The Trump Watch (late May) (part 2 of 2)

There’s so much stuff this month it takes two posts to cover it.  Go here to see yesterday’s post.

Strong-Arm Tactics

You have a doctor.  The Curmudgeon has a doctor.  Most of us have doctors.  Our doctors have our medical records.  If we move or change doctors, we contact the old doctor and he or she makes a copy of our records and sends it to the new doctor. But the old doctor retains a copy of our medical records.  That’s just the way it is.

Yes, this guy again

But not if you’re Donald Trump, who sent his goons/aides to his old doctor – you remember this guy, right? – and had them seize every single piece of paper about Trump and leave nothing behind.

As reported by Vox,

 Dr. Harold Bornstein — who said Trump would be the “healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency” — is claiming Trump associates “raided” his private practice to seize the president’s medical records.

 Bornstein, Trump’s personal doctor in New York for decades, told NBC News that Trump’s bodyguard Keith Schiller, Trump Organization lawyer Alan Garten, and another individual arrived at his office unannounced and took Trump’s medical records in February 2017. The trio took the original copies of charts and lab reports under Trump’s name and some pseudonyms Trump apparently used, according to Bornstein. He also said the visitors asked him to remove a picture of Trump and him that had been hanging on his wall.

Wait – pseudonyms? Why was he having lab work done under false names?  What on earth could Trump have been trying to hide?  Serious medical problems?  Paternity issues?  Emotional problems?  Another hair transplant?

Chlamydia?

Whatever it was, his strong-arm tactics are appalling.  And wrong.  As far as The Curmudgeon is concerned, Bornstein should have sought to press charges against the people who, essentially, robbed his office.

Putting it on Layaway

Trump wanted a smart lawyer to join his legal team but instead he hired Rudy Giuliani, who appears to know about as much about good lawyering as The Curmudgeon knows about cooking vegetables.

Which is to say, not a damn thing.

One of Giuliani’s revelations:  that Trump has reimbursed attorney/fixer Michael Cohen for the $130,000 he paid to Stormy Daniels for her silence on their one-night stand.

But that’s not the interesting part:  no, the part that fascinates The Curmudgeon is that Trump repaid Cohen $35,000 a month until he paid off the entire $130,000.

Leading to an obvious question:  What kind of multi-billionaire needs to pay off a $130,000 debt in INSTALLMENTS?

It’s All in the Branding

Many of us can think of some desirable uses for this kind of branding, too

When Trump the real estate developer found that his money-making magic touch had deserted him he reinvented himself as a brand – kind of like Kotex.  He did it again as a candidate for the presidency, and now that he’s president he continues to view branding as an important weapon in his arsenal in the war of public opinion.

We now know that the FBI received some information about Trump from within the Trump campaign in 2016. But was it a leak?  A spy?  We don’t know.

Neither does he.

But he’s not letting that stop him from saying he does, as the online publication The Hill reported.

President Trump told a confidant this week that he aimed “to brand” an FBI informant on his campaign a “spy” because he thought it sounded more nefarious, according to The Associated Press.

 Trump reportedly told one ally that he thought these embellishments would produce a greater response among media and the public.

Don’t you just love that “embellishments” euphemism?  That’s what us regular folks call “lies,” and he showed not a moment’s hesitation about lying to help himself.

The Leader, Apparently, of Just Some Parts of the Federal Government

Almost from the day he took office Trump has made it clear that he was unhappy with the Justice Department.  But when he decided he was unhappy with Jeff Sessions, his choice to head the Justice Department, he declined to fire him.  Oh, he talked about firing Sessions – and talked and talked and talked about it some more – but he never did more than talk.

So why doesn’t he roll up his sleeves and get involved in fixing a Justice Department he thinks is so badly broken?

When it comes to justice, Trump knows nothing, hears nothing, says…well, says a lot

No particular reason, it turns out.  He’s just decided that a bad Justice Department is perfectly fine with him.  Vox tells the story.

I’ve taken the position — and I don’t have to take this position and maybe I’ll change — that I will not be involved with the Justice Department,” President Donald Trump said in an April 26 interview on Fox & Friends. 

And Americans who need a functioning justice system?

That’s apparently too damn bad.

Not Very Bright

It’s hard to grasp the idea that a guy capable of making billions of dollars just isn’t very bright; it’s so…illogical.  Sure, he had a million-dollar head start from his daddy, but who among us, if given the same advantage, would be able to turn one million into billions? Very few of us, The Curmudgeon suspects, and The Curmudgeon knows he certainly couldn’t.  So the guy must know SOMETHING, right?

Well, it’s looking more like he knows a lot about a few things but damn little about anything else, and it took another really, really smart guy to help show us that recently, as Vanity Fair reports.

On Thursday night, MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes aired footage of a presentation by Microsoft founder Bill Gates,in which the billionaire philanthropist told audience members at a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation event that on two separate occasions, he had to explain to Trump that H.I.V. and H.P.V. are, in fact, not the same thing. The former, human immunodeficiency virus, is a sexually transmitted infection that can lead to AIDS. The latter, human papillomavirus, is an S.T.D. that causes genital warts and, in some cases, cervical cancer. “Both times he wanted to know if there was a difference between H.I.V. and H.P.V., so I was able to explain that those are rarely confused with each other,” Gates told the crowd.

That is really, really hard to comprehend.

But Gates was only getting started.

Perhaps more concerning, Trump apparently had to be talked out of launching a commission to investigate whether vaccinations cause autism and other developmental disorders, a fringe conspiracy that has been debunked by the medical community. According to Gates, during both meetings, Trump asked “if vaccines weren’t a bad thing because he was considering a commission to look into ill effects of vaccines.” (Gates said he told him, “No, that’s a dead end. That would be a bad thing, don’t do that.”)

Holy chicken pox, Batman!  This guy’s an idiot.

A Curious Double Standard

One of Trump’s beefs with former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe was that McCabe’s wife ran for the Virginia state Senate as a Democrat and accepted campaign contributions from the kinds of people who contribute to Democrats’ campaigns.  How could McCabe be loyal to him, Trump kept asking, when his wife ran for office as a Democrat and received contributions from Democratic donors?

It’s a ridiculous premise, of course, but the same thing is occurring in a slightly different way now, yet without any complaints from the president, because it involves one of Trump’s favorite staff members:  Kellyanne Conway. Conway, of course, is one of Trump’s most vociferous and visible defenders even as the number of news programs willing to invite her on to lie for him for five or ten minutes continues to dwindle.

But Conway’s husband?  THIS is an interesting story:  Conway’s husband has become a pretty vociferous Trump critic.  The publication The Week tells the story.

Two writers who wrote columns critical of President Donald Trump told Politico that George Conway, husband of Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, emailed them out of the blue with suggestions on how to strengthen their anti-Trump arguments. 

 George Conway, a highly respected corporate attorney, has kept a low public profile until now. According to Politico, he struggles with his disdain for how, in his view, the administration is flouting legal norms and the rule of law. He reportedly turned down offers for two White House positions — solicitor general and head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. 

 On his Twitter account, he routinely re-tweets articles critical of the administration that his wife helps lead to over 50,000 followers. 

 Some of his most eye-catching tweets, some of which were later deleted, included deeming a report that Trump’s lawyer looked into pardons for two aides “flabbergasting,” called Trump’s other behavior “absurd,” and shared a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled, “The Stormy Daniels Damage.”

So you have to wonder: why was it a problem that McCabe’s wife ran as a Democrat for a seat in a state legislature a year before anyone was even taking Trump seriously as a candidate for president but it’s apparently not a problem that Kellyanne Conway’s husband is out there front and center pointing out Trump’s many forms of foolishness?

Getting Personal – and Irrational

Trump’s vendetta against Jeff Bezos continues.  While newspapers around the world continue to report about Trump’s incompetence and corruption, the president has decided to make an example of the Washington Post by taking out his anger on Bezos’s other business, Amazon.com.  As the Post reports,

President Trump has personally pushed U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double the rate the Postal Service charges Amazon.com and other firms to ship packages, according to three people familiar with their conversations, a dramatic move that probably would cost these companies billions of dollars.

 Brennan has so far resisted Trump’s demand, explaining in multiple conversations occurring this year and last that these arrangements are bound by contracts and must be reviewed by a regulatory commission, the three people said. She has told the president that the Amazon relationship is beneficial for the Postal Service and gave him a set of slides that showed the variety of companies, in addition to Amazon, that also partner for deliveries.

Despite these presentations, Trump has continued to level criticism at Amazon. And last month, his critiques culminated in the signing of an executive order mandating a government review of the financially strapped Postal Service that could lead to major changes in the way it charges Amazon and others for package delivery.

The reality is that there’s no basis for Trump’s charges and there’s one school of thought that suggests that at a time when the postal service’s letter volume is in steep decline, it’s companies like Amazon and their package delivery business that are actually keeping the postal service afloat, if only barely.  But as we’ve seen, Agent Orange has never been one to let a little thing like the facts get in the way of a good vendetta.

“Devastated and Destroyed”

 Agent Orange tweeted last Sunday that the Russia/collusion investigation has “devastated and destroyed” the reputations of people, leaving one to wonder:

Who?  Is there a single person, other than those who have already pleaded guilty to crimes or who have been charged with crimes, whose life has been “devastated and destroyed”?

Conspiculously, Trump named no such individuals.

 America:  Love it or Leave It

We haven’t heard that argument much since, oh, the days of protest against the war in Vietnam – protests, by the way, that time has proven to be correct – but it’s getting new life these days as Agent Orange puts aside the affairs of state to tackle an issue he believes to be of even greater importance:

Football players kneeling during the playing of the national anthem.

After the National Football League announced a truly moronic policy – that players who wish to protest the national anthem should do so by hiding in the locker room until after the anthem is played – Trump took to Fox & Friends to offer his perspective:

I don’t think people should be staying in the locker rooms, but still I think it’s good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem. Or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.

Birds of a feather…

Which only reminds The Curmudgeon of the ravings of another loon, Major Frank Burns of the television program M*A*S*H, who once declared that

Unless we each conform, unless we obey orders, unless we follow our leaders blindly, there is no possible way we can remain free.

 

 

 

 

 

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