(this post has updates below, where indicated.)
“In defense of Trump.”
Yes, you read that lede correctly.
In past weeks I’ve carved out much space on CY.com (“Where’s Donnie?”, “Morning Cozy” & more) to point out the flaws of Donald Trump—as a presidential candidate and a human. But in this case, I’m actually singing his praises.
Why? Despite all the bluster and bombast—underneath all the hand-waving, niblet-finger wagging and spray tanning—there are hard-truth ideas that need to be heard and elevated. Let’s get to it.
- He was right about Iraq. “The war in Iraq was a big fat mistake.” Yes, yes it was. I was against the war right from the start and saw through the paper-thin motivation behind it: so that Bush could win reelection in 2004. (We’ll set aside the media cheerleading us in to war for another day and time.) W. Bush & Co. tried to tie 9/11 to the justification to invade Iraq. I don’t ever call it a “war” because it’s not—it’s a “conflict” or an “invasion of choice.” And it was the worst foreign policy decision ever made by a U.S. president, full stop. “We have destabilized the Middle East.” I’m thankful that Trump is in this race *just to make that point alone.
- He’s right about George W. Bush. “The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign.” All this talk about how Bush kept the nation safe over 8 years is factually false—and offensive. Bush had warning after warning to pay heed to threats coming from overseas, but they fell on deaf ears. Would a Gore administration have responded differently to these threats? Perhaps. We’ll never know. We’d never have gone in to Iraq in the first place if Gore had been elected, that much is sure. (Bonus: Trump is also right about Jeb, in the sense that he lost the will to campaign, and wasn’t very good at it. At all.)
- He’s right, mostly, about trade. Despite claims to the contrary, free-trade agreements like NAFTA have cost this country millions of jobs. The latest, TPP, would make NAFTA look quaint: foreign nations would have undue influence and impact on our governance with the right to sue for remedy, among other things. The deal needs to be seriously amended and changed—or canceled outright—which is one of Trump’s arguments. Where Trump faceplants, though, is when he claims “I alone can fix it.” That’s completely untrue. All presidents have to work with Congress in passing laws, and let’s face it: congress has no interest in doing any friggin work these days.
- He’s right about nation-building. In one of many examples that demonstrates George W. Bush to be a fucking liar: despite his campaign pledge in 2000 that we’d “absolutely not” engage in nation-building, we went ahead and did just that—in Iraq and Afghanistan. Eight years following, we had “provincial reconstruction teams” within our own government working to improve the lives of citizens of those countries. All this while our own infrastructure was and is crumbling. Trump has stepped out-front in openly criticizing these Bush policies for what they are: anti-military and contrary to peace.
- He’s right about Rubio*. This is the perfect example of why Donald Trump has some good ideas inside an offensive candidate: he made fun of Marco Rubio’s height by referring to him as “Little Marco.” But in actuality, Rubio was as robotic and empty as they come—with virtually no substance during the GOP primaries. This bullet has an asterisk because it was Chris Christie, not Trump, who took apart Rubio in the debate in February.
I am a native New Yorker (born at New York Hospital in Manhattan) and have up-closer experience with Trump’s Big Apple ego. True, New Yorkers can be brash and, um, expositional in their speech. But we’re softies at heart, and will go to the ends of the earth for our friends and family. Trump is not that. He’s in it for himself, and to puff up his brand and marketability—nothing more. I’d not be surprised if he drops out before the presidential debates.
Even though he has personal failings, I can’t state enough how grateful I am to have had these topics inserted in to our nation’s discourse. He’s done it better than many of the Democratic candidates this cycle. ❏
UPDATE: Since Vol. 34 ran, Trump has dismissed Paul Manafort (with alleged ties to Russia) and installed Steve Bannon, the firebrand head of conspiracy news website Breitbart. The move is a “political version of Chapter 11,” says Rex Huppke of the Chicago Tribune. True. Trump is doubling and tripling down on his primary strategy to keep his niche following alive and hungry for more.
If a photograph could singlehandedly shift the world’s attention back to a nation in crisis it would be this one. This boy, identified as five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, was injured in an airstrike in Aleppo, Syria. The horror and war crimes out of Syria is agonizing.
What do you do when you’re a city famous for its super-highways jammed with traffic? You cap them, of course.
Renderings and plans popped up this week from Central Atlanta Progress’ (CAP) concept study called “The Stitch,” which basically calls for two adjoining neighborhoods to be “stitched” together over the interstate, creating all sorts of yummy goodness, like greenspace, museums, and public-interest areas.
We in Atlanta don’t have lush, in-town waterways and coastal accessibility, but this could be the next best thing. Climate-change-wise this is a good thing, because greenspace absorbs more sun rather than having highways reflecting it back to an atmosphere that can no longer tolerate the energy we’re sending. (via WhatNowAtlanta)
“CY Arts & Activism” will be a regular feature in my weekly blog letter. This week, here’s a reminder that my charity, ARTvision Atlanta, is in the midst of an artist call for our 10th anniversary. Check out the video I produced and scored:
For more on ARTvision and to enter your art pieces, please visit artvisionatl.org. ARTvision and related Pizza for Good parties have raised more than $60,000 for various charities and we’re gunning for more!
Last week I did a short piece on “Chyron Journalism” how on-air TV journalists were using the chyron (on-air, typographical images) to fact-check Donald Trump. So I took it upon myself to create the word entry “Chyronalism” in Urban Dictionary. I’m proud of the definition, so have a look. (Bonus points if you can name where I got the name “Brindy.”)
Another UD word I coined: “Shallow Follow.” Check it out.
Vice News is launching a nightly news program aimed at “viewers who have grown increasingly skeptical of daily broadcast news.” There are a lot of us. I’ve been a huge fan of Vice on HBO from the beginning; their work on Cancer and HIV are peerless (Vulture)… The Department of Justice today announced that its ending the use of private prisons; they are less safe and not nearly as effective as government-run institutions (WaPo).
UPDATE: Beloved and uber talented comedienne Amy Schumer had a stumble this week when one of her past writers made some offensive comments about rape on Facebook. Thing is, Schumer’s Emmy-winning program is based on turning that taboo subject on its ear with “Football Town Nights.”
Schumer’s clumsy response on Twitter sorta inflamed an already bad situation. After the epic success of Trainwreck, we’re all pulling for her to hire a crisis PR team and get the message straight.
The Olympics are in full swing in Rio, and although I’m not a big summer Olympics guy, I’ve been watching with one eye. Today we learned four swimmers fabricated a story about getting robbed at gunpoint—and urinated on and vandalized a gas station. The incident has brought up questions about athlete integrity and international relations (NYTimes).
UPDATE: Gold medal swimmer Ryan Lochte issues an apology: He says “sorry for my behavior” but stops well short of admitting he was wrong or that he lied to NBC about what happened. His Instagram post:
Lochte says “it’s traumatic to be out late with your friends” in a foreign land.
Dude: a violent head injury is “traumatic.” The phrase you’re looking for is “I acted like a shitbird.” Setting aside how lame it is to apologize on Instagram: You have no right to treat a host city and country in the way you did, with the gross and skeevy privilege you showed. Further, all evidence suggests you lied. You’re just making this worse for yourself.
John McLaughlin (1927-2016) fundamentally changed the way news was broadcast, and paved the way for folks like Chris Matthews and other bombastic cable-news anchors. Dana Carvey’s impersonation was so funny and so dead-on that he became more of the person than the person himself.
Tamesha Russell is my spirit animal.
Milwaukee was a scene of chaos this week, when a man fleeing from police was shot and killed during a car chase. What followed violence and random destruction of property. Instead of hiding in their homes, people rallied and showed random acts of kindness and goodness.
That’s it from me this week, Cranker Darlings. See you right back here next Thursday at 2.
Will Pollock is a cranky New York City escapee living in Atlanta. He’s a freelance multimedia journalist and author of two books (Pizza for Good & Leaving Triscuit), with more on the way. Sign up for the mailing list, follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram—and check out the book links below.
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