Political Image & Character

President Trump, when he was Donald Trump, was to me that mean guy saying you’re fired whenever  my fingers accidentally hit a certain television channel number, and the guy who had so many bankruptcies media images of him and his long over-coat seemed pointless,  almost funny. But then a few years ago an old friend of a friend back from Florida showed me a recent snapshot of himself with Donald Trump in a suit without the coat and I couldn’t help but humanize him because as far as I’ve been aware that friend has been like so many others I’ve known from years ago on Toronto streets; so that Donald Trump who’d spontaneously stepped  into that snapshot pose was no longer just that “You’re fired!” guy with all the bankruptcies he was like the hustlers, the good time  story tellers always with something big about to break on the horizon.

But when he tried to put that unusual spontaneity that threw political caution to the winds  in the political realm, journalists must have thought he was “putting them on”, just kidding. Target of ridicule, the most repeated charge was that Mr. Trump lacked that tip toeing, walking on eggshells attitude of an experienced politician. But what was rarely presented in the fore ground of their articles was the rather lengthy involvement Trump had had in politics supporting politicians both winners and losers as a financial supporter and friend. In a way Mr. Trump now seems the most political of all the personalities media have presented over the years. But to me politicians are all image, the guys who know how to get elected, by getting around with their faces on every sign, on every flickering screen.

For me this insight  was confirmed by a comment by former President Carter, a Democrat who amidst all the loathing histrionics about Mr. Trump’s Republican primary candidacy said that Mr. Trump was malleable. That statement summed up one politician’s view of  another politician gained by observing the behaviour, the face of that other politician. But it also revealed something fundamental about Mr. Trump’s character hidden under his mask of bravado that encouraged journalists to use as evidence of an inflexible  tyrannical disposition, the kind of vulnerability and insecurity armoured by a very thick skin that made Rush Limbaugh say that Trump should have succumbed to the unprecedented barrage of  media attacks but didn’t.

For me the firing or resignation of General Flynn from his National Security post has puzzled me. Recently a search string rekindled that bemusement leading to my learning about a book the general wrote “Field of Fight:..” from which according to an online excerpt of his book suggests the importance of getting into the mind of America’s Middle East opponents.

The notion of learning how one’s opponents think so America can win in the “field of fight” reminded me of something I’d written some time ago.

I’ve been following media accounts of Middle East “news” since 2013. But I’ve forgotten much of what I’d heard from 2003 until 2008. I remember that 2001 was a kind of turning point in America’s and the West’s relations with Middle East countries. When Mr. Bush junior invaded Iraq in 2003 there was always a sense that he was responding to the terror attacks of 2001 despite reports that he went into Iraq to get rid of Mr. Husain’s WMD, and to spread democracy throughout the Arab world where until then there had been hereditary monarchs as leaders. Once Mr. Bush had removed Mr. Husain, I started being made aware of sectarian divisions within Iraq’s population. When Mr. Obama replaced Mr. Bush in 2008 the “Arab Spring” , a baffling media phrase that seemed to obscure understanding, especially in Egypt where there were prolonged demonstrations that led to the relinquishment of power by Egypt’s leader. I still recall a television journalist suggesting that rebelliousness, the “Arab Spring” in the Middle East, would likely lead to democracy. After Egypt’s leader had finally resigned I remember seeing Republican senator McCain and former Democrat senator Lieberman in Egypt glad handing everyone within range of a media camera. But after a “free” election won by a Moslem Brotherhood member, I was reminded of sectarian divisions in Egypt between Moslems and Coptic Christians, and in recently militarily pacified Iraq between Moslem and Moslem Shiite and Sunni. I’d read a bit about Islam and was struck by the view that Islam is not just a religion with unique practices and moral code, it is also a nation of religious laws. As I became aware of the opposing schools of Islam within Iraq, I was taught by media reports of growing violence throughout the Arab world; more and more this violence seemed to be motivated by religious antipathy. The idea of a Moslem nation seemed not to exist; only Sharia law is mentioned without reference to those laws as expressions of that nation. Middle East events seemed driven by fanatical outbursts of religious fanatics: peoples of the same region, the same religion, and the same race at war with each other as though this were a kind of chaos that is inherent to that part of the world. Recently I’ve been seeing an article turn up on line in response to searches for “Ramadi” which suggests that Isis itself is being managed by Iraq’s Bathists, a curious suggestion that contradicts media reports to date which indicate that Isis is directed by Sunni Moslems opposing Shiite Moslems in order to set up a Caliphate(whatever that is) guided only by the Moslem nation’s code of religious law, Sharia. But the Bath Party was not organized in 1943 by a Christian Syrian to terrorize, but to bring together all peoples of the Middle East through a resurgence of Arab culture in a political union more socialist than democratic.

Saudi Deals

Anyone, me for instance, who saw those television captions blaring 300 billion dollars in deals made in the kingdom of Saud might have thought that those deals were the result of President Trump’s first trip abroad to make America “great again”. When I woke up this morning those deals sent to oblivion by captions informing of the FBI’s investigating his son-in-law, I recalled my initial surprise at the many big corporate names like too-big-to-fail banker Dimond who had accompanied him. I recalled that those corporate leaders were keeping their corporations great  by  maintaining the House of Saud’s means of  mining, marketing and protecting its resources,  and that the President of the United States of America was simply their sales rep.

Legal Experts

When Mr. Trump, before becoming President Trump, said he’d ban immigrants from certain countries, journalists said experts knew that such a ban would be unconstitutional. I couldn’t find a clause in the online text of the U.S Constitution that said such a ban would be unconstitutional. Previous decisions against previous versions of the ban were not based on prohibitions in the constitution. I recall only decisions based on the needs of students and employers.

This latest decision is based on judges displeasure with vagaries about national security masking religious discrimination and though they think the immigration ban “likely violates the Constitution.” – they still won’t state the words in the Constitution that the ban violates:

“…In a 10-3 vote, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the ban likely violates the Constitution…”

 

Doesn’t everyone talk to Russians?

When President Trump was Donald Trump he seemed to get a lot of flack whenever he said Hillary Clinton gave Russia the U.S’s uranium. The only reaction I remember is a condescending reference to “Uranium One” being a Canadian company, without any mention of the fact that it is ” a wholly owned subsidiary of Rosatom,the Russian State Corporation for Nuclear Energy”

Uranium One Inc. is a Canadian-based company and one of the world’s largest uranium producers with a globally diverse portfolio of assets located in Kazakhstan, the United States, Australia and Tanzania. Headquartered in Toronto, Uranium One is a wholly owned subsidiary of Uranium One Holding N.V. which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rosatom, the Russian State Corporation for Nuclear Energy.

Anyone interested in the “Uranium One” link will have to put “Uranium One” into a search box. The URL link does not work today.

Russian Company Buys Majority Interest in American Uranium Mine. Why it Matters

written by Nancy Thorner and Elvira HastyMay 15, 2015

…It so happened that a Canadian company, Uranium One, with little experience in the uranium business, led by a generous Clinton donor, gained a lucrative state in Kazakhstan’s uranium mines.  As a result of transactions beginning in 2009, the Russian state-owned atomic agency, Rosatom, bought a 17% share in Uranium One, which had uranium mines in Wyoming.  This deal required the approval of a number of the U.S. agencies including the State Department under the title of CFIUS (Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States), a small executive task force that evaluates investment transactions by foreign companies in the United States.  The deal was approved in 2010 while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State…

 “Russia took control over 20% of US uranium after Uranium One’s associates made lavish contributions to Clinton Foundation

Here’s no place for them wanting three-dimensional portraits.
Too much irregularity here
Weakness in disguise perhaps
but true,
True as jagged glass –
Crash
cymbal shocks the moon blue
alcoholish mist
Anaesthatizing the humdrum
Like smoke cocooning
Steel mills
On a coal blue night.

Omen

What do I hear in the wind,
a night cat’s cry,
Branches banging black sky?

A storm,
a soul stirring,
A fiery whirl round planets raging for war?

Men mindless of planets and signs, in weather,
See simply wind, rain:
A natural disturbance.
Perceiving neither metaphor nor meaning –
The hand behind fortunes two faces –
They become like the wind;
Will – less and without wonder, they rage like the sea.