A Spate of Comments Re Donald Trump’s Inauguration

Lester Kok: In sum, Gary Younge’s piece is both on point and off the mark.

Off the mark first…

1. ‘Campaign in poetry, govern in prose,’ this cliche at no time fits this businessman cum reality-TV star turned pol — so just what metamorphosis was Gary Younge expecting on the day of his official debut? Unsurprisingly, Trump’s inaugural speech is nothing but being refreshingly true to himself — he exactly externalizes what he crudely campaigned on: an earthy-mouthed Roto-Rooter-like action man now set to drain the Capitol’s mephitic swamp bogged down in logjams and inaction. You can bet your bottom dollar, business in Washington would not be as usual for the next 4 years at least.

Now, on the mark…

2. Nationalism and populism will rule the day under the Trump Administration. Above all else, he is now beholden to his 46ish percent of constituents, the purported casualties of Globalism who have thus empowered him. In short order, he now must create and deliver to them the home-grown jobs he brashly touted, or be resigned to a 1-term presidency. The days of win-win commerce are unlikely to see the light in Trump’s playbook from now; it will be America First by hook or by crook.

3. The notion of ‘American Exceptionalism’ has been grossly overrated from time to time. Now as she stands in the shank of the 21st century of ever-increasing global competition and complex international diplomacies, America herself is a beleaguered nation — just to name but a few: 1) the nation’s porous border is in effect a revolving door churning out an endless influx of illegals, 2) the official and cultural ambivalence towards recreational drugs has lent itself to relentless, perpetual epidemics of substance abuse, and 3) thanks to the sacrosanct genius of the 2nd Amendment, the annual 30K firearm-related deaths and violence are but just par for the course.

Trump for all his personal faults may be the nation’s last hope for an overdue thorough makeover of herself but at whose expense — the answer will soon crystalize, but what long-term global impact Trumponomics will bring is anyone’s guess.

Like · Reply · 1 · 8 hrs
Kahlil Stultz
Kahlil Stultz Very good analysis.
Eric Dohner
Eric Dohner I’d like to agree with you, but I think that with ” In short order, he now must create and deliver to them the home-grown jobs he brashly touted, or be resigned to a 1-term presidency. ” you overestimate the average American voter. It takes some serious doing to vote for someone this fucking patently awful in the first place.
Lester Kok
Lester Kok to Mr. Dohner, if there is one reminder that resonated resoundingly with Americans in the recent election, it is never to underestimate the leverage of the Electoral College. It’s easy for you to label those contrarian voters to be this effing patently awful, when yr livelihood is not on the line.

Lester Kok For those who are not into patient reading of John Pilger’s 2K-plus-word philippic on Obama, at my own risk, let me parse it in just 3 short paragraphs:

To be sure Obama’s presidency has its many failings but overall, he leaves an America better than he found it and the world is not falling apart. He should be gratified with the final high fifties job approval rating as he clears his desk… comparably surpassed in recent memory only by Reagan and roué Clinton.

Trump won the election the good ole American electoral way like 4 other of his predecessors. For those who hold his presidency to be not totally aboveboard, had better get over it and judge his work product over the next 4 years. Parenthetically, since when American democracy has been an exercise in fair play.

In a liberal democracy undergirded by a constitutional right to free speech, popular polarizations and divisiveness have never been in short supply. Trump did not coarsen it — he just elevated it to an art form.

Eric Knight
Eric Knight Serious question: should we “get over” the Emoluments Clause?
Lester Kok

1/21/17 Lester Kok Eric, you need to define your term ‘get over’ as you intended. In the above context, it could be taken as to ‘rid of it’ or to ‘overlook its emphasis’ or to ‘update its essence to something more relevant’.

Let me just give you my general take of it in a broader context without claiming any legal pretensions.

The Framers understood well the venality of human nature and also the insidiousness of possible corrupting foreign influence via official gifting. Hence the ‘Emol-Clause’ which is awkwardly termed the Title of Nobility Clause. Over time, it has been superseded by the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act of 1966. But even with that, the official dos and don’ts are not adequately delineated.

I don’t know any country that does not have some official propriety regulations in place as regards gifting. Separately, critics of Trump have said he has made no serious plans to divest his holdings i.e., ownership severance, or put them in a blind trust. But I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on this. Mind you he did mention his forgoing the 400K prez salary early on during the hustings but he did not actually make a big deal of it — that impresses me. On that score, I read his pro bono desire to serve publicly as being genuinely sincere.

Tony Schwartz who was the ghost writer of Trump’s The Art of the Deal, came out early on during the campaign vociferating against him. As someone who has studied Trump up-close, he was adamant in his claim that a leopard cannot change its spots, that Trump will be Trump; that he will be out only to feather his own bed while in office; his avarice, self-interest and self-obsession are all coded in his DNA.

But I beg to differ from him on this. There can be moments in life that are definitively watersheds notwithstanding one’s age, call that epiphanies if you like. Deng Xiaoping a lifelong Communist abruptly turned Capitalist in a blink, when he was already into his seventies and in so doing transformed and saved China. A once self-serving septuagenarian Trump could do the same for America — much to the chagrin of the rest of the world, I’m afraid to say — making international commerce into a zero-sum game for America as he holds true to his campaign pledge to reduce the nation’s massive trade deficits.


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