OPINION | The Quest for Peace or Popularity?

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un have now left the Singapore summit, and with their departure, a silence fills in the anticipation and the apprehension of the meeting. Both leaders were supposedly looking for something, but it is uncertain whether it was peace.

From a political point of view, the summit was a success for both leaders. Let’s be clear, Trump was not the first to propose a sit-down, but he was the most pugnacious, and the least criticized when the idea was proposed. Was he looking for an end to tensions between North Korea and the world at large or a photo opportunity to boost his poll numbers?

From North Korea’s point of view, Jong-un has now been legitimized as a world leader— a well-positioned coup on all levels. As he strolled along the boulevards of Singapore there was hardly a moment when he was not smiling. Good press. No, wait, excellent press.

The two leaders leave having bolstered their prospective careers. Trump’s visions of the Nobel Peace Prize are that much closer to fruition, while Jong-un has placed yet another foot on the world stage. The only issue that gives pause is the fact that Kim Jong-un essentially remains a dictator, the antithesis of Western values. He is also a master negotiator and manipulator. Trump, the flip-side of the same coin in regard to personalities, is a blunt instrument who exaggerates his accomplishments, and at other times downright lies. But Trump has managed to take the focus off of the Russia investigation, Stormy Daniels, and all his many political entanglements.

Perhaps the world is safer now that both leaders have in principle committed to North Korea’s denuclearization. It is only an extremely vague commitment on the part of North Korean, with equally vague commitments on the part of Donald Trump.  Remember, both leaders lie. For the time being everyone’s needs and desires may be satiated—for Trump and Jong-un there is increased political credibility and prestige, and for the world, perhaps we are one step closer to peace.

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k.g. Sambrano is a Canadian writer known for his works of literary fiction and poetry, and is an occasional freelance political writer. His latest book, Trump- the First 365 Days: America’s Fight for America was released on February 20, 2018.

OPINION | Trump Calls Prime Minister Trudeau “Weak” What’s Wrong with this Picture?

JESCO DENZE

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, contrary to Mr. Trump’s latest tweet, is not weak.

Trump blustered into Canada this weekend, Charlevoix, where I used to live. The Quebec countryside is peaceful and serene, perhaps deliberately chosen as a safe haven in which to discuss issues of economic importance among allies. Trump, like all the other participants, was among friends or at very least not among enemies.

When I was in grade school, there was always one student who simply did not fit in. Whether it was the schoolyard bully who knocked down lunch bags or the child who deliberately took too long at the water fountain on those hot days—there was always one child who’s behaviour separated themselves from the rest.

In 1957, Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson was honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize for his handling of the Suez Crisis. Pearson taught us that diplomacy is a river in constant flux. Trump seems to view diplomacy as an arm wrestling competition. Like that schoolyard bully he listens for that cry of “uncle”. The art of the deal, in Trumpian terms is really the art of the “squeal”.

As usual, Trump appears perturbed, this time because he may have taken Trudeau’s cordial approach to problem-solving as weakness. This is not a surprise, as time and again Trump has demonstrated that he equates threats and belligerence with self-preservation and authority. Trudeau prefers to take a less adversarial route, as foreign to Trump as the French language and culture he may or may not have appreciated during his short stay. Trump has interpreted Trudeau’s unwavering stance against American tariffs as betrayal and duplicity, while clearly it is Trudeau maintaining the position he has always maintained in regard to the recent tariffs, while protecting Canadian interests.

Earlier today, Larry Kudlow stated that Canada “stabbed us in the back”, blaming Canada for any breakdown in U.S./Canada relationships, and thereby justifying Trump’s refusal to sign the collective G7 communique. Further, Mr. Kudlow after after mistakenly referring to Justine as Pierre (Justin’s father and past Prime Minister of Canada), Kudlow went on to suggest that any breakdown in the North Korea talks would be attributed to the United States looking weak as a result of Mr. Trudeau’s comments. Although unable to connect these dots or these allegations, Mr. Kudlow continued with the Trump playbook of blaming others for any shortcomings of the administration, seeming to forget that it was Donald Trump who threw the first proverbial tariff, from his own glass White House.

There is definitely something wrong with the picture, but with all due respect to our American friends and allies, it has very little to do with the Prime Minister.

 

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k.g. Sambrano is a Canadian writer known for his works of literary fiction and poetry, and is an occasional freelance political writer. His latest book, Trump- the First 365 Days: America’s Fight for America was released on February 20, 2018.

OPINION | Giuliani Becomes Trump’s Crime Fighter for Truth, as Relative as That May Be

Trump may not be a genius, but he knows enough to surround himself with people he trusts, if not necessarily trustworthy people. Of late, we’ve heard whispers of Bannon being consulted along with John Kelly and Stephen Miller. Trump is not working alone.

We see this evidenced in some carefully worded tweets, and of course in the recent hiring and subsequent publicity tour of New York City’s ex-mayor, Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani was chosen for three reasons:

1. Giuliani has established “street cred” having been New Yorker’s Mayor during 911.
2. Giuliani was formerly a U.S. prosecutor waging war against organized crime.
3. Giuliani, at 74 years of age, looks harmless, can be affable, and can spin webs of conspiracy and distraction with the same dexterity and wanton abandon as Peter Parker dangling upside down from Trump Tower.

Last week, Giuliani admitted that the name of the game is that of public opinion. If it is true that no sitting president can be indicted, then it remains for Mueller to submit his findings to Congress, and for the House to either recommend or decline to begin the impeachment process. In other words, a win in the arena of public opinion is what the president and Giuliani are seeking.

Like most Trump offensives, this latest effort is both crude and well…offensive. On the most part, Trump has managed to change the narratives of the day—the Stormy Daniels news cycle is now on hiatus along with that of lost children, new border policies, and the updated death toll from Puerto Rico’s hurricane Maria. These Trump “bad press” stories have been buried beneath the announcement of Trump’s tariffs against Canada, Mexico, and the European Union.

Trump continues to dispatch Giuliani, like Zeus sending forth Hermes, at times tripping and falling on his sword, but most times acting as that of messenger and lawyerly distraction. Although much of what Giuliani says in his many interviews may not be true, it doesn’t matter, as he’s not on trial, nor is he under oath, nor any legal obligation to tell the truth. Knowing this, he continues to spread legal rhetoric and legal misinformation in an obvious effort to dismantle the truth of the many issues plaguing the president. And if the president’s latest polls are any measure of Giuliani’s success, then Trump’s new “crime fighter” for truth seems to be working.

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k.g. Sambrano is a Canadian writer known for his works of literary fiction and poetry, and is an occasional freelance political writer. His latest book, Trump- the First 365 Days: America’s Fight for America was released on February 20, 2018.

 

Mini-Opinion | Disney/ABC Bigger Than Trump, Roseanne, and racism. Thank you!

 

I was always taught, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Trump and Roseanne Barr have forgotten or never learned such a simple adage, or ever lived in the Marvel universe.

Roseanne, an incorrigible Trump supporter and star of the hit television series “Roseanne” was lauded by Trump. ABC has just cancelled her. I’m sure Trump will have a tweet or two to say.

Roseanne in her arguably racist tweet crossed the line, not that of political correctness, but that of common decency. I don’t know former Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett, the subject of the tweet, but I’m sure she didn’t deserve that tweet, who does. And for want of discretion, of impulse control the Roseanne kingdom was lost.

In reference to Roseanne’s tweet, Channing Dungey of ABC Entertainment (Disney) replied, “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”

As a film fan, I am pleasantly flubbergasted in the realization that ABC/Disney would have the courage to give up millions, if not billions of dollars associated with the Roseanne franchise. Yet, Roseanne with her fleet-footed tweet, in one fell swoop ended the hit series, and affected the careers and livelihoods of hundreds of people associated with the production. That tweet also reminded us what a ugly wound racism can be. Roseanne forgot the golden rule, to be nice to one another, tough in the current administration where Trump has free reign to use discriminatory slurs himself, such as referring to Senator Elizabeth Warren as Pocahontas, or the NFL players “SOB’s”. But wait! Isn’t Rosanne Barr the same actor who in 1990 made a mockery of America’s national anthem, then spit and grabbed her crotch as a finale? Thank goodness she didn’t kneel!

The hero here is Disney, who raised me in their world of animation and imagination. I am astonished by their integrity, and grateful that years later the movie studio of my childhood can still move us to tears, for all the right reasons. Thank you Disney.

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k.g. Sambrano is a Canadian writer known for his works of literary fiction and poetry, and is an occasional freelance political writer. His latest book, Trump- the First 365 Days: America’s Fight for America was released on February 20, 2018.

Opinion | Why Donald J. Trump Continues to “Win”

The latest poll indicates that President Donald J. Trump’s approval rating has improved over the last few months. Why? Booming economy aside, as much as I hate to say it, Trump makes politics fun, at least for his voters.

Trump is a salesperson who handily exploits the innate behaviour of human beings—the propensity towards laziness. We have Siri’s voice helping us with our math, our directions, our memory,  and we now have Trump doing likewise.

Trump inoculates himself and others from the truth by simplifying complex issues, changing the narrative, and of late simply lies outright, knowing often people will believe things that are repeated loudly enough, and strenuously enough. If people are too “lazy” to dig further, they believe his rants.  Trump is his own downloadable voting app. His administration manufactures and disseminates self-interest conspiracy theories waging a counter-truth campaign against mainstream news outlets, and Trump’s base loves it. Trump who has positioned himself as the champion of the everyday person, is lauded by his fans anytime he challenges the norms regardless of consequences. He brands issues and assigns flamboyant names like “Fake News” “Witch Hunt” “Spygate” repeating them until they become part of the everyday parlance, and serves to dismantle any credibility of the ongoing investigation into Trump-Russia et al. latest polls suggest the strategy is working.

Continue reading “Opinion | Why Donald J. Trump Continues to “Win””

Opinion | The Drowning Man

The blood in the hallways of Santa Fe High School is no doubt as crimson as the reality of the present administration. This is not hyperbole, but fact. America is beyond arms reach, arguably ideologically isolated from ally countries by Trump’s leadership. Trump the candidate had promised to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, a promise he unceremoniously fulfilled earlier this month, in doing so destabilized the area and ejected the United States from being considered a fair broker in any negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.

While on the campaign trail Trump also promised to increase veterans’ health care. A promise largely unfulfilled. And what about his presidential promise of the war against opioids? It’s been almost seven months since he declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency with no measurable action or gains, instead Mr. Trump prefers to declare war against the media that reports his blunders, the U.S. Post Office, and the world in general. Top of his list remains the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who continues to indict those connected to Trump. Some already pleading guilty. Continue reading “Opinion | The Drowning Man”

Opinion | Sex, Lies, and Giuliani

The Washington Post has tracked Trump’s lies, now in the thousands.  It is evident Trump knew about the payments to Stormy Daniels, and this is how we know.

Over the last week, Mr. Trump’s new attorney, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani has engaged in a “storm” of interviews in regard to the Stormy Daniels matter. He has now publicly admitted that Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime attorney, was in charge of handling matters such as Stormy Daniels and whoever else came calling.

Cohen’s indictment seems inevitable, suggesting that he would rather “make a deal” with authorities than do prison time. What does Mueller want that only Cohen may be able to provide? The answer is obvious—Trump and the location of where the proverbial bodies are hidden.

Last month while speaking with reporters on Air Force One, Trump denied any knowledge of payments to Stormy Daniels, providing an emphatic, unequivocal denial. But the president’s denial is logistically impossible if one asks the obvious question—how did Cohen know whom to pay?

Presumably, if Ms. Daniels had approached Trump, Trump must have then directed Mr. Cohen to strike a deal.

In the alternative, if Mr. Trump had confided in Mr. Cohen explaining there was a list of persons whom Trump wanted to “keep quiet”, then Mr. Trump would need to first identify these people for the purposes of Cohen securing their silence.

Either way, it appears Trump was needed in order to steer Daniels and Cohen in each other’s direction. No other explanation makes sense. Ironic that Trump should become the matchmaker in what many believe is his own demise.

Only one question remains. In light of the at least thirteen women who have come forth with allegations of sexual misconduct against Mr. Trump, why pay “hush” money to Ms. Daniels?  That becomes the $130,000 question that no interviewer has asked.

 

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k.g. Sambrano is a Canadian writer known for his works of literary fiction and poetry, and is an occasional freelance political writer. His latest book, Trump- the First 365 Days: America’s Fight for America was released on February 20, 2018.