Who Is Donald Trump? The Good, The Bad, The ???? Danger Ahead

First of all, a happy holidays to all of you.  Hope you enjoy the love of family and the kindness of friends.

Secondly, I wish I was writing a post with the following headlines:

TRUMP SURPRISES WITH STRONG, CONSISTENT LEADERSHIP.

TRUMP RALLIES CONGRESS TO PASS MAJOR TAX REFORM PACKAGE.

TRUMP CAMPAIGNS AGAINST HATE AND DIVISION.

TRUMP PRAISES MILITARY – REGRETS SAYING “MY MILITARY.”

TRUMP PROMISES HEALTH CARE FOR ALL.

TRUMP CAMPAIGNS FOR AN END TO SEXUAL HARASSMENT.

TRUMP ANNOUNCES COMMISSION TO STUDY ROOTS OF ETHNIC HATRED.

TRUMP PROMISES FULL TRANSPARENCY AT WHITE HOUSE.

TRUMP TO RELEASE TAX RETURNS.

I’ve been writing news and  analysis for some 59 years, my first being a novice analyst of the Southwest Miami School football team at the age of 14. The team wasn’t great that year,  motivating me to write some challenging stories. I was wrong. Two years later we became an unquestioned power.

My recent analysis has been mostly political, and this year is a boom-time for people who do what I do – analyze the news on a common sense basis , regardless of who might be enlightened or disgusted by it.

It’s all about Trump.

Donald Trump is the most polarizing figure in American Presidential history. His supporters seem to support him with an intensity most invigorating, and his detractors simply can’t mention his name without some form of physical or emotional pain. Why? He has broken every conventional rule of governing, talking big and threatening a big stick, changing his mind so fast it is hard to keep up with his real policies. His supporters  love it. His detractors think he is the doctor of the apocalypse.

Both sides have their points. The President is a braggart, seems unhinged and flouts all elements of class and modesty. He is what I would call a “last person” manager. He makes decisions based on the “last person” he talked to. The defenders love the outrageous nature of Trump, although lately they have been wondering if he really knows what he is going to do next.For example, President Trump switched himself from right field to left field this week, though not completely. He changed his position on China, some trade issues, Fed Chief Janet Yellen who he demonized last year, and he has repudiated his own position against NATO. These are positive signs of flexibility. He still has a major problem, his tweets. He is currently tweeting so dangerously that his words might lead  us into a World War Three scenario. Hopefully my concern about that is an over reaction. But we all know that words can be as dangerous as bullets.

For detractors, there is considerable doubt that he’ll be on the same page next month! For supporters, the rationales keep piling up, but he’s still got most of his base. At the very least, we think he does.

But, like him or not, the fact remains that the President, in power since January 20, has shown his hand.

This is what we know. The President doesn’t have a Presidential style. He rarely smiles. He loves his Florida home, even he is not currently traveling without a national security adviser. He still wants to have a Camelot era with Vladimir Putin, who “appears” to be angry with the USA over the cruise missile attacks. He thinks that he has ALL the power, and is not afraid to stick it to people who can really hurt him. Last week, he publicly humiliated Steve Bannon. Bannon may be a nationalist, but he’s been verbally wounded by his Commander, to whom he has expressed unqualified loyalty.  In a TV interview Trump toyed with FBI Director James Comey, insinuating it is not too late to fire Comey. Now from my vantage point, that is not a message that you send to a guy like Comey, who for better or worse, is a confident, fearless investigator. Yes, it is true. Comey made some big mistakes last year. But now, he is supervising one of the biggest investigations in American history. Dare him to dig deeper, and he will go deeper than that extraordinary bomb we launched last week, the one that may have decapitated ISIS leadership in Afghanistan.

The President is saber rattling with North Korea, which is a threatening bastion of danger.  That may be a good way of scaring the dictator into a big cave somewhere near the Chinese border. I hope it works. Conflict may begin, and we will win, but the dangers to the world are enormous.  North Korea’s army is big but its efficiency level, and equipment, is poor.( South Korea’s munitions and savvy is stronger.) But don’t tell that to the 9.7 million people of Seoul , Korea. The city is just 35 miles from the border with the north. Any prolonged war will be a disaster for Seoul. A heavy, non-nuclear barrage of artillery and rockets can decimate Seoul, even as the effectiveness of the U.S. and South Korea brings the dictator death and destruction. So, again,  those tweets from the President should stop. After all, wasn’t he the one who said he wouldn’t telegraph his war plans?

The President is also at war with the following entities: The Republican Party and elements of the intelligence community and all Democrats. He despises the so called “mainstream media”, including most major newspapers, networks, and web sites. Notable exceptions are Fox News and Breitbart, although if O’Reilly is sacked, the President may be pleading Rachel Maddow to put him on her show. He’s also at war with Muslims, Latinos, and he offers little comfort to the Jewish communities. He fails to connect with African-Americans.  He doesn’t want to abandon his America First” mantra, which is a throwback to the unpatriotic bigots of then 193o’s who wanted to get into bed with Adolph Hitler.

The President has some good ideas. Tax reform is long overdue. Business is the engine that roars the economy.  The infrastructure must be a major project. He needs to review his position on climate change. Health care should be handled before tax reform. Lives are at risk. And showing that he can be flexible will boost his standing, and relieve concerns of the people who are scared to death of his presidency.

But as I’ve said in previous posts, Donald J. Trump must show the nation that he is stable and caring.  If he can’t pivot to that kind of leader, there will be failure, and that failure will trickle down to every community in America.

This is where we stand. Stay informed. Read everything you can get your hands on, or devour on the web. Don’t be left out. The Syria-Korea-Russian triple threat is worthy of your constant attention.

Hope for the best. Let’s make America safe again.

Attack on Syria – Two Day Turnaround in White House Policy

President Trump’s order to attack a major Syrian air base was a dramatic turnaround from a few days earlier. At that time, Defense Chief Rex Tillerson had stated that the removal of Syrian dictator Assad was not a priority for the country.

And then, the attack came. I would guess that watching the video of babies suffocating and dying from poison gas, along with scores of other people, was enough to stun President Trump to take action. At this point, there are several questions: Will the attack speedup the process to get Assad out? How will the Russians react? And what about the rest of the world, most of the nations that turned a blind eye to this genocide?

The apparent destruction of the airbase was a limited use of vast American power, and frugally, the President did not send any Americans in harm’s way. But it was an encouraging sign that Trump was not afraid to admit that the earlier assessment of writing off Syria was wrong. All of us hope the action will save lives.

At the time of the missile barrage, a poll from Quinnipiac University, described by its author as proof of a “downward spiral” in the President’s approval ratings.

It will be interested to see if Americans rally around the decision, or treat it with skepticism. I think they’ll rally as they always have in the initial stages of military engagement.

 

 

A Short Note On An Encounter With The One and Only Don Rickles

Most of the material in this post is about politics. But I can’t escape the passing of Don Rickles, a wonderful talent who made so many people laugh so hard. I had what you might call an encounter with the comic at my 1960 High School senior prom at a hotel in Miami Beach. He was the main event, and he walked through the room, with a “live” microphone , pausing at tables ad making jokes about the people. He arrived at our table, asked me to stand up, put his fingertip on my nose (which is somewhat long) and said simply , “beak”. My table howled and as he left he brushed my curly hair and said, “You’re a man who needs a hair job.” More laughter. Through the years I’ve enjoyed him. Don Rickles, a man who turned insults into laughter! Sadly in our modern political environment, insults are not laughable, but that is for another post coming up shortly.

An Unusual Editorial on Trump. But First, A Real Philadelphia Winner

Before I excerpt one of the most powerful political editorials yet on the Trump presidency, some good news that is a story of victory for one of the most unselfish, talented and decent people  in the modern history of the Philadelphia region. Tonight Dawn Staley  coached her South Carolina team to their first NCAA championship! Dawn is an Olympic Gold Medal Winner, a three time member of a final four team, a former coach at Temple University, the Torch Bearer at the Olympics, and one of the Top 15 greatest WNBA player of all time. But the real story is the example she has set as a mentor, teacher, and advocate for women’s sports  around the country. Over the years, I’ve met Dawn at several public service events. When she speaks she speaks the voice of compassion, humility and giving. She is one of the greats in basketball and entered the Hall of Fame in 2013. Her acceptance speech was amazing. She talked about everyone but herself. Dawn is one of the greatest sports stars in Philadelphia history, She wins and wins, but her greatest accomplishment is the example of winning with humility and respecting her sport and the value of goodness in people.

It all started at Dobbins High school in Philadelphia.

Moving back to Trump World. The Los Angeles Times used to be a conservative newspaper. These days it is more of a middle-of-the road publication. But. either way it goes, the papers editorials are hard hitting. This Sunday, the Times began the first of several editorials on the challenges of Donald Trump. I thought you might either enjoy or rage at it, depending on what you think of the Commander. But it is definitely worth a “look-see” , as John Lennon used to say. Here’s a report on it courtesy of Yahoo.

Since Donald Trump began his stunning ascent from real estate mogul and reality television star to wall-building, Muslim-ban-promising Republican candidate to GOP nominee to president, there have been plenty of piercing editorials about him and his policies.
But perhaps none have been as scathing as the one published Sunday by the Los Angeles Times.
“It was no secret during the campaign that Donald Trump was a narcissist and a demagogue who used fear and dishonesty to appeal to the worst in American voters,” the Times editorial board wrote in the first of a four-part op-ed titled “Our Dishonest President.”
In September, the same editorial board called Trump “unqualified and unsuited to be president” and said his election would be “catastrophic for the nation.”
“Still, nothing prepared us for the magnitude of this train wreck,” the paper said Sunday.
The Times pointed to Trump’s executive order on immigration among “dozens of real-life steps that, if they are not reversed, will rip families apart.”
“But, chilling as they are, these radically wrongheaded policy choices are not, in fact, the most frightening aspect of the Trump presidency,” the Times said. “What is most worrisome about Trump is Trump himself.”
More from the editorial:
 

 

He is a man so unpredictable, so reckless, so petulant, so full of blind self-regard, so untethered to reality that it is impossible to know where his presidency will lead or how much damage he will do to our nation. His obsession with his own fame, wealth and success, his determination to vanquish enemies real and imagined, his craving for adulation — these traits were, of course, at the very heart of his scorched-earth outsider campaign; indeed, some of them helped get him elected. But in a real presidency in which he wields unimaginable power, they are nothing short of disastrous.
 
While Trump’s policies are “variations on classic Republican positions,” the paper argued that they become “dangerous” in the hands of the Donald.
“Many Republicans, for instance, support tighter border security and a tougher response to illegal immigration,” the Times explained, “but Trump’s cockamamie border wall, his impracticable campaign promise to deport all 11 million people living in the country illegally and his blithe disregard for the effect of such proposals on the U.S. relationship with Mexico turn a very bad policy into an appalling one.”
The editorial board said that the four-part series will examine three of the president’s “troubling traits”:
  • “Trump’s shocking lack of respect for those fundamental rules and institutions on which our government is based.”
  • “His utter lack of regard for truth.”
  • “His scary willingness to repeat alt-right conspiracy theories, racist memes and crackpot, out-of-the-mainstream ideas.”
 You can send me your thoughts on Twitter  @larrykane
All points of view are always welcome here.

 

I Have Never Have Seen Anything Like This– Wild Day Ends With Flynn Looking For A Deal

In one 14 hour period, the following has happened.

The New York Times reported that three White House aides gave David Nunes the intelligence information.

Within minutes of that report, the White House suddenly invited congressional intelligence communities to look at (presumably)  the intelligence that Nunes looked at.

Donald Trump fired his Deputy Chief of Staff, presumably over healthcare collapse.

The President declared war on the Freedom Caucus, further escalating conflict in the GOP.

A government expert testifies before Senate committee on how the Russians manipulate the news. It was scary.

and then, the biggest story emerges :  FIRED NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER MICHAEL FLYNN OFFERS TO TESTIFY ON THE RUSSIAN CONNECTION, BUT ONLY WITH IMMUNITY. HIS ATTORNEY SAYS, “HE HAS A STORY TO TELL,” That story broke in the Wall Street Journal.

From the White House to the Capitol, events are developing at a rapid pace.

Standby.