Conspiracy or Three Card Monte?

three-cardIs the charge of election fraud by Donald Trump a consequence of his wounded ego? Is a man who won the presidency by a sizable margin in the electoral college so consumed by his desire to be everything and all that matters in the universe overly prone to delusion and conspiracy theory from the  cognitive dissonance that comes with losing the popular vote by almost 3 million? Could this loss of the popular vote even be a personal moral failing in the weird logic of the patho-narcissist? So much so that the fantasy of the conspiracy must be amended and given new angles and subplots ?

 

CASE “A”

The latest revision of the voter fraud theory was expressed to a group of Senators, assembled to talk strategy about the Gorsuch nomination. Trump quickly turned the discussion into a refined tale of how New Hampshire’s election was a total fraud, with residents from Massachusetts taking part in the election. The assertion was so delusional Commissioner Ellen Weintraub of the Federal Election Commission called Trump’s bluff. “Allegations of this magnitude cannot be ignored,” she said. Such rampant misuse of the election process would be a serious crime, urging the President to come up with the evidence. The administration trotted out its new spokesperson, the youthful, stone-faced Stephen MIller (who has been described as the architect of the immigration policy), on the Sunday morning circuit of TV politics, who embellished the story with how the fraudulent voters had been bussed in from Massachusetts, and that approximately 10 percent of undocumented aliens in the U.S. had registered to vote. Maybe the most remarkable statistic that all of these fraudulent votes were cast for Hillary Clinton.

 

There will be no evidence forthcoming, as there has been no evidence forthcoming for past claims.

 

And why does the megalomaniac bring up his continually revamped tale of intrigue at unpredictable intervals, but general always following a setback on another front? This latest iteration of the voter hijacking came on the heels of the appellate court rejection of the district court’s temporary restraining order on his executive order banning of travelers from 7 Middle Eastern countries. Trump’s original accusation came soon after, on January 25th, the final tally of voter turnout showed that he had lost the popular count by 2.8 million votes. He pledged to launch an investigation into irregularities in two (unnamed) states. “You have people that are registered who are dead, who are illegals, who are in two states. You have people registered in two states.” It turns out that some of his staffers are registered in two state. Details of an investigation were not mentioned again until this latest story; and he has appointed no one less that his second in command, Vice President Pence. To lead the election.

 

CASE “B”

Large public demonstrations protesting Trump’s proposed policies were planned for  immediately after his inauguration January 21 and 22  by the worldwide Women’s March. Scattered demonstrations have sprung up across the country since. A scheduled appearance of right-wing firebrand and exhibitionist Milo Yiannopoulos drew a raucous crowd early at U. C. Berkeley, forcing Yannopoulos to cancel. The administration has claimed that the group Demand Protests had run ads recruiting protesters promising $2500 each for protesting against Trump during his inauguration. Press Secretary Sean Spicer claimed that those protesting the anti-travel ban Trump begun on February 3 were paid protesters, as were those at Berkeley. U. S. Senator Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) says the rowdy audience at a recent town hall meeting he hosted was the doing of paid protesters.

 

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Given time and the likelihood of more demonstrations, this narrative will be reworked and modified with baleful details. The question of whether these plots are manufactured to neutralized the damage to the ego of the President, or could their invention be from something else; and is placing the root cause on an abnormality in Trump’s personality  a way of covering up more insidious motivations? Could the claim of voter fraud be laying the groundwork for getting even more voter restriction legislation on the books? Several states, including Texas and North Carolina, were already on this bandwagon; and if the fear of illegals stealing elections is contagious, it could make it even harder for citizens (primarily Blacks and the elderly) to vote.

 

And the protesters? The charge that they are in large part “paid” does one thing, if nothing else: it delegtimatizes the purpose and authenticity of the participants. These folks are either phonies and not to be taken seriously, or pose as a threat to incite  dissension where it is not warranted, or, worse, anarchists with violence and destruction in mind. Either of these could serve as  “emergency” situations where it would have more public support for restricting the right of assembly.

 

Rather than advancing what might be called a conspiracy theory itself, the fabrication and promotion of these two tales could probably be a result of both—Trump’s ego and the white nationalist agenda of Bannon and Miller—along with a third: in their throroughly maddening incredibility, they function as smoke and mirrors to distract from the keystone-copsineptitude of the administration, like figurative Keystone Kops doing a security detail at the House of Horrors that has become the White House. We are so amused at the folly and tail-chasing  that real proceedings become a boring sideshow.

Finding Wall Funds

The Trump administration may have come up with new ideas to reinvigorate the enthusiasm for a southern border wall that was so much a part of his campaign and election last fall.

Congressional skepticism about the project has been growing, even from some usually reliable southern and Republican delegations. Texas senior Senator John Cornyn (R-Tx), whose home state has the longest stretch of border common to Mexico, was wary of the economic impact a 20 percent import tax levied as a funding source for the construction would have on his state’s economy.

“The United States imports into our refineries a lot of heavy crude. … Those would all be subject to the tax. One refiner told me that they believed that would increase the cost of gas by 30 cents. I want to make sure we know what the consequences would be and how this would work. I know a lot of the major retailers are concerned about this was well,” he said. “We have a unique relationship with Mexico, with maquiladoras (factories which have duty-free privileges) right across the border and in the car-manufacturing business in particular.” Cornyn isn’t alone in the Republican congress. True to conservative principles, others, including Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak), vow that a 10-12 billion dollar expenditure would need be offset with with reductions in other parts of the budget, which would be difficult to find.

As far as the demand that Mexico pay for the construction, Senator John McCain (R-Az), said curtly “No, that is not viable.”

The junior senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, has made no public comments on the proposal, possibly still fuming about recent Obama initiatives normalizing relations with Cuba. Even though his ancestry is there, he really hates Cuba.

Our sources have revealed a possible contretemps that might have been an intentional leak of the administration’s strategy to breath new life into the project. A bar service operator (whose name must remain anonymous), related a recent evening at an out-of-the-way D.C. watering hole in which he served White House dignitaries Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer. After a couple of drinks, the couple left, but not without leaving a scrap of paper, which, as it turned out, was an opened but empty envelope,  and fairly covered with a scrawl of of whirls, smiley faces, and what has now been determined to be a back-of -the-envelope brainstorming session between the two to revive the the national and White spirit that fueled support early in the campaign.

“Good fences make good neighbors” was printed fastidiously at the top. Between the doodles and check marks, the envelope gave up the following: Plan A and Plan B. It was unmistakable. Despite the attempt to render the notes to seeming hieroglyphical code, it was possibly a pseudo-cryptogram, intended to float a leak of possible strategies to reverse flagging interest in The Wall. After each bullet point was a short, abbreviated stream of consciousness.

A. Offset in spending–big one: military ± 750B–but OP wants to strengthen military--How jibe?  Reductio ad absurdum: 12B is only 1.6% of 750B! Also make libs and Catholic pacifists happy. win-win.

B. OP to guarantee loan--has extensive open lines of credit--trustworthy--good for it--he's a builder--well?--income verify?--naming rights!--would he?

The chicken scratch near the end of Plan B., calling for the President himself to personally back the financing of the construction became less legible, as if the scribe , whether Conway or Spicer, had lost confidence in B., and her cursive effort was weakening. And come to think of it, for good reasons: it wouldn't be likely the OP would front $12 Billion of his own cash, and getting a signature or collateralized loan for that sum would require proof of income— namely, providing his income tax return to the lender. That was improbable.

And maybe that's why the envelope was carelessly left behind. Maybe it was just another dead-ended strategy session, and not a plot to leak hare-brained trial balloons to bolster support of a bad idea.

Or perhaps it was. But—just saying—if it happens,  you heard it here first.