October 26, 2018

Miscellaneous Thoughts on Trump

Lyin’ Trump

I listened to 1A on NPR yesterday. The New York Times reporters who investigated the source of Donald Trump’s wealth were interviewed (see “Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father”).

Trump’s origin story has always been that he received a $1 million dollar loan from his father, which had to be repaid with interest, and which he parlayed that into a multibillion-dollar fortune through his real estate dealings. What the Times learned is that Trump’s story is nowhere close to the truth. Over his lifetime, Donald Trump received hundreds of times that $1 million from his father, little of which was ever repaid.

A listener of the program asked what difference it makes how the president made his fortune. This is a good question.

The importance of the findings of the Times reporters is that Trump’s lies are hardly a new phenomenon. Lying for Trump is a way of life and has been so throughout his career. Trump doesn’t simply shade the truth; he makes up his own “facts” out of whole cloth. His supporters may not care, but they should.

Secure Communications

The New York Times reported that President Trump frequently uses an unsecured iPhone to make personal calls to friends. Moreover, those calls are being monitored by the Chinese and Russians (and God only knows who else). This is driving intelligence folks crazy. Their one consolation is that Trump isn’t very curious about government secrets, so his ignorance is a check against his divulging them.

The Times story is distressing and goes into significant and disturbing details not worth repeating here. You should read the article.

What I find most interesting in Trump’s refusal to give up his unsecured phone is the contrast between his communications that we now know are being monitored by our country's adversaries and his insistence that Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server, which appears never to have been compromised, was criminal.

All I can say to the latest revelations is, “Lock him up!”

Presidential Rhetoric

In light of the apparent bombs sent to prominent Democrats recently, Donald Trump has called for unity and civility. Of course, what he really expects of his opponents is surrender to the Trumpian cause. It didn’t take long for Trump to renew his venom directed at the news media, as if journalists created the atmosphere of hate in which bombs being sent to his opponents seems almost predictable.

Trump has often complained that news stories about him are predominately negative. This is a rare instance in which he is entirely correct. He goes on to complain that this situation is unfair, however. There, he is wrong. Most news stories about Trump and the Trump administration are negative in tone because most actions of Trump and the Trump administration are hateful, meanspirited, self-destructive and stupid. Well, at least Trump got something right!

The Refugee “Caravan”

President Trump has used the parade of thousands of Central American refugees walking north to alarm his base supporters. (We should use the phrase “base supporters,” which, of course. is a double entendre.) He has talked about closing our borders—by which I assume he means only our Southern border—to avoid admitting any more people to the U.S., whether or not they have legitimate asylum claims. Apparently, he is even carrying out his threat to send regular Army troops to patrol the border, a potentially illegal move.

Rather more stupidly, Trump has threatened to reduce aid to the Central American countries from which members of the “caravan” are fleeing. On the one hand, reducing aid is likely to make life in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala even nastier than it is already. That, of course, would induce more people to leave in search of a more secure life. On the other hand, were Trump, by whatever means, to induce these countries to prevent people from leaving, would he not be creating a virtual prison for their populations? Is this really a proper role for the “freedom-loving” United States?

Oh, sorry, we are only concerned with making our own country great; the rest of the world can go to hell!

Here’s an idea: Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our efforts there are clearly a lost cause. We can use the money we save thereby to strengthen democracy in Central America. This would help make America (and the Americas) great.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous comments are not allowed. All comments are moderated by the author. Gratuitous profanity, libelous statements, and commercial messages will be not be posted.