Bob Woodward on a Nightmare Presidency

If Donald Trump possessed a soul, a trace of conscience or character, he would resign the Presidency. He will not resign the Presidency.

Trump is who he has always been, and the details that we learn with every passing day merely fill in the portrait with sharper focus and more lurid colors. The man who lied about the nature of the novel coronavirus to the American people (but confided in Bob Woodward) is the same man who, as a real-estate huckster, used to say that the best way to hype a new building was to “just give them the old Trump bullshit.” Deception is his brand.

It is hard to identify a constituency that Trump has not betrayed. A self-proclaimed populist, his greatest legislative triumph was a gargantuan tax cut for the wealthy. (“You all just got a lot richer,” he told his cronies at Mar-a-Lago.) A self-proclaimed champion of the military, he reportedly says “my fucking generals are a bunch of pussies” and refers to fallen American soldiers as “losers” and “suckers.” His lies and expressions of contempt are so routine, so numerous, that we grow inured to their gravity and even forget that only recently he was impeached in the House of Representatives, avoiding conviction thanks only to a conscience-free Republican majority in the Senate. Trump’s lack of stability is so pronounced that he inspires nightmares in his closest aides. As we learn from “Rage,” Woodward’s new book, Trump’s defense secretary, James Mattis, was so concerned that the President would set off a nuclear confrontation with North Korea that Mattis slept in his clothes in case he had to race to the Pentagon or the White House in the middle of the night. In his interviews with Woodward, Trump seems so hungry for approbation that, like a child, he spills news of a secret weapons system––“We have stuff that Putin and Xi have never heard about before.” (This weapons system is presumably different from the hypersonic “super duper” missile that Trump hinted at in May.)

The polls show Joe Biden ahead, but there is no question that the election could go either way. As he proves almost daily, Trump is capable of saying or doing anything to win. And if he doesn’t win, the presumption that he will hand over power without some sort of duplicity is far from assured. And yet the dismissive reaction on Fox News to the revelations in Woodward’s book was telling. On Wednesday night, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham were all smug laughter as they tried to describe the excerpts from Woodward’s book as so much irrelevance and hokum and to redirect attention to all the many devilish ways that Biden was describing the country as “evil” and “racist.” And, by the way, Ingraham said, there’s another book that you really ought to read! “Obsession: Inside the Washington Establishment’s Never-Ending War on Trump,” by Byron York, a Fox contributor and correspondent for the Washington Examiner.

Trump’s Presidency has been appalling––but not unpredictably so. That he would bring misery and division to this country should have been obvious from the start. Flagrantly corrupt and instinctually autocratic, he immediately set about threatening democratic values and the rule of law, while encouraging autocrats abroad and white nationalists at home. He has aroused hatred for the free press and slimed the patriotism of everyone from John McCain to John Lewis. It is a painful thing to say, but the evidence assaults us daily: Trump is a miserable human being. Ask his sister, a retired federal judge; in a taped conversation with the President’s niece, she refers to him as “cruel.” It is the rare adviser or satrap who leaves the White House and does not hasten to write a memoir or speak to the press with the intention of sounding a common alarm, that Trump poses a threat to national security even more profound than the news-weary public can imagine. Woodward reports that the former director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, came to believe, more and more, that the Russians had something on Trump. “How else to explain the President’s behavior?” Woodward writes. “Coats could see no other explanation.”

“So you just had to deal with it,” Woodward quotes Mattis as saying, about the situation inside Trump’s White House. “It was, how do you govern this country and try to keep this experiment alive for one more year?” Mattis says he resigned only when Trump went “beyond stupid to felony stupid” and made an abrupt decision to withdraw troops fighting isis.

Trump’s reaction to the book has been Trumpian. He gave Woodward eighteen interviews, often calling Woodward at home at night just to deepen the hole he began to dig at more formal sessions in the Oval Office. Woodward taped the conversations with the President’s knowledge. But, as a way to cover all bases, Trump tweeted last month, “The Bob Woodward book will be a FAKE, as always, just as many of the others have been.” And, of course, he has now tried to pick at the critical thread that the reporter should have published his remarks about the dangers of covid-19 earlier. “Bob Woodward had my quotes for many months,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. “If he thought they were so bad or dangerous, why didn’t he immediately report them in an effort to save lives? Didn’t he have an obligation to do so? No, because he knew they were good and proper answers. Calm, no panic!”

The executive in charge of saving lives was, and is, Donald Trump, not Bob Woodward. And the President’s delays and denials insured that the American response, compared with that of other nations, would be tragic. William Haseltine, the chairman and president of access Health International and a world-renowned biologist, told CNN, “How many people could have been saved out of the hundred and ninety thousand who have died? My guess is a hundred and eighty thousand of those. We have killed a hundred and eighty thousand of our fellow-Americans because we have not been honest with the truth.”

With just two months remaining before the election, it is obvious that Trump, seemingly unable to expand his base and, according to a recent report in the Times, running short on money and the ability to blanket the battleground states with ads, will stick with the ugliest tactics available to him. And, in doing so, he is making the calculation that a decisive segment of the electorate will be attracted to his appeals to racism and fear.

Trump is not unique in such tactical thinking. In November, 1971, Richard Nixon was concerned about two things: his reëlection campaign and, at least fleetingly, the publication of Philip Roth’s “Our Gang,” a withering satire of the Nixon Administration. It hardly mattered to Nixon that the people most likely to read “Our Gang” were probably not in the undecided camp. In a White House meeting, Nixon asked his chief of staff, H. R. Haldeman, about the plot of Roth’s book. After Haldeman patiently ran through the Swiftian plot mechanics for the President, Nixon got to the point:

nixon: Roth is, of course, a Jew.

haldeman: Oh, yes.

The two men ponder this. Then they edge up to an interesting conclusion.

nixon: I think the anti-Semitic thing can be, I hate to say it, but it can be very helpful to us.

haldeman: There are a lot more anti-Semites than there are Jews, and the anti-Semites are with us generally and the Jews sure aren’t.

As it happened, Nixon did not need to resort to Jew-baiting or race-baiting on the campaign trail. He was always far ahead in the polls against George McGovern and ended up winning everywhere but Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

Early in his term, there were moments when Trump would seemingly abandon his customary venom and wildness and do something ordinary, such as read a bland speech from a prepared text. The spectacle would be so striking that we’d hear commentators say such things as, “This is the night that Donald Trump became President of the United States.” Meaning that there was half a chance that he would now behave somewhere within the bounds of sanity and decency. There was never any chance of that happening. Trump is who he has always been. The rest is details. And he is not going anywhere until he’s compelled to do so.

Bill Barr’s Continued Manipulations: First DC US Attorney, then SDNY, Now Eastern District of NY

Bill Barr has been involved in a game of Three-Card Monte with US Attorney assignments. First, he pulled DC US Attorney Jessie Liu out of her position as top prosecutor in DC, installed a lackey, Tim Shea, who then started doing favors for Donald Trump’s criminal associates, reducing Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendation and trying to tank the Mike Flynn case altogether. Barr then tried to do the same thing to Southern District of New York US Attorney Geoffrey Berman, trying to install Jay Clayton, a non-prosecutor as the top prosecutor in SDNY. Berman had the last laugh as he both exposed Barr as lying about the claim that Berman had resigned (he hadn’t) and securing the appointment of his Deputy Audrey Strauss as SDNY Acting US Attorney. Now, Barr is at his shell game again, trying to swap a high-ranking DOJ official, Seth DuCharme, for the US Attorney at the Eastern District of New York US Attorney’s Office, Richard Donoghue. Will Barr get away with this latest game of musical chairs . . or musical US Attorneys?

The Tax Free Tour – VPRO documentary – 2013

“Where do multinationals pay taxes and how much?” Gaining insight from international tax experts, Backlight takes a look at tax havens, the people who live there and the routes along which tax is avoided globally. Those routes go by resounding names like ‘Cayman Special’, ‘Double Irish’, and ‘Dutch Sandwich’. A financial world operates in the shadows surrounded by a high level of secrecy. A place where sizeable capital streams travel the world at the speed of light and avoid paying tax. The Tax Free Tour is an economic thriller mapping the systemic risk for governments and citizens alike. Is this the price we have to pay for globalised capitalism? At the same time, the free online game “Taxodus” by Femke Herregraven is launched. In the game, the player can select the profile of a multinational and look for the global route to pay as little tax as possible. Originally broadcasted by VPRO in 2013.

Why the Narcissist Seems to Hate You, But Won’t Let You Go

Rough Transcript:

the sad truth about why the narcissist
seems to hate you but won’t let you go
easily being the target of narcissistic
hatred is the most confusing experience
you’ll have in your life
it’s wrought with ironies opposites and
sleight of hand just when you think
you’ve come out of the nightmare you
wake up in the middle of another one and
there doesn’t seem to be any relief in
sight
it’s absolutely soul-shattering to give
your all to the narcissist and feel like
you’ve finally made some progress in
getting through to them only for them to
smack you down with the most hateful
scathing episode to date it’s as though
they truly hate you down to the core of
your soul as if they can barely stand to
be in the same room with you or
breathing the same air as you and they
probably have told you this in so many
words but you’ve been so traumatized by
the sheer spite in their voice during
these episodes you have a hard time
remembering everything they’ve said the
irony is that just when things seem to
be truly over and you’ve accepted in
your heart and soul that it’s time to
move on and narcissus changes back to
being seemingly nice perhaps even
affectionate it’s so utterly confusing
why do they do this are they a tortured
soul who is so wounded they just can’t
help it is there anything at all you can
do to speak to the wounded inner self
the narcissist appears to hide buried
deep within them as a person who loves
the narcissist it’s usually easier to
believe they have no control over these
conflicting behaviors we can identify
with what we believe is their inner pain
but this is a story we tell ourselves a
story that keeps us in meshed with them
in a tempestuous cycle of insane highs
and lows that ultimately depletes us of
our very soul there is a reason they do
this but it’s hard to digest sometimes
though we need the truth because it’s
the one thing that can finally set us
free this
sad truth about narcissistic hatred the
reason you found yourself the target of
narcissistic hatred is that they view
love as a weakness and consequently it
repulses them but at the same time it
allows them to extract copious amounts
of narcissistic supply this is why they
seem to hate you but won’t let you go
easily
the narcissist views you as a feeble
underling one which provides them with
wonderful supply so though they couldn’t
care less about you as a person they
don’t want to give up the fringe
benefits that go along with engaging in
a relationship with you albeit a
torturous one they won’t let you go
because you are providing them with the
things they need to survive as a
narcissist these things may consist of
money
housekeeping taking over the
responsibility for their adult
obligations cleaning up their many
messes staying with them while they
carry on Affairs and providing them with
a convenient receptacle for when they
need to vent all their pent-up negative
energies and rage onto someone therefore
it does no good for you to show your
vulnerability to the narcissist and
further why they seem to dislike you
even more when you show your very human
emotions they want the benefits without
all the damage control they want you to
just be quiet about it all and go back
to the person you were before you
discovered who they really are this is
why when you try to make them see how
they’re hurting you it’s utterly
pointless
in fact it’s during these moments you
see into the true core of the narcissist
personality and it’s chilling
nonetheless in your mind you love them
and have bonded with them and so you try
to humanize them believing they must
think and feel the same way you do but
just have a hard time showing it this is
not the case
they are nothing like you and no amount
of unconditional love will change this
fact when we insist on believing the
narcissist is like us we are creating a
story in our minds writing the
screenplay as we go along thinking that
with enough love and compassion we will
finally break through to the narcissist
wound itself this will never happen and
it’s important to accept this painful
truth narcissus loved to blame other
people for their nasty behaviors in turn
you may respond by being more supportive
understanding kind or compromising in an
effort to persuade the narcissus to halt
their betrayals and cruelties instead
what happens is patterns of deception
and denial are established this may be
to avoid the narcissists wrath or keep
the peace proving to the narcissist
you’re not the crazy psycho they say you
are but underneath the surface is a
budding system of enabling a system the
narcissist fabricates from the very
start the truth about when things seem
normal it’s vital to understand that
when the narcissist is being nice it’s
an integrated part of the abuse a reward
if you will for sweeping their last
attack under the rug and going back to
your agreeable self the one who will
smile at them while they carry on with
their normal deplorable behaviors as
though everything is on the up and up
additionally they understand that if
they give you a glimpse of the person
they pretended to be when you first met
he’ll do everything in your power to
keep the golden illusion alive the
illusion that things can be like they
were before this is how trauma bonds
become stronger over time if you go
along with this Mirage you’ll be like a
legendary solitary traveler who believes
they found water in the desert only to
find they’ve traveled deeper into the
middle of nowhere with nothing around
them to sustain life if you found this
video helpful hit subscribe share it
with your friends and leave your
comments in the section below and if
you’re tired of being the target of
narcissistic hatred don’t forget to grab
your beginners
sealing toolkit in the description box
below

Old land deal quietly haunts Mick Mulvaney as he serves as Trump’s chief of staff

Mick Mulvaney was a young businessman and budding politician 11 years ago when he became co-owner of a company that wanted to build a strip mall near a busy intersection in this upscale bedroom community outside Charlotte.

All that was needed was money.

The company cobbled together the financing — which included borrowing $1.4 million from a family firm owned by a prominent local businessman named Charles Fonville Sr., according to court records and interviews.

Eventually, the project fell apart. The mall never got built. And Mulvaney moved on, building a political career as a firebrand fiscal hawk and tea party pioneer in Congress who railed against out-of-control government deficits — eventually rising a few weeks ago to be President Trump’s acting chief of staff.

Fonville, however, said his company has not received the $2.5 million with interest that he said it is owed. In explaining the debt to a Senate committee during his 2017 confirmation hearing, Mulvaney cast it as a casualty of a bad real estate deal, saying the sum “will go unpaid.”

Today, their dispute is at the center of a legal battle playing out behind the scenes in South Carolina as Mulvaney guides Trump through a high-stakes budget showdown with congressional Democrats.

.. The fight threatens to tarnish Mulvaney’s image as fiscally responsible, just as he has reached the most influential position of his career.

Fonville’s company has filed a claim in a South Carolina court against two companies in which Mulvaney has an ownership stake, accusing them of ­

  • “intent to deceive,”
  • “fraudulent acts” and
  • “breach of contract” to avoid repayment. ]

The heart of Fonville’s allegation: When a new Mulvaney-linked company was formed and sought to foreclose on the first company Mulvaney co-owned, it was a maneuver to avoid paying the debt owed to Fonville.

.. Mulvaney was not sued individually, but late last year — while he was running the Office of Management and Budget and carrying out his duties as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — he traveled to Charlotte to be deposed in the case, his attorney said.

.. “I can’t believe he treated me the way he did,” Fonville said during interviews about the case, including one last month as he visited the property that kicked off the dispute. “It is not a small piece of money. You are talking about a couple of million dollars.”

“I have tried to call him,” said Fonville, 83, who said he is a Republican who voted for Trump. “He never called me back. I had thought Mick was an ethical person.” 

Mulvaney declined to comment. The White House referred questions to Mulvaney’s lawyer, John R. Buric, who said Mulvaney has done nothing wrong.

Facebook’s Monopoly Tyranny is no Longer a Zuckerberg Secret

Meanwhile a huge trove of Facebook emails that just leaked and it shows the true nature of the Zuckerberg legacy. The UK Parliament published a trove of top-secret Facebook executive emails on December 5th. tl;dr it’s exactly what you’d expect.

  • Mark Zuckerberg personally approved Facebook’s decision to cut off social network Vine’s data. (so much for a capitalism of fair competition)
  • Facebook tried to figure out how to grab users’ call data without asking permission. (likely spying on their real-time conversations)
  • Certain key apps were white-listed and given greater access to user data even after a broader clampdown. (Netflix and Airbnb among the favored friends)
  • Mark Zuckerberg privately admitted that what’s good for the world isn’t necessarily what’s good for Facebook. (Where’s the world tour Mark?)
  • Mark Zuckerberg suggested users’ data was worth 10 cents a year. (Heck, is that even worth selling?)

In the process of creating one of the most corrupt business models ever invented, Facebook chose profits over its users. In a weird twist of fate it’s the UK that seems to have stood up to Facebook, where American doesn’t even regulate its offending tech companies.

.. The leaked Emails show Execs discussed the single biggest threat to Facebook. They ended up disrupting journalism, diverting internet traffic and turning into a weaponized platform used against the state, democracy and capitalism, slowing down rivals and thwarting innovation itself allowing Chinese companies like Tencent and ByteDance to overtake them.

.. Facebook staff in 2012 discussed selling access to user data to major advertisers, basically selling your info without your consent. Facebook’s profit seeking greed led to the centralization of data where the richer get richer on the poor public’s data.

.. There is evidence that Facebook’s refusal to share data with some apps caused them to fail. Facebook picked the winners in a fake internet, even deceiving advertising that video (on its platform) was the next big thing. Facebook was later found to have falsified video metrics significantly to deceive advertisers and brands.

You can view all 250 pages of the Facebook documents right here.