TRUMP is seriously dangerous

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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby coffin_dodger » Fri Aug 28, 2015 6:27 am

Trump Has Strongest Jewish Ties of all GOP Candidates 7 Aug 2015

Among the expansive field of Republican presidential candidates on display in the party’s first debates Thursday night, Donald Trump may be the most closely connected to the Jewish people.

Trump is from New York, works in professions saturated with Jews and long has been a vocal supporter of Israel. His daughter and two grandchildren are Jewish, the executive vice president of his organization is Jewish — and Trump certainly has chutzpah.
Given his myriad Jewish associations, Trump is not an unfamiliar face in Jewish circles. He has served as a grand marshal at New York’s annual Salute to Israel Parade. After Hurricane Katrina, he was among a group of celebrities who decorated Jewish federation tzedakah boxes to be auctioned off to support hurricane disaster relief. And in February, he was honored with an award at the annual gala for the Algemeiner, a right-wing Jewish news organization.

“I have a Jewish daughter. This wasn’t in the plan, but I’m very glad it happened,” Trump said at the event, held in Manhattan. On Israel, he said, “We love Israel. We will fight for Israel 100 percent, 1,000 percent. It will be there forever.”
cont -
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby kelley » Fri Aug 28, 2015 7:49 am

Seems Trump's raison is to structurally weaken the Grand Old Party from within by appealing to its most vocal yet powerless base constituency. I see parallels here to the role the Reagan Democrats played in 1980, whose manipulation by the ascendant Right helped put the old-school New Deal / Great Society party permanently in the ground, thus easily furthering a nascent corporate agenda. He recently resigned from Trump's entourage, but Reagan strategist Roger Stone helped build the campaign to this point, and that's telling.

It's taken almost forty years, but the US is now firmly in the hands of a neoliberal elite who have more in common with other transnational elites than with the citizens of their own country, or with the people's alleged representatives in the legislature who cling to illusions of partisan fealty to protect their tenuous positions in the hierarchy. In appearing to give voice to those who see themselves as disenfranchised, Trump reflects this reality. His actions may be theater, spectacle, psy-op, or the like, but at the deepest levels it's a cynically warped take on the post-revolutionary strategy of the Third Way, designed to further consolidate power at the highest levels of neo-feudal / hyper-fascist globalist organization. Trump may be a stooge, but he's certainly no fool, even if his ego leads him to believe he has a serious claim to the illegitimate sham the executive office has become.
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby stillrobertpaulsen » Fri Aug 28, 2015 4:01 pm

Trump consulting with Sessions for his immigration plan is seriously dangerous.

Whaddya Know, First Prominent Elected Republican to Endorse Trump Is Arguably the Most Racist
If Trump's policy is to strategically weaponize bigotry to his advantage, Jeff Sessions' endorsement is a sign it's working.
By Zaid Jilani / AlterNet
August 27, 2015

Last week, Donald Trump spoke to a large crowd in Mobile, Alabama, at a rally that featured Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL). At the rally, Sessions became the first member of Congress to endorse Trump.

The endorsement was fitting, because Sessions has been known as one of Congress' biggest bigots. Don Siegelman, the former Democratic Party governor of Alabama, wrote a short letter about how the endorsement is apropos:

Jeff Sessions endorsed Donald Trump for President in Mobile Alabama at the exceptionally large Trump rally.

Alabama's junior U.S. Senator, Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions III, says "I used to think the Ku Klux Klan was a pretty good group of guys, until I learned they smoked pot." U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy made Sessions confess to having said this during Sessions' would be confirmation hearing for a U.S. District Court judgeship, for which he was nominated by President Reagan.

As the U .S. Attorney, Sessions, in order to suppress the black vote, sent the FBI out in Alabama's "Black Belt" to round up black political activists, have them photographed and finger printed, and told that the FBI would be watching what they did in the upcoming general election. Sessions was challenging a Democratic incumbent for state attorney general, and the Democrat was expected to get a landslide of black votes.

To show he meant business, Sessions had two black activists charged and convicted, both friends of mine. One a sweet 72-year-old woman, Miss Julia Wilder, a retired school teacher, who was sentenced to two years, and Ms. Maggie Bozeman, a noted activist in black politics. I studied the case and the testimony. First, I do not believe they broke the law and secondly, they did not get fair treatment at the trial. Sessions was determined to scare the hell out of the black activists so they would not get out the vote for his Democratic opponent.

Before that 1994 election in which I was running for Lt. Governor, I spoke to a noted black leader, Senator Hank Sanders, who told me most were simply afraid and would not be working as they had in the past to turn out black votes.

Sessions won in an upset victory and two years later won his seat in the U.S. Senate by alleging his Democratic opponent, a state senator, had broken the law in getting a grant to provide water services from which the senator would allegedly benefit. The charges were dropped after the election.

Sessions is as far to the right as you can get. He likes the KKK, doesn't like blacks, and wants every immigrant sent back to wherever they came from. A perfect match for Trump at least on immigration.

Sessions goes way beyond your typical Republican opponent of immigration reform. He has complained that immigrants create “cultural problems,” and has gone on a witch hunt to ensure that undocumented immigrants aren't granted Social Security numbers. So it's no surprise that earlier this month, it was reported that Trump was consulting with Sessions on his immigration plan, which represents perhaps the most extreme anti-migration policy the United States could pursue, including mass deportations and a total militarization of the border.

If Trump's policy is to strategically weaponize bigotry to his own advantage, the Sessions endorsement is a sign it's working.
"Huey Long once said, “Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism.” I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security."
-Jim Garrison 1967
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:04 pm

Ivana Trump told a friend that her husband's cousin, John Walter "clicks his heels and says, 'Heil Hitler," when visiting Trump's office.


Donald Trump's ex-wife once said Trump kept a book of Hitler's speeches by his bed

Amanda Macias

According to a 1990 Vanity Fair interview, Ivana Trump once told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that her husband, real-estate mogul Donald Trump, now a leading Republican presidential candidate, kept a book of Hitler's speeches near his bed.

"Last April, perhaps in a surge of Czech nationalism, Ivana Trump told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that from time to time her husband reads a book of Hitler's collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed ... Hitler's speeches, from his earliest days up through the Phony War of 1939, reveal his extraordinary ability as a master propagandist," Marie Brenner wrote.

Hitler was one of history's most prolific orators, building a genocidal Nazi regime with speeches that bewitched audiences.

"He learned how to become a charismatic speaker, and people, for whatever reason, became enamored with him," Professor Bruce Loebs, who has taught a class called the Rhetoric of Hitler and Churchill for the past 46 years at Idaho State University, told Business Insider earlier this year.

"People were most willing to follow him, because he seemed to have the right answers in a time of enormous economic upheaval."

When Brenner asked Trump about how he came to possess Hitler's speeches, "Trump hesitated" and then said, "Who told you that?"

"I don't remember," Brenner reportedly replied.

Trump then recalled, "Actually, it was my friend Marty Davis from Paramount who gave me a copy of 'Mein Kampf,' and he's a Jew."

Brenner added that Davis did acknowledge that he gave Trump a book about Hitler.

"But it was 'My New Order,' Hitler's speeches, not 'Mein Kampf,'" Davis reportedly said. "I thought he would find it interesting. I am his friend, but I'm not Jewish."

After Trump and Brenner changed topics, Trump returned to the subject and reportedly said, "If, I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them."

In the Vanity Fair article, Ivana Trump told a friend that her husband's cousin, John Walter "clicks his heels and says, 'Heil Hitler," when visiting Trump's office.

Here's the entire Vanity Fair interview.

After The Gold Rush
By Anthony Savignano.
Unfortunately for Donald and Ivana Trump, all that glittered wasn’t gold. But the reign of New York’s self-created imperial couple isn’t over yet. Donald’s Midas touch may be tarnished, but the banks are still throwing money at him, while Ivana is busy brokering a future of her own. Marie Brenner reports on how the Trumps are still going for it all.
‘We have an old custom here at Mar-a-Lago,” Donald Trump was saying one night at dinner in his 118-room winter palace in Palm Beach. “Our custom is to go around the table after dinner and introduce ourselves to each other.” Trump had seemed fidgety that night, understandably eager to move the dinner party along so that he could go to bed.

“Old custom? He’s only had Mrs. Post’s house a few months. Really! I’m going home,” one Palm Beach resident whispered to his date.

“Oh, stay,” she said. “It will be so amusing.”

It was spring, four years ago. Donald and Ivana Trump were seated at opposite ends of their long Sheraton table in Mrs. Marjorie Merriweather Post’s former dining room. They were posed in imperial style, as if they were a king and queen. They were at the height of their ride, and it was plenty glorious. Trump was seen on the news shows offering his services to negotiate with the Russians. There was talk that he might make a run for president. Ivana had had so much publicity that she now offered interviewers a press kit of flattering clips. Anything seemed possible, the Trumps had grown to such stature in the golden city of New York.

It was balmy that night in Palm Beach; Ivana wore a strapless dress. The air was redolent with the fragrance of oleander and bougainvillea, mingled with the slight smell of mildew which clung to the old house. To his credit, Trump had no interest in mastering the Palm Beach style of navy blazers and linen trousers. Often he wore a business suit to his table; his only concession to local custom was to wear a pink tie or pale shoes. To her credit, Ivana still served the dinners her husband preferred, so on that warm night the guests ate beef with potatoes. Mrs. Post’s faux-Tiepolo ceiling remained in the dining room, but an immense silver bowl now rested in the center of the table, filled with plastic fruit. As always, it was business with the Trumps, for that was their common purpose, the bond between them. In recent years, they never seemed to touch each other or exchange intimate remarks in public. They had become less like man and wife and more like two ambassadors from different countries, each with a separate agenda.

The Trumps had bought Mar-a-Lago only a few months earlier, but already they had become Palm Beach curiosities. Across the road was the Bath and Tennis Club, “the B and T,” as the locals called it, and it was said that the Trumps had yet to be invited to join. “Utter bullshit! They kiss my ass in Palm Beach,” Trump told me recently. “Those phonies! That club called me and asked me if they could have my consent to use part of my beach to expand the space for their cabanas! I said, ‘Of course!’ Do you think if I wanted to be a member they would have turned me down? I wouldn’t join that club, because they don’t take blacks and Jews.”

As if Mar-a-Lago and the Trump Princess yacht were James Gatz’s West Egg estate, invitations were much prized, for the local snobs loved to dine out on tales of the Trumps. And now this! Embarrassing their guests by having them make speeches, as if they were at a sales convention!

When it was Ivana’s turn to introduce herself that night, she rose quickly. “I am married to the most wonderful husband. He is so generous and smart. We are so lucky to have this life.” She was desperately playing to him, but Donald said nothing in return. He seemed tired of hearing Ivana’s endless praise; her subservient quality appeared to be getting to him. Perhaps he was spoiling for something to excite him, like a fight. Maybe all the public posturing was beginning to get boring, too. “Well, I’m done,” he said before dessert, tossing his napkin on the table and vanishing from the room.

Palm Beach had been Ivana Trump’s idea. Long ago, Donald had screamed at her, “I want nothing social that you aspire to. If that is what makes you happy, get another husband!” But she had no intention of doing that, for Ivana, like Donald, was living out a fantasy. She had seen that in the Trump life everything and everybody appeared to come with a price, or a marker for future use. Ivana had learned to look through Donald with glazed eyes when he said to close friends, as he had in the early years of their marriage, “I would never buy Ivana any decent jewels or pictures. Why give her negotiable assets?” She had gotten out of Eastern Europe by being tough and highly disciplined, and she had compounded her skills through her husband, the master manipulator. She had learned the lingua franca in a world where everyone seemed to be using everyone else in a relentless drive for power. How was she to know that there was another way to live? Besides, she often told her friends, however cruel Donald could be, she was very much in love with him.

This night Ivana had managed to wedge in the publisher of the local social paper, “the Shiny Sheet.” As usual, Donald’s weekend guests were paybacks, for he trusted few people. He had invited one of his construction executives, the mayor of West Palm Beach, and the former governor of New York, Hugh Carey, who in his days running the state as “Society Carey,” boosted by huge Trump donations, had been crucial to Trump’s early success.

For years, Ivana appeared to have studied the public behavior of the royals. Her friends now called this “Ivana’s imperial-couple syndrome,” and they teased her about it, for they knew that Ivana, like Donald, was inventing and reinventing herself all the time. When she had first come to New York, she wore elaborate helmet hairdos and bouffant satin dresses, very Hollywood; her image of rich American women probably came from the movies she had seen as a child. Ivana had now spent years passing through the fine rooms of New York, but she had never seemed to learn the real way of the truly rich, the art of understatement. Instead, she had become regal, filling her houses with the kind of ormolu found in palaces in Eastern Europe. She had taken to waving to friends with tiny hand motions, as if to conserve her energy. At her own charity receptions, she insisted that she and Donald form a receiving line, and she would stand in pinpoint heels, never sinking into the deep grass—such was her control.

This spring night, a squad of servants had been outside to greet the guests, as if they had arrived at Cliveden between the wars. Most of the staff, however, were not a permanent part of Mar-a-Lago; they were local caterers and car parks, hired for the evening. In addition to the dining-room ceiling, Ivana had left Mrs. Post’s shabby fringed sofas and Moroccan suites totally in place, giving the impression that she was trying on Mrs. Post’s persona too. One of the few signs of the new owners’ taste was the dozens of silver frames on the many end tables. The frames did not contain family pictures, but magazine covers. Each cover featured the face of Donald Trump.

When the Trump plane landed in Palm Beach, two cars were usually waiting, the first a Rolls-Royce for the adults, the second a station wagon for the children, the nannies, and a bodyguard. Occasionally, state troopers were on hand to speed the Trump motorcade along. This took a certain amount of planning and coordination, but the effort was crucial for what Ivana was trying to achieve. “In fifty years Donald and I will be considered old money like the Vanderbilts,” she once told the writer Dominick Dunne.

This past April, when his empire was in danger of collapse, Trump isolated himself in a small apartment on a lower floor of Trump Tower. He would lie on his bed, staring at the ceiling, talking into the night on the telephone. The Trumps had separated. Ivana remained upstairs in the family triplex with its beige onyx floors and low-ceilinged living room painted with murals in the style of Michelangelo. The murals had occasioned one of their frequent fights: Ivana wanted cherubs, Donald preferred warriors. The warriors won. “If this were on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, it would be very much in place in terms of quality,” Trump once said of the work. That April, Ivana began to tell her friends that she was worried about Donald’s state of mind.

She had been completely humiliated by Donald through his public association with Marla Maples. “How can you say you love us? You don’t love us! You don’t even love yourself. You just love your money,” twelve-year-old Donald junior told his father, according to friends of Ivana’s. “What kind of son have I created?” Trump’s mother, Mary, is said to have asked Ivana.

However unlikely it seemed, Ivana was now considered a tabloid heroine, and her popularity seemed in inverse proportion to the fickle city’s new dislike of her husband. “Ivana is now a media goddess on par with Princess Di, Madonna, and Elizabeth Taylor,” Liz Smith reported. Months earlier, Ivana had undergone cosmetic reconstruction with a California doctor. She emerged unrecognizable to her friends and perhaps her children, as fresh and innocent of face as Heidi of Edelweiss Farms. Although she had negotiated four separate marital-property agreements over the last fourteen years, she was suing her husband for half his assets. Trump was trying to be philosophical. “When a man leaves a woman, especially when it was perceived that he has left for a piece of ass—a good one!—there are 50 percent of the population who will love the woman who was left,” he told me.

Ivana had hired a public-relations man to help her in her new role. “This is all very calculated,” one of her advisers told me. “Ivana is very shrewd. She’s playing it to the hilt.”

Many floors beneath the Trumps, Japanese tourists roamed the Trump Tower lobby with their cameras. Inevitably, they took pictures of the display of Trump’s familiar portrait from the cover of his book Trump: The Art of the Deal, which was propped on an easel outside the Trump Tower real-estate office. The Japanese still took Donald Trump to be the very image of power and money, and seemed to believe, as Trump once had, that this red-marble-and-brass monument was the center of the world.

For days, Trump rarely left his building. Hamburgers and French fries were sent up to him from the nearby New York Delicatessen. His body ballooned, his hair curled down his neck. “You remind me of Howard Hughes,” a friend told him. “Thanks,” Trump replied, “I admire him.” On the telephone he sounded ebullient, without a care, as confident as the image he projected in his lobby portrait.

Like John Connally, the former governor of Texas, Trump had millions of dollars signed away in personal guarantees. The personal debt on the Trump Shuttle alone was $135 million. Bear Stearns had been guaranteed $56 million for Trump’s Alexander’s and American Airlines positions. The Taj Mahal casino had a complicated set of provisions which made Trump responsible for $35 million. Trump had personally guaranteed $125 million for the Plaza hotel. In West Palm Beach, Trump Plaza was so empty it was nicknamed “the Trump See-Through.” That building alone carried $14 million worth of personal debt. Trump’s mansions in Greenwich and Palm Beach, as well as the yacht, had been promised to the banks for $40 million in outstanding loans. The Wall Street Journal estimated that Trump’s guarantees could exceed $600 million. In one astonishing decade, Donald Trump had become the Brazil of Manhattan.

‘Anybody who is anybody sits between the columns. The food is the worst, but you’ll see everybody here,” Donald Trump told me ten years ago at the “21” Club. Donald had already cut a swath in this preserve of the New York establishment; we were immediately seated between the columns in the old upstairs room, then decorated with black paneling and red Naugahyde banquettes. It was the autumn of 1980, a fine season in New York. The Yankees were in the pennant race; a movie star was running for president and using the term “deregulation” in his campaign. Donald was new then, thirty-four years old and very brash, just beginning to make copy and loving it. He was already fodder for the dailies and the weeklies, but he was desperate for national attention. “Did you see that The New York Times said I looked like Robert Redford?” he asked me.

Trump hasn’t changed much physically in the last ten years. Then, as now, he was all cheeks and jaw, with a tendency to look soft in the middle. He retains the blond hair, youthful swagger, and elastic face that give him the quality of the cartoon tough Baby Huey. Trump is a head swiveler, always looking around to see who else is in the room. As a boy, he was equally restless. “Donald was the child who would throw the cake at the birthday parties,” his brother Robert once told me. “If I built the bricks up, Donald would come along and glue them all together, and that would be the end of my bricks.”

He was already married to Ivana, a former model and athlete from Czechoslovakia. One night in 1976, Trump had been at the bar in Maxwell’s Plum. Maxwell’s Plum is gone now, but the very name evokes the era of frantic singles underneath the Art Nouveau ceiling. It was the place where flight attendants hoped to find bankers, and models looked for dates. Donald met his model, Ivana Zelnickova, visiting from Montreal. She liked to tell the story of how she had gone skiing with Donald, pretending to be a learner like him, and then humiliated him by whizzing past him down the slopes.

They were married in New York during Easter of 1977. Mayor Beame attended the wedding at Marble Collegiate Church. Donald had already made his alliance with Roy Cohn, who would become his lawyer and mentor. Shortly before the wedding, Donald reportedly told Ivana, “You have to sign this agreement.” “What is this?” she asked. “Just a document that will protect my family money.” Cohn gallantly offered to find Ivana a lawyer. “We don’t have these documents in Czechoslovakia,” Ivana reportedly said, but she told friends that she was terrified of Cohn and his power over Donald. The first agreement gave Ivana $20,000 a year. Two years later, Trump had made his own fortune. “You better redo the agreement, Donald,” Cohn reportedly told him. “Otherwise you’re going to look hard and greedy.” Ivana resisted. “You don’t like it, stick to the old agreement,” Trump is said to have replied.

Donald was determined to have a large family. “I want five children, like in my own family, because with five, then I will know that one will be guaranteed to turn out like me,” Donald told a close friend. He was willing to be generous with Ivana, and a story went around that he was giving her a cash bonus of $250,000 for each child.

The Trumps and their baby, Donald junior, lived in a Fifth Avenue apartment decorated with beige velvet sectional sofas and a bone-and-goatskin table from the Italian furniture store Casa Bella. They had a collection of Steuben glass animals which they displayed on glass shelves in the front hall. The shelves were outlined with a string of tiny white lights usually seen on a Christmas tree.

Donald was trying to make time in the world of aesthetes and little black cocktail dresses. He had just completed the Grand Hyatt, on East Forty-second Street, and was considered a comer. He had put together the Fifth Avenue parcel that would become Trump Tower and had enraged the city establishment with his demolition of the cherished Art Deco friezes that had decorated the Bonwit Teller building. Even then, Trump’s style was to turn on his audience.

“What do you think? Do you think blowing up the sculptures has hurt me?” he asked me that day at “21.”


“Who cares?” he said. “Let’s say that I had given that junk to the Met. They would have just put them in their basement. I’ll never have the goodwill of the Establishment, the tastemakers of New York. Do you think, if I failed, these guys in New York would be unhappy? They would be thrilled! Because they have never tried anything on the scale that I am trying things in this city. I don’t care about their goodwill.”

Donald was like an overgrown kid, all rough edges and inflated ego. He had brought the broad style of Brooklyn and Queens into Manhattan, flouting what he considered effete conventions, such as landmark preservation. His suits were badly cut, with wide cuffs on his trousers; he was a shade away from cigars. “I don’t put on any airs,” he told me. He tooled around New York in a silver Cadillac with “DJT” plates and tinted windows and had a former city cop for his driver.

Donald and I were not alone at lunch that day. He had invited Stanley Friedman to join us. Friedman was a partner of Roy Cohn’s and, like Cohn, a legend in the city. He was part of the Bronx political machine, and would soon be appointed the Bronx County leader. Later, Friedman would go to jail for his role in the city parking-meter scandal. Trump and Friedman spent most of our lunch swapping stories about Roy Cohn. “Roy could fix anyone in the city,” Friedman told me. “He’s a genius.” “He’s a lousy lawyer, but he’s a genius,” Trump said.

At one point, Preston Robert Tisch, known to all as Bob, came into the upstairs room at “21.” Bob Tisch and his brother, Laurence, now the head of CBS, had made their fortune in New York and Florida real estate and hotels. Bob Tisch, like his brother, was a city booster, a man of goodwill and manners, a benefactor of hospitals and universities.

“I beat Bob Tisch on the convention-center site,” Donald said loudly when Tisch stopped by our table. “But we’re friends now, good friends, isn’t that right, Bob? Isn’t that right?”

Bob Tisch’s smile remained on his face, but there was a sudden strain in his tone, as if a child had misbehaved. “Oh yes, Donald,” he said, “good friends. Very good friends.”

Late on summer Friday afternoons, the city of noise takes on an eerie quiet. In June I was with one of Donald Trump’s more combative lawyers. “We certainly won’t win in the popular press,” he told me, “but we will win. You’ll see.” I thought of Trump a few blocks away, isolated in Trump Tower, fighting for his financial life.

The phone rang several times. “Yeah, yeah? Is that so?” the lawyer said, and then laughed at the sheer—as he phrased it—“brass balls” of his client, standing up to the numbers guys who were representing Chase Manhattan and Bankers Trust, whom he was into for hundreds of millions of dollars. “Donald’s very up. This is the kind of challenge Donald likes,” the lawyer told me. “It’s weird. You would never know anything is wrong.” “Don’t believe anything you read in the papers,” Trump had told his publisher Joni Evans. “When they hear the good news about me, what are they going to do?” Random House was rushing to publish his new book, Trump: Surviving at the Top, with a first printing of 500,000.

In the Trump Tower conference room that week, one lawyer had reportedly told Trump the obvious: the Plaza hotel might never bring the $400 million he had paid for it. Trump stayed cool. “Get me the Sultan of Brunei on the telephone,” he said. “I have a personal guarantee that the Sultan of Brunei will take me out of the Plaza at an immense profit.”

The bankers and lawyers in the conference room looked at Trump with a combination of awe and disbelief. Whatever their cynical instincts, Trump, the Music Man of real estate, could set off in them the power of imagination, for his real skill has always been his ability to convince others of his possibilities. The line between a con man and an entrepreneur is often fuzzy. “They say the Plaza is worth $400 million? Trump says it’s worth $800 million. Who the hell knows what it is worth? I can tell you one thing: it is worth a lot more than I paid for it,” Trump told me. “When Forbes puts low values on all my properties, they say I am only worth $500 million! Well, that’s $500 million more than I started with.”

‘Do people really think I am in trouble?” Trump asked me recently.

“Yes,” I said, “they think you’re finished.”

It was an afternoon in July, when the dust seemed to be settling, and we were in the middle of a two-hour phone conversation. The conversation itself was a negotiation. Trump attempted to put me on the defensive. I had written about him ten years before. Trump had talked about a close friend of his who was the son of a famous New York real-estate developer. “I told him to get out from under his father’s thumb,” Trump told me then. “That was off the record,” Trump told me now. I looked up my old notes. “Wrong, Donald,” I said. “What was off the record was when you attacked your other friend and said he was an alcoholic.” Without missing a beat, Trump said, “I believe you.” Then Trump laughed. “Some things never change.”

“Just wait five years,” Trump told me. “This is really a no-brainer. Just like the Merv Griffin deal. When I took him to the cleaners, the press wanted me to lose. They said, ‘Holy shit! Trump got taken!’ Let me tell you something. It’s good for me to be thought of as poor right now. You wouldn’t believe some of the deals I am making! I guess I have a perverse personality. . . . I’ve really enjoyed the last few weeks,” he said, as if he had been rejuvenated at a spa.

Deals had always been his only art. He was reportedly getting unbelievable deals now from the contractors he had hired to build his casinos and the fiberglass elephants that decorate the Boardwalk in front of the Taj Mahal, for they were desperate, unsure that they would ever get paid for months of work. Trump was famous for his skill at squeezing every last bit out of his transactions. He was known to be making shocking deals now that he never could have made two months before. “Trump won’t do a deal unless there’s something extra—a kind of moral larceny—in it,” one of his rivals once said of him. “Things had gotten too easy for me,” Trump told me. “I made a lot of money and I made it too easily, to the point of boredom. Anything I did worked! I took on Bally, I made $32 million. After a while it was too easy.”

The fear of boredom has always loomed large in Trump’s life. He has a short attention span. He even gave the appearance of having grown bored with his wife. He told me he had grown weary of his deals, his companies, “New York phonies,” “Palm Beach phonies,” most social people, “negative” writers, and “negatives” in general. “You keep hitting and hitting and hitting, and after a while it doesn’t mean as much to you,” Trump told me. “Hey, when you first knew me, I basically had done nothing! So I had built a building or two, big deal.”

That morning, Trump had been yet again on the front page of the New York Daily News, because Forbes had dropped him off the list of the world’s richest men, placing his net worth at $500 million, down from $1.7 billion in 1989. “They put me on the front page for this bullshit reason!” Trump said. “If they put me on the cover of the Daily News, they sell more papers! They put me on the cover of the Daily News today with wars breaking out! You know why? Malcolm Forbes got thrown out of the Plaza by me! You know the story about me and Malcolm Forbes, when I kicked him out of the Plaza hotel? No? Well, I did. You’ll read all about it in my new book. And I didn’t throw him out because he didn’t pay his bill. So I’ve been expecting this attack from Forbes. The same writer who wrote about this also wrote that Merv kicked my ass! The same writer is under investigation. You heard about that, didn’t you?” (A Forbes writer is under investigation—for alleged use of outdated police credentials. He did not write that Trump was taken by Merv Griffin.) “What happened to me is what is happening in every company in America right now. There is not a company in America that isn’t restructuring! Didn’t you see The Wall Street Journal this morning about Revlon? What is going on at Revlon is what has happened to Donald Trump. But no one makes Revlon a front-page story. My problems didn’t even merit a column in The Wall Street Journal.” (Revlon was selling $182 million worth of stock to raise cash, but that was hardly the same as Trump’s crisis.)

Trump spoke in a hypnotic, unending torrent of words. Often he appeared to free-associate. He referred to himself in the third person: “Trump says. . . Trump believes.” His phrases skibbled around and doubled back on themselves like fireworks in a summer sky. He reminded me of a carnival barker trying to fill his tent. “I’m more popular now than I was two months ago. There are two publics as far as I’m concerned. The real public and then there’s the New York society horseshit. The real public has always liked Donald Trump. The real public feels that Donald Trump is going through Trump-bashing. When I go out now, forget about it. I’m mobbed. It’s bedlam,” Trump told me.

Trump is often belligerent, as if to pep things up. On the telephone with me, he attacked a local writer as “a disgrace” and savaged a financier’s wife I knew as “a giant, a three in the looks department.” After the Resorts International deal, at a New Year’s Eve party at the Aspen home of Barbara Walters and Merv Adelson, Trump was asked to make a wish for the coming year. “I wish I had another Merv Griffin to bat around,” he said.

Before the opening of the Taj Mahal, Marvin Roffman, a financial analyst from Philadelphia, correctly stated that the Taj was in for a rough ride. For that, Roffman believes, Trump had him fired. “Is that why you attacked him?” I asked Trump. “I’d do it again. Here’s a guy that used to call me, begging me to buy stock through him, with the implication that if I’d buy stock he’d give me positive comments.” “Are you accusing him of fraud?” I asked. “I’m accusing him of being not very good at what he does.” Congressman John Dingell of Michigan asked the S.E.C. to investigate the circumstances of Roffman’s firing. When I asked Roffman about Trump’s charges he said, “That’s the most unbelievable garbage I’ve ever heard in my entire life.” Roffman’s attorney James Schwartzman called Trump’s allegations “the desperate act of a desperate man.” Roffman is now suing Trump for defamation of character.

“Donald is a believer in the big-lie theory,” his lawyer had told me. “If you say something again and again, people will believe you.”

“One of my lawyers said that?” Trump said when I asked him about it. “I think if one of my lawyers said that, I’d like to know who it is, because I’d fire his ass. I’d like to find out who the scumbag is!”

One of Trump’s first major deals in New York was to acquire a large tract of land on West Thirty-fourth Street being offered by the bankrupt Penn Central railroad. Trump submitted a plan for a convention center to city officials. “He told us he’d forgo his $4.4 million fee if we would name the new convention center after his father,” former deputy mayor Peter Solomon said. “Someone finally read the contract. He wasn’t entitled to anywhere near the money he was claiming. It was unbelievable. He almost got us to name the convention center after his father in return for something he never really had to give away.”

Trump’s first major real-estate coup in New York was the acquisition of the Commodore Hotel, which would become the Grand Hyatt. This deal, secured with a controversial tax abatement from the city, made Trump’s reputation. His partner at the time was the well-respected Pritzker family of Chicago, who owned the Hyatt chain. Their contract was specific: Trump and Jay Pritzker agreed that if there were any sticking points they would have a ten-day period to arbitrate their differences. At one point, they had a minor disagreement. “Jay Pritzker was leaving for a trip to Nepal, where he was to be incommunicado,” a lawyer for the Pritzker family told me. “Donald waited until Jay was in the airplane before he called him. Naturally, Jay couldn’t call him back. He was on a mountain in Nepal. Later, Donald kept saying, ‘I tried to call you. I gave you the ten days. But you were in Nepal.’ It was outrageous. Pritzker was his partner, not his enemy! This is how he acted on his first important deal.” Trump later even reported the incident in his book.

“Give them the old Trump bullshit,” he told the architect Der Scutt before a presentation of the Trump Tower design at a press conference in 1980. “Tell them it is going to be a million square feet, sixty-eight stories.” “I don’t lie, Donald,” the architect replied.

Eventually Trump bought out the Equitable Life Assurance company’s share of the commercial space in Trump Tower. “He paid Equitable $60 million after an arm’s-length negotiation,” a top real-estate developer told me. “The equity for the entire commercial space was $120 million. Suddenly, Donald was saying that it was worth $500 million!”

When The Art of the Deal was published, he told The Wall Street Journal that the first printing would be 200,000. It was 50,000 fewer than that.

When Charles Feldman of CNN questioned Trump in March about the collapse of his business empire, Trump stormed off the set. Later, he told Feldman’s boss, Ted Turner, “Your reporter threatened my secretary and made her cry.”

When the stock market collapsed, he announced that he had gotten out in time and had lost nothing. In fact, he had taken a beating on his Alexander’s and American Airlines stock. “What I said was, other than my Alexander’s and American Airlines stock, I was out of the market,” Trump told me swiftly.

What forces in Donald Trump’s background could have set off in him such a need for self-promotion?

Ten years ago, I went to visit Trump’s father in his offices on Avenue Z on the border of Coney Island in Brooklyn. Fred Trump’s own real-estate fortune had been made with the help of the Brooklyn political machine and especially Abe Beame. In the 1940s, Trump and Beame shared a close friend and lawyer, a captain in a Brooklyn political club named Bunny Lindenbaum. At that time, Beame worked in the city budget office; thirty years later he would become mayor of the city. Trump, Lindenbaum, and Beame often saw one another at dinner dances and fund-raisers of the Brooklyn political clubs. It is impossible to overestimate the power of these clubs in the New York of the 1950s; they created Fred Trump and gave him access to his largest acquisition, the seventy-five-acre parcel of city land that would become the 3,800-unit Trump Village.

In 1960, an immense tract of land off Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn became available for development. The City Planning Commission had approved a generous tax abatement for a nonprofit foundation to build a housing cooperative. Fred Trump attacked this abatement as “a giveaway.” Soon after, Trump himself decided to go after the tax abatement. Although the City Planning Commission had already approved the nonprofit plan, Lindenbaum went to see Mayor Robert Wagner, and Beame, who was in Wagner’s camp, supported Trump.

Fred Trump wound up with two-thirds of the property, and within a year he had broken ground on Trump Village. Lindenbaum was given the City Planning Commission seat formerly held by Robert Moses, the power broker who built many of New York’s highways, airports, and parks. The following year, Lindenbaum organized a fund-raising lunch for Wagner, who was running for re-election. Forty-three builders and landlords pledged thousands of dollars; Trump, according to reporter Wayne Barrett, pledged $2,500, one of the largest contributions. The lunch party made the front page of the newspapers, and Lindenbaum, disgraced, was forced off the commission. But Robert Wagner won the election, and Beame became his comptroller.

In 1966, as Donald was entering his junior year at the Wharton business school, Fred Trump and Lindenbaum were investigated for their role in a $60 million Mitchell-Lama mortgage. “Is there any way of preventing a man who does business in that way from getting another contract with the state?” the investigations-commission chairman asked about Trump and Lindenbaum. Ultimately, Trump was forced to return $1.2 million that he had overestimated on the land—part of which money he had used to buy a site nearby on which to build a shopping center.

Fred Trump’s office was pleasantly modest; the rooms were divided by glass partitions. The Trump Organization, as Donald had already grandly taken to calling his father’s company, was a small cottage on the grounds of Trump Village. At the time, Donald told reporters that “the Trump Organization” had 22,000 units, although it had about half that number. Fred Trump was seventy-five then, polite, but nobody’s fool. He criticized many of his son’s early deals, warning him at one point that expanding into Manhattan was “a ticket on the Titanic.” Donald ignored him. “A peacock today, a feather duster tomorrow,” the developer Sam Lefrak is said to have remarked of Donald Trump. But ten years ago it was clear that Donald was the embodiment of his father’s dreams. “I always tell Donald, ‘The elevator to success is out of order. Go one step at a time,’ ” Fred Trump told me. “But what do you think of what my Donald has put together? It boggles the mind!”

Donald Trump has always viewed his father as a role model. In The Art of the Deal, he wrote, “Fred Trump was born in New Jersey in 1905. His father, who came here from Sweden . . . owned a moderately successful restaurant.” In fact, the Trump family was German and desperately poor. “At one point my mother took in stitching to keep us going,” Trump’s father told me. “For a time, my father owned a restaurant in the Klondike, but he died when I was young.” Donald’s cousin John Walter once wrote out an elaborate family tree. “We shared the same grandfather,” Walter told me, “and he was German. So what?”

Although Fred Trump was born in New Jersey, family members say he felt compelled to hide his German background because most of his tenants were Jewish. “After the war, he thought that Jews would never rent from him if they knew his lineage,” Ivana reportedly said. Certainly, Fred Trump’s camouflage could easily convey to a child the impression that in business anything goes. When I asked Donald Trump about this, he was evasive: “Actually, it was very difficult. My father was not German; my father’s parents were German . . . Swedish, and really sort of all over Europe . . . and I was even thinking in the second edition of putting more emphasis on other places because I was getting so many letters from Sweden: Would I come over and speak to Parliament? Would I come meet with the president?”

Donald Trump appears to take aspects of his German background seriously. John Walter works for the Trump Organization, and when he visits Donald in his office, Ivana told a friend, he clicks his heels and says, “Heil Hitler,” possibly as a family joke.

Last April, perhaps in a surge of Czech nationalism, Ivana Trump told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that from time to time her husband reads a book of Hitler’s collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed. Kennedy now guards a copy of My New Order in a closet at his office, as if it were a grenade. Hitler’s speeches, from his earliest days up through the Phony War of 1939, reveal his extraordinary ability as a master propagandist.

“Did your cousin John give you the Hitler speeches?” I asked Trump.

Trump hesitated. “Who told you that?”

“I don’t remember,” I said.

“Actually, it was my friend Marty Davis from Paramount who gave me a copy of Mein Kampf, and he’s a Jew.” (“I did give him a book about Hitler,” Marty Davis said. “But it was My New Order, Hitler’s speeches, not Mein Kampf. I thought he would find it interesting. I am his friend, but I’m not Jewish.”)

Later, Trump returned to this subject. “If I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them.”

Is Ivana trying to convince her friends and lawyer that Trump is a crypto-Nazi? Trump is no reader or history buff. Perhaps his possession of Hitler’s speeches merely indicates an interest in Hitler’s genius at propaganda. The Führer often described his defeats at Stalingrad and in North Africa as great victories. Trump continues to endow his diminishing world with significance as well. “There’s nobody that has the cash flow that I have,” he told The Wall Street Journal long after he knew better. “I want to be king of cash.”

Fred Trump, like his son, has never resisted exaggeration. When Donald was a child, his father bought a house that “had nine bathrooms and columns like Tara,” Fred Trump said. The house, however, was in Queens. Donald would someday envision a larger world. It was Donald’s mother, Mary, who revered luxury. “My mother had a sense of the grand,” Trump told me. “I can remember her watching the coronation of Queen Elizabeth and being so fascinated by it. My father had no interest in that kind of thing at all.”

Donald Trump often went with his father to construction sites, for they were extraordinarily close, almost kindred spirits. In family photographs, Fred and Donald stand together, often arm in arm, while Donald’s sisters and younger brother, Robert, seem off in the ether. Ivana has told friends that Donald even persuaded his father to put him in charge of his three siblings’ trust funds.

Donald was one of five children, the second son. As a child, he was so boisterous that his parents sent him away to military school. “That was the way it worked in the Trump family,” a longtime friend told me. “It was not a loving atmosphere.” Donald was chubby then, but military school slimmed him down. He became forceful, and grew even closer to his father. “I had to fight back all the time,” Trump once told me. “These guys like my father are tough. You have to be hitting back! Otherwise they don’t respect you!”

Family members say that the firstborn son, Fred junior, often felt shut out by the relationship between Donald and his father. As a young man, he announced his intention to be an airplane pilot. Later, according to a friend of Ivana’s, Donald and his father often belittled Fred junior for this career choice. “Donald would say, ‘What is the difference between what you do and driving a bus? Why aren’t you in the family real-estate business?’ ” Fred junior became an alcoholic and died at age forty-three. Ivana has always told her close friends that she believed the pressure put on him by his father and his brother hastened his early death. “Perhaps unknowingly [we did put pressure on him],” Trump told me. “We assumed that [real estate] came rather easy to us and it should have come easily to him. I had success, and that put pressure on Fred too. What is this, a psychoanalysis of Donald?”

Donald’s relationship with Robert has also had troubled moments. Robert, who did go into the family business, has always been “the nice guy,” in his brother’s shadow. There has been additional friction between Robert’s wife, Blaine, and Ivana. Blaine is considered a workhorse for New York charities, and Robert and Blaine are extremely popular—“the good Trumps,” they are called. “Robert and I feel that if we say anything about the family, then we become public people,” Blaine told me. The brothers’ suppressed hostility erupted after the opening of the Taj Mahal. “Robert told Donald that if he didn’t give him autonomy he would leave,” Ivana told a friend. “So Donald did leave him alone, and there was a mess with the slot machines which cost Donald $3 million to $10 million in the first three days. When Donald exploded, Robert packed his boxes and left. He and Blaine went to her family for Easter.”

As his father had had Bunny Lindenbaum for his fixer, Donald Trump had Roy Cohn, the Picasso of the inside fix. “Cohn taught Donald which fork to use,” a friend told me. “I’ll bring my lawyer Roy Cohn with me,” Trump often told city officials a decade ago, before he learned better. “Donald calls me fifteen to twenty times a day,” Cohn once told me. “He has a maddening attention to detail. He is always asking, ‘What is the status of this? What is the status of that?’ ”

In a Trump tax-abatement case, according to Cohn’s biographer Nicholas von Hoffman, the judge was handed a piece of paper that looked like an affidavit. It had just one sentence on it: “No further delays or adjournments. Stanley M. Friedman.” By then Friedman had become the county leader of the Bronx. It wasn’t necessary to exchange money for such favors. This was a classic “marker”; the power of suggestion of future favors was enough.

Friedman had also been crucial to Trump’s plans for the Commodore Hotel. “In the final days of the Beame administration,” according to Wayne Barrett, “Friedman rushed a $160 million, forty-year tax abatement . . . and actually executed the documents for the lame duck Beame.” Friedman had already agreed to join Cohn’s law firm, which was representing Trump. “Trump lost his moral compass when he made an alliance with Roy Cohn,” Liz Smith once remarked.

In New York, Trump soon became known for his confrontational style. He also became the largest contributor to Governor Hugh Carey of New York, except for Carey’s brother. Trump and his father gave $135,000. He was moving quickly now; he had set himself up in a Fifth Avenue office and a Fifth Avenue apartment and had hired Louise Sunshine, Carey’s chief of fund-raising, as his “director of special projects.” “I knew Donald better than anyone,” she told me. “We’re a team, Sunshine and Trump, and when people shove us, we shove harder.” Sunshine had raised millions of dollars for Carey, and she had one of the greatest address books in the city. She took Donald to meet every city and state power broker and worked on the sale of the Trump Tower apartments.

Real-estate tax is immensely complicated. Often profit-and-loss accounting does not run parallel with cash flow. Sometimes a developer can have tremendous cash flow and yet not report taxable earnings; tax laws also permit developers to have less cash flow and greater taxable earnings. It is up to the developer. When Donald Trump broke ground on a new apartment building at Sixty-first Street and Third Avenue, Louise Sunshine was given a 5 percent share of the new Trump Plaza, as it was called.

There was some friction in Sunshine’s relationship with her boss. As a result of Trump’s accounting on Trump Plaza, Louise Sunshine, according to a close friend, would have had to pay taxes of $1 million. “Why are you structuring Trump Plaza this way?” she reportedly asked Donald. “Where am I going to get $1 million?” “Sell me back your 5 percent share of Trump Plaza and you can have it,” Trump said.

Sunshine was so stunned by this that she went to her friend billionaire Leonard Stern for help. “I wrote out a check for $1 million on the spot so that my close friend would not find herself squeezed out by Donald,” Stern told me. “I said to Louise, ‘You tell Trump that unless he treats you fairly you will litigate! And as a result, the details of his duplicitous treatment would not only come to the attention of the public but also to the Casino Control Commission.’ ” Louise Sunshine hired Arthur Liman, who would later represent the financier Michael Milken, to handle her case. Liman worked out a settlement: Trump paid Louise Sunshine $2.7 million for her share of Trump Plaza. Sunshine repaid Leonard Stern. For several years, Trump and Sunshine had a cool relationship. But in fine New York style, they are now friends again. “Donald never should have used his money as a power tool over me,” Sunshine told me, adding, “I have absolved him.”

Like Michael Milken, Trump began to believe that his inordinate skills could be translated into any business. He started to expand out of the familiar world of real estate into casinos, airlines, and hotels. With Citicorp as his enabler, he bought the Plaza and the Eastern shuttle. He managed them both surprisingly well, but he had paid too much for them. He always had the ready cooperation of the starstruck banks, which would later panic. A member of the board of the Chase Manhattan Bank recently demanded at a meeting, “What in God’s name were you thinking of to make these loans?” No satisfactory answer was forthcoming; the Rockefeller bank had once kept Brazil afloat, too. The bankers, like the Brooklyn-machine hacks from Trump’s childhood, were blame shufflers, frantic to keep the game going.

“You cannot believe the money the banks were throwing at us,” a former top legal associate of Trump’s told me. “For every deal we did, we would have six or eight banks who were willing to give us hundreds of millions of dollars. We used to have to pick through the financings; the banks could not sign on fast enough to anything Donald conceived.”

“He bought more and more properties and expanded so much that he guaranteed his own self-destruction. His fix was spending money. Well, his quick fix became his Achilles’ heel,” a prominent developer told me.

Trump’s negotiations, according to one lawyer who worked on the acquisition of the Atlantic City casino of Resorts International, were always unusually unpleasant. After the success of The Art of the Deal, Trump’s lawyers began to talk about “Donald’s ego” as if it were a separate entity. “Donald’s ego will never permit us to accept that point,” one lawyer said over and over again during the negotiations. “The key to Donald, like with any bully, is to tell him to go fuck himself,” the lawyer told me. When Mortimer Zuckerman, the chairman and C.E.O. of Boston Properties, submitted a design that was chosen for the site of the Fifty-ninth Street coliseum, Trump became apoplectic. “He called everyone, trying to get his deal killed. Of course, Mort’s partner was Salomon Brothers, so Trump got nowhere,” a person close to Zuckerman remembered.

One image of Ivana and Donald Trump sticks in my memory. Wintertime, three years ago. They were at the Wollman Rink. Donald had just fixed it up for the city. He had been crowing in the newspapers about what dummies Mayor Koch and the city had been, wasting years and money and coming up with nothing on the skating rink. Trump had taken over the job and done it well. If he grabbed more of the credit than he deserved, no one really held it against him; the rink was open at last and filled with happy skaters.

Ivana was wearing a striking lynx coat which showed her blond hair to advantage. Their arms were around each other. They looked so very young and rich, living in the moment of their success. A polite crowd had gathered to congratulate them on the triumph of the rink. The people near Donald appeared to feel enlivened by his presence, as if he were a hero. His happiness seemed a reflection of the crowd’s adulation.

Next to me a man called out, “Why don’t you negotiate the SALT talks for Reagan, Donald?” Ivana beamed. The snow began falling very lightly; from the rink below you could hear “The Skaters’ Waltz.”

Some months before the Trumps’ separation, Donald and Ivana were due at a dinner party being given in their honor. The Trumps were late, and this was not a dinner to be taken lightly. The hosts had a family name that evoked the very history of New York, yet as if they had recognized another force coming up in the city, they were honoring Donald and Ivana Trump.

Trump entered the room first. “I had to tape the Larry King show,” he said. “I’m on Larry King tonight.” He seemed very restless. Trump paid little attention to his blonde companion, and no one in the room recognized Ivana until she began to speak. “My God! What has she done to herself?” one guest asked. Ivana’s Slavic cheeks were gone; her lips had been fluffed up into a pout. Her limbs had been resculpted, and her cleavage astonishingly enhanced. The guests were so confused by her looks that her presence created an odd mood.

All through dinner Donald fidgeted. He looked at his watch. He mentioned repeatedly that he was at that moment on the Larry King show, as if he expected the guests to get up from their places. He had been belligerent to King that night, and he wanted the guests to see him, perhaps to confirm his powers. “Do you mind if I sit back a little? Because your breath is very bad—it really is,” he had told Larry King on national TV.

“Come on, Arnold! Pose with me! Come on!” Ivana Trump called out to the designer Arnold Scaasi on a warm night this past June. They were at the Waldorf-Astoria, at an awards ceremony sponsored by the Fragrance Foundation, and Ivana was a presenter. The carpet was shabby in the Jade Room; the paparazzi were waiting to pounce. P.R. materials covered the tables of this “must do” event, of the kind that often passes for New York social life. The most expensive couture dress looked, under the blue-green tint of the lights, cheap.

I was surprised that she appeared. The day before, her husband’s crisis with the banks had provided the headlines on all three of the local tabloids. TRUMP IN A SLUMP! cried the Daily News. One columnist even said Trump’s problems were the occasion for city joy, and proposed a unity day. “Ivana! Ivana! Ivana!” the photographers called out to her. Ivana smiled, as if she were a presidential candidate. She wore a full-skirted mint-green satin beaded gown; her hair was swept off her face in a chignon. However humiliated for her children’s sake she may have felt by the bad publicity, she had elected to leave them at home that night. Ivana was at the Waldorf by 6:15 P.M., greeting reporters and paparazzi by name. She could not afford now to alienate the perfume establishment by canceling, for soon she would be merchandising a fragrance, and she would need their goodwill.

Ivana seemed determined to keep her new stature in the city of alliances, for her financial future depended on her being able to salvage the brand name. As a woman alone, with a reduced fortune, Ivana was entering a tough world. She had no Rothkos to hock and no important jewels. But she did have the name Ivana, and she was making plans to market scarves, perfumes, handbags, and shoes, as once her husband had been able to market the name Trump.

Several feet away from us, the local CBS reporter was doing a stand-up for the evening news. The reporter was commenting on the unraveling of the Trump empire while Ivana was chatting with Scaasi and Estée Lauder. Lauder, a tough businesswoman herself, had reportedly told Ivana several months earlier, “Go back with Donald. It is a cold world out here.” I was reminded of a crowd scene in Nathanael West’s Day of the Locust. Ivana even allowed the CBS reporter to shove a microphone into her face. “Donald and I are partners in marriage and in business. I will stand beside him through thick or thin, for better or worse,” she told the reporters with bizarre aplomb. Ivana had become, like Donald, a double agent, able to project innocence and utter confidence. She had, in fact, almost turned into Donald Trump.

“To tell you the truth, I’ve made Ivana a very popular woman. I’ve made a lot of satellites. Hey, whether it’s Marla or Ivana. Marla can do any movie she wants to now. Ivana can do whatever she wants,” Donald Trump told me on the phone.

“New York City is a very tough place,” Ivana Trump told me years ago. “I’m tough, too. When people give me a punch in the nose, I react by getting even tougher.” We were walking through the rubble of the Commodore Hotel, which would soon reopen as the Grand Hyatt. Ivana had been given the responsibility of supervising all the decoration; she was hard at it, despite the fact that she was wearing a white wool Thierry Mugler jumpsuit and pale Dior shoes as she picked her way through the sawdust. “I told you never to leave a broom like this in a room!” she screamed at one worker. Screaming at her employees had become part of her hallmark, perhaps her way of feeling power. Later, in Atlantic City, she would become known for her obsession with cleanliness.

The phrase “Stockholm syndrome” is now used by Ivana’s lawyer Michael Kennedy to describe her relationship with Donald. “She had the mentality of a captive,” Kennedy told me. “After a while she couldn’t fight her captor anymore, and she began to identify with him. Ivana is deaf, dumb, and blind when it comes to Donald.” If Donald worked eighteen-hour days, so would Ivana. The Trumps hired two nannies and a bodyguard for their children. She went to work running Trump Castle casino in Atlantic City, often spending two or three days a week there supervising the staff.

Determined to bring glamour to Trump Castle, she became famous for her attention to appearances, once moving a pregnant waitress, desperate for big tips, off the casino floor. The woman was placed in a distant lounge and given a clown’s suit to disguise her condition.

In New York, Ivana did not resist her husband’s grandiosity. Soon after Trump Tower was completed, the Trumps took possession of their triplex. Ivana’s lawyers often talk about her love of the domestic arts and describe her homemade jams and jellies. Yet the kitchen of her city apartment, which she designed, is tiny, no more than a kitchenette, tiled with gold linoleum. “The children’s wing has a kitchen, and that is where the nanny cooks,” a friend said. The Trump living room has a beige onyx floor with holes carved out to fit the carpets. There is a waterfall cascading down a marble wall, an Italianate fountain, and the famous murals. Their bedroom had a glass wall filled with arrangements of silk flowers. After a time, Ivana tired of the décor. She called in a renowned decorator. “What can I do with this interior?” she reportedly asked him. “Absolutely nothing,” he said.

Christmas Eve, three years ago. Ivana had received another stack of legal documents the size of a telephone book. “What is this?” she is said to have asked Donald. “It is our new nuptial agreement. You get $10 million. Sign it!” “But I can’t look at this now, it’s Christmas,” Ivana said. Donald pressed her, according to Kennedy. Trump seemed extraordinarily concerned that she sign the papers, perhaps because an Atlantic City photographer was threatening to blackmail him with photos he had taken of him and Marla Maples. However efficiently Ivana ran Trump Castle, she seemed terrified of her husband. She signed the papers giving her $10 million and the mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut. Later, Trump would tell reporters, “Ivana has $25 million.”

The tactics he used in business he now brought home. “Donald began calling Ivana and screaming all the time: ‘You don’t know what you are doing!’ ” one of Ivana’s top assistants told me. “When Ivana would hang up the phone, I would say, ‘How can you put up with this?’ and Ivana would say, ‘Because Donald is right.’ ” He began belittling her: “That dress is terrible.” “You’re showing too much cleavage.” “You never spend enough time with the children.” “Who would touch those plastic breasts?” Ivana told her friends that Donald had stopped sleeping with her. She blamed herself. “I think it was Donald’s master plan to get rid of Ivana in Atlantic City,” one of her assistants told me. “By then, Marla Maples was in a suite at the Trump Regency. Atlantic City was to be their playground.”

Ivana had once warned her husband against Atlantic City. “Why expand somewhere where there is no airport?” Trump, however, was determined to invest there, even though Las Vegas associates had told him that Nevada gaming had profit factors that could total $200 million a year. But by now Marla Maples was in Atlantic City, and it was close to New York. Trump had become, according to one friend, “so focused on Marla he wasn’t paying attention to his business.”

Though Ivana had established herself in Atlantic City to please Donald, her presence there now, with Marla on the scene, was an inconvenience to him. With the acquisition of the Plaza hotel, he could deliver an ultimatum: “Either you act like my wife and come back to New York and take care of your children or you run the casino in Atlantic City and we get divorced.”

“What am I going to do?” she asked one of her assistants. “If I don’t do what he says, I am going to lose him.”

Trump even called a press conference to announce Ivana’s new position as the president of the Plaza hotel: “My wife, Ivana, is a brilliant manager. I will pay her one dollar a year and all the dresses she can buy!” Ivana called her friends in tears. “How can Donald humiliate me this way?”

“I think Marla is very different from her image,” Donald Trump told me in July. “Her image is that of a very good-looking buxom blonde.” A Donna Rice? “She’s much different than that. She’s smart, she’s very nice, and not ambitious. She could have made a fortune in the last six months if she had wanted to!”

“How could you have allowed Marla to be the No Excuses jeans girl?” I asked Trump. “Because I figured she could make $600,000 for doing one day’s work. For the negative publicity, I thought, that $600,000 she can live on the rest of her life,” Trump told me.

This past February, Trump took off for Japan, telling reporters he would be attending the Mike Tyson fight. His real motive was reportedly to meet with bankers to try to sell the Plaza, for Arthur Andersen’s November audit had been dire. As he was flying back, he was radioed on the plane. Liz Smith had broken the story of the Trumps’ separation. The entire sordid history of Marla Maples and Ivana fighting on the Aspen ski slopes was all over the papers. Ivana had done to Donald what years ago he had done to Jay Pritzker in Nepal. From the airplane, Trump called Liz Smith. “Congratulations on your story,” he told her sarcastically. “I have had it with Ivana. She’s gotten to be like Leona Helmsley.” “Shame on you, Donald!” Smith replied. “How dare you say that about the mother of your children?” “Just write that someone from Howard Rubenstein’s office said it,” Trump told Smith, referring to his well-connected press agent. (“I never said that,” Trump told me. “Yes, he did,” said Smith.) The Japanese bankers with whom Trump had negotiated a tentative sale suddenly backed off. “The Japanese despise scandal,” one of their associates told me.

Several weeks later, Donald called Ivana. “Why don’t we walk down Fifth Avenue together for the photographers and pretend that this entire scandal has been a publicity stunt? We could say that we wanted to see who would side with you and who would side with me.” As the press became more sympathetic to Ivana, Donald would scream at his lawyers, “This is bullshit!”

Ivana began to repair old feuds all over town. “We can be friends now, Leonard, can’t we?” she said at a recent party, according to a friend of Leonard Stern’s. “Your problem was with Donald, never me. I always liked you.”

Trump’s lawyers tried mightily to catch up with Ivana. “Donald saw a bill this week that Ivana charged $7,000 worth of Pratesi sheets for their daughter, Ivancka,” one lawyer said. “He called in a rage. ‘Why does a seven-year-old need $7,000 worth of sheets?’ She charged a $350 shirt at Montenapoleone. Who was that for, her new best friend, Jerry Zipkin?” The lawyer described Ivana’s bills from Carolina Herrera: “We will get a bill for $25,000, and Ivana will have photocopied over the invoice, so instead of one dress at $25,000, in her own handwriting she will write, ‘Six items for $25,000.’ ” (A spokesman for Ivana says that this is completely untrue.)

The scandal was seriously affecting the Trump children. Donny junior was being ridiculed at the Buckley School. Ivancka had been in tears at Chapin. When Donald and Marla Maples attended the same Elton John concert, Donny junior cried, for his father had told the children he would give Marla Maples up. “The children are all wrecks,” Ivana told Liz Smith. “I don’t know how Donald can say they are great and fine. Ivancka now comes home from school crying, ‘Mommy, does it mean I’m not going to be Ivancka Trump anymore?’ Little Eric asks me, ‘Is it true you are going away and not coming back?’ ” However cavalier Ivana’s public behavior was, in private she often cried. Once her husband’s co-conspirator, she told friends that she now felt she was his victim.

On the Saturday of Donald Trump’s forty-fourth-birthday celebration, I tried to take a walk on the West Side yards above Lincoln Center in Manhattan. The railroad tracks were rusty, the land was overgrown. The property stretched on, block after block. It was cool by the Hudson River that morning, with a pleasant breeze whipping over the water. The only sign of Trump was a high storm fence topped with elaborate curls of barbed wire to keep out the homeless people who live nearby. It was on this land, at the height of his megalomania, that Trump said he would erect “the tallest building in the world,” a plan which was successfully thwarted by neighborhood activists who were resistant to having parts of the West Side obscured in shadow. “They have no power,” Trump said at the time, baffled that anyone would resist his grandiose schemes.

Ivana had left for London to take part in one more public-relations event promoting the Plaza, only this time her friends the Baron and Baroness Ricky di Portanova were rumored to be paying the bill. Ivana had had her New York media campaign orchestrated by John Scanlon, who had handled public relations for CBS during the Westmoreland libel case. In London, she was cosseted by Eleanor Lambert, the doyenne of fashion publicists. A story went around London that she couldn’t afford her hotel and had moved in with a friend on Eaton Square. She was treading the same ground as Undine Spragg, who so carefully calculated her rise in Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country. Sir Humphry Wakefield assembled a list of titled guests for a dinner, but there was friction between him and Ivana. When the guests, including the Duchess of Northumberland, arrived, many of them were displeased that they had been lured to a dinner which, to their surprise, was in honor of Ivana Trump. “Humphry will pay for this,” one guest reportedly said.

That Saturday, New York seemed oddly vacant without the Trumps. Donald had left for his birthday party in Atlantic City. Hundreds of casino employees had been told to be on the Boardwalk to greet him, since Manhattan boosters were in short supply. The day before, he had defaulted on $73 million owed to bondholders and bankers. Clowns and jesters borrowed from Trump’s Xanadu attempted to entertain the waiting employees and reporters underneath Trump’s minarets and elephants, which soon might be repossessed.

Trump arrived very late, flanked by his bodyguards. His face was hard, his mouth set into a line. With an elaborate flourish, Trump’s executives pulled a curtain to reveal his birthday tribute, a huge portrait of Donald Trump, the same image the Japanese stared at in his Manhattan tower. The size of the portrait was unsettling on the Atlantic City Boardwalk: ten feet of the Donald, leaning forward on his elbow, his face frozen in the familiar defiant smirk.

Within days, the bankers agreed to give Trump $65 million to pay his bills. Much of his empire would probably have to be dismantled, but he would retain control. His personal allowance would now be $450,000 a month. “I can live with that,” Trump said. “However absurd this sounds, it was smarter to do it this way than to let a judge preside over a fire sale in a bankruptcy court,” one banker told me. Trump crowed about the bailout. “This is a great victory. It’s a great agreement for everybody,” he said.

Not exactly. Trump’s bankers were said to be so upset at Trump’s balance sheet— he was reportedly over half a billion dollars in the hole—that they demanded he sign over his future trust inheritance to secure the new loans. Trump’s father, who had created him by helping him achieve his first deals, now seemed to be rescuing him again. “Total bullshit,” Trump told me. “I have been given five years by the banks. The banks would never have asked me for my future inheritance, and I would never have given it.”

Soon after, Trump announced that the French department store Galeries Lafayette would take over the vast space Bonwit Teller had vacated in Trump Tower. “This is in no way a comeback,” Trump told me. “Because I never went anywhere.”

I was still searching for Donald Trump. On a rainy Thursday in July, I went down to federal court, where he was set to testify in a civil case in which he was a defendant. Along with his contractor, Trump had been accused of hiring scores of illegal Polish aliens to do the demolition work on the Trump Tower site. “The Polish brigade,” as they came to be called, had been astonishingly exploited on the job, earning four dollars an hour for work that usually paid five times that.

The last time I had been in this neighborhood was to hear the verdict in the John Gotti trial. I had come to know the area well. The guard inside greeted me by name. I was often here dipping in and out of the courtrooms to observe the notorious figures of the last decade. I thought of Bess Myerson, Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky, Leona Helmsley, Imelda Marcos, and Adnan Khashoggi, shattered and brought down in the crazy kaleidoscope of the 1980s. Each one had, at one time in his or her life, been thought to be like Donald Trump, a figure of greatness, anointed with special powers. In front of the courthouse, the police barricades were up. So many celebrities passed through these revolving doors that the yellow saw-horses were left routinely on the massive courthouse steps.

I thought about the ten years since I had first met Donald Trump. It is fashionable now to say that he was a symbol of the crassness of the 1980s, but Trump became more than a vulgarian. Like Michael Milken, Trump appeared to believe that his money gave him a freedom to set the rules. No one stopped him. His exaggerations and baloney were reported, and people laughed. His bankers showered him with money. City officials almost allowed him to set public policy by erecting his wall of concrete on the Hudson River. New York City, like the bankers from the Chase and Manny Hanny, allowed Trump to exist in a universe where all reality had vanished. “I met with a couple of reporters,” Trump told me on the telephone, “and they totally saw what I was saying. They completely believed me. And then they went out and wrote vicious things about me, as I am sure you will, too.” Long ago, Trump had counted me among his enemies in his world of “positives” and “negatives.” I felt that the next dozen people he spoke to would probably be subjected to a catalogue of my transgressions as imagined by Donald Trump.

When I got to the courtroom, Trump had gone. His lawyer, the venerable and well-connected Milton Gould, was smiling broadly, for he appeared to believe that he was wiping the floor with this case. Trump had said that he knew nothing about the demolitions, that his contractor had been “a disaster.” Yet one F.B.I. informant testified that he had warned Trump of the presence of the Polish brigade and had told him that if he didn’t get rid of them his casino license might not be granted.

I wandered down to the pressroom on the fifth floor to hear about Trump’s testimony. The reporters sounded weary; they had heard it all before. “Goddamn it,” one shouted at me, “we created him! We bought his bullshit! He was always a phony, and we filled our papers with him!”

I thought about the last questions Donald Trump had asked me the day before on the telephone. “How long is your article?” “Long,” I said. Trump seemed pleased. “Is it a cover?” he asked.
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby Luther Blissett » Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:59 pm

The Rich and the Corporate remain in their hundred-year fever visions of Bolsheviks taking their stuff - JackRiddler
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby OuishAgain » Sat Aug 29, 2015 1:51 pm

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo has been writing about Trump's successful tactics, and this is his latest post:

Yesterday we looked at how a doofus and blowhard, awash in derp, can nonetheless have a tactical genius that allows him to defeat all enemies again and again. I focused on an analogy I'm familiar with: increased mobility as a key to victory for Northern Civil War generals. But something funny happened in response to this post. Over almost 15 years of doing this, all of my best ideas and insights and certainly most of our best news tips have come from email exchanges with readers. But in all that time I'm not sure a post has struck the same chord - and a quite specific and technical one at that - with so many readers at once. A number of readers wrote in and said they agreed with the Sherman analogy but that a much tighter conceptual framework comes from a highly influential American military theorist who died almost 20 years ago, Colonel John Richard Boyd.

Boyd is known for something called OODA loops. We'll get to the specifics in a second. But he argued that all military action is defined by patterns of getting information, deciding how to act on it and then acting. Whoever completes those loops faster dominates and wins. The same also applies if you can get inside the other player's decision loop and disrupt them.

I'll let TPM Reader MW pick it up from there ...

Are you familiar with the strategist John Boyd (1927-1997)? Among other things, he described the utility of mobility in warfare in such a compelling fashion that the U.S. Marine Corps adopted Boyd's formula as their doctrine (MCDP-1 Warfighting).

Boyd's concept of the OODA Loop (Observe-Orient-Decide-Act) suggests that whoever controls the tempo controls the fight. In the case of active conflict, like a political campaign, if you can get through OODA loops faster than your opponent, you can change the context in ways that make their responses to your prior moves irrelevant and ineffective.

Your description of Trump's behavior, and my own shared observation of it, suggests that he is doing this deliberately.

Outside of the Marine Coprs, Boyd is popular among some businessmen. Whether Trump has explicit knowledge of Boyd, he has surely come across discussions about controlling the tempo, speed, and OODA Loops. For example, I'd be very surprised if Trump had not read Competing Against Time, by Stalk and Hout. He may also have read Certain to Win, by Chet Richards, which is about applying Boyd to business by one of Boyd's friends.

The ideas are pretty easily transferable across disciplines because they relate to conflict in general. So the ideas moving from war to business to politics isn't hard to observe.

The book on Boyd that seems to be where most people start is Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War by Coram. (I started with Hammond's The Mind of War, but that turns out to be unusual.) Boyd, himself, wrote only briefings—slides for presentations. You can find them at

On a personal note, and demonstrating the breadth of those who find utility in Boyd's concepts, I became interested in Boyd as a humanitarian worker. His ideas have helped me get better at helping others make good decisions under pressure. In politics, I've also worked on successful advocacy campaigns where we explicitly made use of Boydian techniques to control the tempo.

The ideas work. Whether Trump is explicitly using them, or whether he's figured out what all "winners" have, OODA is the lens through which I've been watching Trump. (Boyd's complete oeuvre is called "The Discourse on Winning and Losing". Trump's repeated use of the word "winner" suggests to me that he might well have imbibed some Boyd directly.)

As MW notes, Boyd has been hugely influential, and not just in military circles but in business ones as well - to the point where it seems likely that Trump has likely been exposed to his ideas, though I suspect it's more intuitive than learned.

TPM Reader SR made a similar point ...

I do think you’ve hit on something. No idea if Trump is familiar with the work of Col. John Boyd on the OODA (orient, observe, decide, act) Loop, but I have no doubt that you are. Trump does seem to have realized that, paradoxically, the 24 hour news cycle and the “Internet Time” phenomena that demands instant responses to other candidate’s statements and acts, has paradoxically led to the accretion of ever greater layers of buffering and vetting to prevent a candidate from losing a news cycle, or several news cycles, to a gaffe that have both created an absolute minimum response time that can be exploited by dispensing with those protections and attenuated the effectiveness of the response when it comes because the fear of the gaffe exceeds the desire to exploit the opportunity. The result is exactly the kind of Luntzified keyword marble-mouthed double talking zinger durp that people (on both sides) have come to loathe. What Trump has realized is that he can get inside the other candidates' OODA loops by just working without a net and firing off one tweet and one unfiltered message after another so that the other guys are responding to what he said three tweet cycles ago. But perhaps more importantly, he’s realized he can get away with what the other campaigns would deem disastrous “gaffes” by getting inside the press corps’ OODA loop, which he does by firing gaffe after gaffe after gaffe in n such machine-gun like rapid succession that the MSM never has a chance to focus on one and turn it into something like, say Romney’s “49%” or Obama’s “bitter clingers” gaffes (square quote omitted) because by the time they report it, he’s already belted out a half dozen more on that topic and fired off three other salvos on three other topics.

My gut still tells me that at some point, he blows up. At some point, he says something so far beyond the pale that the MSM focuses on it no matter how much more crap he keep spewing out, and that there is a strategy for making this happen to be had by the other campaigns if they work on it. But it only happens if another campaign does, in fact, develop that strategy. But I also have to tell my gut that Rush Limbaugh, who basically ran the exact same scam in slow motion for three decades, took that long to finally hit the Sandra Fluke hatespew that has cost him so many advertisers and resulted in ClearChannel putting him on stations no one listens to, at least for the duration of his current contract.

We really don’t have three decades to spare waiting for Trump to step into the plutonium.

TPM Reader CW added a quote ...

A similar but more contemporary framework, I think, is John Boyd's OODA (observe - orient - decide - act) loop -- I think this explanation of the "OODA loop" concept captures what's really happening in the Republican clusterf***:

In his presentations on armed conflict — war — Boyd never wrote the term “OODA loop” alone but used the phrase “operating inside opponents’ OODA loops,” which he seemed careful never to define. The closest he came was 132 charts into his major briefing on war, Patterns of Conflict (Boyd, 1986), where he stated that to operate inside an adversary’s OODA loop could be “put another way” as “Observe, orient, decide and act more inconspicuously, more quickly, and with more irregularity …” Another way to think about operating inside the OODA loop is that we change the situation more rapidly than the opponent can comprehend (Boyd, 1986, p. 5). And keep doing it. These concepts go considerably deeper than cycling through “observe, then orient, then decide, then act” more rapidly than an opponent. Boyd made the claim that the ability to perform the more sophisticated version enabled one to execute an agenda of heinous acts upon one’s adversary, ending with “Generate uncertainty, confusion, disorder, panic, chaos … to shatter cohesion, produce paralysis and bring about collapse” (Boyd, 1986, p. 132). or ... clnk&gl=us

Trump might not know who Boyd was or what an OODA loop is, but I think he instinctively gets the idea, while the rest of the Republican field remains clueless.

A number of other readers wrote in along the same lines. I just chose a few who wrote at length. I'm still more into Sherman than Boyd. But I agree that it's a much tighter and more instructive framework for why Trump is running circles around his opponents. Last night's rapid fire snark about, yes, who would want Eric Cantor's endorsement is just the latest example.
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby stillrobertpaulsen » Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:43 pm

The Great Unraveling

Published on Monday, August 31, 2015 by TruthDig

by Chris Hedges


The ideological and physical hold of American imperial power, buttressed by the utopian ideology of neoliberalism and global capitalism, is unraveling. Most, including many of those at the heart of the American empire, recognize that every promise made by the proponents of neoliberalism is a lie. Global wealth, rather than being spread equitably, as neoliberal proponents promised, has been funneled upward into the hands of a rapacious, oligarchic elite, creating vast economic inequality. The working poor, whose unions and rights have been taken from them and whose wages have stagnated or declined over the past 40 years, have been thrust into chronic poverty and underemployment, making their lives one long, stress-ridden emergency. The middle class is evaporating. Cities that once manufactured products and offered factory jobs are boarded up-wastelands. Prisons are overflowing. Corporations have orchestrated the destruction of trade barriers, allowing them to stash $2.1 trillion in profits in overseas banks to avoid paying taxes. And the neoliberal order, despite its promise to build and spread democracy, has hollowed out democratic systems to turn them into corporate leviathans.

Democracy, especially in the United States, is a farce, vomiting up right-wing demagogues such as Donald Trump, who has a chance to become the Republican presidential nominee and perhaps even president, or slick, dishonest corporate stooges such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and, if he follows through on his promise to support the Democratic nominee, even Bernie Sanders. The labels “liberal” and “conservative” are meaningless in the neoliberal order. Political elites, Democrat or Republican, serve the demands of corporations and empire. They are facilitators, along with most of the media and most of academia, of what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls our system of “inverted totalitarianism.”

The attraction of a Trump, like the attraction of Radovan Karadzic or Slobodan Milosevic during the breakdown of Yugoslavia, is that his buffoonery, which is ultimately dangerous, mocks the bankruptcy of the political charade. It lays bare the dissembling, the hypocrisy, the legalized bribery. There is a perverted and, to many, refreshing honesty in this. The Nazis used this tactic to take power during the Weimar Republic. The Nazis, even in the eyes of their opponents, had the courage of their convictions, however unsavory those convictions were. Those who believe something, even something repugnant, are often given grudging respect.

These neoliberal forces are also rapidly destroying the ecosystem. The Earth has not had this level of climate disruption since 250 million years ago when it underwent the Permian-Triassic extinction, which wiped out perhaps 90 percent of all species. This is a percentage we seem determined to replicate. Global warming is unstoppable, with polar ice caps and glaciers rapidly melting and sea levels certain to rise 10 or more feet within the next few decades, flooding major coastal cities. Mega-droughts are leaving huge patches of the Earth, including parts of Africa and Australia, the west coast of the United States and Canada and the southwest United States, parched and plagued by uncontrollable wildfires. We have lost 7.2 million acres to wildfires nationwide this year, and the Forest Service has so far spent $800 million struggling to control conflagrations in California, Washington, Alaska and other states. The very word “drought” is part of the deception, implying this is somehow reversible. It isn’t.

Migrants fleeing violence and hunger in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Eritrea are pouring into Europe. Two hundred thousand of the roughly 300,000 migrants to Europe this year have landed on the shores of Greece. Two thousand five hundred have died so far this year in the sea, on overcrowded and dilapidated boats or in the backs of trucks such as the one discovered last week in Austria that held 71 corpses, including the bodies of children. This is the largest influx of refugees into Europe since World War II, a 40 percent jump since last year. And the flood will grow ever greater. By 2050, many climate scientists predict, between 50 million and 200 million climate refugees will have fled northward to escape areas of the globe made uninhabitable by soaring temperatures, droughts, famines, plagues, coastal flooding and the chaos of failed states.

The physical, environmental, social and political disintegration is reflected in an upsurge of nihilistic violence driven by rage. Crazed gunmen carry out massacres in shopping malls, movie theaters, churches and schools in the United States. Boko Haram and Islamic State, or ISIS, are on killing rampages. Suicide attackers methodically commit deadly mayhem in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, Algeria, Israel and the Palestinian territories, Iran, Tunisia, Lebanon, Morocco, Turkey, Mauritania, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, China, Nigeria, Russia, India and Pakistan. They struck the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, and in 2010 when Andrew Joseph Stack III flew a light plane into a building in Austin, Texas, that housed offices of the Internal Revenue Service. Fanaticism is bred by hopelessness and despair. It is not the product of religion, although religion often becomes the sacral veneer for violence. The more desperate people become, the more this nihilistic violence will spread.

“The old is dying, the new struggles to be born, and in the interregnum there are many morbid symptoms,” the theorist Antonio Gramsci wrote.

These “morbid symptoms” will expand until we radically reconfigure how we relate to each other and the ecosystem. But there is no guarantee such a reconfiguration is possible, especially if the elites manage to cling to power through their pervasive global security and surveillance apparatus and heavily militarized police forces. If we do not overthrow this neoliberal system, and overthrow it soon, we will unleash a Hobbesian nightmare of escalating state violence and counterviolence. Masses of the poor will be condemned to misery and death. Some will try to violently resist. A tiny elite, living in a modern version of Versailles or the Forbidden City, will have access to amenities denied to everyone else. Hatred will become the primary ideology.

The attraction of Islamic State, which has up to 30,000 foreign fighters, is that it articulates the rage felt by the wretched of the earth and has thrown off the shackles of Western domination. It defies the neoliberal attempt to turn the oppressed into human refuse. You can condemn the group’s medieval vision of a Muslim state and its campaigns of terror against Shiites, Yazidis, Christians, women and homosexuals—which I do—but the anguish that inspires this savagery is genuine; you can condemn the racism of white supremacists who are flocking to Trump—as I do—but what they are responding to is their similar frustration and despair. The neoliberal order, by turning people into superfluous labor and by extension superfluous human beings, orchestrated this anger. The only hope left is to re-integrate the dispossessed into the global economy, to give them a sense of possibility and hope, to give them a future. Short of that, nothing will stem the fanaticism.

Islamic State, much like the Christian right in the U.S., seeks a return to an unachievable purity and utopianism, a heaven on earth. It promises to establish a version of the seventh-century caliphate. Twentieth-century Zionists seeking to form Israel used the same playbook when they called for the re-creation of the mythical Jewish nation of the Bible. ISIS, as the Jewish fighters who founded Israel did, is attempting to build its state (now the size of Texas) though ethnic cleansing, terrorism and the use of foreign fighters. Its utopian cause, as was the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War, is attractive to tens of millions of youths, most of them Muslims cast aside by the neoliberal order. Islamic State offers a vision of a broken society made whole. It offers a place and sense of identity—denied by neoliberalism—to those who embrace this vision. It calls for a turning away from the deadening cult of the self that lies at the core of neoliberal ideology. It holds up the sanctity of self-sacrifice. And it offers an avenue for vengeance.

Until we dismantle the neoliberal order and recover the humanistic tradition that rejects the view that human beings and the Earth are commodities to exploit, our form of industrialized and economic barbarity will collide with the barbarity of those who oppose us. The only choice offered by “bourgeois society,” as Friedrich Engels knew, is “socialism or regression into barbarism.” It is time we make this choice.

We in the United States are not morally superior to Islamic State. We are responsible for over a million dead in Iraq and 4 million Iraqis who have been displaced or forced to become refugees. We kill in greater numbers. We kill more indiscriminately. Our drones, warplanes, heavy artillery, naval bombardments, machine guns, missiles and so-called special forces—state-run death squads—have decapitated far more people, including children, than Islamic State has. When Islamic State burned a Jordanian pilot alive in a cage it replicated what the United States does daily to families by incinerating them in their homes in bombing strikes. It replicated what Israeli warplanes do in Gaza. Yes, what Islamic State did was cruder. But morally it was the same.

I once asked the co-founder of the militant group Hamas, Dr. Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, why Hamas sanctioned suicide bombings, which left Israeli civilians and children dead, when the Palestinians had the moral high ground as an occupied people. “We will stop killing their children and civilians as soon as they stop killing our children and civilians,” he told me. He noted that the number of Israeli children who had been killed at that time was a couple of dozen, as opposed to hundreds of Palestinian children. Since 2000, 133 Israeli and 2,061 Palestinian children have lost their lives. Suicide bombing is an act of desperation. It is, like Israel’s saturation bombing of Gaza, a war crime. But when seen as a response to unchecked state terror it is understandable. Dr. Rantisi was assassinated in April 2004 by Israel when it fired a Hellfire missile at his car in Gaza from an Apache attack helicopter. His son Mohammed, in the vehicle with him, also died in the attack. The downward spiral, more than a decade after these murders, continues.

Those who oppose us offer a vision of a new world. We offer nothing in return. They offer a counterweight to the neoliberal lie. They speak for its victims, trapped in squalid slums in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America. They condemn the grotesque hedonism, the society of spectacle, rejection of the sacred, profligate consumption, personal wealth as the primary basis for respect and authority, blind celebration of the technocrat, sexual commodification—including a culture dominated by pornography—and the drug-induced lethargy that are used by all dying regimes to keep the masses distracted and disempowered. Many jihadis, before they became violent fundamentalists, fell victim to these forces. There are hundreds of millions of people like them who have been betrayed by the neoliberal order. They are a powder keg. And we offer them nothing.

The wretched of the earth increasingly do not believe in the efficacy of nonviolence. They saw how nonviolence failed in Tunisia, which contributes the largest number of jihadis to the fighting in Iraq and Syria, and how it failed in Libya, Egypt and Iraq, a country where the U.S. puppet regime gunned down nonviolent protesters in the streets. The wretched of the earth—including in the United States, where we are seeing a mounting number of assassinations at the hands of police, 23 so far this year—intend to counter state violence with insurrectional violence. They have learned to speak in the language we taught them. Keep shooting unarmed black men and women in the streets of American cities while ignoring the nonviolent protests calling for an end to the state lynching and terror, and guess what will happen?

“Once their rage explodes, they recover their lost coherence, they experience self-knowledge through reconstruction of themselves; from afar we see their war as the triumph of barbarity,” Frantz Fanon wrote in “The Wretched of the Earth,” “but it proceeds on its own to gradually emancipate the fighter and progressively eliminates the colonial darkness inside and out. As soon as it begins it is merciless. Either one must remain terrified or become terrifying—which means surrendering to the dissociations of a fabricated life or conquering the unity of one’s native soil. When the peasants lay hands on a gun, the old myths fade, and one by one the taboos are overturned: a fighter’s weapon is his humanity. For in the first phase of the revolt killing is a necessity: killing a European is killing two birds with one stone, eliminating in one go oppressor and oppressed: leaving one man dead and the other man free.”

Do those in power read history? Or maybe this is what they want. Once the wretched of the earth morph into Islamic State, or adopt counterviolence, the neoliberal order can lift the final fetters that are imposed upon it and start to kill with impunity. Neoliberal ideologues, after all, are also utopian fanatics. And they, too, know only how to speak in the language of force. They are our version of Islamic State.

The binary world the neoliberals created—a world of masters and serfs, a world where the wretched of the earth are demonized and subdued by a loss of freedom, by “austerity” and violence, a world where only the powerful and the wealthy have privileges and rights—will condemn us to a horrifying dystopia. The emerging revolt, inchoate, seemingly disconnected, is rising up from the bowels of the earth. We see its flashes and spurts. We see its ideology of rage and anguish. We see its utopianism and its corpses. The more despair and desperation are manufactured by the neoliberal order, whether in Athens, Baghdad or Ferguson, the more the forces of state repression are used to quell unrest and extract the last drops of blood from collapsing economies, the more violence will become the primary language of resistance.

Those of us who seek to create a world that has hope of viability have little time left. The neoliberal order, despoiling the Earth and enslaving the vulnerable, has to be eradicated. This will happen only when we place ourselves in direct opposition to it, when we are willing to engage in the acts of self-sacrifice and sustained revolt that allow us to obstruct and dismantle every aspect of neoliberal machinery. I believe we can do this through nonviolence. But I am not blind to the inevitable rise of counterviolence, caused by the myopia and greed of the neoliberal mandarins. Peace and harmony may not engulf the Earth if we succeed, but if we do not remove the ruling elites from power, if we do not overthrow the neoliberal order, and if we do not do it soon, we are doomed.
"Huey Long once said, “Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism.” I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security."
-Jim Garrison 1967
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Mon Aug 31, 2015 5:16 pm

That OODA loop piece reminded me of a saying I'm not clear on the attribution for: "John Boyd's fan club are his biggest detractors."

Attributing strategic logic the meandering & reactionary egomania of The Donald is a prime example. Mogs are trying to shoehorn OODA principles into anything they can precisely because they're missing the point of Boyd's work -- they're trying to monetize it, trying to reduce wu wei into concrete principles for powerpoint presentations. They're taking the life work of a truly Spartan man who engaged in combat inside multi-ton weapons moving at hundreds of miles per hour and trying to build a speaking/consulting career out of it so they can fund annual conferences and, Christ save us all, "Institutes" dedicated to his ephemeral koans.

Still, it could be worse...right, Jesus?
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Aug 31, 2015 5:55 pm

Can one now be banned at DU for posting Chris Hedges? :)



The Trump Troll Returns to ‘The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore’ to Demonstrate His “Mexican Baby Catapult”
“Tonight: Mexicans,” announces Larry Wilmore on the 100th episode of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, before launching into a hilarious skewering of Donald Trump’s xenophobic new eight-page immigration plan. Willmore highlights how Trump’s plan calls for an end to birthright citizenship, then reveals a clip of Trump frantically trying to legitimize his plan to Chuck Todd in his private jet, saying, “We’ll keep the families together, but they have to go. They have to go.” Willmore then asks “what’s he going to do, catapult the children over the border?” And as though the word “border” were a Republican incantation, suddenly the Trump Troll (who’s made previous appearances on Wilmore’s Comedy Central show) appears to explain that yes, a catapult is exactly what he has in mind.

The Trump Troll has, it turns out, innovated a “Trump designed Mexican baby catapult,” which the troll explains as it jiggles menacingly and stupidly to the vibrations of the troll-icopter it’s dangling from. He has Wilmore try out his contraption using a miniature of a Mexican child and a LEGO border. Once Wilmore has committed the act of barbarism-in-plastic-miniature, the Trump Troll says, “Hey Larry, you just made America great again.”
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby stillrobertpaulsen » Mon Aug 31, 2015 6:41 pm

seemslikeadream » Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:55 pm wrote:Can one now be banned at DU for posting Chris Hedges? :)

Not yet, but it wouldn't surprise me. It currently has 88 recommendations and lots of pissed off comments from the people who put Party before Justice. :wink
"Huey Long once said, “Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism.” I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security."
-Jim Garrison 1967
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby conniption » Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:26 am

Rolling Stone
(embedded links)

Donald Trump Just Stopped Being Funny

Win or lose, Trump's campaign threatens to unleash the Great American Stupid

By Matt Taibbi

August 21, 2015

"The people that are following me are very passionate," Donald Trump said recently. Melina Mara/The Washington Post/Getty Images

So two yahoos from Southie in my hometown of Boston severely beat up a Hispanic homeless guy earlier this week. While being arrested, one of the brothers reportedly told police that "Donald Trump was right, all of these illegals need to be deported."

When reporters confronted Trump, he hadn't yet heard about the incident. At first, he said, "That would be a shame." But right after, he went on:

"I will say, the people that are following me are very passionate. They love this country. They want this country to be great again. But they are very passionate. I will say that."

This is the moment when Donald Trump officially stopped being funny.

The thing is, even as Donald Trump said and did horrible things during this year's incredible run at the White House, most sane people took solace in the fact that he could never win. (Although new polls are showing that Hillary's recent spiral puts this reassuring thought into jeopardy.)

In fact, most veteran political observers figured that the concrete impact of Trump's candidacy would be limited in the worst case to destroying the Republican Party as a mainstream political force.

That made Trump's run funny, campy even, like a naughty piece of pornographic performance art. After all, what's more obscene than pissing on the presidency? It seemed even more like camp because the whole shtick was fronted by a veteran reality TV star who might even be in on the joke, although of course the concept was funnier if he wasn't.

Trump had the whole country rubbernecking as this preposterous Spaulding Smails caricature of a spoiled rich kid drove the family Rolls (our illustrious electoral process in this metaphor) off the road into a ditch. It was brilliant theater for a while, but the ugliness factor has gotten out of control.

Trump is probably too dumb to realize it, or maybe he isn't, but he doesn't need to win anything to become the most dangerous person in America. He can do plenty of damage just by encouraging people to be as uninhibited in their stupidity as he is.

Trump is striking a chord with people who are feeling the squeeze in a less secure world and want to blame someone – the government, immigrants, political correctness, "incompetents," "dummies," Megyn Kelly, whoever – for their problems.

Karl Rove and his acolytes mined a lot of the same resentments to get Republicans elected over the years, but the difference is that Trump's political style encourages people to do more to express their anger than just vote. The key to his success is a titillating message that those musty old rules about being polite and "saying the right thing" are for losers who lack the heart, courage and Trumpitude to just be who they are.

His signature moment in a campaign full of them was his exchange in the first debate with Fox's Kelly. She asked him how anyone with a history of calling women "fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals" could win a general election against a female candidate like Hillary Clinton.

"I've been challenged by so many people," Trump answered. "I frankly don't have time for political correctness. And to be honest with you, the country doesn't have time either….We don't win anymore. We lose to China. We lose to Mexico….We lose to everybody."

On the surface, Kelly was just doing her job as a journalist, throwing Trump's most outrageous comments back at him and demanding an explanation.

But on another level, she was trying to bring Trump to heel. The extraction of the humiliating public apology is one of the media's most powerful weapons. Someone becomes famous, we dig up dirt on the person, we rub it in his or her nose, and then we demand that the person get down on bended knee and beg forgiveness.

The Clintons' 1992 joint interview on 60 Minutes was a classic example, as was Anthony Weiner's prostration before Andrew Breitbart and Chris Christie's 107-minute marathon apologia after Bridgegate. The subtext is always the same: If you want power in this country, you must accept the primacy of the press. It's like paying the cover at the door of the world's most exclusive club.

Trump wouldn't pay the tab. Not only was he not wrong for saying those things, he explained, but holding in thoughts like that is bad for America. That's why we don't win anymore, why we lose to China and to Mexico (how are we losing to Mexico again?). He was saying that hiding forbidden thoughts about women or immigrants or whoever isn't just annoying, but bad for America.

It's not exactly telling people to get out there and beat people with metal rods. But when your response to news that a couple of jackasses just invoked your name when they beat the crap out of a homeless guy is to salute your "passionate" followers who "love this country," you've gone next-level.

The political right in America has been flirting with dangerous ideas for a while now, particularly on issues involving immigrants and minorities. But in the last few years the rhetoric has gotten particularly crazy.

Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert proposed using troops and ships of war to stop an invasion of immigrant children, whom he described as a 28 Days Later-style menace. "We don't even know all of the diseases, and how extensive the diseases are," he said.

"A lot of head lice, a lot of scabies," concurred another Texas congressman, Blake Farenthold.

"I'll do anything short of shooting them," promised Mo Brooks, a congressman from the enlightened state of Alabama.

Then there's Iowa's Steve King, who is unusually stupid even for a congressman. He not only believes a recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage allows people to marry inanimate objects, but also believes the EPA may have intentionally spilled three million gallons of toxic waste into Colorado's Animas river in order to get Superfund money.

Late last year, King asked people to "surround the president's residence" in response to Barack Obama's immigration policies. He talked about putting "boots on the ground" and said "everything is on the table" in the fight against immigrants.

So all of this was in the ether even before Donald Trump exploded into the headlines with his "They're rapists" line, and before his lunatic, Game of Thrones idea to build a giant wall along the southern border. But when Trump surged in the polls on the back of this stuff, it caused virtually all of the candidates to escalate their anti-immigrant rhetoric.

For example, we just had Ben Carson – who seems on TV like a gentle, convivial doctor who's just woken up from a nice nap – come out and suggest that he's open to using drone strikes on U.S. soil against undocumented immigrants. Bobby Jindal recently came out and said mayors in the so-called "sanctuary cities" should be arrested when undocumented immigrants commit crimes. Scott Walker and Marco Rubio have both had to change their positions favoring paths to citizenship as a result of the new dynamic.

Meanwhile, Rick Santorum, polling at a brisk zero percent, joined Jindal and Lindsey Graham in jumping aboard with Trump's insane plan to toss the 14th Amendment out the window and revoke the concept of birthright citizenship, thereby extending the war on immigrants not just to children, but babies.

All of this bleeds out into the population. When a politician says dumb thing X, it normally takes ‘Murica about two days to start flirting publicly with X + way worse.

We saw that earlier this week, when Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson blew up Twitter by calling for undocumented immigrants to become "property of the state" and put into "compelled labor." When a caller challenged the idea, Mickelson answered, "What's wrong with slavery?"

Why there's suddenly this surge of hatred for immigrants is sort of a mystery. Why Donald Trump, who's probably never even interacted with an undocumented immigrant in a non-commercial capacity, in particular should care so much about this issue is even more obscure. (Did he trip over an immigrant on his way to the Cincinnati housing development his father gave him as a young man?)

Most likely, immigrants are just collateral damage in Trump's performance art routine, which is an absurd ritualistic celebration of the coiffed hotshot endlessly triumphing over dirty losers and weaklings.

Trump isn't really a politician, of course. He's a strongman act, a ridiculous parody of a Nietzschean superman. His followers get off on watching this guy with (allegedly) $10 billion and a busty mute broad on his arm defy every political and social convention and get away with it.

People are tired of rules and tired of having to pay lip service to decorum. They want to stop having to watch what they say and think and just get "crazy," as Thomas Friedman would put it.

Trump's campaign is giving people permission to do just that. It's hard to say this word in conjunction with such a sexually unappealing person, but his message is a powerful aphrodisiac. Fuck everything, fuck everyone. Fuck immigrants and fuck their filthy lice-ridden kids. And fuck you if you don't like me saying so.

Those of us who think polls and primaries and debates are any match for that are pretty naive. America has been trending stupid for a long time. Now the stupid wants out of its cage, and Trump is urging it on. There are a lot of ways this can go wrong, no matter who wins in 2016.

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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby coffin_dodger » Wed Sep 02, 2015 6:21 am

Fear. Worry. Tension. States of mind, to be used accordingly.
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby Nordic » Wed Sep 02, 2015 7:41 am

It's such conditioning. Trump is meaningless. He has no power. Elections are for entertainment purposes only.

All this energy wasted hand-wringing about Trump. The real enemies, the truly dangerous, are already in power. They're not giving it up. Trump is not one of them nor will he be allowed to be one of them.

I guess it's appropriate that a "reality" show star is filling this role right now.
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby Nordic » Wed Sep 02, 2015 7:45 am

And did I read that correctly or did Matt Taibbi actually call Megyn Kelly a "journalist?"

Holy fuck.

Talk about stupiding down America. Matt, WTF.
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby Searcher08 » Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:03 am

That article reminded me of what a dumb, unctuous, and insight-free asshole Taibbi can be.

Trump is a member of the FIFA-like club / 'organisation' that seems to run America, which operates on a broad consensus and whose members are often in great, actual competition with each other.

Ghislaine Maxwell was procuring for Jeffrey Epstein at Donald Trump's resort.
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