Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Did tonight finish Trump?

If tonight’s “Commander-in-Chief Forum” is a preview of the presidential debates, Trump is a dead man walking. 

Putting aside whether Hillary lied, contradicted herself, and revised history (and her underlying hostility), Clinton’s command of facts (actual and supposed) made Trump and his glib generalities look like an ignorant schoolboy. Because of what the talking-heads call “optics,” to the Great Unwashed it had to look like she knew what she was talking about, and he did not by falling back on slogans, superficialities, and canned clichés. 

The debates may be too embarrassing to watch. 

To fully understand why this was my reaction, imagine what it would have looked like if instead of Trump it had been Newt Gingrich on that aircraft carrier. Trump simply cannot hold his own with her because of her legal training and years around policy.

I don't have the time or, frankly, the inclination to explain how Trump can trump Hillary, except to state what should be, and apparently is not, obvious to his handlers. Under Article II of the Constitution, the President is "Chief Executive," something Trump has been and Hillary has not.

Instead of falling into traps such as "As Commander-in-Chief how would you fight ISIS," he should answer "I will not fight ISIS." When the shock subsides, he should quickly add "no more than I would deal blackjack in one of my casinos." And then explain the point in detail. Illustrated by a corporate diagram of the Trump Organization with him at the top, adding number of employees, income figures, countries, etc. 

Running the country is no different in principle than running the Trump Organization. You get good people, allow them to do what they do, and manage the entire enterprise.

As a hands-on manager of a billion-dollar international corporation, Trump would leave empty-vessel Hillary in the dust while escaping the "When did you run NATO" kinds of trap questions.

Neither Trump nor his handlers are apparently smart enough to do that.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Dr. Trump and Mr. Hyde

 Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, published in 1886, dramatizes what the author believed to be the duality of human nature.
Set during England’s Victorian Era, the story tells of respectable scientist Henry Jekyll whose laboratory experiments allow—eventually compel—him to become a completely different person, the murderous Mr. Hyde.
As the story progresses, Jekyll realizes that the Hyde part of the scientist’s dual personality is taking over, and Jekyll is “slowly losing hold of [his] original and better self, and becoming slowly incorporated with [his] second and worse [self].”
I thought of Stevenson’s story about dual personality recently when suddenly there interrupted on my car radio a “Hillary for President” commercial. It said nothing about her, but instead spent all the air time attacking Donald Trump. Whether one is for or against Trump for president, his Mr. Hyde side manifestly coexists with his Dr. Jekyll side—the latter, a part of him that does not receive the attention it deserves, even though it helps explain Trump-Jekyll. Perhaps you will find the following article of interest.
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Trump Does the Unthinkable

July 10, 2016

Donald Trump is a racist, bigot, sexist, xenophobe, anti-Semitic and Islamophobe -- did I miss anything? The left and the media launch these hideous kinds of attacks at Trump every day; yet, nothing could be further from the truth about the real estate mogul. As an entertainment journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to cover Trump for over a decade, and in all my years covering him I’ve never heard anything negative about the man until he announced he was running for president. 

Keep in mind, I got paid a lot of money to dig up dirt on celebrities like Trump for a living so a scandalous story on the famous billionaire could’ve potentially sold a lot of magazines and would’ve been a “yuge” feather in my cap. Instead, I found that he doesn’t drink alcohol or do drugs, he’s a hardworking businessman and totally devoted to his beloved wife and children. On top of that, he’s one of the most generous celebrities in the world with a heart filled with more gold than his $100 million New York penthouse.

In 2004, the first season of “The Apprentice” aired and at that time I worked as an entertainment columnist for the “Red Eye Edition of the Chicago Tribune” and as a freelancer for “Us Weekly”. I had a gut feeling that Chicago contestant, Bill Rancic, was going to win the reality show. So I contacted him and covered the hit show the entire season. I managed to score an invite to New York for the show’s grand finale and after-party. This is where I first met Trump and got to ask him a few questions. That year, Rancic did win “The Apprentice”.

I attended “The Apprentice” finale the next two years in a row. Between that and the frequent visits Trump and his family made to Chicago during the construction of their Trump International Hotel & Tower, I got a chance to meet most of his family too and I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with them. Since the media has failed so miserably at reporting the truth about Trump, I decided to put together some of the acts of kindness he’s committed over three decades which has gone virtually unnoticed or fallen on deaf ears.

In 1986, Trump prevented the foreclosure of Annabell Hill’s family farm after her husband committed suicide.  Trump personally phoned down to the auction to stop the sale of her home and offered the widow money. Trump decided to take action after he saw Hill’s pleas for help in news reports.

In 1988, a commercial airline refused to fly Andrew Ten, a sick Orthodox Jewish child with a rare illness, across the country to get medical care because he had to travel with an elaborate life-support system. His grief stricken parents contacted Trump for help and he didn’t hesitate to send his own plane to take the child from Los Angeles to New York so he could get his treatment. 

In 1991, 200 Marines who served in Operation Desert Storm spent time at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina before they were scheduled to return home to their families. However, the Marines were told that a mistake had been made and an aircraft would not be able to take them home on their scheduled departure date. When Trump got wind of this, he sent his plane to make two trips from North Carolina to Miami to safely return the Gulf War Marines to their loved ones.

In 1995, a motorist stopped to help Trump after the limo he was traveling in got a flat tire. Trump asked the Good Samaritan how he could repay him for his help. All the man asked for was a bouquet of flowers for his wife. A few weeks later Trump sent the flowers with a note that read: “We’ve paid off your mortgage.”

In 1996, Trump filed a lawsuit against the city of Palm Beach, Florida accusing the town of discriminating against his Mar-a-Lago resort club because it allowed Jews and blacks. Abraham Foxman, who was the Anti-Defamation League Director at the time, said Trump “put the light on Palm Beach – not on the beauty and the glitter, but on its seamier side of discrimination.” Foxman also noted that Trump’s charge had a trickle-down effect because other clubs followed his lead and began admitting Jews and blacks.

In 2000, Maury Povich featured a little girl named Megan who struggled with Brittle Bone Disease on his show and Trump happened to be watching. Trump said the little girl’s story and positive attitude touched his heart. So he contacted Maury and gifted the little girl and her family with a very generous check.

In 2008, after Jennifer Hudson’s family members were tragically murdered in Chicago, Trump put the Oscar-winning actress and her family up at his Windy City hotel for free. In addition to that, Trump’s security took extra measures to ensure Hudson and her family members were safe during such a difficult time.

In 2013, New York bus driver Darnell Barton spotted a woman close to the edge of a bridge staring at traffic below as he drove by. He stopped the bus, got out and put his arm around the woman and saved her life by convincing her to not jump. When Trump heard about this story, he sent the hero bus driver a check simply because he believed his good deed deserved to be rewarded.

In 2014, Trump gave $25,000 to Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi after he spent seven months in a Mexican jail for accidentally crossing the US-Mexico border. President Barack Obama couldn’t even be bothered to make one phone call to assist with the United States Marine’s release; however, Trump opened his pocketbook to help this serviceman get back on his feet.

In 2016, Melissa Consin Young attended a Trump rally and tearfully thanked Trump for changing her life. She said she proudly stood on stage with Trump as Miss Wisconsin USA in 2005. However, years later she found herself struggling with an incurable illness and during her darkest days she explained that she received a handwritten letter from Trump telling her she’s the “bravest woman, I know.” She said the opportunities that she got from Trump and his organizations ultimately provided her Mexican-American son with a full-ride to college.
Lynne Patton, a black female executive for the Trump Organization, released a statement in 2016 defending her boss against accusations that he’s a racist and a bigot. She tearfully revealed how she’s struggled with substance abuse and addiction for years. Instead of kicking her to the curb, she said the Trump Organization and his entire family loyally stood by her through “immensely difficult times.”

Trump’s kindness knows no bounds and his generosity has and continues to touch the lives of people from every sex, race and religion. When Trump sees someone in need, he wants to help. Two decades ago, Oprah asked Trump in a TV interview if he’d run for president. He said: “If it got so bad, I would never want to rule it out totally, because I really am tired of seeing what’s happening with this country.” That day has come. Trump sees that America is in need and he wants to help – how unthinkable!
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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Donald Trump's road to redemption?

Beginning early in the Republican primaries I began writing critically about Donald Trump, a man driven by too many neuroses for laymen like me to understand or even count. (Hillary Clinton is in the same league.)

Putting aside the important question of what Trump has done (and will do) to the Republican Party and what a Trump or Hillary election victory would mean to our country and other free nations—no small question, but one for another day—I write now about the prognosis for the election itself, and what could be done to avoid what is being seen just over the horizon as political Armageddon

For now, my “could” rests on two premises, both of which are legitimately uncertain. One is that as of today, Trump is going to lose the election (and perhaps lose the House and Senate, too). The other, that somewhere within him he knows it.

What then to do, as he faces this Hobson’s Choice?

He can keep going, and become someone he hates: A loser! No matter how Trump would rationalize his loss—e.g., "the election is rigged, "the establishment was out to get me," "the stupid voters (blacks, Mexicans, Muslims, gays, etc.) didn’t care about Hillary’s lies"—his loss would be a loss would be a loss, forever. And losers are losers are losers.

Or he can quit, and become another type he hates: A quitter! He could rationalize that, too: "People who promised support faded away," "my campaign managers had their own agendas," "the corrupt media didn’t play fair," the Election Commission rigged the debates," "the fix was in for Hillary." But his quitting would be quitting would be quitting, forever. And quitters are quitters are quitters.

Horns of a dilemma? No way out?

Maybe not.

Back to my “could” and the two premises. (1) As of today, Trump is going to lose the election, and Hillary Clinton is our next president and will appoint a Supreme Court that will last for too many years, and (2) in moments of lucidity, Trump (or at least his children) knows that. Now I add a third legitimately uncertain premise: He is just rational enough not to want that to happen.

What to do?

Rule 9 of the Republican National Committee rules provides as follows:

Filling Vacancies in Nominations
(a) The Republican National Committee is hereby authorized and empowered to fill any and all vacancies which may occur by reason of death, declination, or otherwise of the Republican candidate for President of the United States or the Republican
candidate for Vice President of the United States, as nominated by the national convention, or the Republican National Committee may reconvene the national convention for the purpose of filling any such vacancies.(My italics.)

If Trump took the high ground and withdrew from the race in the name of saving the Republican Party, the Presidency and Congress, the Supreme Court, and perhaps even the free world, he would more than redeem himself for what he’s done wrong, and he could build on that beau geste (“a graceful or magnanimous gesture”) to begin rehabilitation of his reputation.

I acknowledge that my three premises are shaky, and without them, well, que cera, cera.

So we’re left with the question: Is Donald Trump made of stronger stuff than what we’ve seen—strong enough at the core of his being to fall on his sword to save his country?