Thursday, September 1, 2016

Response to Under the Volcano

Since posing as one of his own people in order to say something stupid on his own behalf has historically proven to be his wont, I wonder if this “unnamed campaign adviser” could possibly have been the Big Trumpeter himself:
An unnamed campaign adviser was oddly specific ... telling CNN that the goal of Trump’s visit to Mexico was explicitly to get a photo that makes him look presidential.
So Mexico was just some frigging photo-op?!?

And not only a photo-op, the Trump surrogates, without a hint of irony, are today even saying the trip was “successful” because it showed Donald Trump, standing next to some foreign leader “on the international stage”, looking presidential!

This may explain the discrepancy in stories about whether the two discussed the wall. Yes, Peña Nieto probably did tell Trump at the very beginning of the private discussion, just to get it straight, that Mexico wasn’t going to be paying for the wall, to which Trump just stared into space — and so when someone asked him later about whether they talked about “the wall”, and he answered, truthfully, no, there was no discussion of the wall.

In fact, he didn’t fly all the way to Mexico City to get into some discussion, he came there for action! Specifically, he came to get his picture taken!

Which also explains why Trump said all those nice things about the Mexican people, and that he thinks of Mexican president Peña Nieto as his “friend”. The president, for his part, seemed dumbfounded, but of course, this was only supposed to be a photo-op for him, too, since his popularity numbers are also in the toilet, and he wanted to let everyone know that he had told the Donald off!

(One has to wonder: Was the talk taped? Maybe we’ll find out some day.)

In essence, Trump didn’t need anything from Peña but to be in the same picture frame with him in an official-looking “foreign policy setting", and so it didn’t matter what was said, as long as none of it would upset the applecart, and just so the whole visit could end up being as boring as all those foreign visits that Hillary Clinton used to make -- since, I’m sure in the minds of Trump and his gang, nothing ever happened at those boring international junkets either, outside of everybody posing for pictures with one another, all looking very serious and important. And afterward, everybody goes back to whatever they were doing, such as insulting each other from afar.

And that, my friends, is how foreign policy is done! Nothing to it! Especially if you have the photos to prove you were there.

The question is, did his junket change any voters' minds, like so many Republicans, grasping at straws, were hoping?

I doubt it. Let’s face it, anybody who was impressed with his south-of-the-border dog-and-donkey show was already voting for him, and if all those hoping for a sign that he was actually “softening” his approach to immigration wasn’t already hopelessly confused by all the backtracks of his reversals of his flip-flops in the week leading up to Mexico, then his hard-nosed Arizona speech should have knocked their heads off — unless, of course, that happened when, the next day, they heard Trump characterize his speech as a “softening” of sorts.

But you have to figure the conservative Hillary-Derangement-Machine must be chugging along very well if these people are still looking for Trump to show signs of reform.

Sure, it’s all very easy for me, who sees her "high crimes" (assuming she’s even guilty of any of them) as being on the order of going forty in a 35 MPH zone, but to me, Trump’s deal-breakers are not even that huge — cheating workers out of their pay and Trump U students out of the life-savings, telling a friend that you gotta “treat [women] like shit”, deriding an American war hero POW as just some loser who got captured, and addressing all his political opponents with demeaning nicknames like “Little Marco” — but they all demonstrate that he’s too much of a dirtbag to run any country, especially ours.

So continuing to look for Trump to show he’s in the least way up for this job is just idiotic. He’s already shown us the best of what he thinks he can do, even before he demonstrated that he hasn’t a clue what an American diplomat, even a “pretend" one, actually does in a meeting with a foreign leader.

And, by the way, about his big speech on immigration policy?

Immigration, as Trump himself says over and over, is an issue that nobody was talking about before he started talking about it, and probably because it doesn’t present the country with any real serious problems. It has been shown repeatedly that so-called “illegal” immigrants don’t bring lots of crime to this country, no matter how many individual cases the Trump campaign rounds up. Nor do migrant workers replace American workers. In fact, I saw an interview last night with a farmer who can’t find enough workers, American or not, to show up to pick his crops, even after hiring every undocumented worker in sight for $12 per hour.

In other words, Trump has us all focussed in on a non-issue!

The real problems that do need solving revolve around the economy itself, including poverty and jobs, and the fact that whatever wealth is being produced is being hogged by the people at the top of the food chain. This includes some of the same things that, for complicated reasons, Trump followers think have to do with competition from immigrants and foreign workers, but really have more to do with automation, not to mention the way we apparently don’t tax rich people as much as we should. Americans in the working class are not making enough to afford to buy their own products, much less move into a safer neighborhood.

And some of our problems come from our not listening enough to the people who know about these problems, and how to fix them. Instead, we listen to people like Donald Trump, who thinks you can ignore expertise in all its forms — including, by the way, how to run a campaign. He seems to be out to prove that someone can win the White House without, say, buying ads on TV, since he can always say something stupid on a daily basis as a way of tricking the media into covering you, or without coordinating with your party so you can have a gang of campaign volunteers on the ground in a state to do all those local things that campaigns have learned over the decades that have to be done.

So this election really is a test to see who’s got it right — is it the smart people who, say, have spent much of their careers, traveling from place to place, building expertise, trying to get some good things done; or is it the bombastic "strongman" who, just for fun, can get almost any crowd to chant just about whatever he wants, but also knows how to play the “diplomat” by flying in his own plane to some foreign country, just to have his picture taken with some foreign president, as if Leadership is just some child's game of Make-Believe?

He thinks it’s all just smoke and mirrors. He’s gotten along for years by tricking himself into thinking he’s smarter than he is, that all these so-called “professionals” are faking it, and figures he can do that, too.

But while I’d like to state, unequivocally, that he’s about to learn his lesson, I can’t. I just now looked at Nate Silver’s site, which shows Hillary’s odds of winning (right now at 74.1%, down from 89.2% on August 14th) gradually sliding earthward on a daily basis, slowly but surely taking my faith in self-government with them.

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