Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Day 177 of Nat'l Emergency: Will the Ignoble One Cop a Nobel Peace Prize?

 If there is one thing Donald Trump covets more than anything else, perhaps even more than securing a second term, it is winning a Nobel Peace prize. Almost from day one of his tenure in the White House, Trump has been trumpeting achievements which he considers much more concrete than the ones cited when Barack Obama was awarded the Peace prize in 2009.

Now, with peace possibly sprouting in the desert of the Mideast between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, perhaps a prelude to other Arabian dominoes accepting  the Jewish state’s right to exist with normal diplomatic and economic ties, Trump and his press agents are again lobbying for Nobel recognition. Imagine what a campaign boost coup that would be.

Trump may want the award but if precedent is any clue to the direction the Nobel committee might take, it is a long shot for him to get his most fervent desire.

Twice before Mideast players have been lauded for advancing peace. In 1978, Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Menachem Begin of Israel won for the peace treaty they signed with the help of President Jimmy Carter. Carter did not receive an award for his brokering efforts.

In 1994, Yasir Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization shared the prize with two Israelis—Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres. President Bill Clinton helped broker that peace process. Clinton did not receive an award for his efforts.

If the peace pact is the 2020 winner, signatories to the deal—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi Mohammed Bin Zayed—most probably would be the sole recipients of the medal. Even Trump’s Mideast point man, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, would be just an interested onlooker at the ceremony which will be held in Oslo, Norway, December 10. 

The winner(s) will be announced October 9.

P.S. If he doesn’t win, you can bet Trump will have some choice comments about the selection process (the award is chosen by five Norwegians) and perhaps the winner, especially if his climate change nemesis, that upstart teenager Greta Thunberg of Sweden, cops the gold, or if Black Lives Matter does. More than 300 individuals and organizations have been nominated for the peace prize. 

Convention Closeout: Now that I’ve thrilled or severely depressed you, it’s time to reflect a little more on the recent Republican National Convention (RNC). The GOP stood pat on its 2016 platform. So, if I’m not mistaken, Trump is running on a document that contains the following description of the state of our nation’s affairs:

“Our economy has become unnecessarily weak with stagnant wages. … Our standing in world affairs has declined significantly — our enemies no longer fear us and our friends no longer trust us.”

How prescient Republicans were four years ago! With a record like that why would anyone seriously consider giving Trump a second term? 

You might have noticed that in the last month or two mainstream television news and radio programs, as well as social media sites, have taken to on-the-spot factchecking Trump. It can be a full time job, as The Washington Post has already tabulated more than 20,000 instances where Trump deviated from the truth. 

Oversight of Trump is welcome, but failing to do so for more than three years is an oversight by the media that is unpardonable. They have let Trump get away with figurative “murder.” As my wife says, “It’s little and a little too late” to redeem their malfeasance.

Sometimes in the heat of the moment politicians can get carried away with their own rhetoric. That’s what it appears happened to Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina. 

In trying to smear Joe Biden as a far left liberal, Scott accused him of wanting to transform America into a “socialist Utopia.”

Uh-oh. Somebody didn’t pay attention in high school, or maybe college, English or philosophy class. Utopia is an ideal living condition, socially and economically. Why would Scott find Utopia bad?

Okay, he’s linked it to socialism. But Scott may be interested to learn that the United States already has socialism built into its government. Social Security. Minimum wage laws. Medicare. Medicaid. Mass transit subsidies. Bailouts of businesses too big to fail. 

Of course, many who listened to Scott, react viscerally in a negative manner to anything that infers socialism. It is equated with communism, which it is not. 

Republicans love to toss out the socialist tag whenever they want to deprecate a candidate or a country. Except when they like what a socialist country is doing, such as Sweden with its herd immunity strategy against COVID-19, though the results of that pandemic treatment approach have been less than utopian (

The RNC spotlighted many people of color, including some, like tenants of federal public housing in New York City, who didn’t realize they would be showcased in a pro-Trump video. 

There was method to such blatant color advertising.

The Black and Latino presence on screen was not meant to convince other minorities to vote for Trump. Rather, says Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post, they were featured to reassure suburban White women that it was permissible to cast their ballots once again for Trump. 

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