Saturday, June 11, 2016

Ruin Nation (Added note on those BernieBot claims of vote fraud in CA)

The NYT looks at Donald Trump's business record in Atlantic City, and the news is worse than anyone thought...
But a close examination of regulatory reviews, court records and security filings by The New York Times leaves little doubt that Mr. Trump’s casino business was a protracted failure. Though he now says his casinos were overtaken by the same tidal wave that eventually slammed this seaside city’s gambling industry, in reality he was failing in Atlantic City long before Atlantic City itself was failing.

But even as his companies did poorly, Mr. Trump did well. He put up little of his own money, shifted personal debts to the casinos and collected millions of dollars in salary, bonuses and other payments. The burden of his failures fell on investors and others who had bet on his business acumen.
We have an indication here of what he'll do as president: Donald Trump intends to profit from the country's ruination.
Mr. Trump assembled his casino empire by borrowing money at such high interest rates — after telling regulators he would not — that the businesses had almost no chance to succeed.
His casino companies made four trips to bankruptcy court, each time persuading bondholders to accept less money rather than be wiped out. But the companies repeatedly added more expensive debt and returned to the court for protection from lenders.

After narrowly escaping financial ruin in the early 1990s by delaying payments on his debts, Mr. Trump avoided a second potential crisis by taking his casinos public and shifting the risk to stockholders.

And he never was able to draw in enough gamblers to support all of the borrowing. During a decade when other casinos here thrived, Mr. Trump’s lagged, posting huge losses year after year. Stock and bondholders lost more than $1.5 billion.

All the while, Mr. Trump received copious amounts for himself, with the help of a compliant board. In one instance, The Times found, Mr. Trump pulled more than $1 million from his failing public company, describing the transaction in securities filings in ways that may have been illegal, according to legal experts.

Mr. Trump now says that he left Atlantic City at the perfect time. The record, however, shows that he struggled to hang on to his casinos years after the city had peaked, and failed only because his investors no longer wanted him in a management role.
Had Mr. Trump’s revenues grown at the rate of other Atlantic City casinos, his company could have made its interest payments and possibly registered a profit. But with sagging revenues and high costs, his casinos had too little money for renovations and improvements, which are vital for hotels to attract guests. The public company never logged a profitable year.

“There’s something not right when every single one of your projects doesn’t work out,” said Mr. Roffman, the casino analyst.
In retrospect, David Hanlon, a veteran casino executive who ran Merv Griffin’s Atlantic City operations at the time of the Resorts battle, said, Mr. Trump succeeded in repeatedly convincing investors, bankers and Wall Street that “his name had real value.”

“They were so in love with him that they came back a second, third and fourth time,” Mr. Hanlon said. “They let him strip out assets. It was awful to watch. It was astonishing. I have to give Trump credit for using his celebrity time and time again.”

In 2014, the casino company filed for bankruptcy protection for the fifth time. The chief executive cited the debt level after the 2009 bankruptcy as the primary reason.

For a time, Mr. Trump lent a glamorous sheen to the faded resort city. But some of his former investors no longer see the value.

“People underestimated Donald Trump’s ability to pillage the company,” said Sebastian Pignatello, a private investor who at one time held stock in the Trump casinos worth more than $500,000. “He drove these companies into bankruptcy by his mismanagement, the debt and his pillaging.”
I see in these words the future of the United States. Trump voters have demonstrated that they have no interest in policy: They are buying a name brand, and they have fallen for the promises of a celebrity who will tell them anything they want to hear.

Trump's Atlantic City investors committed those very mistakes. Mitt's right: Trump's a con artist.

Nevertheless, many BernOuts will argue that we would do better to allow Trump to run the country the way he ran his Atlantic City casinos, because Hillary Clinton is just sooooo fucking intolerable. Did you know that, on her infamous private email server, Hillary once discussed a "confidential" condolence message to the President of Malawi -- a breach of security which endangered us all? That's much worse than anything Trump has ever done.

In other news...

Bernie did NOT win California, despite the inane conspiracy theory which says he did.
"Bernie Sanders Wins California Landslide But ⅔ of his Votes Aren’t Counted," the Justice Gazette wrote in an eye-popping headline on June 7.

The article added: "In view of the information from polling place workers about Sanders winning by more than a 2 to 1 margin and in view of the removal of 2/3 or more of his votes from the official results, the Justice Gazette declares Bernie Sanders the landslide winner of the 2016 California Primary Election." The Gazette article has been shared widely on Facebook and shows up prominently on web searches about Bernie Sanders and the California primary.
Politifact tears this one to shreds. The actual Justice Gazette story does not even come close to offering any proof for its claims. It's the lowest form of conspiracy theorizing, in which wishful thinking, tenuous maybes, wild assertions and rapid-fire topic-switching compensate for the lack of evidence. Justice Gazette appears to be the personal vehicle for former Congressperson Cynthia McKinney, whose byline appears on most of the articles on the front page.

Come on. Do you really think that a monstrous and widespread election-theft conspiracy could have taken place unnoticed by absolutely everyone except Cynthia McKinney?

That said, there is some chance that Clinton's lead will narrow. It seems that a lot of Bernie's youthful cultists were handed provisional ballots because they had no party affiliation and did not know about this thing called registration. If it were up to me, those provisionals would not be counted, but I'm not the one making that call.

Here's a way to avoid such problems in the future: Keep the primaries closed.

I would also argue in favor of euthanizing our ineducable young, whose nescience has rendered them subhuman.  After a gentle gassing, they would provide an excellent source of protein for famine victims -- although we should not overlook the vast possibilities offered by the field of sport hunting. If middle-aged Americans rut like rabbits, we can replenish the population in swift order; I am open to suggestions as to what steps we should take to insure that this "replacement generation" is of higher intelligence. (Obviously, we should keep the newborns well away from mobiles and televisions.) Until we embark upon this modest and sensible program to raise the national IQ, don't trust anyone under thirty.

Added note: This story in the Hill offers an insight into the anti-thinking of the BernOuts, although I suspect that many of the comments are the work of Roger Stone's gang of lovable funsters. One comment in particular -- from someone calling himself or herself "ritualdevice" -- stands out for its idiocy.
Only Sanders supporters found that they had been cut from the voter rosters. There is video documentation of people going into the county clerk's office to find out that their registration had been invalidated by someone prior to the primary, without their notification. If you haven't seen these stories, go look. You should be infuritated too. The fact that no one cared on Hillary's side is one of the most damning aspects of the entire election fraud allegation...
Not one of these nescient ninnies makes the obvious point: A registration list contains nothing but names. It contains no indication of how the named individuals intend to vote. How would anyone know who the Sanders supporters are if they haven't voted yet?

Of course, if you ask a sensible question like that, you'll be derided as a hack and paid shill.

(Theoretically speaking, I can conceive of a scheme to strike out Hispanic-sounding names -- but such a plot would have benefited Bernie, and therefore the Bots will never discuss the idea.)

There was a time when I thought that David Icke's "aristocracy of reptiles" was the stupidest conspiracy theory ever devised. The Sandernistas make Icke seem like the epitome of sweet reason.


Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

I recognize the last paragraph was satire, but still--DUDE NOT FUNNY.

I've completed 53 solar orbits, BTW.

Joseph Cannon said...

Yeah, yeah. That's what they said to Swift.

Joseph Cannon said...

Cut to: BernieBro HQ. "What does Taylor Swift have to do with this?"

Anonymous said...

Regarding Trump, I think his "supporters" are protest voting. They wish to register their disgust with the ruling elite, and they figure he is an outsider.

With regard to fixing elections, if I wanted to bias the vote against Bernie I would deregister newly register voters or those in college towns etc. You don't need other data. It won't give you a 100% hit rate on only Bernie supporters but 100% hit rate would be caught. Similarly I would just look to close polling venues. Fewer venues affects the guys who had less postal votes. That's Bernie. So if you want to look for potential evidence of "naughtiness" check the turnout numbers.

That said, politics ain't beanbag. I am not questioning the result AT ALL. I'm just saying what I would do if I was advising the HRC team. I think the real issue is the propaganda. Team Clinton announced a very big win. I suspect if you wait a week or so it will turn out to be much narrower. But still a win.


Stephen Morgan said...

Swift wasn't funny.

If you want to solve some problems, look to Logan's Run. There are many people whose best years, or productive years, are behind them. Yet they are allowed to squat on the world's housing supplies, either occupying or renting to those not born early enough to get on the foot of the ladder, and frequently they work to prevent the construction of new abodes. The same goes for work and education. The idea of living with your parents until past thirty and having nothing but entry-levels jobs until past that age even with a good degree is now normal. All because of the demographic bulge of the baby boom. Of course, their meat wouldn't be suitable for eating. Still, it's time to free up some resources.

Joseph Cannon said...

Stephen, what about the scene where Gulliver puts out a fire in the Lilliputian castle by pissing on it? I smiled at that when I was a kid.

"Logan's Run" doesn't really help your point, since the movie depicts a society entirely composed of airheads. Farrah Fawcett's scene is CLASSIC.

Harry: You think in pretty devious ways, I must admit! I like it, I like it. But you're wrong, of course. When Bernie-ites try to prove their "vote fraud" thesis, they almost invariably cite this story by John Cassidy in the New Yorker...

"What happened in Brooklyn, where a hundred and twenty-six thousand Democratic voters were removed from the polls, was a disgrace that demands a much fuller explanation than the one the city’s Board of Elections has trotted out. Initially, it claimed that staffing issues were to blame. On Wednesday, its executive director, Michael Ryan, insisted that “no one was disenfranchised”—a claim I’d like to see him explain to my wife, a registered Brooklyn Democrat who has voted in the borough in every Presidential election since 1996, and many local elections, too, but who discovered on Tuesday that she had been eliminated from the electoral rolls because she was “inactive.”"

She doesn't fit your paradigm. Moreover,

"Right now, though, there is no evidence that Sanders supporters were singled out for exclusion. The people purged from the polls appear to have been spread across Brooklyn, which Clinton won by almost sixty thousand votes."

So the problem appears to have targeted Hillary, not Bernie. But wait -- is this not Thoughtcrime Most Foul?

Nevertheless, we have seen throughout the election that Bernie has practiced "mirror imaging" -- claiming to be the victim when he was, in fact, the victimiser.

It seems to me that the clearest argument for vote hugger-mugger was Michigan, where Bernie's sizable win was in dramatic contrast to the story told by the polls. Nate Silver's aggregate of polls had Hillary 21 points ahead.

Be honest. If Hillary had won such a victory despite lagging 21 points behind in the polls, wouldn't the BernieBros be SCREAMING about vote fraud? They would need no further evidence. In their minds, it would be a done deal.

Joseph Cannon said...

Stephen, I had to look it up. Here's the scene from Logan's Run to which I referred...

I saw this movie on opening day at the good old Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. When Farrah Fawcett delivered that line -- "Oh, that's right...!" -- the entire place erupted into HOWLS of laughter. It was the single biggest unintentional laugh any movie ever got, within my experience.

Thanks for inspiring me to me relive that day. Good times.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Still not funny, either of you.

Larry Roberts said...

I don't think this statement makes much sense:

" It seems that a lot of Bernie's youthful cultists were handed provisional ballots because they had no party affiliation and did not know about this thing called registration. If it were up to me, those provisionals would not be counted, but I'm not the one making that call."

There's a good explanation of what a provisional ballot is and the circumstances in which a prospective voter will be issued a provisional ballot at:

It has nothing to do with whether a voter registered a party preference.
More about what happens in that case at:

Why would you wish that provisional ballots cast by registered voters not be counted?

Bob Harrison said...

Well, Mr. Morgan if you try to thin the herd with me... I might just have thin you. Oh and at 69 I'm doing mods for Fallout 4, creating 3d models, and am in the middle of another novel. Pluck out a BernieBro and let's compare.

Phil Ebersole said...

I think the claim by Greg Palast and others was that California election officials intentionally created problems for independent voters (who were predominantly pro-Sanders)and so left the field open to already-registered Democrats (who were predominantly pro-Clinton).

I'm not sure in my own mind whether this was intentional or just a normal foul-up, due to complications arising from the fact that Republicans have a closed primary and Democrats have an open primary.

This is a separate issue from whether there should be a closed primary. You can make a good argument either way, but if independent voters are by law entitled to vote in a party primary, government should not put obstacles in their way.

Hillary Clinton had a 10-year head start on Bernie Sanders in organizing her campaign, and the support of the big donors, the party establishment and the Washington press corps, so she would have won in any case.

But there are a whole lot of things in the campaign that should be looked into. I'm not going to jump to conclusions, but there are things that should be looked into

Stephen Morgan said...

The report from Greg Palast was that polling officials were giving instructions that NPP voters should be illegally given provisional ballots, which are far less likely to actually be counted than real ballots. Palast calls them placebo ballots. He also reports NPP voters only being issued with ballots for the primary if they specifically requested such ballots, including meaning that postal voters couldn't get one.

Hopsicker, on the other hand, reports as many uncounted ballots as the total number who voted for Bernie, and the involvement of a convicted election rigger.

I don't think the problem is Clinton rigging the election, that's not happening. The problem is that voter suppression has become a habit. Obviously it's also a problem that the winners or "winners" (Bush &c) like to claim the other side to be bad losers if they draw attention to it.

Joseph Cannon said...

Phil, all you're giving me is a bunch of nebulous maybes. The only actual evidence of vote fraud shows that HILLARY was targeted.

And when you think about it, it makes sense. I don't think that the BernieBots would have done the job. But the Republicans would -- they have made clear that they would prefer to run against Sanders. (And failing that, they want to see fissures within the Democratic party.)

The GOP would know how to engineer the anti-Clinton trickery that, in my opinion, took place in Michigan, and perhaps in Brooklyn.

Did you know that the Secretary of State in Michigan, Ruth Johnson, is a Republican?

It must always be kept in mind that Tad Devine, Bernie's evil genius, is an old associate of Stone and Manafort.

Joseph Cannon said...

By the way, everyone has forgotten -- I had forgotten! -- that the Bernie-ites DID commit vote fraud in Puerto Rico, and tried to cover up their deed with baseless accusations against the Clinton camp.

prowlerzee said...

I copied this before I read the comments: "Until we embark upon this modest and sensible program to raise the national IQ, don't trust anyone under thirty."

I got it. And thought it was funny! As were your follow-up comments. And THANK YOU so much for addressing this. I was going to ask you about it, but hated to bother you over fruitless fussery with these deranged t/f-ools who think that they can cherry-pick uncast Dem votes, or make excuses for idiots who don't know how/when to register.

Totally unsurprised by Stephen's remarks but my netcrush on Ivory Bill is...crushed.