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Member since: Sat Apr 11, 2020, 11:56 AM
Number of posts: 301

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How Trump's petty personal business disputes with Japan in the 80s explain his views on trade.

I have long been somewhat perplexed by Trump's consistent obsession with "other countries ripping us off on trade" and his love of tariffs. I have thought, "This is odd - Trump has been consistent on few things (besides being a consistent asshole, narcissist, media manipulator, con man, racist, and misogynistic sexual predator), so there's got to be a reason for this. Surely there can't be a principled belief here?"

And. lo and behold, I found this article in the NYT from last year:

Donald J. Trump lost an auction in 1988 for a 58-key piano used in the classic film “Casablanca” to a Japanese trading company representing a collector. While he brushed off being outbid, it was a firsthand reminder of Japan’s growing wealth, and the following year, Mr. Trump went on television to call for a 15 percent to 20 percent tax on imports from Japan.

“I believe very strongly in tariffs,” Mr. Trump, at the time a Manhattan real estate developer with fledgling political instincts, told the journalist Diane Sawyer, before criticizing Japan, West Germany, Saudi Arabia and South Korea for their trade practices. “America is being ripped off,” he said. “We’re a debtor nation, and we have to tax, we have to tariff, we have to protect this country.”

Thirty years later, few issues have defined Mr. Trump’s presidency more than his love for tariffs — and on few issues has he been more unswerving. Allies and historians say that love is rooted in Mr. Trump’s experience as a businessman in the 1980s with the people and money of Japan, then perceived as a mortal threat to America’s economic pre-eminence.

“Tariffs tie so much of Trump together,” said Jennifer M. Miller, an assistant history professor at Dartmouth College who last year published a study of how Japan’s rise has affected the president’s worldview. “His obsession with winning, which he thinks tariffs will allow him to do. His obsession with appearing tough. His obsession with making certain parts of national border fixed. And his obsession with executive power.”

Mr. Trump was a vocal critic of Japan as its economy and international influence boomed in the ’80s, a period of high anxiety over Japanese economic ascension, though he himself had a complicated relationship with the country. He competed with Japanese developers for properties in New York City, then bragged of selling condominiums and office space for a premium to Japanese buyers. He borrowed money from Japanese financial institutions, but complained about the difficulty of doing deals with large groups of Japanese businessmen.

His critiques of Japan — and to a lesser extent, other trading partners — won him publicity as he briefly explored a presidential campaign before the 1988 election.

Mr. Trump’s interest in leveling the playing field in trade dates back even further than[the 80s] — to Lee Iacocca, the swashbuckling chairman of Chrysler, who brought the carmaker back from ruin under an onslaught of Japanese imports.

“He imagined himself Iacocca’s equal as an icon of American business,” said Michael D’Antonio, one of Mr. Trump’s biographers. “Beyond that, there is the personalization he does about everything. He always thinks that if something bad is happening to him, there must be, by definition, something evil afoot.”


There's always a "what's in it for me" angle with Trump.

Stay safe, everyone! This is a scary time.

I hope we're all hanging in there.

I'll say it: Nancy Pelosi is the de facto leader of the US government.

Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell, and John Roberts are leaders in name only. From my perspective, Republicans have forfeited any claims of leadership to any part of the government.

The Speaker of the House is not only a constitutional officer; they're also second-in-line to the Presidency. And I think it's safe to say that none of us seriously believe that the deranged criminal clown occupying the Oval Office or his far-right Christian extremist Veep are acting as OUR leaders in any way, shape, or form. Neither is the moral black hole that is the Senate Majority Leader or the leader of the hard-right Federal Society majority at the Supreme Court.

Nancy Pelosi is the only person in a position of top leadership of any branch of the federal government actually demonstrating any leadership. "Coincidentally", she's the only one who's a Democrat. Curious, ain't it?

Reading about 45's family, it struck me how both Trump's father and grandfather were pure con men.

Doing the "truthful hyperbole" bullshit, cheating and stiffing people they worked with, manipulating the media, bribing politicians, and tricking investors into supporting their (fraudulent or fraudulent-adjacent) ventures, and using the government to build their (much-inflated) wealth while keeping most of it through blatant tax evasion. And all with a shameless, ruthless, no-apology, attack attack attack strategy.

The start of the family fortune, Friederich Trump's first successful venture? Prostitution, run out of his restaurant way up in Alaska IIRC. Go figure.

A full century and some years of family white-collar crime, working their way all the way up to the US Presidency. You hate to see it!

But invading the USSR was the whole point for Hitler, wasn't it? "Lebensraum" and killing all Jews..

Widespread, systematic murder of Jews didn't happen during the war until Operation Barbarossa.

Yeah, it feels like this a new normal and we have no choice but to accept it.. at least, much of it.

Trump spreads misogynistic insults toward prominent Democratic women, including HRC, Pelosi, Abrams

More specifically:

"Chauvinistic asshole with a long record of saying misogynistic bullshit and who brags about sexually assaulting women, who has been credibly accused of sexual assault and harassment by many, many women, retweets misogynistic insults against prominent Democratic women."

President Donald Trump on Saturday shared a series of messages containing sexist taunts and personal insults against prominent female Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi.

In one message shared by the president, John Stahl, a conservative who gathered only 3% of the vote in his bid for election to California's 52nd House district in 2012, called former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton a "skank."


In another message shared by Trump, Stahl aimed insulting jibes at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the mid-term race for the governor's office in Georgia, and is a leading contender to be nominated Joe Biden's running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket


PS: Trump retweeting another right-wing asshole calling Hillary Clinton a "skank" is SUCH projection.

Definition of skank (Entry 1 of 4)
slang, disparaging

a person and especially a woman of low or sleazy character


(derogatory, slang) A lewd and disreputable person, often female, especially an unattractive person with an air of tawdry promiscuity


Yes, "skank" is almost always used as a misogynistic weapon against women... but who do you think of in American politics today who has these traits?

- Of low and sleazy character

- Disreputable

- Unattractive

- Tawdry promiscuity


The CIA said they were pretty sure it was MBS. The killers reported directly to MBS's top advisor.

This guy:

The United States intelligence community has identified al-Qahtani as the ringleader of the assassination of Saudi dissident and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.[27] Al-Qahtani acted as the head of what American intelligence officials called the Saudi Rapid Intervention Group, which has reportedly undertaken at least a dozen operations since 2017.[8]

According to Arab and Turkish sources, al-Qahtani organized the Khashoggi operation, even calling into the consulate via Skype to talk with and insult Khashoggi before telling the assembled team: "Bring me the head of the dog."[7] The Saudi state prosecutor announced on 15 November 2018 that 11 agents were indicted and 5 charged with murdering Khashoggi. He added that Al-Qahtani met the leader of the team that killed Khashoggi before it was dispatched to Turkey. Al-Qahtani was not arrested.[24] Saudi officials have never revealed the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s remains.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman exchanged at least 11 messages with al-Qahtani in the hours before and after the assassination of Khashoggi, leading the Central Intelligence Agency to conclude that Mohammed ordered Khashoggi's murder.[29] A member of the Saudi hit team, Maher Mutreb, also called al-Qahtani to inform him that the operation has been completed.[33

And Al-Jazeera, though it is run by Qatar and has its own biases obviously, actually is willing to do serious investigative journalism and is willing to publish the truth, in spite of those n power around the world who don't want to hear it.

That's what all dictators and would-be dictators fear - the people hearing the truth. So what they do is create their own version of the truth (political propaganda) to "compete" with honest journalism and news, whether it be Putin and Russia Today, MBS and his Saudi social media crew, or the US Republican Party, especially under Trump, with FOX News and talk radio.

Gotta control the message before the people hear it unfiltered. Knowledge is power, after all...

Viktor Orban dismantled Hungary's democracy. Conservatives love him.

From Vox.

At dawn last Tuesday morning, the police took a man named András from his home in northeastern Hungary. His alleged crime? Writing a Facebook post that called the country’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, a “dictator.”


András’s arrest is an unusually naked display of what Hungary has become — a cautionary tale for what a certain kind of right-wing populist will do when given unchecked political power. Yet among a certain segment of American conservatives, Orbán is not viewed as a warning.

He’s viewed as a role model.

For Western conservatives of a religious and/or nationalist bent, Orbán is the leader they wish Donald Trump could be — smart, politically savvy, and genuinely devoted to their ideals.

Orbán’s effort to cultivate Western intellectuals — funding their work, inviting them to meet with him as honored guests in Budapest, speaking at their glitzy conferences — is part of a much more ambitious ideological campaign. He describes himself as the avatar of a new political model spreading across the West, which he terms “illiberal democracy” or “Christian democracy.”

Advocates of illiberal democracy, like Trump and European far-right parties, aim to protect and deepen the specificity of each European country’s religious and ethnic makeup — Hungary for the Hungarians, France for the French, and Germany for the Germans. Orbán frames this goal in precisely the culture war terms people like Dreher find so appealing.

“Liberal democracy is in favor of multiculturalism, while Christian democracy gives priority to Christian culture,” he said in a 2018 speech. “Liberal democracy is pro-immigration, while Christian democracy is anti-immigration.”

This language is at once incendiary and misleading. The rejection of “liberalism” infuriates mainstream European and Western intellectuals, thus further convincing the right that Orbán is the enemy of their primary enemy. But by framing his struggle as a conflict between two subspecies of democracy — between “liberal” and “Christian” democracy — Orbán obscures the fact that his regime is not any kind of democracy at all.

This insistence on falsely referring to his authoritarian regime as a democracy is vital to both its domestic and international project.

Orbán and much of his inner circle are lawyers by training; they have used this expertise to set up a political system that looks very much like a democracy, with elections and a theoretically free press, but isn’t one. This gives intellectually sympathetic Westerners some room for self-delusion. They can examine Hungary, a country whose cultural politics they admire, and see a place that looks on the surface like a functioning democracy.

In the United States, the Republican Party has shown a disturbing willingness to engage in Fidesz-like tactics to undermine the fairness of the political process. The two parties evolved independently, for their own domestic reasons, but seem to have converged on a similar willingness to undermine the fairness of elections behind the scenes.

Extreme gerrymandering, voter ID laws, purging nonvoters from the voting rolls, seizing power from duly elected Democratic governors, packing courts with partisan judges, creating a media propaganda network that its partisans consume to the exclusion of other sources — all Republican approaches that, with some nouns changed, could easily describe Fidesz’s techniques for hollowing out from democracy from within.

In this respect, Hungary really is a model for America. It’s not a blueprint anyone is consciously aping, but proof that a ruthless party with less-than-majority support in the public can take durable control of political institutions while still successfully maintaining a democratic veneer.


I found a possible Trump portrait to hang in the White House for posterity.

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