Friday, August 19, 2016

Overlapping goals

Donald Trump, Steven Bannon (his new campaign "CEO") & Vladimir Putin have different but overlapping goals.

DJT wants media attention.

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Bannon wants the Right so filled with disgust & anger at a system that will be relentlessly portrayed as rigged to keep them from claiming what will be pictured as a sure victory if not for the treacherous GOP establishment & a media out to betray their trust & deny their candidate the win they believe he would have if not for a corrupted system.  Bannon WANTS them to feel disowned by their party, denigrated by the media, denied their rights as the country they love lies destroyed at their feet.

Putin wants a destabilized USA.

The addition of Bannon to the Trump campaign seems to ensure that each will get what he wants.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

"I have to be honest.”

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Here is the #1 to understand about Donald John Trump - he really believes that whatever is coming out of his mouth in THIS moment is true.  To him, "I have to be honest" is an honest reflection of an inherently honest soul.  The gullible & wanting-so-hard-to-believe buy it because it's delivered pure, sans a semblance of guile.

And because he is never ever wrong, whatever Donald Trump says in the next moment is true, too, even it contradicts what he said sixty seconds ago.

And for over a year, that has been okay with party leadership. 

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It's widely reported that the final straw for Reince Preibus in his all-in hand holding of the GOP candidate was when DJT balked at endorsing Paul Ryan, a close friend of the RNC Chair. Then & only then did GOP leadership rear up & say, "No more!"  When it hit one of their own.

Well, we're at mid August.  Trump has gone beyond calling on Russia to look around to see if they have HRC's 33,000 missing e-mails.  He's amped up to making a thinly veiled reference to taking out a President Hillary Clinton  if she makes SCOTUS picks that rile his base.  He has named President Obama - no less than three times in one rambly sentence - as the founder of ISIS. 

And, I firmly believe, no one believes those statements & charges more than he does, at the moment he says them.

Folks, it's called DELUSIONAL. 

addendum  11:33 a.m.:  a friend nails it when she comments, "Another possible way to look at it is that the concept of truth has no meaning to him. He doesn't believe his statements are true, he doesn't believe they're false, the whole question is irrelevant. The question is what he can say that will sell, in that moment."

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Mom was a bit Trumpish

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“By the way, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks.  Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.”

Listening to Donald Trump, am impressed with how like my dear old mother he is in his core messaging.  Mom had this incredible trait of expressing herself in strong yet basically ambiguous phrasing that allowed her to make a statement in the hearing of her children & have each of us interpret what she said in totally different ways, each processing her words through our particular filters.  

Mom talked a lot about the importance of communication, but (as it took a sister-in-law to point out) actually did darn little of it.  Her #1 goal was NOT riling up people.  Her messaging method worked to perfection.  She came across as being open, when the outcome was actually total confusion as to what she DID say.  "Well, Mom said..."  "NO, she didn't!  She said..."  

What worked for her, didn't work for us, for our family.  

It wasn't intentional.  It was a learned defense mechanism Mom didn't even know she'd learned.  

There are a lot of folks who think that Donald Trump communicates the way he does - in a flurry of fragments, typically ending with some form of disclaimer of any personal investment - for strategic reasons.  I've lived with someone with a similar communication style, so my guess is it's a learned response, one which probably was imposed by outside influences rather than simply his natural way.

In sensitive moments, DJT - like my dear old mother - shifts to messaging mode.  It's something he's truly mastered - the disjointed fragments, the squirm away at the end.  We saw it throughout the primary, are seeing it (on steroids) in the general.  Where others espouse positions & lay out policy, he focuses on messaging. 

That's never been clearer than in his recent comment about "2nd Amendment people."   Fragments - pause - distancing disclaimer.  It broadcast a message, but what that message was depended on an individual's frequency level.  What was received by one person as outrageous could be heard by another as a dire warning & even a patriotic call to arms.

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Mom all over - she could say something that Peter, Mike, Mim, Ian & I each heard as supporting our point of view, not the others.  

That single trait in a parent, more than any other trait in any of us, doomed my family to heartbreaking levels of irreparable dysfunction.  Imagine what it's doing - to the country - at the level to which DJT has taken it?  

I do have hope, because I've already seen what can be accomplished with a healthy dose of self awareness.  In her late 80s (!), Mom finally had enough self knowledge & resulting self confidence to see how she naturally sabotaged what in her heart she saw as genuine communication.  It wasn't easy, but she got there.  But it only happened with those who loved her being open & caring & making it okay to take a scary path she'd avoided since her late teens.  

Is there hope for Donald to be less Trumpish?  Not as long as his current party, his fellow Americans & particularly those who matter most to him - his three oldest children - allow it to go on, unrecognized & unchecked.

Donald is a master of messaging.  It's time he got one from the rest of us - ENOUGH.  This stops here.  You might still do that thing you do, but we're on onto it, it's lost the power it once held.  Receivers are turned off, the messaging unreceived, with only your most fervent believers - the ones even you find scary - are getting them, which they'll do long after you stop sending.  Until WE - party leadership, the country, his children - send that message, loud & clear, this insanity will continue.

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Friday, August 5, 2016

Just one question - WHY?

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The one question on my mind about the current state of American politics is WHY people continue to support a candidate whose relationship with the truth is best described as fluid, who had demonstrated over & over a stunning lack of basic empathy, who has a vast fortune in spite of a spotty success rate because he learned decades ago to risk other people's money in ventures that rake him in millions, who has issues with apologizing, who embraces being described as a blue collar billionaire while he literally lives in a gilded tower with the most opulent of furnishings & possessions, who talks of the common man & appears to have no genuine connection with the masses.

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Nothing of what I've described above is conjecture or opinion - each is a quantifiable fact.  

A friend mentioned yesterday during a current events discussion that what we are experiencing in this election is nothing new, that we always vote from our feelings rather than our brain.  True.  But I cannot recall a previous election where the evidence before the electorate's eyes has been so defiantly rejected by the sense & sensibility of millions.

Why do people continue to passionately support a candidate who ballyhoos "America first" but is clearly all about ME first - ME most - ME best?  Why?  Why?  Why?

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Memo to the Trump Campaign: How's that pivot coming?

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You'd think a savvy D.C. insider like Paul Manafort would know that a candidate has to approach a General Election waaaaay differently than he or she did the Primaries.  It hasn't seemed to sink in with his staff or candidate yet.  

What shocks my p.r.-permeated heart to the core is that no less than Mr. Manafort, the Ultimate D.C. Insider, who's perpetuating the fabulously discredited meme that the death of Army Captain Humayun Khan somehow should be laid at the feet of Hillary Clinton & President Obama.  

Appearing on Good Morning, America, he did his darndest to pivot away from how shabbily Donald Trump had treated the Khans & toward the campaign's talking points, but ended up doing a pretty pitiful job of dismissing & deflecting & totally fell apart at redirecting.  Like Katrina Pierson, he totally off-loaded any onus from his client & right onto the “war in the Middle East, the destabilization & the policies of Obama & Clinton that caused them.”

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Hmmm...  Paul Manafort is supposed to be this p.r., legend, pulling all sorts of political rabbits out of interesting hats, be it for Republican candidates or a variety of sordid interesting foreign clients. But he slams HRC for the casting the very same YEA vote as his VP candidate, Mike Pence.  Same vote, but one is condemned & the other apparently given a pass.

As for Barack Obama - he was very vocal in his opposition to the war in Iraq BUT (as any Ultimate D.C. Insider would know) he wasn't elected to the US Senate until 2004, the year after The Vote, and wasn't sworn in until 2005, the year after Captain Khan so courageously gave his life protecting others.

But it actually gets better.  At least for someone like myself, with a bit of p.r. experience under my own belt.  The buzz is that someone on the campaign staff said that Paul Manafort is "calling it in," not giving the campaign his best shot or even a modestly good one.  

Gotta say, it feels like he's not giving a full effort.  On being asked if Donald Trump would apologize to Mrs. Khan for making scurrilous remarks about her faith, the Ultimate D.C. Insider replied,  “We quibble over the words and the sentiments about what he feels towards the family and what they’ve went through ... I mean, just because he doesn’t say the words everybody wants ― he’s said he’s sorry for what they’ve gone through.”  Translation - no how, no way Donald Trump will ever apologize.  Ain't going to happen.  Get over it & move on folks, nothing to see here.  

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That's the best he can do?  He has so little control over his obdurate client that he can't even get him to say something that has at least a remote appearance of an "I'm sorry"?  WHAT ARE THEY PAYING HIM FOR??  That is P.R. 101.  

It seems the Ultimate D.C. Insider has zip influence or control over Eric Trump either.  Amazing. Eric, being interviewed on CBS, said he thought the whole situation with the Khans was "blown … hugely out of proportion because, first of all, he (DJT) said that the Khan family looked like amazing people … which for whatever reason never wants to get reported.”   Later in the same interview, asked if his father should apologize to the grieving parents, Trump fils replied, I think he has by calling him a hero.”  Eric Trump is on record - on video - as saying that his father calling them "amazing people" & recognizing the obvious fact that Captain Khan was a hero is tantamount to a full-throated apology.  Ick.

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Here is what I've learned over the past two weeks - and it isn't what the Ultimate D.C. Insider wanted me to get:
1)   In comparison with himself, Donald Trump makes Hillary Clinton seem politically adept, something I never envisioned anyone doing!
2)   DJT hasn't a clue what's meant by the word "sacrifice" & the whole country knows it.
3)   He won't apologize, even when it will help him.
4)   He has no empathy, something I didn't realize until he took the Dems' bait.
5)   He is spectacularly undisciplined in ways I never imagined.
6)   Paul Manafort is being paid a fortune for doing very little.
7)   Eric Trump is as entitled & spectacularly clueless as his father.
8)   Neither Eric nor Donald have a clue what is & isn't an apology.
9)   Eric believes that earning praise from his father is EVERYTHING.
10) Republican leaders expected that Donald Trump would change his style between the primaries & the general election, not realizing that what they see is what they get.

Could write more, but haven't the heart.  Will he ever pivot to the general, change his style, become a disciplined candidate who can stay on point?  We shall see.  All I know for sure is that right now, the only truly happy man in the Republican Party is John Boehner.  It is certainly NOT the Ultimate D.C. Insider!

Image result for paul manafort donald trump     Image result for paul manafort donald trump

Mr. Khan posed a question

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Over the past two weeks, it's been reinforced that when people get caught up in all the drama & rush of words following an important moment, it's all too easy to forget just what that important moment was.  

Donald Trump will not apologize to the Khan family for disrespectful comments he made because Mr. Khan started it first, attacking him from the Democratic Convention podium.  So, do you remember what it was he said about the GOP candidate?  Did he "viciously" attack Hilary's opponent?

Actually, being a very good lawyer, Mr. Khan laid out his points then posed the rest as questions, not statements: 
“Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges, even his own party leadership,” he said. “Donald Trump, you’re asking Americans to trust you with their future. Let me ask you, ‘Have you even read the United States Constitution?’ ~ pause ~ “I will gladly lend you my copy.

"Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America — you will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one."

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Mr. Khan did not state, he asked.  Any lawyer or political consultant would have advised his client to not rise to the bait, to simpy issue a statement along the lines of, "My heart goes out to Mr. & Mrs. Khan on their son's death, a true American hero who gave his life protecting his men & his country.  To Mr. Khan - yes, I have read the Constitution.  Although I do not keep it in my breast pocket, it is as dear to my heart as it is to yours.  As for sacrifice, it is true - God had blessed me with with a remarkable life, with three children who have never been in harm's way, as your son, Humayun, was. I cannot experience your sacrifice, but I fully respect & honor it."

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And leave it at that.  It diffuses & moves on.  End of controversy.

But that wouldn't be The Donald.  Asked about his response to the comments, he made light of them, noting that Mr. Khan seemed "very emotional and probably looked like a nice guy to me.”  Then he went waaaay over the line of common decency, focusing on Mrs. Khan having stood silent by her husband, throwing it out that perhaps she was allowed to speak, that maybe her faith forbade her to speak.  The Donald, on being asked if he'd sacrificed things (presumably for a greater good), responded that he had.  When asked for specifics, they were a) working hard, very hard, b) creating tens of thousands of jobs, c) helping get a memorial built.  

That is what the hubbub is about.  Or was, until he joked about a vet giving him the Purple Heart the man had been awarded.  

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Mr. Khan posed a question - two questions, actually - and Donald Trump's response to them seemed to awaken America from its stupor, its willingness to give every outrageous mean-spirited gross thing out of his mouth a pass.  

Reading Donald Trump's response to the Khans, his jocular response to being given a medal awarded for being wounded in battle, his inability to do the smart thing because it matters more to him that he be allowed to shoot off his mouth - if you can read that & still give him your vote, then you deserve whatever you get.  The problem is, I don't.  My niece & nephews don't.  My great-nieces certainly don't.  

Mr. Khan asked his questions & if to those planning on voting for Donald Trump, knowing all we know, then I have one, too - "How do you not see that his callous disregard for the Khans, for their sacrifice, extends beyond those two to all of us?  Our votes matter.  Our selves?