Charlottesville issue, as it would have been a major statement. I also like the contractor’s statement as it tell us a story that is at odds with his “I am on your side” message to supporters. From what I have observed and read, Trump is only on one side – Donald J. Trump’s.

A few quotes tell a consistent narrative

The following are a few quotes that have a consistent theme in defining the current incumbent US President. I had many to choose from, but I felt these frame the sentiment from a variety of perspectives within and outside of the US.

Former FBI DIrector James Comey as quoted in The Guardian article entitled “Comey book likens Trump to a mafia boss ” – “This president is unethical  and untethered to the truth and institutional values. His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty.”

Japanese Finance Director Taro Aso as quoted in Reuters article “US will only rejoin Pacific Trade pact if terms improved”“Trump is a person who could change temperamentally, so he may say something different the next day.”

Lt. Colonel (Ret.) Ralph Peters  in his resignation email to Fox News “In my view, Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration. When prime-time hosts–who have never served our country in any capacity–dismiss facts and empirical reality to launch profoundly dishonest assaults on the FBI, the Justice Department, the courts, the intelligence community (in which I served) and, not least, a model public servant and genuine war hero such as Robert Mueller–all the while scaremongering with lurid warnings of “deep-state” machinations– I cannot be part of the same organization, even at a remove. To me, Fox News is now wittingly harming our system of government for profit.”

Chief Executive Gustavo Grobocupatel of an Argentine Agricultural Group quoted in a Reuters article entitled “US seeks to outshine China at Latam summit without Trump”“Trump’s plan seems to be to ensure the US is no longer the world’s leader.”

Four Star General (Ret.) Barry McCaffrey as quoted in an article in The Daily Mail – “Donald Trump is a ‘serious threat to U.S. national security’ due to Russian inaction.”

Conservative columnist, author and pundit David Brooks during a speech made in Charlotte in April, 2018“Donald Trump is the wrong answer to the right question.”

Editor-in-chief of Red State, a conservative webcast, Erick Erickson quoting on his show an anonymous Republican Congressman he bumped into at a grocery store“Here’s what the US Congressman said: ‘It’s like Forrest Gump won the presidency, but an evil, really f*cking stupid Forrest Gump.’ He went on to explain that if the president tries to fire the Special Counsel Mr. Mueller, he and his fellow Republicans were ready to impeach him over it, for the sake of trying to save the GOP from going down with him.”

Thomas Wells who penned the article in The Huffington Post in July, 2016 entitled “Donald Trump Hired Me As An Attorney. Please Don’t Support Him For President” – “It is a special and unique form of arrogance to think you could even consider being literally the leader of the free world without doing the work to deeply understand the job.” He also noted Donald Trump “lies all of the time.”

I will leave it to the reader to draw their own conclusions. With the exception of the two foreign leaders, these people swore an oath to the Constitution and/ or are Conservatives.

A few quotes to remember Tuesday

We have a Presidential candidate who has said many bizarre, untrue, misogynistic and bigoted things. There are also many things said about him from people who have encountered him over the years.

Probably, the dumbest quote uttered by any candidate comes from Trump and he has used variations several times: “Global warming is a hoax invented by the Chinese to steal our jobs.” Really, because that is some public relations conspiracy.

Another one he has uttered many times including yesterday is “America is the most taxed country on the world.” Mr. Trump, you are not even close as we trail most nations who are part of the Paris-based Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development. One measure has us at 31st out of 34 countries and another at 17th.

Of course, he cannot help himself, being the most prolific storyteller since Politifacts began measuring fact checking for politicians in the 2007-08 campaign. Thomas M. Wells, who worked as an attorney for Trump said “Trump lies all of the time.” Wells had several quotes about Trump, but one that caught my eye is  “He is the spoiled young man of privilege with the ‘right’ race … and family fortune to succeed easily and who looks down on others lacking in any of the above who do not.”

Trump’s history reveals a proclivity to bullying people through litigation and threatened litigation. Per Wells, a key tactic is refusing to pay contractors like painters, suppliers, electricians, plumbers, etc. under the guise of bad service. He will bully folks into settling for less than $1 for $1 or await a law suit, so that he can countersue. This tactic has been used so much, a Virginia contractor noted on a PBS voter panel about dealing with Trump Companies, “The word on the street is to get your money upfront.”

It should be noted that Hillary Clinton is not the only who has email issues. In an October 31, 2016 article in Newsweek by Kurt Eichenwald, it details Trump’s own records purges, which included “systematically [destroying] or [hiding] thousands of emails, digital records, and paper documents … often in defiance of court orders.” Eichenwald describes a pattern of a “deny, impede, and delay” strategy—which included destroying court-requested documents.

Much has been rightfully made of Trump’s Access Hollywood tape where he describes his sexual assault of women, that has been corroborated by a dozen women before and after this interview was made public. Yet, not as much has been made of accusations of him walking in on naked beauty pageant contestants, some as young as 15. Trump denies he did this, but in a 2005 appearance on Howard Stern’s show, Trump bragged about doing exactly what the women describe. “I’ll go backstage before a show, and everyone’s getting dressed and ready and everything else,” he said.

In writing this post, there was too much to choose from. But, there are two ways to sum up when to tell Trump is stretching the truth. Anything he says prior to the reminding phrase “Believe me,” is most likely untrue. The other is when he says to a reporter or to his opponent in a debate when accused of saying something, “I never said that.” What he fails to remember is he is recorded saying these things.

Let me close with a colorful reference that was made a few years back. I do not like name calling, but the choice of words by someone who successfully battled Mr. Trump is priceless. At the height of a battle with Trump who cajoled, bullied, and then sued unsuccessfully to get her Atlantic City home in 1998, 70-year-old Vera Coking said of Trump to the New York Daily News: “A maggot, a cockroach and a crumb, that’s what he is.” Using the words “maggot” and “cockroach” are interesting choices in my view, as both sponge off of others.

Locker room talk

A certain Presidential candidate has been dismissive of recorded comments he made that describe sexual harassment and assault and how it is easy to get away with such when you are a star. He did apologize for the remarks, but has belittled them as “locker room talk” as if that makes them OK. As a former athlete and now 58 year-old man, I can assure you that I have not heard this kind of talk in a locker room in my lifetime. Nor, do I hear business people speaking this way, especially ones who are my age which is one year younger than this candidate was at the time of the recording.

But, don’t take my word for it, as I never have been a professional athlete. A group of professional athletes confirm what I say above as a former grade school, junior high and senior high school athlete and one who participated in sports in my 20s and 30s. Per the PBS Newshour article linked to below,CJ McCollum, Jamal Crawford and Jacob Tamme are among current and former professional athletes on social media to criticize Donald Trump’s characterization of his predatory, sexual comments about women from a 2005 video as ‘locker room talk.’

Tamme, a tight end with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, asked that Trump ‘please stop saying locker room talk,’ adding that ‘it’s not normal. And even if it were normal, it’s not right.’”

The candidate has also said that this recording does not describe who he is. I disagree, as based on what I have read about this man, this precisely describes who this candidate is. Thomas Wells, an attorney who worked for him said the candidate bragged on his sexual prowess in the initial interview (see second link below).

To be frank, I was not surprised by the comments made in the video given the number of derogatory comments about women, affairs, marriages, and sexual harassment and assault accusations toward him as well as his narcissistic behavior. Even before, but more true now, I cannot fathom why any woman or father of daughters could vote for this poor excuse of a man.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/locker-room-talk-doesnt-sound-like-say-professional-athletes/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-hired-me-as-an-attorneyplease-dont_us_579e52dee4b00e7e269fb30f?section=&

Attorney who worked for Trump – Please don’t support him

An article, written by Thomas M. Wells, who worked as an attorney for Donald Trump, appeared in the Huffington Post at the end of last month. The article which is entitled “Donald Trump Hired Me As An Attorney. Please Don’t Support Him For President” can be found by the link at the end of this post.

Rather than repeat the article, which I encourage you to read, let me summarize his twenty reasons and offer two quotes that are quite informational. I will leave how the words appeared when I cut and pasted.

1. The man lies all the time.

2. It is actually not all about the candidate.

3. U.S. presidents are by design not kings.

4. The devil IS in the details.

5. Words matter.

6. Reading is good. So is studying. (See the first quote below).

7. The new vocabulary we are adjusting to is not a good one.

8. We need to be careful with “tough.”

9. Success does matter. (He notes Trump’s history has many failures).

10. We could not be the great country we are without the First Amendment, but our media may kill us. (He is noting the importance of the media).

11. Temperament, demeanor and character are important. (See second quote below)

12. The emperor and his clothes.

13. Sophomoric speech tricks don’t work ― at least not with most of us

14. A thin skin does not work for a president.

15. Bullies will always exist somewhere, but the White House should not be that somewhere.

16. Law and order. (He is noting the President has little impact on policing).

17. Incoherent rants, often contradictory, does not a foreign policy make.

18. How will anyone effectively be president if we don’t at least respect the office?

19. Rich and powerful guys have to play by the rules, too.

20. We must stand for something.

I found this first quote from Wells very compelling as Trump’s main opponent is clearly a policy wonk with significant experience and studies what is necessary to do the job. Wells says about Trump’s lack of concern and interest in knowing the details, “It is a special and unique form of arrogance to think you could even consider being literally the leader of the free world without doing the work to deeply understand the job.”

This second quote is also of importance as it indicates the make up of the man’s character. Wells says about Trump, “He is the spoiled young man of privilege with the “right” race … and family fortune to succeed easily and who looks down on others lacking in any of the above who do not.”

I have said many times, every thing one needs to know about Donald Trump’s lack of veracity as a candidate is in his history and it is not hard to find. Rather than me reiterate my reasons, I think it is good for someone who worked for him as an attorney to do so. If you are considering Trump or have concerns about him, please read this article. To be frank, I am surprised he has gotten as far as he has with his history of exploitation of others.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-hired-me-as-an-attorneyplease-dont_us_579e52dee4b00e7e269fb30f?section=&