Sunday, August 5, 2018

On Vacation in Canada, Impossible to Escape Trumpdom


Gilda and I are back from two weeks in the Pacific Northwest (mostly British Columbia and Alberta). I will post more about our trip but for now let me share with you the restful experience of an almost two week relief from daily exposure to Trumpdom. Oh sure, Canada is not an untamed wilderness with no television or radio. 

Rather, we made a conscious effort to refrain from tuning to the news. We checked web sites like The New York Times, AP and the U.S. Daily Mail, but found it quite mellowing to not have to listen to the drivel pouring forth from our mean-spirited ignoramus-in-chief. 

Having noted our departure from almost round-the-waking-clock exposure to tempest-in-the-Trump, let me point out some of the disruptive stories that pierced my shield of Donald-defense:


Pretty Woman: Was I the only one who saw a similarity between the looks of Trump’s chief financial officer at the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg—short, stocky, balding and be-speckled—and that of corporate mogul Richard Gere’s sleezy chief financial officer/henchman in Pretty Woman, played by Jason Alexander? Check out this photo: https://nyti.ms/2mIEQIC


Laugh Lines: Trump has several catch phrases: “Fake news.” “Sad.” “No collusion.” Add to the list, “We’re the laughingstock of the world.”

He uses it to promote his agenda, as he did the other day in saying he would not mind if the government shuts down if Congress doesn’t allocate the funds he wants for his southern border wall. 

Trump is correct. We have become the laughingstock of the world, but not for the reasons he believes. It is because of his wacky behavior both in the political and personal arenas. 


Greed: How much greed can average Americans accept before they rebel? 

The top one percenters want to get another $100 billion windfall by having Trump bypass Congress to unilaterally (and possibly illegally) change the way capital gains are computed. 

Even Trump’s alma mater thinks the idea is loony. 

“According to the budget model used by the  University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, indexing capital gains to inflation would reduce government revenues by $102 billion over a decade, with 86 percent of the benefits going to the top 1 percent. A July report from the Congressional Research Service said that the additional debt incurred by indexing capital gains to inflation would most likely offset any stimulus that the smaller tax burden provided to the economy.

“It is unlikely, however, that a significant, or any, effect on economic growth would occur from a stand-alone indexing proposal,” the report said.” https://nyti.ms/2K8Jjxw

Apparently, our “genius” president thinks he knows more than the professors. After all, his business acumen enabled him to file for bankruptcy protection six times. 


A Critical Eye on CBS: Under his leadership CBS has enjoyed unending salad days. But now that Leslie Moonves has the cloud of sexual harassment swirling around his past and continued reign at the so-called platinum network, it might be instructive to recall his response to the dehumanization of politics, as practiced by Trump:  

“It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” 

“Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now? ... The money’s rolling in and this is fun,” he told a February 2016 gathering at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in San Francisco, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Perhaps if we knew then of Moonves’ sketchy past we might have placed his remarks in their proper context, one alleged sexual abuser reflecting on another.

CBS has a long, cherished and respected history of journalism. But like too many other electronic media CBS concentrated more on the hype of the Trump campaign than on the substance. As the aforementioned section asked, how much greed must we accept before our political and business leaders place values and principles, and sense, above dollars and cents?


Follow the Time Line: Trump met with the publisher and editorial page editor of The Times on July 20 to discuss press relations (https://nyti.ms/2mOToGq). 

Apparently, it had no effect, as just four days later, when speaking in Kansas City, MO, to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, he said of the press, “Stick with us. Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news. 

“What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

Undermining the validity, not to mention the patriotism and safety, of the press is standard operating procedure for demagogues who seek ultimate power. Regrettably, veterans booed and hissed at the press corps (https://nyti.ms/2n9hEn7).


Trump as Schnorrer: It’s been widely reported that Trump has welched on full payments to contractors. Now, it seems, Trump has elevated himself to schnorrer, the Yiddish term for “beggar” or “sponger.” He is reported to have wanted a renowned portrait artist, who had already painted all of Trump’s family, to paint Melania for free! The artist refused. How refreshing to find someone who stood up to Trump.



Danger of Trump Fatigue: In May 2017 I wrote about the Trump fatigue factor (“The fatigue factor is setting in. Donald Trump and his gang that couldn’t shoot straight is overwhelming me. There’s too much to write. If I miss a day the accumulated copy weighs me down.”)

Steve Schmidt, the ex-Republican strategist who recently left the ranks of the GOP because its leadership abandoned its principles and capitulated to Trump, capsulized the danger to America on Real Time with Bill Maher last Friday night. Listen, this is important: https://youtu.be/KNgkpb-rrMc

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