#260 Going after the Donald. Collusion? Illusion? Follow the Money. (And thanks Donald.) (Part 3 of 3)

First-time readers, the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment if Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s Washington office following meeting with Greenie and JC.  Series with JC and Greenie starts Entry #244 and ends Entry #257. This conversation starts #258.

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “Whew, I feel better.  A break and a coffee refill.  Now, where were we?”

Jordan:  “You were asking why Mueller and the other Congressional investigations didn’t start following the money earlier.  Actually, I think they did but tried to keep quiet about it.”

Gelly:  “By keeping quiet, you think they reduced the likelihood that Trump would try to fire Mueller?  Had Trump really known where the investigation was headed, he might have tried to fire Mueller right away.”

Jordan:  “Probably.  But one thing about all the investigations baffles me.”

Gelly:  “Only one?  And that is?”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Trump’s behavior.    I mean he had to know one or more of the investigations, especially Mueller’s, would lead to his finances.  How could you think otherwise?”

Gelly:  “I agree.  Somehow…and we’ll never know for sure…Trump seemed naïve enough to believe that he could hide all the illicit financial deals…”

Jordan:  “…and even more naïve believing his taxes never would be disclosed.  What was the guy thinking?”

Trump KingGelly:  “He thought he was king.  The Donald lived in his own goofy ‘I’m-above-it-all’ world.  Surely the rest of the family von Trump had some common sense.”

Jordan:  “For a while I thought Kushner might be OK.  However, in short order he proved to be the caricature of a developer – shady and untrustworthy.”

Gelly:  “I must admit feeling sorry for Ivanka’s and Jared’s kids when he got into so much trouble.  But, hey, he was a big boy and should have known better.”

jailJordan:  “Another example of the apple not falling far from the tree.”

Gelly:  “You mean old-man Kushner, I mean Jared’s father, being convicted of tax evasion and witness tampering…and then spending time in jail?”

Jordan:  “Yes.  OK, so the key players in Trump family were stinko.  What’s even worse to me is the family seemed to be able to drag seemingly respectable people into the Trump gutter…and do it quickly.”

amateur hourGelly:  “I have some friends who were part of the White House staff early on in the Trump Administration.  Most had worked for the Obama Administration and a few also had worked for the Bush Administration.  All…and I mean every single person…was shocked at the lack of professionalism among Trump’s key staff members.  They said calling it ‘amateur hour’ would be a compliment.”

Jordan:  “What’s equally shocking to me is how quickly some of the cabinet appointees started to take on Trump’s demeanor.  I understand cabinet heads conveying the message but taking on Trump’s a-hole demeanor was frankly shocking.”

Mean DogGelly:  “In more polite terms, you mean like dogs who take on their master’s behavioral characteristics?”

Jordan:  “Never thought about it in those terms but yes.  Good analogy, Gelly.”

Gelly:  “Look, it’s cathartic to beat up on the Trump family and their lackeys.  As I look back, what bothers me the most .was how Trump and his Alt-right crowd attempted to corrupt the democracy and destroy the US.  And for what purpose?  Money?”

PutinJordan:  “For Trump, money for sure.  And Trump had to try to hide the Russian connection.  Because of all the earlier shady financial dealings Putin had Donnie boy by the short hairs.”

Gelly:  “Jordan, I know what you mean but could you use a different expression, please?”

Jordan:  “Alright.  In addition to greed, what seemed to drive the Donald was an insatiable appetite for respect.   He was the quintessential wanna be.”

Gelly:  “Apparently what he never understood was money, wealth and fame don’t buy you respect.  It might buy respect with people who voted for him but not with people who really matter and get things done.”

Jordan:  “That’s a rather elitist statement.  Actually, I think I know what you mean but those words wouldn’t play well with a lot of people.”

RespectGelly:  “There’s probably a better way to phrase it.  But just step back and think about it.  Who in your life do you respect?  If you made a list, I’ll bet many on the list don’t have much money…and certainly aren’t famous.”

Jordan:  “You’re right.  And you know what?  Not a single person that comes to mind sought public recognition.  Even if they were rich, they just made things happen…sometimes big things and sometimes small things but always unassuming and humble.”

Gelly:  “OK, so there you go.  Contrary to people on your list, little Donnie acted like a bully and thought people should respect him.  Even after he became president, he tried to bully everyone.  And what happened?  Did he earn anyone’s respect?”

Jordan:  “No, he lost it for himself and the US, other than with the bunch of other wanna be’s who continued to support him.  Little Donnie the bully became the laughing-stock of serious people worldwide.”

Gelly:  “Well, there is one thing we can thank him for.”

070715_2218_141SenseChe1.gifJordan:  “There is?  What’s that?”

Gelly:  “He hastened the Revenge Revolution.  The country was on track for a Revenge Revolution sometime in the next decade or so…but his behavior caused it to occur 5 years, maybe 10 years early.  I guess we should thank him for that, right?”

Jordan:  “I guess so.  It’s about the only thing we can thank him for.”

Gelly:  “Thanks Donnie for hastening the Revenge Revolution and getting America back on track…not your track but the right track.”

Jordan:  “With that point want to call this a wrap for the day?”

Gelly:  “Good idea.  Let’s get out of here.”

#259 Going after the Donald. Collusion? Illusion. Follow the Money. (Part 2)

First-time readers, the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment if Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s Washington office following meeting with Greenie and JC.  Series with JC and Greenie starts Entry #244 and ends Entry #257. This conversation starts #258.

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “Ok, you’ve had your break.  Now tell me, if Trump was such a bad financial risk, why would the Russians…or anyone for that matter…lend him money?”

Jordan:  “Simple.  Lenders wanted to park money in a safe place.”

Gelly:  “I don’t get what you mean.  Trump’s a financial risk and investors want to park money in a safe place.  The two ideas are just the opposite.  Why not a bank?  What am I missing?”

Jordan:  “Put yourself in the shoes of say a Russian oligarch.”

Gelly:  “You mean like one of Putin’s cronies?”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Your term, not mine…but yes, like one of Putin’s cronies.  And Putin allowed you to run a ‘private’ company in Russia.”

Gelly:  “By ‘private’ you mean one of the companies that used to be run by the state.  Like some aluminum mining company?”

Jordan:  “Great example.  Your company’s product, aluminum, can be sold worldwide.”

Gelly:  “So the Russian company sold aluminum…and I assume for a profit.  Didn’t that profit automatically flow back to the company?”

Jordan:  “A portion of the profit, and maybe in some cases all the profit could have gone back to the company.  More likely a portion of the profit was skimmed off the top and distributed to Putin and his cronies.”

Money-clip-artGelly:  “Then what did they do with the money?  Kind of hard to hide if it all the money is inside Russia.  How’d they get the money out of the country?”

Jordan:  “Let’s say the aluminum was sold to a company in Brazil.  To pay for the aluminum, the Brazilian buyer told its bank to wire funds to the Russian company’s account at some international bank.  The international bank split the funds, depositing a portion to the Russian aluminum company and a portion to a different account.”

Gelly:  “The other account being for the benefit of Putin and cronies.  That’s legal?”

Jordan:  “Not if the bank knows what’s going on.  The account for Putin and cronies was probably under some corporate name.  Call it Russian Trading Company, LLC.”

Gelly:  “So the international bank justified transferring the money to the account for Putin and cronies because the Russian Trading Company supposedly earned some type of commission, or whatever…right?”

Jordan:  “You’re catching on fast.”

gangster-cartoon-clip-art-540pxGelly:  “This skimming goes on for a while and, voila, the Russian Trading Company has this big pile of money.  To protect themselves against a regime change and a new gang of thieves, I mean officials, Putin and company want to hide the money someplace.”

Jordan:  “If you had a pile of cash in a bank and wanted to park in a safe location, what would you invest in?”

Gelly:  “I suppose buy real estate in some safe country, like England or the US.  I’d buy real estate in maybe London, New York, Florida…maybe Washington.”

Jordan:  “And say in the last 15-20 years you’re a foreign national looking to buy real estate, what name might come to mind?  Who might be able to offer you property that you could purchase?”

Trump Tower SignGelly:  “Gee, let me think hard about that one.  None other than ‘Mr. Straight-Shooter Real-Estate-Developer’ himself, the Donald.”

Jordan:  “Bingo.”

Gelly:  “I understand the idea of buying real estate…but what about the risk?  Trump’s financial track record in real estate was marginal at best.”

Skimming MoneyJordan:  “If you obtain money illegally…like skimming it off the top…then you realize some portion might be lost as you try to make the illegal money appear legitimate.  Let’s just say that when dealing with Trump, Putin and cronies knew they might lose some of their ill-gotten gains.”

Gelly:  “So even if half the money was lost, they’d still end up with hundreds of millions…probably billions of dollars.”

Jordan:  “Remember that famous Trump real estate deal in Palm Beach?”

Duck with MoneyGelly:  “You mean that place he bought for about $40 million and sold not long after for $95-$100 million?  That one?”

Jordan:  “Yes.  And who was they buyer?”

Gelly:  “I don’t remember his name but some Russian oligarch.  The Russian paid Trump way too much money.  However, even if the buyer sold the property for what Trump paid for it, the oligarch has $40 million of illegal money stashed in the US.  At the same time, the Donald made a $60 million profit for doing nothing…well, turning a blind eye.”

Jordan:  “The Donald had to know what was happening with that deal.  Nobody would pay $100 million for a $40 million piece of property.  Now, for the Russians and the Donald, multiply that deal many time over.”

Golf FlagGelly:  “So that’s why, at least according to Donald Junior, the Russians were a major source of capital when Trump bought all those golf courses…like the one in Scotland…and Charlotte…and Mar-a-Lago…and Bedminster, NJ…and the list goes on and on.”

Jordan:  “And had the Donald and/or Junior kept their mouth shut, all would have likely been OK.  No one really started to probe the source of financing…at least until he became a presidential candidate.  Why no probe?  Because the funding ‘partner’ on the documents was some innocuous-sounding LLC.  Plus with the multi-layered corporate structures it was very hard to trace lenders and ownership.”

Gelly:  “I can’t believe I’m going to say this about Trump, but foreign financing of golf courses was not illegal per se was it?”

Jordan:  “No.  And you know what.  Had Trump not become president, it’s highly unlikely many of the financial shenanigans would have come to light.  But when he became president…and when he kept denying any association with Russia, he opened his kimono.”

Gelly:  “I understand that part.  Go back to the banks for a minute.  Surely they knew it was illegal to divert money from these Russian companies. C’mon.”

Jordan:  “I agree and most banks stayed away from those kinds of deals.”

Gelly:  “But apparently some banks were on the take…just like Putin and cronies?  Which banks?”

Jordan:  “In Trump’s case, two banks stood out.  Deutsche Bank and Bank of Cyprus.”

Cypress BankGelly:  “That Bank of Cyprus name rings a bell.  Wasn’t one of Trump’s cabinet members connected with that bank?”

Jordan:  “Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross was a major investor and vice-chairman of the Board.”

Gelly:  “Talk about blatant disregard for ethics and the law.  Trump flaunted his relationship with the Russians and then appointed what could have been his chief money-laundry guy to a cabinet post.”

Jordan:  “Don’t be so hard on Wilbur Ross.  His supporters claimed he cleaned house at Bank of Cyprus by getting rid of the Russians.”

Gelly:  “Maybe so, but given all the other misinformation that came out of the Trump White House, claims like that are hard to believe.  In any case, I want to understand what took so long to get Trump out of office.”

Money TrailJordan:  “You mean why didn’t the investigations just start by following the money trail rather than spend time on all the other issues?”

Gelly:  “Yes, seems like the best way to the truth is just follow the money trail.  Now, I need a break.”

 

 

 

#258 Going after the Donald: Collusion? An Illusion. Better to Follow the Money

First-time readers, the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment if Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s Washington office following meeting with Greenie and JC.  Series with JC and Greenie starts Entry #244 and ends Entry #257.  

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “Enjoyed the visit with JC and Greenie.  You guys are great to be around.  Always interesting conversation.”

Jordan:  “Agreed.  I really enjoy them.”

Gelly:  “Speaking of interesting…I heard something about you at the briefing on brainwashing.”

Jordan:  “Good I hope.  Good about me, not about someone brainwashing me.”

Gelly:  “Good about you, yes but the details were a bit murky.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Alright, what was it?”

Gelly:  “Someone told me you were involved behind the scenes as part of the investigation of Trump’s finances.”

Jordan:  “Now, who told you that?”

Gelly:  “The person asked me not to say.  Well, is it true?”

Jordan:  “Yes, it’s true.  I guess no need to keep my involvement a secret now.  It’s been a while since the special prosecutor laid bare all the financial shenanigans of Trump and family.”

Gelly:  “So, exactly what was your role?”

Jordan:  “One of the lawyers on the special prosecutor’s team knew my background and asked me to look at some deals Trump made.”

Gelly:  “I thought some of the lawyers were finance experts.”

sense-checkJordan:  “The lawyers on the team had a lot of experience prosecuting illegal financial transactions.  They wanted someone who had experience constructing models for starting and operating a business.  Part of the investigation was to reverse engineer Trump’s deals.  They wanted to know how the deal was constructed.  Knowing that would help them understand who was really benefitting.”

Gelly:  “Why you?  You’re not a real estate guy?”

Jordan:  “True but most of the modeling work I’ve done has started with a blank piece of paper.  The lawyers thought my approach might help them discover where to begin to probe further.  The deals were complicated but money always needs a path to follow…and the path was what they were looking for.”

Gelly:  “Were you successful?”

Jordan:  “I’ll never really know for sure.  The team seemed pleased with my recommendations.”

SecretGelly:  “OK, what did you find out that didn’t make the papers?”

Jordan:  “C’mon Gelly, you know I can’t give you any specifics.”

Gelly:  “Then just tell me whatever good stuff you can.”

Jordan:  “Trump family ties to the Russians were far more extensive than anyone realized when the investigation started…and for the most part what was publicly discussed.” 

Gelly:  “I’m listening.  More, please.”

Jordan:  “There was a lot of talk about Trump colluding with Russians during the 2016 election.  Clearly there were lots of misdeeds and some felonies.  However, when the prosecution team started digging into what happened, the idea of collusion became the sideshow compared to the illegal financial transactions.”

Gelly:  “Why does it always seem best to follow the money?”

Duck with MoneyJordan:  “Following the money is a great place to start.  For Trump, money was the, capital THE, primary measure of success.  Trump was a wanna be rich guy.  Really obsessed with being perceived as rich.”

Gelly:  “If the money came from Russia, then where’d the money go?”

Jordan:  “Virtually all the golf courses were purchased using Russian money…and most of the money probably was laundered.”

Gelly:  “Golf courses, you mean like Mar-a-Lago and that place in New Jersey where he kept running off to?  Places like that?”

Golf Bet 1
Jordan:
  “Yes.  He even bought a country club in Charlotte and renamed it Trump something or other.”

Gelly:  “How’d you find out it was Russian money?”

Jordan:  “Like most everything about Trump and family, they couldn’t keep their mouths shut.  Before the Donald became a serious candidate for president, Junior bragged to some Charlotte locals about the Russians being their source of capital to buy the golf courses.”

Gelly:  “Another example of the apple not falling far from the tree.  The Donald couldn’t stop bragging and neither could Junior.  It’s almost as if they wanted to leave bread crumbs for the ducks to follow.”

Trump KingJordan:  “Being naïve and a braggart is not a good combination if you’re involved in criminal activity.  Even worse when you think you’re king.  Donald and the family were naïve about how Washington politics and incredibly naïve about the consequences of shady international financing.  Consequences not just from the government but consequences from the lenders.”

Gelly:  “So the Russians fund the golf courses and resorts like Mar-a-Lago.  What about the hotels and apartment buildings?”

Jordan:  “Same deal.  Keep in mind that after the Trump debacle in Atlantic City where his casinos when bankrupt and he stiffed creditors, no major US bank would lend money to him.”

Gelly:  “So he turns to less credible sources.  But why the Russians?  Why would they lend him money if he’s such a bad risk?”

Jordan:  “Hold that question.  I need to take a quick break.” 

(Continued)     

 

#257 Who Took Out the Donald? (Were Some Trump Supporters Brainwashed?) (Part 14/14)

First-time readers, the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment if Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office in Washington.  (Series “Who Took Out the Donald?’ begins Entry #244.) 

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “Alright, we’ve got our coffee refills.  Now, JC, why do you think many of the Trump supporters were brainwashed?”

JC:  “Simple.”

Greenie:  “OK. I’m game.  Why is the answer so simple?”

JC:  “My research indicated the foundation for most brainwashing was the constant use of declarative statements.”

Jordan:  “You mean like my mother used to say — ‘Do this.  Don’t do that.’”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Now, Jordan, that was not nice.  Besides your mother’s behavior was part of the cultural.  She didn’t consider that brainwashing.”

Jordan:  “OK, I’ll forget I said that.”

JC:  “A key to brainwashing is always respond to a question without any hesitation and without any inkling the answer might not be correct.  If you want to brainwash someone, start by acting as if your answers are always correct, even if their boldface lies.”

Gelly:  “So, if I ask you a question and you want to start brainwashing me, you respond with a declarative statement, whether true or not.  As a brainwasher, your focus is to make sure there is little if any room for the ‘brainwashees,’ as it were, to be able to think for themselves.  Provide an answer and leave no room for questions.”

BrainwashedGreenie:  “If I understand correctly, as the brainwasher you want your declarative statement to reinforce whatever your position is and not have the ‘brainwashee’ think about possible answers.  Have I got it right?”

JC:  “Yes, it is important to reinforce your position, even if the position has no basis in fact and is completely based made-up, or as the Trump Administration liked to call them, ‘alternative facts.’”

Jordan:  “The brainwashing theory sounds OK but how about an example or two.”

Gelly:  “JC, may I try to give an example, please?”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “Fire away.”

Gelly:  “Back before Trump became a serious candidate, he claimed president Obama was born in Kenya and therefore not a legitimate president.”

Greenie:  “That’s seems like a good example.”

Gelly:  “Trump continued to repeat that claim despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  Trump even claimed, or at least implied, that the birth announcement in the Honolulu paper was false.  So, when Obama was born…in Kenya, of course…there was a group that knew he would become president.  To make sure the newborn Kenyan kid was eligible, the group wanting him to be president put a phony birth announcement in the Honolulu paper.  That story makes perfect sense to me?  I mean really, what idiot would believe that?”

JC:  “Think about all the people who did believe it.  In addition to Trump, the gold standard for objective and credible reporting, Fox News, kept repeating the story.  And, of course, the Rush Man joined O’Reilly, Hannity, Breitbart and their ilk in reinforcing the bogus claim.  And what happened?  Many Republicans were brainwashed.  How many?”

Birth CertificateGreenie:  “If I recall correctly, in the summer of 2016, more than 40% of all Republicans still believed Obama was born outside the US.”

Jordan:  “Can that number be right, JC?  More than 40%?  What were these people thinking?”

JC:  “The number is right…it was a little over 40% who bought in to the lie.  My study suggested that the claim was so outrageous and so bizarre that only someone who’d been brainwashed would believe it.”

StatisticsJordan:  “Let me give another example.  Trump kept saying none of the employment, income and range of other statistics provided by the Federal government could be trusted.”

JC:  “These claims are in addition to Trump’s declarative statements that global-warming was a conspiracy of what 3,000 scientists…sorry for the sidebar.”

Jordan:  “As I was saying…I have an acquaintance, a former a high-school history teacher, who supported Trump and claimed no statistics from the government were credible.  Here’s a guy that was supposed to be teaching our kids to think and understand how our country was formed and has continued to evolve.  Whether he liked it or not, the very foundation of the United States was and is the Federal government.  So what did he spout?  That any information provided by the Federal government cannot be trusted.”

Gelly:  “Fortunately, he’s no longer teaching.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Let’s pause for just a minute and look at some history.  Over the years some of the political claims in the US have been outrageous and patently false.  Yet, the country survived.  And so have a lot of other countries survived with brainwashing and false information.  What was different about this effort to brainwash?”

JC:  “Actually, nothing was different.  Now, let’s look at what happened in these countries every time a large percentage of the population got brainwashed.”

Greenie:  “You mean like what happened in Germany and Italy prior to and during WWII?  OK, so we lost a few relatives.  More like 6,000,000 Jews.  Like what happened in Russia under Stalin.  And maybe like what happened in the US south leading up to and during the Civil War?  C’mon, these were only people that got enslaved or murdered.  What’s the issue?”

Confused Clip ArtJordan:  “I know you’re being serious and your point is spot on.  What type event followed each time there was widespread brainwashing?”

Greenie:  “Some type of anarchy and sometimes is was really, really ugly.  The anarchy wasn’t some upset guys just hanging around a coffee shop.  There were real hangings.”

Jordan:  “JC, you’re the expert.  Why does anarchy often follow the brainwashing?  Why not a peaceful transition?”

RobotJC:  “When brainwashed, the populous acts more like robots, not really thinking about what they’re doing.  Then at some point, things start to get so far out of whack that more and more people get jolted back to reality.”

Gelly:  “Like having an ‘ah ha’ moment?”

JC:  “Exactly.  After the ‘ah ha’ moment, people feel duped and betrayed.  They are so frustrated and so angry at the country’s leaders…and even themselves…that a peaceful transition is nearly impossible.”

Jordan:  “I can buy that logic for most egregious situations.  But do you think the same type anger occurred after the FBI took out Trump?  After all, the main culprit was gone.”

Greenie:  “So you’re asking why we still had a Revenge Revolution.  Once Trump was out, why didn’t people just let go and move on?”

ScrewedJC:  “My view is the Trump supporters also felt duped, really screwed, by a lot of Republican members of the House and Senate, state representatives and even some local politicians.  Many of these politicians supported….and even enhanced the Trump lies. A good example is how many of these Republican politicians kept claiming for a long time that Donnie Junior’s meeting with the Russians was no big deal and it was just part of a witch hunt.”

Greenie:  “Then a lot of Republicans began to realize the significance of the meeting.  It was the intent, not the outcome.”

Used Car royalty-free-car-salesman-clipart-illustration-443283Jordan:  “Trump’s argument was so incredibly phony – nothing of value came out of the meeting.  Trust me, he claimed.  Well, Junior, try your logic on the police after you tried to rob a bank but the walked away empty handed.  ‘Gee, officer, I’m not guilty of attempted robbery because I didn’t the money.’  The officer replies, ‘Excuse me, Donnie Junior but attempted robbery is a felony.  Do you understand?’”

Gelly:  “His agreement to meet the Russians also violated some statutes affecting national security.  So why did it seem to take people a long time to understand what was really going on?”

Temper TantrumJC:  “Brainwashing is very effective…up to a point.  Finally, at least for a lot of people, the situation becomes so out of kilter that the regular brain kicks back in.  When many of the Republicans finally woke up to the Trump shenanigans, they had become so angry they couldn’t just let it go.  Even though Trump was gone by then, people still felt the need to revolt and throw out many of the Republican politicians.”

Greenie:  “So as part of throwing da bums out, we got the Revenge Revolution.  And, now, JC, we need to have our own revolt and get out of here.  It’s been a pleasure.”

Gelly:  “Thanks very much for staying after I got back.  Come back soon, please.” 

Jordan: “Come back any time.”      

 

 

#256 Who Took Out the Donald? (Part 13) (Were some Trump voters brainwashed?)

First-time readers, the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment if Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office in Washington.  (Series “Who Took Out the Donald?’ begins Entry #244.) 

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “Wow, what a pleasant surprise.  Two civilized people in the office.  Didn’t think you’d still be here.”

JC:  “It was tough to put up with Jordan this long, but we survived.”

Greenie:  “Tell us where you’ve been Gelly…well, tell us what you can.”

Gelly:  “The briefing was about an upcoming Congressional hearing studying the Trump Administration.”

010414_1635_16TeachingS1.jpgJC:  “More about scandals?  That seems pretty well researched by now.”

Gelly:  “No, the study is a bit unusual for a Congressional committee.  The topic is understanding why so many initial Trump supporters continued to support him despite the widespread scandals and his behavior that was considered so un-presidential by almost all standards.”

Greenie:  “Is the study bi-partisan?  I know that since the Revenge Revolution Congress has shown more willingness to work across the aisle, but the study could be a resistance point for many Republicans.”

Jordan:  “I agree.  What’s the rationale for rehashing the impact of Trump’s behavior on the populous?

Gelly:  “The underlying theme…if I interpreted the briefing correctly…is that somehow a very high percentage of the initial Trump supporters seemed to be brainwashed.  The study will attempt to confirm the premise…and if confirmed, then attempt to understand how they were brainwashed.”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “I agree it’s unusual for a Congressional committee to be exploring such a topic.  Is the hearing going to be open to the public?”

Gelly:  “No decision as of yet.  Obviously a very sensitive topic, even with Trump out of office.”

Jordan:  “Any restriction on talking about the hearing?”

Gelly:  “For now we’re supposed to be discreet and limit the number of people we talk to about it.  But no outright prohibition.”

JC:  “So you won’t be put on double-secret probation if you talk to Greenie and me about it?”

Gelly:  “You guys are OK for the general information.  But as I know you will, please be extremely discreet in discussing this with anyone else…at least until we get further instructions.”

TurtleneckJC:  “Any idea what sources of data will be used for the study, aside from our expert witness here?”

Jordan:  “I’m not sure why I’m even on the short list for prospective witnesses.”

JC:  “Maybe you’ll be a subject of the study.  Just kidding.  Actually, brainwashing a portion of the population is not all that unusual.”

Jordan:  “OK, I’m game, tell me your theory.”

JC:  “In grad school I wrote a paper about how certain religions have been able to effectively brainwash followers.”

Greenie:  “Interesting topic.  I don’t think you ever told me about the paper.”

PreachJC:  “My conclusion was that people who follow religions that preach or instruct congregants to follow strict rules or believe that certain statements are absolutes that should not be questioned…the people who continue to follow the religion have been brainwashed.”

Greenie:  “By that definition, then you’re saying the ‘fundamentalists’ of most every major religion have been brainwashed.  In the US, that covers the more hard-core Christians, Jews and Muslims.”

Gelly:  “Don’t fundamentalists of each religion believe that only they have all the answers and you must follow certain rules and never question certain absolutes?”

JC:  “Yes, and those that don’t stand-up and salute are branded as categorically wrong.”

Jordan:  “Did your study include any non-religious examples?”

JC:  “Lots of them, although I had to limit the scope of the paper.  Otherwise, I never would have graduated.  When you really begin to delve into the topic, you discover that a number of segments of the population appear to have been brainwashed.  People who seem to be brainwashed include many categories – buyers of commercial products, other family members, political parties…its surprising how widespread brainwashing really appears to be.”

AppleGelly:  “You mean like people who insist on buying only Apple products, even though Apple costs more and might not perform as well?  Or those people who vote only for one party no matter how flawed the candidate?  Are you considering these people brainwashed?”

JC:  “Exactly.  I know some of this might sound like good marketing…and to some extent brainwashing probably is good marketing.  What really surprised me, though, was the predilection to brainwashing was not correlated to IQ.  Brainwashing seemed correlated more closely with personality type.”

Greenie:  “You mean the ‘down-2-over-4’ personalities who insist that everything must be just so.  No deviating from the standard or you will be punished.  That kind of personality?”

Gelly:  “They seem like they’re brainwashed.  What about people who are not ‘down-2-over-4’ types?”

Connect DotsJC:  “Another group that seemed prone to brainwashing was the group that ‘can’t connect the dots.’  The ‘no-dots’ crowd seems to view each event as discreet and somehow not linked.  They cannot fathom that somehow someone might be manipulating them.”

Jordan:  “What about predilection to brainwashing among different cultures?”

JC:  “Cultures that seem to exhibit more structured behaviors and those that are dominated by a very structured religion seem more prone.”

BrainwashedGreenie:  “The idea of modern-day mass brainwashing is scary stuff.  I never really considered the possibility being so widespread.  I mean, there’s always been some portion of the political parties that was effectively brainwashed.  The old Blue-dog Democrats, for example, and the more recent alt-right Republicans.  But you’re paper implied a higher percentage of the population.”

Gelly:  “Did your study determine the method used for brainwashing?”

JC:  “I’ll give you my conclusion after I get a coffee refill.  Greenie, I know we said we were out of here but let’s stay a few more minutes, OK?”

Greenie:  “Alright by me as long as you’re buying the refill.  Wonder why I didn’t know about this paper.”

(Continued)

#255 Who Took Out the Donald? (Part 12)

First-time readers, the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment if Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office in Washington a few days after the dinner meeting with Gelly, JC and Greenie.  (Series “Who Took Out the Donald?’ begins Entry #244.) 

JC:  “Jordan, how ‘bout another cup of coffee.  Then Greenie and I need to blow this pop stand.”

Jordan:  “That’s an expression I haven’t heard in years.”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “I’d like a coffee, too, please.  By the way, where’s Gelly?”

Jordan:  “At some briefing about an upcoming Congressional hearing.  I guess I’m on the short list to testify.”

JC:  “Well, Greenie, such company we keep.  Mr. Big Shot you want a coffee as well?”

Jordan:  “Please.  And I haven’t been called yet, so there.”

(Everyone gets coffee)

Greenie:  “Let’s try to wrap up the conversation about who took out the Donald.  I’ve got one more angle that I’d like to discuss.”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “You suggesting it wasn’t the FBI…but somebody else?”

Greenie:  “I’m more focused on why that who.  I’ll go with the FBI until we find out otherwise.  My angle is about the Donald’s mental state.”

JC:  “you mean like he was going crazy and the Feds had to protect the country?”

Greenie:  “Crazy, yes, but not the usual personality flaws everyone seems to remember.”

JC:  “If not narcissism, bullying, insecurity and a bunch of other stuff, then what?”

trump-scowlGreenie:  “I think the real issue was early-stage dementia.  It wasn’t very bad before the election.  Then the deterioration accelerated once he was in office.  It was like his brain was on a ski slope headed downhill fast.”

JC:  “We’ve talked about this before, right?  Or have I got Alzheimer’s?”

Greenie:  “Yes, we’ve talked about it.  But it was more as a sidebar.  I don’t think we gave his mental condition enough consideration.”

percent.pngJordan:  “Alright.  I know his father, Fred Trump, had Alzheimer’s.  There’s also data indicating a higher probability of being inflicted if a parent has had Alzheimer’s.  Assuming your prognosis is correct, do you really think the dementia was having that much of an effect?”

Greenie:  “Think about his behavior the first six months.  There seemed to a marked deterioration in his ability to stay focused on anything.”

U TurnJC:  “And think about the tweets?  He’d take one position one day and then a few days later he’d do a U-turn and contradict himself.  Then he’d claim he never sent the first tweet.  I agree he seemed to have less and less control over his emotions.”

Greenie:  “I still shake my head when I think of his tweets about Mika Brzezinski.  The content was insulting, the statements were lies.  Here’s a president spending time tweeting about a couple of cable news talking heads while his signature legislative proposal, repealing Obamacare, was getting ready to die in the Senate.  He could not seem to comprehend what was important.”

Jordan:  “All but the hard-core Republicans thought his behavior with Brzezinski was way out of line.”

Greenie:  “Keep thinking about his actions in late spring, early summer 2017.   What else did the Donald do that was scary mentally?”

092615_2031_Characters12.gifJC:  “Oh, nothing more than insulting heads of state, insulting the mayor of London and then disclosing Israeli secrets to the Russians.  Oops, I forgot he effectively gave the finger to his own cabinet members by regularly contradicting them publicly.  Then, he attempted to trash any media that questioned anything about the administration.  What was really kooky was the wrestling video aimed at CNN.  Shall I go on?”

Jordan:  “Greenie when you asked the question about the Donald’s mental state, I thought of a different incident.  The incident continues to stand out for me as an example of loss of control.”

Greenie:  “What have we missed?”

Jordan:  “I know the incident might sound trivial compared to some of the public insults of heads of state…and it might be trivial.  What sticks in my mind as a loss of control…more than any other incident…was him driving a golf cart on the green at Bedminster, NJ.”

Golf CartJC:  “I sorta remember that incident but why do you think driving a cart on the green is so important?”

Jordan:  “Trump owned, or at least had his name attached to a number of high-end golf courses.”

Greenie:  “Didn’t he buy Doral in Miami?  My folks used to play there occasionally.”

Jordan:  “He owned Doral.  You guys know my former life included lots of time playing golf, working with the PGA and playing an occasional round with a touring pro…at some very nice golf courses.  Golf has a strict set of rules and etiquette that proper golfers follow.”

JC:  “Get to the point, please.”

Jordan:  “I can’t think of worse behavior on a golf course than driving a cart on the green.”

JC:  “OK, so Trump was rude and broke rules.  Tell me something new.”

Temper TantrumGreenie:  “Jordan’s point, I think, is that Trump had spent all this time and money trying to build credibility with the high-end golfing community.  Then in one fell swoop he managed to alienate almost all the people he was trying to impress.  So the question is ‘why would anyone behave like some spoiled brat and do that?’”

JC:  “So he started destroying the very thing he was obsessed about building.  I know Alzheimer’s does destroy one’s ability to be disciplined and logical.  Without the effect of Alzheimer’s, I agree, why would anyone be so stupid?”

Jordan:  “I like the golf example because it’s not about politics, not about collusion with the Russians, not about money laundering…well, not about shady financial dealings anyway.  None of the ‘he said,’ ‘she said’ allegations.  No controversial media coverage.  The driving-on-the-green incident might not be so obvious to non-golfers but it’s clean and simple.  Just straightforward behavior that demonstrated complete lack of self-control and lack of understanding consequences.”

Greenie:  “So, you’re saying the FBI viewed the golf-cart-on-the-green incident as non-political behavior confirming his instability.  The icing on the cake, if you will.   Then, the FBI decided he was too unstable and it had to take him out.  If that’s you’re argument, I’ll buy it.”

JC:  “So will I, Jordan.”

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGreenie:  “Now, we’re out of here.  Please tell Gelly we said hello…and not to take you too seriously.”

Jordan:  “Don’t worry, she doesn’t take me too seriously.  And, I think she just walked in the office.  Stay a couple more minutes and see what she has to say about the upcoming hearing.  Besides, she’ll enjoy the chat.”

JC:  “OK, but we do have to get going very soon.”

(Continued)

#254 Who Took Out the Donald? (Part 11)

First-time readers, the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment if Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office in Washington a few days after the dinner meeting with Gelly, JC and Greenie.  (Lead-in.  Last comment in conversation, Entry #253, JC said,  “But like the movie director in the ‘Godfather,’ Trump refused, which left the FBI no choice but to take him out and save the country.” (Series “Who Took Out the Donald?’ begins Entry #244.) 

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Unfortunately, by the time the FBI took Trump out, the damage to the country was too great…and we had the Revenge Revolution.”

JC:  “Agreed.  And I never thought I’d be saying this, but…”

Jordan:  “…can’t wait to hear this one.”

JC:  “…you’re excused for interrupting.  I never thought I’d be saying not all of the problems were the Donald’s fault.”

Greenie:  “JC, have you gone Republican on me?  Sounds to me as if you’ve been brainwashed.”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “Think about it…and I know you realize this.  The Donald was more of an enabler for the Revenge Revolution rather than the cause of the Revenge Revolution.  For 20+ years before Trump, the Republicans had been moving farther and farther right.  The Donald let the Republicans do a really hard-right turn.”

Greenie:  “They also did a masterful job disguising the hard-right turn from many of their base voters.  As much as I hate to give them credit, the disguised hard-right turn was brilliantly executed…at least for a while.”

Jordan:  “You mean like fooling the people to vote Republican who would be most negatively affected economically by their policies.”

BrainwashedGreenie:  “Exactly.  I know you think the comment about brainwashing was tongue-in-check but I really believe many who claimed to be Republicans were brainwashed.”

JC:  “Brainwashed?  Brainwashing that many people seems impossible…until, of course you look at history and realize brainwashing large segments of the population was not all that unusual.”

Matt:  “I agree brainwashing is possible…but it just seems so unlikely.”

Jordan:  “Here’s an example of brainwashing that has baffled me for decades.  It’s an example from graduate school.”

JC:  “You mean that place in Cambridge that gave you remedial training?”

Jordan:  “Such a charmer.  The short version is this.  At the beginning of the semester, class members were assigned to a group.  Each week the group was given a problem to solve.  The last problem for the semester was to negotiate a nuclear arms disarmament agreement with another group.”

Greenie:  “Any rules?  How did a team get points…or whatever was being measured.”

Jordan:  “A few guidelines – for example, only 2 people could meet with the other team’s reps, time limit for each round, etc.  The way points were generated was interesting.  If two teams negotiated successfully, then the combined total was the most…say 1,000 points.  I don’t remember exactly.”

092615_2031_Characters11.pngMatt:  “So the total was 1,000 but I guess each team earned 500…right?”

JC:  “And what if the teams didn’t settle?”

Jordan:  If one team strung along the other team, then bombed them at the end, the team that bombed would get the most points as a team…say 750 points…but the combined total would be less than the 1,000 points for those that negotiated successfully.”

JC:  “So, if a team wanted to win the most points individually, they’d string along the other group and then at the end, say ‘SURPRISE, we’re bombing you.’”

NegotiateJordan:  “That’s exactly what happened.  One team negotiated supposedly in good faith…and then at the last allowed negotiating session told the other team they were being bombed.”

Matt:  “Why do you think this was an example of brainwashing?”

Jordan:  “Two reasons.  #1, the professor was an expert in how people were brainwashed, including military personnel.  Looking back, a number of problems we had to solve were associated with the effects of ‘group think,’ ‘peer pressure,’ ‘intimidation,’ etc.  #2 reason was the members of the group that bombed did not think through the potential consequences.”

JC:  “C’mon.  It was a game.  You think there were repercussions?”

Casino NightJordan:  “After the class found out about the bombing, people no longer trusted members of the group that bombed.  The change was immediate.  The entire class has a casino party on Saturday night, the day after the bombing.  Some members of the group that bombed staffed the casino tables – dealing cards, for example.  And guess what?”

Greenie:  “People wouldn’t go to those tables.”

JC:  “OK, but that was the next night.  What about long-term?  I still keep thinking it was only a game.”

traitorJordan:  “I can still tell you the names of the key players in the group that bombed.  What’s more I can tell you their careers were not much different that their behavior in that group.  I’m still friends with two of the three key guys but I would never work with them.”

Matt:  “So what I’m hearing is a few members of one group…”

Jordan:  “…three as best I recall…”

Matt:  “…three members of one group convinced other people in the group, all of whom were highly educated, to take action that was clearly negative.”

JC:  “I still come back to it was only a game.  I mean really.”

Greenie:  “Was this early or late in the semester?  You said the last class.”

Jordan:  “That’s an important point.  By this time in the semester the class had been exposed to a number of problems affecting individual and group behavior.”

Greenie:  “The exercise sounds more like an informal final exam than a mere exercise.”

Trump KingMatt:  “Alright, so you had an interesting exercise or even informal final exam.  Now bring that exercise back to the Trump administration.  You think there were parallels?”

Greenie:  “Let me guess.  The personality profiles of key members of the Trump Administration seem very similar to profiles of the bombers.”

Jordan:  “Greenie, you’re good at this.  The profiles not quite cookie cutters but close.”

JC:  “Building on Matt’s question, if you think about it, the personality profiles of the Republicans leaders of the House and Senate have been the same since maybe the mid-1990’s.  I’ll exclude Boehner, at least the last couple of years before he retired.”

Matt:  “Let’s be fair.  Democratic leaders were not all warm-and-fuzzy, goody two-shoes types.”

WolfJC:  “Agreed, but the Democrats didn’t seem vicious like the Republicans.”

Greenie:  “Until the Donald, the White House and some key influencers seemed to hold the Republican leadership in check.”

JC:  “Then comes the Donald, who has absolutely no clue how Washington, or any large organization, really works.  Intentionally or not, he becomes the enabler of the crazies of the alt-right.”

Matt:  “I must confess, the brainwashing idea seemed farfetched when I first heard it.  The more we talk about it the more logical it becomes.”

Greenie:  “I’ll give you an example that should convince the most die-hard Trump fan…well, maybe not the most die-hard but close.  The health care bills drafted by the House and Senate to replace Obamacare.”

Matt:  “Agreed.  Those proposals decimated health-care coverage for a wide swath of Republican voters.”

Screwed-GuyJC:  “Republican leaders crafted the proposals to reward the very wealthy and screw the very people who voted them into office.  I recall one of the Republican senators who crafted their bill in secret making the following statement, ‘Medicaid does not pay doctors enough per visit.’  Followed by ‘The proposed bill cuts Medicaid payments by hundreds of millions of dollars.’  Duh, oh wise senator, do you understand what you just said?”

Greenie:  “To use phrase from the Donald’s extensive vocabulary, ‘that’s sad, very sad.’  What really was sad is many of the Trumpsters never did realize how much they were going to get the shaft.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Fortunately for them, Trump had so many other personal conflicts that affected the presidency, especially financial links to the Russians, the FBI had to take him out.”

Matt:  “Well, you got me convinced about the FBI and the Donald.  And I also need to go.  Greenie, OK if I call you with some other questions about the Revenge Revolution?  You’ve written more articles than anyone.”

Greenie: “Of course, Matt.  Call any time.”

(Continued)

 

#253 Who Took Out the Donald? (Part 10)

First-time readers, the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment if Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office in Washington a few days after the dinner meeting with Gelly, JC and Greenie.  (Lead-n.  Last comment in conversation, Entry #252, JC said, “Follow the money.”)  (Series “Who Took Out the Donald?’ begins Entry #244.) 

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “JC, I agree that a lot of people in Congress have been influenced by money.  Trump certainly was, too.  But…”

JC:  “…but you think there’s more, right?”

Greenie:  “I don’t want to sound as if I’m beating a dead horse but I want to come back to Jordan’s theory about the FBI.”

JC:  “When you said dead horse, what popped into my head was the classic bedroom scene from the ‘Godfather.’”

Greenie:  “Probably a good scenario.  Think about the relationship between the movie director, aka Trump, and the mob boss, in this case the FBI.  Not suggesting James Comey was a mob boss…well, you get the idea.”

Jordan:  “We get the idea.  The movie director sticks his finger in the eye of the mafia don, thinking he can intimidate him.”

Godfather HorseGreenie:  “The movie director’s problem?  He was either too stupid to realize the potential consequences or had too much hubris.  And look what happened to the director’s prized possession.”

Matt:  “I’d never thought about Trump’s behavior that way.  The comparison to the movie guy in the ‘Godfather’ is an interesting one.”

Greenie:  “Think about it.  Trump insults Comey publically.  He also tries to convince Comey to drop any investigation into Trump’s cronies.”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “Then Comey testifies in Congress about Trump’s behavior.  How does Trump react?  Trump and his lawyer claim Comey lied and Trump was completely exonerated by ‘Comey-the-Liar’s’ testimony.  Apparently Trump and his high-priced real-estate lawyer didn’t listen very well.”

Matt:  “In fairness to the Donald, there was no smoking gun in Comey’s testimony…at least his public testimony.”

Greenie:  “Matt, c’mon.  I know you’re a reporter and want to be fair, but you sound like you work for Fox News.”

092615_2031_Characters11.pngMatt:  “Since when did Fox News become a real news organization?  Anyway, Comey’s testimony did not provide clear-cut evidence of obstruction of justice.  Questionable behavior by Trump?  Definitely, but no clear-cut evidence of obstruction.”

JC:  “There was clear-cut evidence Trump did not understand how government works.  You know the stuff we were taught in 8th grade civics class.  Donald, were you asleep the entire semester?”

Matt:  “What I think Trump failed to realize and certainly didn’t appreciate was the out Comey gave him.”

Greenie:  “You mean the out that women use all the time?  All Trump had to do was keep the Twitter account in silent mode and, then if he had any brains, say he was sorry that he stepped over the line that separates the responsibilities of different branches of government.  I mean, how hard was it to make an apology?”

Jordan:  “I hadn’t thought about that.  An apology could have sucked most of the air out of the investigation.  It certainly couldn’t have hurt.”

Donald Unhappy IIJC:  “But, no, the Donald thought he was doing another episode of the ‘Apprentice.’  Scowl and look mean.  For some reason he couldn’t apologize and took the opposite approach by ratcheting up the negative rhetoric.”

Jordan:  “He also set up a no-win situation for himself – claiming yet again there were recordings of the conversation with Comey that exonerated him but never showing the evidence.”

Matt:  “And then offered to testify under oath about Comey and other issues.  Trump made some really stupid comments but still not enough of a reason for the FBI to take him out.”

JC:  “Jordan, the FBI is your theory.  What about Matt’s question?”

TurtleneckJordan:  “We’ve talked about this before.  The FBI, in my opinion, considered Trump to be mentally spiraling more and more out of control.  We’ll probably never know the entire story but according to credible reports, when Trump would watch TV in the living quarters of the White House, he would scream at reports he didn’t like.”

Matt:  “Sounds like Nixon but how about some more examples, please.”

Jordan:  “Reacting to Comey’s testimony was the most obvious at the time.  But two other critical areas were out of control.”

Greenie:  “I’m guessing diplomatic relations was one.  And for #2, I’ll go with defense.”

092615_2031_Characters12.gifJordan:  “Greenie, you’re two for two.  Take diplomacy.  In short order, Trump managed…in the most polite terms…to give the finger to our strongest allies – Germany, England, France and Israel.  Then he chastised Qatar for supporting terrorists.  Did he realize the US had a major military base in Qatar?”

JC:  “Probably not.  Did he even know Qatar was a country…let alone where it was?  And the country he supported instead of Qatar?  Saudi Arabia.  Mmm, the Donald must have forgotten about where the 9/11 terrorists came from.”

Jordan:  “I think worse than the public chastising of Qatar was Trump publicly ignoring efforts and statements by the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State.”

FoolMatt:  “He did make Tillerson and Mattis each look like a fool.  Each had worked hard to convince NATO allies that the US was committed.  Then during the meeting at NATO, Trump claims…incorrectly I might add…claims that US taxpayers were footing the bill for other NATO countries.  Worse still, at the NATO meeting he refused to support Article 5…the key to NATO.”

JC:  “Article 5 is the one where each country commits to defend other members, right?”

Jordan:  “Yes and Article 5 is the cornerstone of NATO.  Within a few days of insulting secretaries of Defense and State…and NATO allies…he throws the Attorney General under the bus.  Why?  Because in Trump-world the AG displayed ‘weakness’ by recusing himself from the Russia investigation.”

trump-scowlGreenie:  “Can’t have the Attorney General following the law.  Have to be tough.”

Matt:  “I think it was the next week…maybe two weeks later…he started trashing the Robert Mueller, special counsel leading the investigation, and Rod Rosenstein, the second in command at Justice who was managing Mueller.  Trashing those guys was not smart.”

Jordan:  “This had Watergate written all over.  In fact, and I hadn’t really thought about it until now, but as I recall, most of the Trump outrages against the special counsel and Justice occurred mid-June.  I remember it was after Memorial Day and before the 4th of July.  And when was the Watergate break-in?”

NixonGreenie:  “Mid-June.  I remember because we’d just moved to Alexandria…Virginia, not Egypt.”

JC:  “So the guys at the FBI, who have extensive experience analyzing bizarre behavior, look at Trump and concluded he was too dangerous to stay in the job.”

Greenie:  “Then one of the FBI reps went to meet the reality TV star and make him and offer he couldn’t refuse.”

Jordan:  “You mean ‘Donald, do yourself a favor.  Resign and go play golf.’  And, oh, by the way, if you do resign we’ll also quietly drop all but the most egregious illegal money transactions with the Russians.”

JC:  “But like the movie director in the ‘Godfather,’ Trump refused, which left the FBI no choice but to take him out and save the country.”

(Continued)   

#252 Who Took Out the Donald? (Part 9)

First-time readers, the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment if Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office in Washington a few days after the dinner meeting with Gelly, JC and Greenie.  Entry #252 continues Entry #251.  (Series about “Who Took Out the Donald?’ begins Entry #244.) 

JC:  “I don’t believe it either.  Pence and Sessions must have gotten some kind of payoff.  Maybe McConnell, too.  Otherwise, why would they be complicit?”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Think about Trump’s meeting with the Russians in the Oval Office.   No reporters except for a Russian photographer.  Only when the photographs were published by the Russians did the US public know who really attended the meeting.”

JC:  “What about Trump’s meetings in Saudi Arabia.  Lots of gold and glitter…and oh, yes, the huge military purchase allegedly negotiated by Kushner.  Just for fun, where were Lockheed-Martin and Boeing?  Aren’t they usually part of these kinds of defense deals?”

trump-scowlGreenie:  “So Trump slobbers all over the Russian’s the Saudi’s and then a few days later trashes our allies in NATO.  Trump was clearly not working for the best interests of the United States.  His argument at NATO about the extra burden on US taxpayers was wrong.  A week or so later his argument to drop out of the Paris climate accord was completely false.  That’s why I believe there was lots of money funneled to the Trump family.”

092615_2031_Characters11.pngMatt:  “And you think Pence and Sessions were in on the deal, too?”

JC:  “Sessions and Pence were up to their eyeballs in the transition team.  They knew all about Kushner’s secret meetings with the Russians about back-channel communications…and a lot of other stuff.  What they probably didn’t know was how much Trump or the family was really being paid.”

Matt:  “You think Trump’s tax returns would have helped convince people not to continue supporting Trump?”

Income TaxJordan:  “Let me jump in. Yes, the tax returns would have helped.  Highly likely that most, if not all the foreign payments were never reported.  Releasing the returns would have subjected Trump, and probably Kushner and other family members, to income tax evasion.  In addition to tax evasion acknowledging payments from foreign governments would have violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution.”

Greenie:  “So releasing the tax returns could be a fast road to jail time or impeachment…or both.  Yet, despite all these negative reports, most Trump voters kept supporting him.  Why? Didn’t they connect the dots?”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “Supporters claimed the events were left-wing hyperbole and the actions by Trump were meaningless or innocent.  I don’t buy in.  There was a pattern.  Too many so-called “odd” events in such a short period of time not only doesn’t smell right…but it defies logic.”

Greenie:  “Jordan, weren’t you a budding actuary at one time?  Whadda think the odds are that all these suspicious events in such a short period were mere coincidences and therefore meaningless?  Maybe 100:1.  Maybe 1,000:1?”

TurtleneckJordan:  “I’d say the odds were well beyond 1,000,000:1 and likely well above 100,000,000:1.”

Matt:  “So about the same odds as winning the lottery and getting hit by lightning the same day?”

Jordan:  “About right.  Good comparison.”

Greenie:  “Then why did the Trumpsters keep supporting him?  It makes no sense.”

Jordan:  “I think three reasons.”

potato-clip-art-clippotato3JC:  “Let me guess.  #1 is supporters didn’t really understand the issues.  Recall Trump saying something like, ‘Who knew healthcare was so complicated?”

Greenie:  “Or, another famous quote, ‘Gee, I didn’t know being president would be so hard.’  Donald, had you been living in a cave?”

Jordan:  “Ok, Greenie, wanna take a shot at another reason?”

Greenie:  “Supporters didn’t, or maybe couldn’t, link the events.  To them, all the events were discreet and there was no pattern.  Without a pattern each event could be explained away, and therefore no pattern existed.”

mortar-boardMatt:  “I agree with one exception.  People with a college degree who continued to support Trump after the first few months in office.  It’s impossible…or at least I think it is…to go through college and not develop some understanding of how events are linked.”

Jordan:  “I’d like to think you’re right, Matt, but apparently a bunch of people made it through college and never grasped that concept.  JC, have another reason?”

JC:  “This idea might be a bit off the wall but I think explains why some people continued to support Trump despite all the evidence against him…and supported Trump even though many of his actions were against their own economic interests.”

Greenie:  “If I said Richard Condon would I be on the right track?”

JC:  “Bingo.”

Greenie:  “Then, how?  It’s one thing to brainwash an individual, or even small group of people.  How were so many people brainwashed?”

JC:  “I said the idea seems a bit off the wall, but…”

Jordan:  “Now it’s my turn to guess…Fox News.”

Greenie:  “Really?  You think Fox News could have brainwashed millions of people?”

fox-news-logo bJC:  “Yes, Fox News.  I’m not certain that was the intent of Fox News, at least when it was started.”

Greenie:  “If they did brainwash people, how so?”

JC:  “A confluence of events.  Newspaper readership had been on a long slide…really since the introduction of national and local TV news programs.  Then cable becomes more and more popular.”

Jordan:  “So by 2016, for tens of millions of people, the major networks evening news programs, which were never challenged as a credible source, have been replaced by cable news.  And the lead cable channel for a number of years and leading up to the Trump election was none other than Roger Ailes’ ‘fair-and-balanced’ hard-right Fox News.”

Matt:  “C’mon Jordan, to be fair…and balanced, all cable was a bit slanted.”

pants-on-fireJordan:  “I agree the other channels could be a bit biased at times, but not like Fox.  You know as well as I that Fox should have been called the ‘pants-on-fire’ network.”

Matt:  “I’ve forgotten the source…but I remember it was a credible 3rd party and well-respected by serious journalists.  Anyway, the study indicated at least 50% and I think more like 60% of the claims made on Fox News were either blatantly false or somewhat false.”

Greenie:  “Did Kelly Ann Conway then provide her ‘alternative facts’ disputing the study?”

Bill-O’ReillyJC:  “That’s my point.  Fox routinely made up stuff and presented as hard facts.  Trump supporters actually considered Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity as serious journalists.”

Greenie:  “Let’s not forget the radio guru of bologna…Rush Man.”

Jordan:  “I recall a conversation I had with a friend…a former high-school history teacher.  Here’s a guy with a master’s degree who said to me one day when we were talking about government policy, you have your facts and I have mine.”

JC:  “Was he a Fox News regular?”

Jordan:  “Hard-core Fox along with Breitbart and who knows what else.  To him, the New York Times, and eventually the Wall Street Journal, were filled with falsehoods and couldn’t be trusted.  He also claimed that 80% of CNN’s news broadcasts were fake.”

Greenie:  “He really said that?”

Jordan:  “Yes.  He’s not a data point of one.  I know of two other friends from my undergrad days not far off his attitude…and who knows how many others.  So I think the idea of wide-spread brainwashing might not be far off the truth.”

Greenie:  “I agree it sounds silly.  But it could explain why so many Trumpsters refused to believe the evidence.”

Golf Bet 1Matt:  “Let me go back and ask again.  What about certain members of Congress…McConnell, for example.  Was he brainwashed?  Is that why he stonewalled any investigation of Trump?  What about Pence and Sessions?  Were they brainwashed?

JC:  “For those guys, follow the money.”

(Continued)

#251 Who Took Out the Donald? (Part 8)

First-time readers, the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment if Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Following entry #250, several readers sent messages asking me to continue the series on “Who Took Out the Donald?”   Given the startling revelations last week…and seemingly every week… about bizarre behavior by Trump and/or key members of the Administration, I agreed.  Series about “Who Took Out the Donald?’ begins Entry #244.

Scene: Jordan’s office in Washington a few days after the dinner meeting with Gelly, JC and Greenie.

Gelly:  “Excuse me, Jordan.  Matt…you know Matt the reporter…is on line 2 and would like to talk to you.”

Jordan:  “Sure but did he say what the topic was?”

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “No, and he never does.  But, hey, he’s a reporter.”

Jordan (Picking up the phone): “Hello, Matt.  Long time.  All OK at your end, I hope.”

Matt:  “Everything’s fine, Jordan.  Thanks for asking.”

Jordan:  “I assume this is not a social call.  So, what’s up?”

Matt:  “I’ve been working on a book about the Trump Administration and I need some help.”

Jordan:  “From me?”

Matt:  “Probably but I’d really like to talk to your buddy Greenie.  She wrote a series of articles about the Administration and I’ve always liked her insight.”

Jordan:  “You want to meet her here, or privately?”

Matt:  “Your place would be great.  Sorry to be so pushy, but any chance we could meet today?”

Jordan:  “You want lunch, too, right?  Don’t answer.  I think she’s in town.  Let’s assume 2:00pm today here unless we get back with you.  OK?”

Matt:  “Great.  Thanks.”

(Time: just before 2:00pm.)

Jordan:  “Well, well, the dynamic duo has arrived.”

JC:  “You should be honored we’re here.  I’d convinced Greenie to catch an early movie…until you called.”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Jordan, meeting with Matt will be more fun than a movie.  Exactly what does he want to talk about?”

Jordan:  “Ask him.  He just walked in the door.”

Matt:  “Hello, Greenie, nice to see you again.”

Greenie:  “Nice to see you Matt.  JC is visiting and we were off to a movie…”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “…until she convinced me meeting with you would be more fun.  Nice to see you Matt.”

Matt:  “Nice to see you, JC.  Thanks everyone for taking time, especially on such short notice.  I’m working on a book about the Trump Administration and would like to get your perspectives on a couple of issues.”

Jordan:  “Can you frame the gist of the book a little bit more…and maybe the sequencing as well?”

092615_2031_Characters11.pngMatt:  “The book attempts to address and link, if a link exists, various events leading up to when Trump was taken out.”

Greenie:  “Funny you mention the Donald being taken out.  Not really funny but all of us had a long conversation over dinner the other night about that very topic.”

Matt:  “Good.  Let’s hold the results of that conversation until we address other topics.  Topics such as, at least according to the Washington Post article, Jared Kushner contacting the Russian ambassador about setting up a secret communications channel to the Kremlin.”

Tin Can PhoneJC:  “And, duh, Kushner wanted to use the communications equipment in the Russian embassy.  According to the article, even the Russian ambassador was taken aback by the idea.”

Greenie:  “Even if the article was incorrect, which no one has ever proved, there’s a bigger problem.  This might surprise you but my view is Kushner was more of an egomaniac than Trump.  Hard to fathom, I know, but I really believe that.”

Matt:  “Interesting perspective.  Why do you think so?”

jailGreenie:  “Look, the guy’s in his mid-30’s, which is ego time for many people.  But he’s also from a family with two question marks.  Maybe I should just call them marks.  His father did time in prison for fraud.  And, he’s Orthodox, although I must say his behavior sometimes made me question his commitment.”

JC:  “I agree with the part about his father, but do you think being Orthodox was an issue?”

howdy-doody-2Greenie:  “OK, skip the Orthodox issue.  Here’s a 30-something in the White House with no previous political experience…and he’s effectively running the country.  Kushner pulls a string and the puppet Trump reacts, just like Howdy Doody.  Just thinking of it is depressing.”

JC:  “I know I wasn’t expected to be part of this conversation but I agree with Greenie.  It would be hard for anyone Kushner’s age and in Kushner’s position not to end up with a huge ego…even you, Jordan.”

Matt:  “The Kushner problem started before Trump was inaugurated.  The contact with the Russian about the back-channel network was during the transition.”

Greenie:  “Part of the problem for Trump, Kushner and some other key staffers was no Washington experience.  These guys had no idea how government really worked.”

goofy006JC:  “You mean running the running the government turned out to be more complicated than doing a real estate deal?  Who knew?  Seriously, what really baffles me is how could they have thought communications with the Russians were not being monitored?”

Matt:  “I’ve scratched me head ever since the FBI released info about General Flynn talking to the Russians.  I know he was retired at the time, but still.”

3-StarsJC:  “How could a, what 3-star general in the Marines, with some national security experience no less, not know about calls to the Russians being monitored?”

Jordan:  “Flynn knew it and ignored it.  My source, a military officer senior to Flynn and familiar with Flynn, said in a casual phone conversation shortly after the inauguration that Flynn should never have been appointed and would not last.”

Matt:  “He was right but what was the reason?”

Jordan:  “Flynn’s gigantic ego and history of uncontrolled behavior.”

Matt:  “Had anyone in the incoming administration contacted your colleague?”

Jordan:  “Not to my knowledge.  And don’t ask who my colleague is.  He’ll deny the conversation and won’t talk anyway.”

JC:  “So what I’m hearing is there were a bunch of incompetent egomaniacs with a big set of kahunas running the transition team and then the White House.”

Greenie:  “Not phrased elegantly but the conclusion seems spot on.  However, there’s one piece that seems inconsistent with that conclusion.”

Matt:  “And that is?”

PoliticianGreenie:  “Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions were experienced politicians.  Sessions had been in the Senate for 20 years and had been US attorney earlier in his career.”

Matt:  “I’m having the same problem.  Why did two highly experienced politicians let all this bizarre behavior happen?”

Greenie:  “People do strange things when money or power is on the table…and especially money and power.”

JC:  “Strange things like throwing away all principles?”

Greenie:  “Exactly.  We are almost certain Trump and Kushner were paid by the Russians.  Maybe not directly but the businesses were paid.  The Donald, Jr. admitted the Russians were the source of funds for many of the Trump golf courses.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Back to Pence and Sessions.  Where did their money go?”

Matt:  “Maybe they didn’t get any money.”

Greenie:  “I don’t believe it.”

(Continued)