“There’s a difference between playing and playing games. The former is an act of joy, the latter — an act.”
Vera Nazarian


“Playing the victim role: Manipulator portrays him- or herself as a victim of circumstance or of someone else’s behavior in order to gain pity, sympathy or evoke compassion and thereby get something from another.”
George K. Simon Jr


Trump has probably done over 100 things, okay, thousands of things which make me sure he is unqualified to be the country leader <and make me doubt he could lead a turd out of a flushed toilet>, makes me sure I dislike his business acumen and makes me sure his moral compass <assuming he even has one> is not working. That said. Its all a game to him. He wants a “story a week” so everyone is talking about him every day and every week (if not every hour). He is of the old school “there is no such thing as bad PR” belief with a twist – he has a cadre of alternative universe storytellers who twist everything he says into some false equivalence or even “you really didn’t see, or hear, what you really did” spin. Regardless. He is playing a game. And he is playing a game with democracy and elections and the presidency. And he isn’t even hiding the fact he sees this as one big game and he is going to do whatever it takes to win his game.

He demeans us, he demeans business, he demeans democracy, he demeans the country and, maybe most importantly, he demeans the office he is suggesting he is qualified for.

It is infuriating. He treats the political process like a game show and I’m angry at the people in leadership who permit this to happen. And I’m angry that we, the ordinary people, are so angry at some shadowy ‘establishment’ that we cannot seem to assume some thread of responsibility for what is happening.

And let me tell you how angry I am about the ‘gaming.’

Because Trump has given me the opportunity to be angry hundreds of times before. The truth is that in a fairly remarkable mixture of bombastic rhetoric, double-talk, vagaries, an outright onslaught of relentless lies, he says repulsive things every day. Realistically to keep your sanity you can truly only focus on one of them at a time <which is part of his game because if I focus on one and everyone else focuses on another one and so on, how the hell can anyone put a thumb on this stupid, slippery, slimy, carnival barker? I admit, his ignorance <with regard to the constitution, global realities, everything else, was amusing at first, but it truly is Trump’s disregard for constitutional principles which is most likely the most disturbing <all the while holding up the Constitution verbally as his guiding principle>.

He doesn’t believe in freedom of the press <unless they say something nice to him>.

He doesn’t believe in freedom of speech <unless it agrees with him>.

He doesn’t believe in … well … let’s just say he is free of morality and principles which underpin the country <torture is good if the other guys do it, killing families of enemies is okay because it deters future enemy action, and ‘I’ will trump ‘we’ in decisions>.

Article II directs the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Article VI provides that treaties are part of “the supreme law of the land.” These treaties include the Geneva Conventions, which govern the conduct of war. Yet in direct contradiction to these treaties, Trump has said that the United States should have stolen Iraqi oil and that we should kill the families of terrorists. As he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper: “Everybody believes in the Geneva Convention until they start losing and then they say oh, let’s take out the bomb. OK. When they start losing. We have to play with a tougher set of rules.”

Let me be politically incorrect <kind of along the lines of Trump himself>. While I am not holding my breath I would be delighted if at some point he stood up and said “I am sorry. I have been a psycho. I don’t really like myself that much and I have been an unapologetic asshole for my entire life.”

He will not. Shit. He cannot even apologize for … uhm … anything.

Donald Trump is a liar. Period.

He is a crooked con artist.

He is a spoiled rich bully with an unhealthy relationship with his own mirror <and a desire for fame>.

Trump has seemingly called everyone a liar at some point over his entire lifetime, let alone the election period, all the while offering us an onslaught of his own lies. A liar telling lies, but calling everyone else a liar, is not just an asshole, it is a reflection of the fact he believes he is simply playing a game.

He is a repugnant and ridiculous imposter with no integrity.

He is simply a game show host stirring up interest to a television audience who is only going to find that what is behind the curtain is not the dream vacation we have always wanted, but a plastic blender which runs at one speed.

Which leads me to May 26 in North Dakota:

“Politicians have used you and stolen your votes. They have given you nothing. I will give you everything. I will give you what you’ve been looking for 50 years. I’m the only one.”

Uhm. “I will give you everything.” If that were not so stupidly arrogant, I would get angry with someone running for president saying something like that. I am completely disgusted. He is a flagrant scam artist playing games with America. It gets a bit crazier because the MAGA people claim they like him because he is no nonsense and unapologetic. Well.  I don’t like it because I believe it is cowardly to not face your own lies and poor words and poor choices and you are stubbornly unapologetic when you are 100%, no, 100% to the nth degree, wrong or lying to people.

As a deception theorist, my explanation for this is simple: somewhere along the way Trump learned — and was rewarded for learning — that he can more efficiently get what he wants by lying than telling the truth. Fortunately for the world, this viewpoint is not shared by most people.

But I continue to say the worst is that he is unapologetically playing the election like a game.

Gaming the press.

Gaming the people.

Gaming the system.

Gaming the overall construct of what is right, what is wrong and his basic strategy is confuxing everyone.

He is fucking running for the president of the United States; not the smartest game show host on tv.

Let’s be clear. Like him or not, Obama is an American and he treated his role as president seriously and with dignity. Like her or not, Clinton is an American and was serious candidate running a serious campaign understanding it is a serious role. Like him or not, Biden is a decent man, an American, and treats his role as president seriously and with dignity. Trump is an American who doesn’t really believe in America (the idea and ideals) and he is a relentless liar who cloaks himself in false patriotism to hide his lack of knowledge and overall ignorance for how serious being a president is. He is not sane nor interested in workable solutions. Trump is unwilling to put in the serious work to match the seriousness of the position. We should demand our president to lead by example and lead by assuming the mantle of responsibility, all responsibilities, of the position. Every day is bizarre, and a slap in the face to democracy and the democratic process and to the citizens,  and in the realm of the Trump carnival barker show, every week seems to attain a new low.

“Talk about a lack of intestinal fortitude. Anyone who wants to try to put Joe Biden on the same plane as Donald Trump should have their mental health checked because that is just an absurd false equivalency. This is a very black and white issue here. You’re either pro-democracy or you’re not. All the other issues that we disagree about – and there are many – don’t matter if we don’t have a functioning democracy.”

Which leads me to the most dangerous part of his game.

He doesn’t really believe in democracy, he embraces autocracy. If it were just simply that, it’s important but controllable. The problem is he also believes that transactions are negotiated one on one based on a relationship. So he builds relationships and affinities with autocrats. The most obvious autocrat he’s developed a relationship with is Vladimir Putin. It has often been discussed the 2016 Trump campaign links with Russia and whether Donald Trump is actually a Russian plant. I would actually just suggest something a foreign intelligent officer said: “It doesn’t really matter if you believe that Donald Trump is a Russian asset because assets come into all shapes and sizes. And some assets don’t realize their assets. They’re the best kind.” It is undisputed that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. No sane person debates that. The Justice Department, the Mueller investigation, even the Republican led Senate Intelligence Committee, confirmed all of that. Everything portrays senior Trump Advisors eager to obtain assistance from Russia. Read any of the investigations and you’ll see a detailed list of a complex web of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians linked to a Kremlin and the Russian intelligence services. The most obvious one was Paul Manafort who was compromised having earned millions of dollars representing pro Kremlin political candidates. It is a fact that in Europe Paul Manafort handed 2016 voter targeting information to a Russian intelligence agent. Whether he knew it was a Russian intelligence agent or not is irrelevant; he handed it to him. But getting back to Donald Trump. While in the Oval Office Trump heaped praise on authoritarian thugs, entertained anti democratic European populists at the White House, rolled back US efforts to promote democracy around the world, and disrupted relations with allies. And to the chagrin of all intelligence officers around the world, during an Oval Office meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister and ambassador to Washington, Trump divulged highly classified intelligence supplied by Israel. Intelligence that was so sensitive it was not shared widely within the US government. And while the breach put at risk an operation that had given Israeli intelligence a look on the inner workings of Islamic state in Syria, the consequences of it were worse. Israel as well as the majority of other intelligence allies stopped giving the United States critical intelligence because they believed that nothing was safe once Trump had heard it. All of that is undisputed fact. He thought intelligence was a game and he shared that game with autocratic leaders, and particularly Vladimir Putin. And then of course there was Trump’s obsession with undermining NATO. Tied to his peculiar fealty towards Vladimir Putin, Trump challenged the conclusion of his own intelligence community that Moscow had meddled in the election. I would also be remiss if I didn’t note that Donald Trump met one on one with Vladimir Putin in five meetings of which there is no detailed record anywhere within the files of the US government. These are all facts. You may not like them, but they are facts. I’m not asking anyone to draw any conclusion other than Donald Trump does not take democracy seriously.

And then there was January 6th. Three and a half hours where rioters roamed the temple of American democracy smashing windows, breaking down doors, ransacking offices, defacing works of art, stealing documents and computers, defecating in the building, and searching for lawmakers to kidnap or kill -including the speaker of the house and the vice president. Emblems of racism and hate were everywhere. One wore a sweatshirt that said ‘Camp Auschwitz.’ Another carried the Confederate battle flag. Americans allies stunned by what they had witnessed, condemned the president’s actions (and inactions) and used words usually reserved for 3rd world tyrants and thugs. Even the Turkey autocrat called the insurrection the disgrace that shocked humankind. This may sound offensive to some people, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest it was the darkest day in American history since 9/11 – although somehow slightly worse. For the attack had been launched not by a distant enemy, but by the occupant of the Oval Office. It was a warning to all of us that democracy can never be taken for granted, and maybe more importantly with regard to Donald Trump that he grants democracy no or little value.

Its all a game to him.

Ponder. This seems important.

Written by Bruce