Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

Or in other words Donald Trump got tired of people not saying his name and went about giving them a reason to, embarking on a peak portion of his peaks and valleys media blitzes done over the years to draw our attention to what he deems are important issues and of course the Trump brand. A brand that used to be known for keen and successful business deals, a whirlwind personal life befitting a tycoon, including several marriages, is now synonymous with reality TV shows, fringe political leanings forcing serious onlookers to scream bunk. Mr. Trump many may remember was a birther utterly convinced the president was born in Kenya and a Muslim in part because after having him investigated [cough] researched “no one had ever heard of the guy;” when that failed to generate the elongated press attention desired, he switched to asking about how the president attended college, specifically Harvard. Made political hay leading up to 2012 flirting with the American people on possibilities he might run for leader of the free world while bashing current leadership suggesting we take Iraqi and Libyan oil, the former as reparations of war. In the same interview, in addition to commenting on everything from entertainment headlines involving Charlie Sheen to foreign policy, he went on pontificating on how sad it was no one buys American anymore, called on the carpet when it was discovered merchandise available for sale in Trump properties is made in China like “everything else” bought and sold in U.S. stores currently. Today true to the Trump business model, he is getting richer though as a result of an upswing in the housing market more than anything else. Yes he’s had some recent successes including renovating a Pennsylvania Avenue post office into yet another Trump hotel, a golf course in Miami. His collapsed business deals wouldn’t be significant news, regarding him personally or throughout the business world if it wasn’t for the why behind it coupled with the reaction to said failure; the golf course in Scotland canceled by the man himself due to wind turbines that would take attention away from the course. Having joined the no man’s land of social media he’s prone to angry tweets leaving people to think he, Alec Baldwin, Mel Gibson and Michael Richards all took the same failed anger management course. So after hearing his keynote address to the national press core, as much as we would all like to cut off ‘The Donald’s’ blatant attention seeking self-aggrandizing press junket, his grandiose, outlandish ideas must be answered before any more people take hold of his thought patterns, we start seeing Trump 2016 banners and the country descends father down than he thinks it already has. 

 Luncheon highlights included tips and anecdotes on branding, the concept you yourself are your own brand, couching success into wining and little else, expanding that to the country as a whole asking where we are doing well rehashing current negative headlines regarding the VA, Benghazi, Russian respect for Putin over the United States, big fears here the worst thing for us was China and Russia uniting and what have they done? Beyond reviving the, we should take Iraqi oil, he described all we had done for them 2 trillion dollars spent, thousands of lives lost, 10’s of thousands of wounded warriors and they won’t take our phone calls. Afghanistan prompted an even more provocative response from Trump touting previously unknown mineral deposits, extoling Chinese smarts saying we’re on one side of the mountain fighting a war; on the other side China is “brilliantly” taking the minerals for their own benefit and president Karzai won’t meet our president at the plane when he appears for a state visit. Next moving out of the Middle East, Mr. Trump cities a huge headline in the New York Times saying U.S. cannot strike a deal with Japan to sell food products, i.e. produce, to the Japanese; claiming it was good product, had no problems, wasn’t tainted, was truthfully better than they could produce themselves simultaneously seeing boats carrying millions of cars, Japanese cars into this country to be sold, according to him tax free. Boasting had he negotiated the deal they would have so much food they wouldn’t know what to do with it and love it or, be taxed, chiding Japan for its nerve in not taking the offered goods deal. Also his solution to China’s currency manipulation engineered so western nations, particularly us, can’t compete, painting a scenario of a sit down where we tell them to stop or there will be a 25% tax on every import here from China; again claiming in full confidence it would solve the problem. Adding a little cheek saying he was being nice it should be 48% considering the extent of their monetary manipulation; sarcastically calling negotiators for our side diplomats like it’s a slur. Continuing his rounds of the globe and where we fail to win, he turns to oil prices, OPEC, what they are getting away with in utterly fleecing America, the reserves of energy we possess in our own boarders yet refuse to use tying it to our nation’s airports, all the famous ones beginning to look like third world countries compared to the palace like ones in Saudi Arabia; going back to China, their building of a double digit number of bridges while our roads and bridges are falling apart. Let’s build the controversial Keystone pipeline because it’s jobs, even though we don’t need Canada’s oil, completely dismissing environmental cautions citing the congressional records belonging to those voting no, seeing their investments are tied to oil, gas and that’s the end of the conversation for Trump anyway. Winding down his country bashing of the pace he was born, the place that has given him his biggest opportunities ‘The Donald’ couldn’t resist a jab at Obama care and a plug for 2016 dramatically informing audience members of the mess awaiting the person occupying the oval office then, not leaving off the dooms day predictions regarding the ramifications of  Obama care pushed off to that year, what happens if we don’t get smart, don’t get the right leaders, how difficult it will be to turn it around.             

But are Trump’s statements and assessments accurate; sure they could possibly make good business sense if all you look at is the bottom line, if you are a corporate shark and that is your sole interest. But are they good ways to run a country when you are concerned with a much larger picture; are they good ways to support a national economy, in some respects, a global one factoring in the U.S. brand, reputation leaders have to uphold?  Almost anyone seeing through that lens would have to say no; firstly who says Iraq won’t take our phone calls, aside from Trump who’s using it for a talking point toward his own agenda, prove current leaders, namely democrats and the guy occupying the White House at this very moment, incompetent to make myself look better thus improving my brand. Secondly why won’t they take U.S. phone calls, if that is indeed true; are they being intercepted, blocked somehow, is it that the president of that country is too busy dealing with the violence and chaos still present in his own back yard to take superfluous phone calls from foreign leaders to what, talk about the weather, discuss American TV he probably hasn’t seen? It’s an equal parallel noted in Afghanistan, could the catalyst behind president Karzai not meeting Obama’s plane be one or both parties own safety; Trump himself turned the change in sentiment over our involvement in that country into a sarcastic punch line. And president Karzai is about the only thing keeping the country from dissolving completely; forgive him for thinking he has more to lose if gunned down meeting air force one, without the benefit of secret service like personnel, forgive him if he doesn’t want the fall out of an attempt on our leader’s life, a stray IED in exactly the wrong place at the wrong time. Regarding Iraqi oil, god forbid we leave a country we busted back to the Stone Age a commodity to rebuild their economy that’s not terrorism, not create another Somalia, people resorting to piracy because of weak government and nonexistent economic opportunity. Similarly he praises the Chinese for taking the minerals on the other side of the mountains in Afghanistan virtually while they are fighting and no one else is paying attention. China is gaining accolades from an American business man for basically raping another country of its recourses, because it can, further implying we should do the same showing American intelligence, bringing back American brilliance. Seriously he’s advising us to pillage, rob and take to make ourselves wealthy; shouldn’t we have evolved past the crusades in the 21st century? One of the reasons China is not respected either here at home or abroad is the underhanded way they conduct business, how they come by the achievements they do. However Trump is not alone in his mindset; it follows the GOP line of thinking highlighted by MSNBC’s Chis Hayes guest starring on The Last Word, of doing things for the singular and express purpose of looking, of proving we are strong. Yes his opinions were a counter to former vice president Cheney’s thrashing of the Obama administration and the return of dubious POW Bowe Bergdahl, military force policy post getting out of Afghanistan despite violent climates in that part of the world, yet they translate perfectly into the National Press Core luncheon remarks given by Trump. He’s insulating his ideas in terms of demonstrating our intelligence never failing to lead listeners down the rabbit hole of comments about strength, about bad leadership, about incompetence, but are we coming from a place of strength when we take from other nations for no other reason than to do it? Or do we look like the selfish, self-centered, arrogant bullies, hording our considerable prosperity, even now compared to multiple parts of the world, opposing nations have always characterized us to be? If they want to call us the great satan because we are predominately Christians or agnostics and not Muslims, then let them, if they want to call us the great satan because we give our people freedom of religion, freedom speech, of the press, freedom of assembly and they don’t believe in those principles, then let them, if they want to call us the great satan because they covet our wealth, prosperity and the fact we let citizens wear their own choice of clothing, be in the company of anyone not a known criminal, cover their hair or not, grow a beard or not, then let them. But let’s not give them legitimate reasons to call us that by adopting foreign policy tactic a-la Donald Trump.       

Perhaps for all his successes, lucrative business deals Mr. Trump missed a few points on the fine art of negotiation beginning with is our product capable of living up to his claims; is our product untainted, better than what Japan can produce homegrown? Or is it more like the U.S beef rejected by Mexico for high copper levels deemed unfit for human consumption by Mexican regulators due to the U.S. not having any guidelines on copper in food. Is it renewing what happened in the UK; products rejected owing to food preservatives, food additives banned there, think BPA still used in cans, beef laden with antibiotics? China recently refused U.S. corn on the grounds it was genetically modified and they either had regulations against that or were leery of the concept.  Further why did Japan reject our deal; was it quality of product, was it price, was it the U.S.’s growing bad reputation internationally, trepidation about U.S. debt, or can it be brought down to they just didn’t need it so saw no point in paying for it? He could go on for several minutes about his strategy to in essence leverage Japan into taking what the U.S. had to offer, still was unable to answer a basic question about why they said no, if he even thought to ask it. Tying directly into that, do we have the negotiation power, the negotiating weight to throw around we think, at minimum, Mr. Trump, thinks we do; two years or no, after the 2011 tsunami and disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant it’s hard to believe there remain a steady stream of boats housing millions of  imported cars coming here from Japan. Next exceedingly difficult, particularly for the layman, is to find out who is actually paying import tax on foreign goods, U.S. importers or the original nations themselves; what is clear is that someone is paying the customs and border patrol section of the United States government blowing his insinuation foreign powers are selling goods here for free out of the water in addressing Japan, China, Mexico wherever. Noting Japan specifically, it’s not good enough apparently for ‘The Donald’ that their natural disaster and nuclear crisis afforded us our opening to rebuild the American auto industry revitalize Detroit, bring back Ford, GM, Chrysler we now must tax them into oblivion, because the sure guarantee had he negotiated the agriculture deal between the United States and Japan as articulated, the result would have been us appearing to be the economic version of Vladimir Putin or Kim Jung Un. And that’s what we want, really?  His abundant overconfidence would arguably worsen facets of handling China too; he far too readily assumes more than the mythology of goods sold here with no tax likewise applied to them, that we can convince them to cease and desist all currency manipulations garnered by threat of taxing the hell out of them at 25% with room to go up to 48%. So they what take their corporate and economic espionage to an even higher level, continue to find new ways to cheat, steal and copy things pilfered from America; part of the reason China willingly puts up with Iraqi oil restrictions, accepts marginal profit in their Middle East oil endeavor isn’t just about a lack of shareholders, greed for money making investments, but traces back to they have other places they garner goods, materials, technology via tried and true, functional methods listed above. Dear old Donald was probably so busy paying attention to his twitter following he missed the 3 Chinese hackers arrested doing exactly that. They can afford to take a loss in the name of a precious natural resource energy their population is gobbling up; forget the stability investors like China could potentially bring to the region, a role the U.S .could never fill after the invasion and hunt for Bin Laden. Consequences of getting tough with China on their seedy practices according to Trump methodology is a level playing field, money for America, yet maybe just maybe people negotiating U.S. trade agreements aren’t stupid diplomats rather economists who understand, if you threaten China this way and they call what essentially becomes a bluff, their products go away to other emerging markets a sad, for us, “booming” Mexico, Venezuela, we will have driven them to it. Causing the untold doom he ultimately predicted when A-our markets to tank thanks to an end of cheap, affordable goods, buying American is more expensive and B- more citizens fall on hard times owing to dollars that stretch less than before, but we have huge leverage over China, sure.

Trump on energy may be the singular most dangerous thing he suggested domestically, aside from the sit down with OPEC telling them in short order to stop their manipulation of the global oil market, he glorifies our untapped oil and natural gas resources, talks extensively about our possession of the greatest oil reserves since 1931 totally ignorant, or at least pretending to be, of the environmental impact. Independent of the probable truth many in congress voting no on projects like the Keystone pipeline, something he contradicts himself on saying we don’t need Canada’s oil but do it anyway because it means jobs, are influenced by their own oil and gas investments; it doesn’t negate the environmental facts, not just associated with Keystone but these bountiful reservoir of resources he is telling us to use. Since hydrofracking as a method for extracting natural gas from shale plates in the earth has become common place it has been fraught with problems; chemicals needed in the process have made it into people’s well and ground water causing foul odors, strange textures even allowing residents the shocking ability to light their tap water on fire, and commiserate with the one thing he seems to have gotten right, regulators in Texas, the heart of oil and gas country, first refused to investigate then advised residents lighting their water lines, at night, on video to aerate those lines despite them being in open air in the middle of a country field.  Adding to the obvious safety hazard isn’t just rumored seismic activity first noted in Arkansas, most recently Texas, linked to fracking, but the sheer number of homes set ablaze, in some cases entire neighborhoods reduced to charred rubble, thanks to natural gas explosions, often occurring without warning, a direct result of our increased use of natural gas as a heating, other energy sources. Still not only should we continue to do as we have been, we should do more of it following Trump advice. Keystone was rejected on environmental grounds fearing what it would do to agricultural land used to grow this nation’s and much of the world’s food, water aquifers irrigating crops, supplying drinking water, danger to wildlife, nearly identical reasons against drilling through the Alaskan wildlife preserve circa the 2012 election season. Drill baby drill didn’t pass muster with voters then and there’s little indication it would now, economic despair or no.  Plus who’s kicking the can now only on a different issue apart from Obama care; we could get 20-50 years of extreme prosperity out of our remaining untapped natural resources then what? We’re right back where we started decidedly worse off sans depleted natural resources to make things, grow things, trade for things if we don’t find, invest in, develop alternative fuels…oops. For all of China’s achievements do we envy their air quality, people forced to wear masks outside during parts of the year, obscuring the sun, smog making California look like a perfect oasis? Whatever motives politicians voting no have the environmentalists making the claim seen to have no agenda aside from endeavoring to ensure his grandchildren’s children have a habitable planet to live on, which is not wrong.   

Discussing correlations between OPEC market fixing, the condition of our airports vs. theirs; ours resembling 3rd world country facilities, theirs like everything else making you think you have entered a palace. Missing, the idea it isn’t that we can’t fix our roads, that we chiefly lack the funds, the capital to initiate repairs, build bigger, better airports to meet current needs, nor is the state of our airports news vice president Joe Biden sounded off about it months ago; it’s that we lack the will, namely politically, to appropriate monies away from nonsense projects, waste, congressional pay increases to get it done. To say nothing of part of their architectural prowess through the ages has consisted of palace like buildings be they for royal, ruling families, museums, schools or airports. Further being a tourist to areas like Saudi Arabia, being a billionaire for whom money is only an object if you choose it to be, he saw the best foot they had to put forward, saw things meant to been seen publically, draw people there to spend money, giving him no concrete idea how the average Saudi citizen lives. ‘Mr. Business man,’ not missing a beat, in contrasting our falling apart roads and bridges to China, who is building 24 bridges, all bigger than the George Washington; however, surely he should know bigger is not always better.  And once again China has its own horrific, not so distant history, of inferior building materials, shoddy building codes, an emphasis on quick building above all else and the tragic disasters accompanying said mentality. Including building products made in China sold here, put in homes causing people to be sick from chemical vapors. There, large building collapses, one being a school housing hundreds of students, a 12 story apartment that somehow literally fell over due to poor location, heavy rain and subpar construction. High speed rail is all the rage and is seen as a needed upgrade to our own flagging public, national transit system; except high speed rail in China has been prone to crashes costing thousands of lives one just this week, often blamed Chinese capitalist expansion. It follows suit with an article done here on the reality surrounding Chinese and India educated engineers set to take all our jobs; stating in essence that is blatant fear mongering and nothing more. Notwithstanding the 137,000 engineers graduated here according to a Duke Professor’s number tracking for 2005 vs. 112,000 in India 351,537 in China, the article author’s issue with the Chinese numbers isn’t even population comparative rather distinction comparative explained thus: But there are still problems with that Chinese statistic. It seems in China an auto mechanic is an engineer. So is a technician. It seems there is no uniform definition of engineer in Chinese. And according to Wadhwa, “The skills of (Chinese) engineers are so poor that comparisons don’t make sense. We predicted that Chinese engineers would face unemployment. Indeed, media reports have confirmed that the majority of Chinese engineers don’t take engineering jobs but become bureaucrats or factory workers.” Of course, you can get ahead in life as a bureaucrat. In fact, it’s said that eight out of the nine current Politburo members in China have engineering degrees.” Still here is Donald Trump parroting the “they are taking our jobs” rhetoric. Trump’s obvious and equally obvious unfounded anxiety is best summed up by this YouTube commenter, “By definition we do not yet have a strong economy. In the course of trying to make one it is reasonable to assume that some people will be ‘shaken up’ by the changes. Trump identified exactly who these people are, if you listen carefully through the video…they are Wall Street financiers, the Chinese, the Japanese and the Saudis” [Sic]. Things that would ultimately imply we are doing something right; what is profoundly sad is that a brilliant businessman who thinks he has the solutions for his nation can’t see that.

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Click here to hear Trump’s saga of the TV’s.

Proving once and for all Donald Trump is not to be taken seriously comes in fact checking, even gut checking details large and small; moving past his erroneous assertions the president is from Kenya, insinuations there is something fishy about his Harvard admittance, education, his extremist obsession with the topic, is that he trots this out regularly on other people. Another of his examples Ted Cruz not eligible for the Whitehouse if born in Canada was the ABC news blog headline taken from an interview with the real-estate mogul where he states he doesn’t know the circumstances but someone told him Cruz was born up north. Compounding the absurdity is that Ted Cruz, junior senator from Texas, had next to zero chance at the oval office come 2016 before the government shutdown he spearheaded roughly 2 months after Trumps interview remarks. Maybe with his long lists of friends in China, Saudi Arabia, his positive sit down with president Putin, he was born and raised in one of those countries. Or maybe his love for the “oligarchs” who frequent his hotels is genuine not a joke to make press core attendees giggle, played off as a self-deprecating comment meant to endear you to listeners. Maybe the things he’s saying are good for Donald Trump and only for Donald Trump, hmm. In listing America’s shortcoming he failed to comprehend Benghazi long ago went from an investigation on what happened, how to save American lives in the future to a witch hunt over who gave Susan Rice the talking points, a distraction pulling people away from how strikingly little republicans have done to earn and keep their offices the past 2 years. Notice too when Obama care turned into a success, in spite of its 5 billion dollar, who knows if that’s accurate, website they went back to stirring the Benghazi pot; frankly I would rather the government spend 5 billion on something meant to give people access to quality, affordable healthcare than the collective 5 billion that can quickly be added up in government waste on teapot museums in one state, unwanted U.S. presidential coins congress was too busy squabbling to put through paperwork to halt their creation, maintaining unused government buildings, their  multiple million dollar tab for coffee and pastries. Interesting Trump spent a good portion of his luncheon speech talking about branding when he, the billionaire who has more money than most to ensure he buys American product’s, supports his nation’s economy can’t be bothered to do so. He told ABC in 2011 he couldn’t find U.S. TV’s to place in his hotels; they were all made in Korea. But a simple Google search turns up at least 2 U.S. options for TV’s around that time period; depending on when exactly he needed them, there is the since bankrupt company out of Tempe Az. A more solid company still in operation, U.S. presence going back to 2009 is Vizio; what likely happened is he either didn’t place his order allotting enough time for a smaller company to produce such large quantity or, getting a sense of the Trump personality, the brand wasn’t well known enough to grace a Trump establishment. Instead of the arguable king of brands using made in the USA as a selling point. He lives in similar time warp virtually shouting nothing is made in America anymore when part of the backlash post 2008 was American’s paying attention to where the products they purchase come from resolving to buy American whenever they could; ABC News launching a series titled Made In America showcasing the Swiss teaching American workers to make watches, American made computers, American made clothing and yes TV’s, bourbon bought by a Japanese company meaning more jobs here not less because to be called bourbon is must be made in the US in Kentucky specifically. ABC issuing a challenge to buy one Christmas item in America saving thousands of jobs, refurnishing one family’s house in all American products. Perhaps most laughable is the guy who can’t make a commitment to run for president of the United States, can’t be taken seriously as a New York gubernatorial candidate, then when asked about it pacifies his listeners saying people wanted him to run, he himself had no intentions to, who has never sat in that chair, has never served in uniform dares criticize a prisoner swap for the single POW in Afghanistan. A POW swapped for 5 guys who were nobodies on the day Gitmo opened, whose detention status is POW not terrorist and finally under international law 5 guys who would have to be sent home at the end of U.S. military operations there, i.e. at the end of 2014.

Here is the compassionate side of ‘The Donald’ who describes himself so because unlike his fellow republicans he believes we should take care of people, not cut social security Medicare/Medicaid, grow the economy so we don’t have to worry about the aforementioned programs. Never mind the compassionate thing to do would be to leave Iraqi oil alone, to at minimum, not congratulate foreign entities for raping the land of people utterly defenseless; better yet, alert them to the mineral value and show them how to use it to re-forge a country. The compassionate, the smart, the intelligent, the brilliant thing to do solving both domestic problems of jobs and benefits for aged workers, outside not perpetuating the needless fear mongering about social security, would be to encourage modern likenesses of what FDR did in the 30’s and 40’s creating roads, bridges bringing electricity to rural America with the WPA, the TVA, putting people to work and shoring up the nation’s infrastructure; how about calling republicans on the carpet for opposing every Obama jobs bill meant to do just that? The compassionate, the smart, the intelligent thing would be to champion Johnson’s great society programs not causing people to think you subscribe to the we should scale back, abolish these programs because a majority of the people on food stamps are just lazy, women receiving WIC welfare and other government assistance are popping out kids to get more benefits, are underserving because they insist on having children out of wedlock with men not remotely interested in being fathers school of thought. One republican on Fox News even questioning if it’s too easy for kids to get student loans, forget the ones whose parents make too much for them to qualify for grants yet not enough to provide a college fund, forget the ones who cannot access higher education because they have no means to afford it.  Similarly, if you are looking for a great America you have to look beyond the big headlines and see what’s underneath; comprehend not everything that makes a nation great is going to make national, international headlines. Speaking of headlines and media, has Mr. Trump ever considered the reason America is so often portrayed as a joke both at home and abroad is because it sells more papers? For proof just look at Canada’s Rob Ford all over headlines, known for horribly outlandish behavior especially for a mayor and plastered on every front page here and there. Returning to America you only have to look at charitable contributions to causes across the globe whether it’s Bill Gates and his foundation attempting to eradicate preventable disease, Angelina Jolie’s involvement in various humanitarian efforts, the KIND fund giving desks to children in Africa, a woman giving to Holocaust survivors, engineering students creating cheap prostatic arms, following in the footsteps of students who created incubator blankets to quell the infant mortality rate in India. One man, his 3D printer knowledge, supplies and the goal, make a boy in war torn South Sudan an arm. And it is not going unnoticed CNN has a segment titled CNN heroes showcasing people like this working across the globe to better things where they live, better things for the less fortunate in every corner of the world, too bad Donald Trump is too busy making speeches to see any of it.