Tuesday, October 20, 2020



The original Zoom debate, from the Democratic primary campaign in New York's 14th congressional district, 20 May 2020, screenshot by Mashable.

No, I'm not going to waste my time on a virtual debate. That's not what debating's all about. You sit behind a computer and do a debate is ridiculous. And they cut you off whenever they want.

Donald J. Trump, 8 October, rejecting the format proposed by the Commission on Presidential Debates for the scheduled 15 October town hall–style debate in Miami, after Trump's Covid-19 infection raised safety concerns. I can't find out anything about the role computers were supposed to play in the proceedings—the CPD's statement didn't mention this—but it must have been discussed in the course of the CPD negotiations with the two campaigns, and that's where Trump got it.

My idea is that it was really going to be a Zoom debate, as suggested originally by Mashable and later backed up by Fox BusinessVice, Catholic University's The Tower, and I don't know who else—Fox was the most authoritative, citing Mitch McConnell and the Trump campaign's Mica Mosbacher—and Trump was thrown into a panic, not by the thought that the moderator was going to have a mute button (he's accepted that, at least for part of the time, for Thursday's debate), but because he might have to operate one himself; that he might be required to touch a key or click a mouse, hands at the console and face at the camera, and he was certain he would screw it up.

As we've said for a long time, Trump doesn't use a computer, but I'm not sure many people understand how much he can't use a computer, how ignorant and frightened he is.

He learned to type tweets on his phone back in 2011 or so, but prefers not to since Dan Scavino came on the staff in 2015, dictating them to Scavino when he can, and still can't do anything complex like including media or threading a sequence. He pretty clearly hasn't understood that his phone is a computer, and doesn't use it for reading anything; whatever reading he does is in print, from the magazines and newspapers through which he hunts for his name, often ripping stories out and having the staff send them by mail, with his Sharpie annotations, to the author or subject, and the further clippings delivered him by the lords- and ladies-in-waiting in the hope of influencing him (Ivanka is said to be especially good at this, and Navarro the most dishonest by an anonymous source whose name, I'm guessing, rhymes with "Ludlow"). These include the tweets of others, printed out, which he "likes" in that way instead of clicking the little heart (I'm convinced he doesn't look at his timeline at all). He doesn't quite know what would go wrong if he was in a Zoom debate but he wouldn't risk it, not for anything.

Photo by Alex Brandon/AP via Politico. That's a great shot of Pompeo's greasy servility failing to disguise his contempt for the boss.

There's no question but that, statistically and politically, Trump could still win this thing, but it gets harder and harder to see how; it'll take twice as many black swans as it did in 2016, anyway—

—and I'm starting to think the singularity I've been waiting for could be here—the moment when he starts looking to his supporters like the whiny, pusillanimous loser he is. 

Signs are in the criticism coming to him from Republican senators, whether they're positioning themselves for the 2024 presidential race like Nebraska's Ben Sasse (who cleverly made his denunciation of the "way he kisses dictators' butts" and "spends like a drunken sailor" in a town hall meeting with constituents and then got it "leaked" to the Washington Examiner so he could deny he intended to "hurt" the president), while the dumber future candidates, Cotton and Crenshaw, double down in their support; or struggling this year to retain what used to be Gibraltar-safe seats, as in the case of John Cornyn of Texas, talking about Trump with the pinch-lipped Stoical regret of the Tammy Wynette song

"Maybe like a lot of women who get married and think they're going to change their spouse, and that doesn’t usually work out very well," Cornyn said.

"I think what we found is that we’re not going to change President Trump," he said. "He is who he is. You either love him or hate him, and there's not much in between. What I tried to do is not get into public confrontations and fights with him because, as I’ve observed, those usually don’t end too well."

or of Ivanka, who similarly says she prefers to do her disagreeing with the president in private. 

And then there's this bizarre signal from Junior, whose Twitter power seems to have suddenly diminished

—he's blaming the algorithm of course, but maybe he's just becoming unpopular as he looks increasingly seedy and desperate, attacking Hunter Biden for conquering cocaine when he clearly hasn't been able to do that for himself, pushing a Giuliani-run ratfucking operation that is so poorly conceived that he can't begin to understand it, and ends up indicting himself instead.

The accusations have tickled the internet, with many pointing out that Donald Trump Jr. owes everything he has to his father — who in turn inherited his business empire from his own father, who the New York Times noted repeatedly bailed out Donald Trump to the tune of more than $400 million (in today’s dollars) when his businesses failed.

The Daily Beast called out Donald Trump Jr. for his seemingly hypocritical focus on Hunter Biden, accusing him of projection.

“The fundamental truth remains: If the Trumps are accusing someone of doing something, they are likely doing it themselves,” read the sub-headline on writer Molly Jong-Fast’s story on Trump Jr. (inquisitr)


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