And the Oscar for Best Actor Goes to….Donald Trump

simpsonstrumpFor his stunning performance during the 2016 US presidential election. Trump’s mesmerizing performance stunned critics and kept audiences at the edge of their seats, not knowing what drama each consecutive scene would bring. Trump played the part candidly, reaching into the depths of his psyche and drawing on his life experience that showcases his der Wille zur Macht – his will to power. His co-star, Hillary Clinton, provided a perfect foil to Trump’s performance, providing ample opportunity for Trump to showcase his uncanny ability to play the buffoon, the bigot, the misogynist, the tycoon, the spoiled brat, the one-percent superhero, the brash loudmouth, the unscripted candidate, the Republican nominee, the bane of Hillary Clinton’s existence for the past year, and the media’s antichrist. Lon Chaney, the man of a thousand faces, could not have had more characters on the go than Trump 2016. Congratulations, Mr. Trump.

* * *

Or so we hope it was all just a performance.

I’ve had many a conversation with friends and strangers about the success of Donald Trump in winning the 2016 US presidential election. I predicted this outcome from the get-go, as the media sorely underestimated the disgruntlement of the American public with the established political system. Not only should have Brexit been a harbinger of things to come for the United States, but the rise in nationalist parties in Europe over the past decade. There is something terribly ill in society if a presidential candidate fuels their candidacy on populist rhetoric that belongs in the nineteenth century, not in the twenty-first. Both the Republican and Democrat parties should have a good long study of the current pulse of American society, and then regroup in four years, but that is for another blog.

The will of the people is shown, through a transparent and honest democratic process. Whatever one may think of Trump, those thoughts, should they be negative, should be put aside, and the man be given a chance to actually lead. I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt that his deplorable campaign was run in the manner in which it had been, that is to say that every other day seemed to bring it and its candidate to a new low, purely to get votes. And that behind all the horrible statements made by, and revelations made about, Trump, there lies a rational and intelligent individual who does actually care for his country and all of its people. He needs to be given a chance.

I’ve had people argue with me that they owe him nothing, because his actions and words during the past year and a half have been so despicable. But then those individuals are as close-minded as the millions of “deplorables” who voted Trump in (please note that I do not actually think anyone who exercises their democratic right to vote is ‘deplorable;’ I use this word facetiously, as so many Clinton-anti-Trump supporters seem to actually think that Trump’s only supporters white supremacists).

I might not be Trump’s biggest fan, or a fan at all, but I do think he may yet prove himself. I have to hope this at least, because he’s in it for the long haul, whether you like it or not. Rather than moping about how terrible it is that Trump is going to be the next president of the United States of America, please keep an open mind and see what he’ll do in the first few months of his presidency. It already sounds like he’s back peddling on removing Obamacare and the great wall of Mexico, so lets hope that he back peddles on so many of his populist ideas that he spouted in recent months. You have to hope, and if he does end up being as horrible and ignorant as he was during the campaign, then the US can vote him out in the next election. Also, keep in mind that because he is such a polarizing figure at the moment, that the scrutiny under which he will be living the next four years will not just be at the microscopic level, but at the subatomic.

And there is one positive: hopefully four years of Alec Baldwin as Trump on SNL.

Clinton Vs. Trump Round 1

2016 US presidential election, Hilary Clinton, Donald Trump

Were it only this civil during the debate.

My snaps of the debate, in chronological order (he = Trump, she = Clinton):

Excellent debate, and he’s actually doing a decent job….he’s reigned back the populism finally.

Moderator can’t control either.

Now he’s spouting empty phrases and she’s speaking in generalities. They both really are terrible.

Now the IRS issue has come up. He’s still evading the issue of releasing his taxes. He’s saying that if she releases her 30,000 emails then he’ll release his income tax statements. He’s brought up the email issue.

He has brought up a good point about the US being a debtor nation.

She’s just retaliated with an attack on his business record, as he’s indicated that his main qualifier as president is his business record.

Trump: “I take advantage of the laws of the nation.”

Race is now being debated.

Trump: gang members are illegal immigrants.

Clinton: the criminal justice system needs to be reformed.

Both agree that there needs to be a better relationship between the community and police.

Trump is claims that the birth certificate issue was resolved by him. He’s avoiding the point that he still denied, for 5 years, the fact that Obama released his birth certificate and made the issue moot.

Now onto cyber warfare.

He just called Clinton a political hack. He’s insinuating that cyber warfare is the fault of the current administration. We need to do ‘cyber’ better, apparently.

He’s made a good point about NATO countries not putting enough money/resources into that organization. He’s now denying that he was against the Iraq invasion.

She is so strong on national security issues. This area is her strength and it must be her passion as well, as she’s just gone electric in speaking to this topic. Her knowledge and experience are beautifully showcased here.

Trump is saying that China should take care of the North Korea issue. He’s attacking the Iran nuclear deal. They both agree that nuclear weapons are the most pressing and dangerous issue of the day.

My 97 year-old grandmother interjects at this point: “It looks like she has more makeup on her right cheek than on her left.” “I think it’s the lighting, Babcia.” and that’s probably what most of the hoi polloi are thinking too, as they flip through the news channels airing the debate.

Trump: “We cannot be the policemen of the world.”

He seems to think that he is the one who would be negotiating trade deals and the like. President rarely does the actual negotiating. He really doesn’t know how government works.

Moderator really isn’t strong enough to reign the candidates back.

Trump did say that he’s support Clinton if she won.

And that’s all folks. Draw your own conclusions; I’ve tried to present mostly objective bits and a couple of personal insights. Who won the debate, you ask? If you are a Trump supporter, Trump won. If you are a Clinton supporter, Clinton won.

Unfortunate Choice of Words or Purposefully Punny?

In a fit of protest against Donald Trump, a statue of the Republican presidential candidate, in his best birthday suit, was placed in New York City’s Union Square, to which the New York City parks department spokesperson noted:

“NYC Parks stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small.”

And here I thought the residents of the Big Apple were ardent Trump supporters. I just wish that they had kept the statue up longer so that the pigeons had a chance to roost on his shoulders and demonstrate their two cents. 

Meanwhile in the Rest of the World…

earth bombTurkey’s President Erdogan just publicly endorsed the death penalty in front of a crowd of more than 1 million supporters. I wonder where Turkey’s moderates are cowering? Any chance of joining the EU is about to get nixed if Turkey decides to take this tremendous step backwards, and Turkey will join the ranks of dodgy two-bit banana “republics” where human rights are mixed in with manure to fertilize local fields.

The migrant crisis might resurface (did it ever really go away? It really was just swept under a Turkish rug and now someone is about to trip over that lump in the carpet), and moderate Turks might join the ranks of those trying to escape oppressive regimes. Turkey is on a dark precipice and I really hope that some sort of reason and rationality reign in the near future.

China is attempting (and successfully at that) to destabilize the South China Seas by deploying its air force to do maneuvers and patrols around the Spratlys and the Scarborough Shoal. Local countries are protesting to no avail, and really, those islands might as well belong to China at this point as they’ve not only cocked a leg and sprayed the post, but buried a bone at the base. Unless someone grows a set, there is no chance that China will back down on its expensive land reclamation projects in that hotly contested area.

The UN’s two-bit court ruling that China is in the wrong and that the Philippines are in the right over the disputed area is really just another unfortunate example of how ineffectual the UN really is. The UN only works best in third world countries, and not when dealing with first world countries with power, ego, and eyes towards a very different world order than the one we currently enjoy.

China then flexed another muscle, this time in the face of South Korea, chastising the South Korean President Park for joining the US’s THAAD anti-missile system as conspiring to strengthen the US presence in Asia against China. The THAAD system was really put in place to keep the North Koreans in check (again, these systems are only as good as the powers backing them are willing to initiate the systems), and yes, there is likely some truth to China’s accusation. Yet it’s not like the American presence in east Asia is new; the Americans have always been the schoolyard monitor in that playground. What is troubling is how China is really trying to reassert its imperial dominance in that region, and going about it like a schoolyard bully trying to own the playground. The question is whether the monitor is willing to actually enforce the schoolyard rules.

And then we have the US, with the focus of all eyes on the battle of faux pas, blunders, policies, hair styles/pieces, and wits (or lack thereof) between Trump and Clinton. It’s like a train wreck that you can’t take your eyes off of, because the collateral damage from that accident is going to be the political equivalent of the Lac Megantic tragedy. And as those two trains hurtle towards each other, rest of the world is going to hell in a handbasket.



Who, on Earth, is Voting for Trump

Trump FaceI suppose in a continuation of my last post, emasculated white America’s men pining for a “strong man” by which to redeem their identity, I need to further explore, as many people are doing, why there even exists an appeal in backing Trump as the next US president. I have resigned myself to the fact that there is a good chance that he will win, and that America will inherit their ‘Made in the USA’ version of Silvio Berlusconi, scandals, corruption, and all. But why?

I spoke with a friend down in the States recently, and delicately put the question to him, “who would you vote for, Clinton or Trump?”

He answered, “Trump.”

The first thing that raced through my mind, upon hearing this shocking admittance, was whether to unfriend him on Facebook (yes, I know, the latter statement is an issue up for discussion in and of itself, but for another time). The next thought was, why? So I asked him that very question.

His answer, in a nutshell, was that the Middle East is a political hot spot right now, and that the leadership (and populations there) would never sit down at the table with a woman. Honestly, that was his main reason for supporting Trump. He said that he wasn’t a fan of Trumps and, having to choose between what he perceives as the lesser of two evils, opts for Trump on the gender issue.

America, simply put, is not ready for a female president.

I find this conclusion somewhat troubling, as it seems even third world countries seem capable of putting gender differences aside when it comes to female leaders, such as Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Even notoriously misogynistic societies such those found in Pakistan somehow were able to elect Benazir Bhutto. America is still years away from being able to vote in a woman into the main seat in the oval office.

I know that I’m simplifying a very complex issue, and there are very many facets to the Trump supporter, but I think at it’s core, it’s a matter of gender, unfortunately.

Inadvertent Street Cred to Trump

Donald TrumpI thought myself very clever the other day, as I thought that the rise in temperatures this year, allegedly making 2015 the hottest on record, coincided with the hot air being spewed by Donald Trump this year, during his campaign for the mastery of the Republican party. I’m sure lots of other people have drawn the same analogy.

It’s been interesting reading the myriad assortment of opinions about Trump’s recent comments about proposing to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. This proposal is just another populist statement that, unfortunately, echoes a minority percentage of American sentiment on the matter. The minority, is still several million, by all accounts, but it is still a minority (for more info, see this study from Brookings). This statement is a perfect example of Trump’s rhetoric: he grabs onto populist notions that delve deep into the American psyche with the affinity of a leech for blood, and nary a cigarette will burn him off his prey.

His sycophants love him. Of course they would: he seemingly validates their deep dark secret thoughts that are only spoken of in like-minded company or not at all, because these opinions are often neither constitutional, respectful, or thoughtful. These opinions are formed in ignorance of the unknown, without caring to seek out truth or understanding. Trump is drawn to these kinds of fringe ideas like a fly to, well, you know what.

Any educated individual knows to dismiss Trump’s rants as hot air, and certainly leaders around the globe, no less, and journalists aplenty are all up in arms at how someone in a position of power – in which Trump certainly is – can spout such gibberish and still get away with it. Certainly Trump is not representative of the American people. Obama is right now, thankfully. And I really hope that Trump never advances past the primaries.

The problem is that the media keeps covering the drivel shoveled out by Trump. By giving him air time, all the media is doing is serving Trump’s interests in stirring up the voting population, in polarizing voters, and in getting mentioned more often than other candidates. It’s a calculated move to keep his name in people’s minds. I’d hazard a guess that Trump pulls doozies out the back pocket every time he seems to be slipping in the polls in order to try to make some additional percentage points with fence-sitting voters who harbour dark thoughts.

The best way to keep Trump down is to not pander to his interests and to not give him the air time, let alone the time of day. It would be best to just stop covering him and his campaign any more than is allocated to any other candidate, and, when he does spout of something that is so profoundly anti-American in its sentiment as to potentially escalate a conflict somewhere else in the world, then don’t report out on it, or perhaps just give it the smallest mention possible, so that he fades into the background like he should.

He is not a serious presidential candidate, nor should he ever have been provide the opportunity to become one via leadership of the GOP. However, because we all live in a democratic society, we have to take the good and the bad, and even halfwits are given the opportunity to grandstand; I have to respect that.

What I do encourage, however, is for the media to stop providing credibility to Trump by reducing their coverage of him and his antics, and let the serious candidates go about their business of formulating well-thought out and solid policies that will help shape America, and the rest of the world (as we are all impacted by what happens in the States), and let voters decide as such. It’s time to take back Trump’s street creds and give them to those who actually give a damn about the state of their country, and all the people within it.