Election Editorial, Part One; Donald Trump

By Patrick Brogan

This will be the last time I will write about Donald J. Trump in the run-up to the next presidential election and it may be the last I ever write about him, for shame. I know everybody is bored of Trumpmania at this stage, but how many times has there been an objective article written about him? Not that many, even from normally reliable sources. The reason is, like his rival, he is a symptom of a deeply divided nation.

Southern Charm

It’s difficult to know where to start with a person that’s led a life like Trump’s, but a reality television show seems perfect. For those of you unaware, “Southern Charm” follows the lives of rich socialites from Charleston, South Carolina. Like most successful reality television, it gives the viewer an opportunity to observe a world and characters they would never experience in real life. Its title is no misnomer, with plenty of colourful people living extraordinary lifestyles but in an almost quaint, Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn sort of way. There’s even a character that winks at the camera. Priceless.

Why mention this show? Well, it’s not L.A. or New York. It’s not New Jersey or Baltimore. Nor is it like other southern states like Georgia or Alabama. Each state has its own unique history and geography and this, in turn, has led to each state having a distinct personality. Most importantly, each state has its own people.

To say the United States is a country is stretching the idea of a country. It is a collection of very different jurisdictions. So a one size fits all approach will inevitably alienate somebody along the way and this is exactly what has happened. Another aspect that makes America different is it was founded on a set of principles, rather than an area on a map or a shared culture. These principles have not always applied to all the people living in the country. Africans, Irish, Italians, Jews and much more have found out the hard way the American Dream is just that and not an American reality.

Along Came Trump

Donald J. Trump has been touted as a potential presidential candidate since the early 80s. A long respected businessman, Trump has had no prior experience as a career politician. So, were ‘the Donald’ to become president it would mean he would have to come in from the outside. There are many that find the idea of an outsider cleaning up the political establishment very appealing. I must admit, I am one of those people.  Not only is this a kind of romantic, Hollywood idea, it also has a practical element. All political campaigns depend upon financing. Many politicians are beholden to those businesses or rich people that financed them when they take office, effectively selling their soul. Trump, with his billions, would not fall into this category.

Indeed, Trump has been linked with the presidency in a number of guises. From running as an independent, as a member of The Reform Party, and of course, his flirtation with the two big parties; the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.

The Republican Party is suffering a bit of an identity crisis. The last Republican commander-in-chief was George W. Bush. His presidential legacy left the world a very unstable place. Barak Obama was elected president on a wave of optimism and the American public were desperate for change. Since then, Obama has taken a lot of would be seen as traits of the Republican Party, like continuing the wars Bush started and creating a few more and fiscal conservatism. As a unit, the Grand Old Party (GOP) was not sure where to turn.

In much the same way Obama inspired a listless American public, Trump did to rank and file Republican supporters. It didn’t matter that the party’s hierarchy repeatedly threw shade at him. In fact, this helped his cause because many were sick of the status quo and Rubio, Bush et al were seen as the continuation of this. And nobody can accuse Donald Trump of being like these careerists.

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How many in the mainstream media see Donald Trump

Trump and the Media

This has been interesting, to say the least. There are three camps when it comes to Trump. The mainstream media, left-wing publications online and right-wing or alt-right as they are sometimes known. The first two are definitely anti-Trump. The third camp is pro-Trump, for reasons we’ll look at a little further on.

Why is most of the mainstream media against Trump? Well, they’re biased. This camp believes Trump is a racist, bigoted, sexist, sexual predator. Indeed, Trump has not helped himself in this regard. When the Republican candidate declares Mexicans are rapists what are the rest of us supposed to think? It is a logical conclusion to come to. If he said some Mexican migrants are criminals and the US must protect itself against such criminality I don’t think any reasonable people would have batted an eyelid. Trump’s comments were the opposite to this. He claimed most were criminals and only some, probably, were good people. To further underline this he told the media that Judge Gonzalo Curiel would be biased against him because he was Mexican. Curiel was born in Indiana has a track record of cracking down on the Mexican cartels, the very people Trump supposedly wants to help protect Americans from.

He has also made a number of disgusting comments about women. There are too many to name, but in case you need a reminder, a number of the lowlights are calling Rosie O’ Donnell “fat” and a “slob”, a teenage beauty pageant contestant “Miss Piggy” and Miss Housekeeping” because she was Latina. Then he asked the question on Twitter, because that’s where all the quality political discourse goes on these days, if Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband how will she do so for the American people.

Understandably, no reasonably minded person wants to see racism in any form. The same applies to sexism, also. But, should the media not be fair and balanced and let the people decide for themselves? A number of people have fallen down in his regard. Although I have criticised him in a previous article for this publication, I have a lot of respect for John Oliver and his show is very impressive. It is well produced, ridiculously well researched and presented in a very approachable and fun manner by Oliver himself. The same goes for Trevor Noah on The Daily Show.  However, they haven’t offered balanced reporting on their shows in relation to this election. They both like to say they are not journalists and are comedians by trade, but if you’re presenting political reports you are a journalist. Satire does blur the line, but it is journalism none-the-less.

The Daily Show et al

The Daily Show even had a segment on how the media covered the election in a biased way without a hint of irony. On Last Week Tonight a couple of weeks back, John Oliver tore strips off the so-called third parties. He laid into Gary Johson of the Libertarian Party and it’s hard to take his candidacy seriously after his Aleppo moment and when he was hard pressed to give an answer in another interview, he quoted the aforementioned Aleppo moment. His proposals aren’t even that libertarian. Any serious Libertarians I spoke to saw him as a laughing stock before this campaign began.

I do take issue with his coverage of Jill Stein, though. Firstly, there is where he berates her for saying quantitative easing is a magic trick that people don’t need to understand. He said people don’t need to understand it, but she does. Clearly, she was being facetious, but her point about it being a magic trick is not far off the mark. Quantitative easing is close to printing your way out of a problem. Quantitative easing is when central banks pump money into the market. It is dangerous because money loses its worth, like in all supply and demand scenarios and many economists believe it is a dangerous way to break out of an economic downturn. It is part of the reason America is in so much debt and it will more than likely come back to haunt it. Her point was if you are going to be so reckless with the economy you might as well do it with something that will yield long-term results, like abolishing student debt.

He also makes the point that the Federal Reserve is separated from the direct influence of the White House and this is a good thing. Really? Is the Federal Reserve not a private bank? If this is the case, is it not detrimental to society that the organisation creating money has no official oversight? I would argue that it is.

He also goes on about her principles without mentioning she was arrested for protesting alongside those at Standing Rock. Surely this is worthy of a mention when what this programme does is mock those that put themselves above all interests. Here is an example of somebody willing to face the consequences of the law in order to protect others’ rights. He also splits hairs on issues Stein brought up about vaccinations and The 9/11 Commission to make a point. Even the families of those that died on 9/11 are deeply suspicious of this commission. The segment can be found here. This is just one show, but there are other examples of where this programme has given favourable coverage towards the Clinton campaign and we know through Wikileaks the media has a very cozy relationship with the Clinton crew.

There are others that I normally have deep respect for that have put their principles aside to favour Clinton. I was really hoping Senator Elizabeth Warren would run for the Democratic nomination. Then I hoped she would be a big part of any potential Bernie Sanders presidency. It was not to be. She is clearly backing the Hillary Clinton camp. A while back on Twitter, yes, Twitter again, she said the system was rigged. Then she criticised Donald Trump on the same platform when he raised the possibility of the election being rigged. Did the DNC not rig the nomination in Hillary’s favour. Was the 2000 presidential election not rigged? The idea of elections being rigged is not so outlandish, especially when the person he is campaigning against has already done so this year. Not some distant time in the past, this year. This year.

It is this inconsistency and double standards that are driving people mad. How can people trust in the media when they are willing to lie, or at the very least frame the stories in such a way that is favourable to one candidate over the other? They can’t and won’t. This artificially created division is no different from what Trump is doing along the lines of race and sex.

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Grab Them by the What?

My views, probably unsurprisingly, are a bit different from the media take on Trump’s infamous “grab them by the pussy” remarks. What did he actually say? “And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” I will bring your attention to the word let. Let infers consent. If you are famous, women find you desirable being the gist. Also, men do talk about women in this way. I’m not condoning “locker-room talk”, but I have been in situations like this many, many times where men spoke about women in demeaning ways and it never led to rape. What I’m getting at is what he says here is not necessarily a promotion of rape.

If you’re reading this and looking at the meme and thinking I don’t take sexual assault seriously, you couldn’t be further from the truth. The picture is a parody of the media response, by the way.

All allegations of sexual assault and harassment should be taken seriously. That’s why I will now write about Donald Trump. We can expand this to sexual misconduct. In the aftermath of the Billy Bush tape debacle, another video emerged of Trump saying he would date a female in ten years time. The girl in question was ten-years-old. Now, I’m not sure there is any legal issue here or not, but it is morally wrong and very unpresidential. It’s a little like the weird shit he says about his daughter. The CBS reporter covering the story made an interesting point. Major Garrett, real name, said that the Trump campaigners clearly didn’t do the required background work to ensure these stories didn’t break or, if they did, they would have a response ready. Team Trump did neither. He can’t be so sloppy if elected president. The link is here.

This probably could be put down to turn of phrase or just bad judgment if you were trying to defend him or just give him the benefit of the doubt. However, there are other stories that are much more serious if true. Firstly, there is an incident going back to his first marriage. Author Harry Hurt III, real name, wrote a book called “Lost Tycoon; The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump” that was published in 1993. In it, Hurt writes about an incident in which Ivana Trump said Donald came home one night after getting scalp surgery, then pulled out her hair and raped her. Since then, she said he didn’t rape her in the criminal sense. So, he must have raped her in the non-criminal sense, whatever that is. The story is given credence by the fact that Hurt took the story from evidence she gave in an indictment. In other words, she was under oath. Michael Cohen, one of Trump’s aides, said you can’t rape your spouse. He is the same aide that said there was an African-American problem in the US. Far from enlightened.

Teenage Rape

Then there is the worst of all, and the mainstream media is strangely silent on this one.  This is the case of a then 13-year-old girl that had three sexual encounters with Trump and then was raped and beaten. She even has a witness who corroborates her story. Her witness was a party organiser for Jeffrey Epstein. She claims she found young girls for his parties with promises of career prospects and money. Jeffrey Epstein has friends in high places. One woman who came forward believes the FBI may have covered up evidence. Jeffrey and Prince Andrew are both accused of sexual abusing young girls and Epstein has been convicted of doing so.

Another story that came to light involving Epstein was a high profile politician had taken Epstein’s private jet, the “Lolita Express”, a number of times. The jet is named after the character from Nabokov’s novel of the same name in which a middle-aged man falls in love with his 12-year-old stepdaughter. The politician? Bill Clinton. He was on this jet 26 times, sometimes without the secret service. I’m not suggesting for a moment that these Trump allegations are not being mentioned in the media because it links directly to Bill Clinton. Actually, that is what I’m saying.

One interview perfectly shows the divide between left and right media sources. Newt Gingrich was being interviewed by Megyn Kelly of Fox News. Gingrich completely lost it. The left looked at it and thought he has snapped, Kelly broke him. The right looked at it and thought good on you, Newt, let her have it. When Kelly brought up the allegations of Trump being a sexual predator, Gingrich got annoyed and said why don’t you call Bill Clinton a sexual predator. Which is correct. She should have. Based on the same criteria of Trump being a sexual predator, Clinton is too. Kelly is another journalist I respect a lot. I think she handled Trump’s disgusting comments about her with poise and professionalism. But she should have brought up the allegations of the 13-year-old being raped if the grab them by the pussy remarks are fair game.

I’m not suggesting for a moment that Donald Trump is guilty of any of these charges, but there is inconsistency in how they are reported. The least serious is the one that is always in the news rounds. It’s not because of any legal issues either, because he has been repeatedly labeled a sexual predator over his comments to Billy Bush, and yet, actual evidence of him being a rapist and paedophile are out there. This, of course, can be disputed by Trump, but when has the media done anything other than devour and regurgitate salacious gossip?

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Is ‘the Donald’ a liar?

Why He Shouldn’t be Allowed to Run

The media has enough ammunition on Trump, but it constantly trips itself up over non-stories. If you want a really good reason why nobody should vote for Trump and why he should be in prison it is this; the Trump University. And the Trump Foundation. These are not mentioned nearly as much as they should be. Trump has 75 pending lawsuits against him, many relate to his university. Trump University was set up in 2005 as a non-profit organisation. Numerous people have filed complaints saying that they were misled and sold services on false promises. Despite claiming to offer degrees and post-graduate programmes, it was basically Trump giving seminars on his business secrets and he rarely attended.

Actually, he never attended. This is taken from a The New Yorker article; “In fact, Trump hadn’t handpicked the instructors, and he didn’t attend the three-day seminars. Moreover, the complaint said, “no specific Donald Trump techniques or strategies were taught during the seminars, Donald Trump ‘never’ reviewed any of Trump University’s curricula or programming materials, nor did he review any of the content for the free seminars or the three day seminars.”

So what were the attendees taught? According to the complaint, “the contents and material presented by Trump University were developed in large part by a third-party company that creates and develops materials for an array of motivational speakers and Seminar and timeshare rental companies.” The closest that the attendees at the seminars got to Trump was when they were encouraged to have their picture taken with a life-size photo of him.” That’s why Ronald Schnackenberg, a former Trump University employee said; ” “while Trump University claimed it wanted to help consumers make money in real estate, in fact Trump University was only interested in selling every person the most expensive seminars they possibly could.” The affidavit concludes, “Based upon my personal experience and employment, I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme, and that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.”” So any idea that Trump will help average struggling Americans is bullshit. He has preyed on these people his entire career. If you would like to read the entire article it can be found here because I don’t have the time to go through the numerous shady things he did in relation to the university.

It doesn’t end there, though. Trump, the gift that keeps on giving. Pam Bondi was given a substantial political contribution when she was running to be re-elected as the Attorney General of Florida back in 2013. $25,000 to be exact. The contributor wasn’t even Trump himself, but his Trump Foundation, which according to the IRS is prohibited from giving political donations.  Mysteriously, Bondi dropped charges relating to Trump University and how it ripped off a number of Floridians. A classic bribe. The plot thickens because it turns out Bondi and Trump go way back and she was a high-profile supporter when he announced his candidacy.

To sum up, Trump helped set up a fake university which ripped off thousands of hard-working Americans that wanted to better themselves. Then Trump took money, given by people believing it was for charitable purposes, from the Trump Foundation, to pay the Attorney General of Florida not to investigate those charges against Trump University. Fraud and bribery.

If This Is True, Why Is He So Popular?

The Springboks

The Springboks of South Africa, you’ve come this far, just bear with me a little longer, along with the All Blacks, are the great test match side in rugby union. The sport has a long and glorious tradition in the country. Even after being ousted from the sporting world for a number of years because of apartheid, the Boks dusted themselves off and went on to win the World Cup and created one of the most iconic moments in sport along the way when Nelson Mandela handed over the William Webb Ellis trophy wearing the famous green jersey of the Springboks.

If you watched the film “Invictus” you’ll know some of the context behind this gesture. When Mandela was imprisoned, he realised from looking at the white jailers on Robben Island what rugby meant to the Afrikaner population. When he became president a few years after his release, he used rugby as a tool to get the white people on board. Some have said it was a political stunt, but I think it was more humanist than that. Mandela used the Bok jersey to show white South Africa they had nothing to fear in the new Rainbow nation and that black South Africans are not that different.

Fast forward to today. Although South Africa came closest to toppling eventual winners New Zealand in last year’s world cup, the game is a sad state of affairs these days in the Republic. They suffered their first ever home defeat against Ireland earlier this year and had a record defeat against the All Blacks more recently. What has happened?

A quota system has been introduced in South African sports. Half the rugby squad has to be black or coloured by the next world cup in 2019. So white players find themselves out of the squad and inferior black players are being brought in on racial grounds. How is this different from the institutional racism Mandela and many others fought so hard to abolish? It’s not. Sport is usually a merit-based system. The South African government has turned that on its head. The impact of this is very clear on the rugby pitch. And the fear other teams had when looking across at the Springboks is dissipating. Now teams see a giant laid low by the pencil pushers in Pretoria.

This level of over the top the top political correctness is infuriating. Although I agree people walking down the street should be free from the abuse of being called nigger or paki, South Africa has gone too far the other way. The black population in South Africa associates itself more with football, so why not let the whites have rugby and cricket? It’s just visual aesthetics. It is not uncommon for sports to be nearly totally depended on one demographic. Rugby in this country for a long time was the domain of certain universities and a few parts of Limerick.

The rejection of PC culture has become quite prevalent in parts of America. This is a huge reason why Trump has such big support. The life expectancy of white middle-class America has undergone a serious decline in the last 20 years. Meanwhile, these same people are looking at Black Lives Matter protests and analysts talking about black issues. I do agree this should be the case. Black people, in particular young men, have legitimate fears of walking down the street and being shot dead for virtually no reason other than their skin colour. But, do white people not have a reason for their anxiety, too? Yes, and it is not being addressed. When black and white interest groups realise they have a common enemy is the day we’ll see real change.

The Establishment

And this is the enemy. For too long, Americans of all colours and creeds have been screwed by ‘The Man’. The reason the establishment has got away with it for so long is it successfully got other factions to blame each for their woes. Donald Trump is no different in this regard. He has managed to get the angry white population on his side by pointing to Mexicans, We’re going to build a wall. Huge. The Chinese. We are getting ripped off on trade with the Chinese because of our stupid politicians. Black people with his stop and frisk policy. The list is endless.

I won’t go into Hillary Clinton in too much detail because I’m working on an editorial on her too. Hillary Clinton is seen as the embodiment of the establishment, though. The same establishment that would rather bailout the banks rather than its own people. The same establishment that would rather bomb the shit out of poorer nations than spent money on healthcare. The same establishment that allows companies pump toxic chemicals into its products without offering any protection to its citizens. Clinton is now the face of these policies. She is both distrusted and hated.

It is quite clear the media is on her side. The Wikileaks emails are very clear on this. Trump’s supporters already hate the media. So, when the biased media goes on about Trump’s latest scandals, it only hardens their position and makes them hate the media even more. These are a group of people lied to so many times that when the truth is occasionally exposed it is not believed. To Trump supporters, everything out of the mainstream media is Hillary talking and is therefore a lie.

The Puritans

Many white people are afraid of immigrants because it harks back to when the first colonialists arrived. The British people that first arrived on the continent were by and large religious fundamentalists that had no time for anyone that wasn’t part of their cult. This was especially applicable to the native so-called Indians. The fact that they are still referred to as Indians is hugely disrespectful to both the native Americans and people from India. It basically says, it doesn’t matter what you are, you’re not white.

The original inhabitants were driven off their land. Even to this day, it’s still happening at Standing Rock. It’s always been in the mindset of white Americans that anyone foreign arriving is going to try take over the land because that is exactly what their ancestors did. This is an element of its past that white American society has never come to terms with. It applies to the African and Latino populations, too. They are useful when they’re subservient, but don’t go try bettering yourselves. Everything is threatening. A perfect audience for Trump.

This behaviour is driven by pure paranoia. Think back to the ‘red scare’ and the commies being under the bed in the fifties. It’s the Arabs now. The Spanish in the late 20th century. There is always a ready-made enemy.

Trump is a germophobe. This appeals to the Puritan nature because he is going to cleanse the land of its sickness. Trump’s rise to power has been compared to Hilter’s. Hitler was a germophobe also. He saw the Jews as vermin and tried to eradicate them from the Fatherland. He also blamed them for Germany’s economic woes. Is all this sounding slightly familiar?

Christian Fundamentalists

George Bush talked about manifest destiny, an idea from the 19th century that American expansionism is not only justified but God’s Will. The US is not mentioned in the bible. But, there are those that fantasise it is so. Recently, I was watching a documentary of an American reading scripture. He interprets New Babylon as a direct translation for America. Then there was Joesph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. He said after the resurrection, Jesus went to America, converted the natives to Christianity, who then became white. There were no white native Americans because the heathen ‘red’ natives killed them. Whiteness represents pureness and cleanliness in these peoples’ eyes. Being any other colour represents filthiness and impurity. They create this myth of America always being Christian and white. This justifies abhorrent racism.

Nationalism

I think it’s fair to say that there is nothing wrong with being proud of your national traditions. It can be a great way of bonding people together. However, nationalism can be dangerous because too often it is viewed as my country is better than yours. The playground that is the world. It is this form of triumphalism that Trump taps into.

His rallies attest to this. There are many Nazi rally overtones. Infowars has declared itself on the side of Trump. They recently posted up a video of a number of Clinton supporters attacking what appears to be an elderly black Trump supporter. This is deplorable behaviour. Then they give examples of black people being ostracised for supporting Trump. However, what Infowars is not pointing out is that there are numerous examples of  white Trump supporters attacking Black and Latino Trump supporters because of their ethnicity. Indeed, he has even promoted violence at his rallies.

Upbringing

Much has been made of Trump’s privileged upbringing and the “small loan” of a million dollars he received. His father also gave him something else. The ideology of a dog-eat-dog world. A world where people are just seen as commodities. His brother understandably struggled under these toxic conditions and later took his own life through alcoholism. Donald thrived. Then he took this mindset out into the world. His primary driving force is his anger. Many find these qualities attractive in a leader.

He views America as an economy, with its citizens being employees. This approach will fail any nation, but especially one as complex and diverse as the United States. He may stoke up anger in others and capitalise on this, but ultimately it will be a blight on the American people.

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To Sum Up

Although there are many issues in America, Donald Trump is not the man to correct these. Donald Trump is not the man to heal the divisions, in fact, he would only widen the rift. Donald Trump is a man driven by anger and a need to dominate others. There is nothing I can point to that indicates he was putting someone else’s interests above his own. His business acumen may not be as good as we were led to believe. Declaring his tax returns would clear this up. On the point of his tax returns, saying he is smart because he doesn’t pay tax will further erode the trust between ordinary citizens and officialdom.

Everything points to him making American society worse, rather than better. The reason he still has a chance is because his opponent is the same. There’s a reason he can refer to her as crooked Hillary with little backlash. One good point is this; he may actually improve relations with Russia. When Clinton constantly accuses the Russians of hacking the DNC emails without offering any evidence it is deepening the tension between the world’s two biggest military powers.

The media, in trying to vilify Trump have made his supporters more ardent. They crucify him on non-issues and let more serious issues slip because it will taint the Clinton campaign in some way or else contradict their neo-conservative agenda.

Ultimately, he is a more complex figure than portrayed in the media. (Isn’t it always the way?) Capable of great humour and spontaneity, but the negative elements of his character are far worse than reported. Although his opponent is reviled by many in the American public, the perception of him is at best equal and for the most part worse. He simply should not be president and nowhere near a position to run for that office. The fact he got this far is as clear an illustration that America is no longer in decline but in decay. God Bless America, indeed.

 

If you want to read our upcoming editorial on Hillary Clinton, you can stay tuned in through;

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