I’m known for my rants, and with the current occupant of the White house upping the ante pretty much daily, I’ve been ranting a blue streak lately. Way back before the election a dear friend, being told by family that Trump was clearly the way to go, much better than that awful Hillary, emailed me for my opinion. As you can imagine, I wanted to put my head through a plate glass window, such was my despair. Instead I gathered my wits about me and replied, demonstrating, I think, admirable restraint and even-handedness, as is my wont:
[X], I shall have to run to your rescue. You mustn’t let anyone convince you of such nonsense.
Donald Trump is a huckster with no particular philosophy, who’ll say whatever he thinks will rouse the rabble to vote for him, usually without thinking about it. The word most often used to describe him is “demagogue”, which simply means an unscrupulous liar who appeals to emotion rather than reason in whipping the gullible electorate into a frenzy (the term is based on the Greek for “people’s leader”). Think Mussolini. His kind is common in the third world, and in totalitarian countries, and Trump’s expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin, the Russian tyrant, should come as no surprise. Here are some highlights:
- The fact-checking organization Politifact rates him is the most untruthful politician in recent history, and most of what he says is purely bullshit:
- Like: he claims Obama is letting in hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern immigrants without any vetting, exposing America to terrorist infiltration. In fact, only a few thousand are being admitted, and it takes as much as two years of comprehensive vetting by a host of UN and US agencies to enter the US.
- He claims he can deport 11 million Hispanics that reside illegally within the US – practically speaking, impossible, and also ruinous to the US economy, which thrives on the cheap labour. And we’ll leave aside that millions of hard-working young people determined to improve their lives are not a problem, but an opportunity, something even George W. Bush appreciated.
- He claims “thousands” of US citizens of Arabic descent stood and cheered the collapse of the World Trade Centre towers from the New Jersey Shore on 9/11, an outright lie – no such thing, not a single cheer from a single person, was ever uttered.
- He claims he can tear up international trade agreements like NAFTA and force US companies to bring manufacturing home, which is crazy – it could start an economically disastrous trade war, and drive the price of consumer goods through the roof. This stance also ignores the reliance of American industry on supply chains that stretch into Canada and Mexico.
- He claims he can build a 30-50 foot wall across the entire border with Mexico, and force Mexico to pay for it. The former is a near logistical impossibility, the latter simply absurd, and before he touts the usefulness of such a wall in keeping out immigrants, he should consider how Mexican drug lords routinely tunnel out of prison, and into the US.
- He claims Mexico is “sending” America their rapists and murderers, just to get rid of them, which is a filthy lie, since (a) no one in authority is “sending” anyone, they just come, and (b) immigrants, including illegal Hispanic ones, commit far fewer crimes than natural born Americans.
- He advocates that Japan, South Korea and even Saudi Arabia acquire nuclear weapons, when US and western policy has wisely pursued non-proliferation for decades, and this would undermine a cornerstone of that effort, the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Pact – and does anyone think there would be any appetite in Japan, the only nation to ever suffer atomic attack, for the acquisition of nuclear weapons?
- He promises huge tax cuts for an already bloated upper class, without admitting any budgetary impact would result.
- He favours a ban on abortion, and is willing to endorse his Party’s policy that this is with no exceptions even for rape, incest or health grounds – and proposes criminal sanctions to enforce this.
- He is now the nominee of a party whose official platform opposes gay marriage, seeks that the Bible be mandatory teaching in schools (ignoring the constitutional ban on uniting church and state), advocates that political decisions be based on Christian teachings (ditto), and generally adopts policies that nobody in the Taliban could object to, or do much to augment. Read it and weep:
- He’s a craven bully, whose favourite tactic is to coin an insulting nickname – “Lyin’ Ted”, “Little Marco”, Crooked Hillary” and the like – as if he’s a fourth grader in the schoolyard.
- Indeed, it’s reckoned he has a grade four vocabulary, and almost never speaks in complete sentences. When he does speak, it’s about himself. He talked about himself for a half hour on stage when introducing his vice-presidential running mate, and then left the stage when the man, a dullard governor named Pence, took the podium, an appalling act of self-centred contempt.
- If asked how he intends to accomplish any of his objectives, his typical answers are “Trust me, it will be great”, “I’m the best negotiator on earth”, “It will be huge, believe me” – because he actually has no specific ideas on what would be required to achieve anything.
- He has intimated that he might withdraw the US from organizations like NATO, a geopolitical horror story of an idea.
- He incites violence at his rallies, telling supporters to beat the crap out of protesters, and promising to pay any legal bills that result (a promise he would certainly break).
- He is a known fraud, and despite all his crowing, nearly every business venture he has been involved in has folded, while many resulted in bankruptcy, (at least four so far, or is it five?). He is constantly fending off a slew of bilked purchasers and unpaid creditors who have launched hundreds, nay thousands, of lawsuits. He only made money during the insane 1980s real estate boom, when anybody with the cash on hand to buy buildings could turn a handsome profit without really doing anything more than “flip” properties, and he won’t release his tax returns – the first candidate in decades to refuse to do so – probably because he isn’t actually a billionaire as he claims, and he also doesn’t want the public to know how little he manages to pay in taxes, and how much of his empire is tied financially to Russian oligarchs. It’s reckoned that if he had taken his huge inheritance and simply dumped it in an indexed mutual fund, he’d have more money than he actually does today – he is, truly and thoroughly, an incompetent businessman.
- He’s a “birther”, one of the nuts – the arch-nut, really – who believes Obama was born in Kenya and is thus not eligible to be President, and claimed for years to have the proof of it, which of course he did not, this being just another filthy racist lie.
- When asked recently about the looming vote in the UK to leave the EU – the “Brexit” – he stammered out a non-response that made it obvious he had no idea what the interviewer was talking about.
- In one of the debates, it was clear he had no idea what was meant by “Nuclear Triad”. Probably you don’t either, but then, you aren’t running for President, have no aspiration to have access to the nuclear launch codes, and have no reason to know that “Triad” refers to the three delivery systems for atomic weapons – bombers, land-based missiles, and submarine-launched missiles – that are at the heart of America’s nuclear deterrent. Were you in the running for Commander In Chief of the US Armed Forces, I’d insist that you knew that.
- He’s also a fragile egomaniac and a narcissist, and engages in twitter wars, some of which have lasted years, in response to the merest slight.
- He has obvious contempt for women, referring to them variously as “pigs”, “disgusting” and apt to be “bleeding out of their whatever”.
- He’s obviously spectacularly ill-informed on every imaginable subject, incapable of giving factual responses to simple questions about anything, even the proposed policies posted by his own staffers on his website (which he clearly hasn’t read), and when asked which advisors he listens to, stated “I listen to me, because I have an excellent mind”. I suspect he’d stammer “A terrific number, really great” if you asked him how many legs you would count on the typical horse.
- As if trying to fulfil a comedian’s fondest wish, he just claimed that one of his great gifts is humility – that’s right, he actually bragged about being humble.
Donald Trump is, in short, the saddest, sickest, dumbest and most dangerous candidate ever to stand for president, and, I’d argue, ever to run for high office anywhere in the Western World, or at least since the run-up to WW II. He only has a chance because people dislike Hillary so much, and people dislike Hillary in part because she’s a competent woman (an unpardonable sin), and in part because decades of horrific and generally unsubstantiated attacks have made her paranoid, and she lies quite a bit to cover up things like breaking email protocols, which I’d wager she does because she’s afraid what Congress will do if they get their hands on the correspondence; it’s wrong, she shouldn’t do it, but she’s not wrong about what the lying bastards in the Republican Party will do to twist things. They put her through years of investigation and public grilling over a security failure in Benghazi, Libya, when a militant attack on the US consulate there got a couple of people killed, including a well-admired diplomat. A fuck-up? Sure. It happens. A crime? Oh come on. Yet over the past few nights at the convention, Republican speakers have accused her of murder, and said she should be imprisoned. This from the same group of yahoos, mind you, who think Ronald Reagan was a saint who could do no wrong, even though on his watch 241 Marines were blown up by terrorists during a disastrous intervention in Lebanon, and claim George W. Bush kept us safe, even though 9/11 happened on his watch while he ignored urgent warnings like a security briefing titled “Al Qaeda Determined to Attack US”. They rate a security screw-up at a diplomatic outpost in a violent and chaotic country as a worse affair than Bush and Cheney deliberately lying about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, fabricating a cause for a disastrous war – an act that to my mind is tantamount to treason. They talk about non-existent conspiracies promoted by Obama and Clinton while deifying piss-poor presidents who actually did hatch conspiracies, from Watergate to Iran-Contra.
But then, that’s the Republican Party these days, and now they’ve nominated an idiot who, when Obama won his second election in 2012, tweeted that citizens should storm Washington and overturn the government. That tweet was withdrawn shortly after it was sent, no doubt because one of his lawyers informed him that advocating the overthrow of a duly elected government was, in fact, legally treason – technically sedition – and an offence punishable by up to 20 years in the slam. The Donald would not have known that, because The Donald doesn’t know much of anything.
Hillary has her issues, God knows. But the next time anyone advocates Trump as the better choice, slap him upside his silly head.