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Commentary Opinion

We’ve Allowed Trump To Be Trump, a Crook

IMAGE: Draft copy of the Declaration of Independence.

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Our country, the United States of America, is at risk. The centuries-old system of checks and balances is eroding. The pillars of our democratic ways are under attack. In many ways, the government of the people has become the property of big business, of corporate America, and of a behind-the-scenes neo oligarchy. Our nation is falling apart.

The president of the United States and his allies are pillaging the land. Old safeguards that were once set to protect our natural resources and the environment are being removed. Big oil is winning. Unfortunately, we the people and our descendants will end up paying for the government’s trespasses.

Other protections are also being removed. For immigrants, for asylum seekers, for voters, for the poor. The nation that was once a berth for those seeking freedom and opportunity is becoming a lawless land favoring the needs of the rich, of special interest groups.

Our values are also eroding. Lying is okay now; unpresidential conduct is also okay. Offensive language is spewed everyday by the man that was elected to lead and comfort the people. He does it in tweets, on camera, behind the scenes. It’s his way of leading he thinks. Those who follow and support him also follow suit and mimic the President’s lying and repugnant ways. Our moral compass has gone berserk.

Some people blame our woes on mainstream media. In a sense they’re right. Newspapers, radio, TV, and digital news outlets have thrived in many ways ever since Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency in June of 2015. They helped him get elected by fastidiously focusing on him and his daily diatribes. By giving him too much airtime and digital bytes and by splashing his fear mongering remarks on the nation’s dailies and TV screens. There’s no doubt, the Russian meddling helped get Trump elected, but some of the blame belongs to the smoke-filled rooms of mainstream media.

There are other culpable media entities, by the way, that were just as guilty of helping Trump rise to the highest political office in the land. Social media venues were the most influential. This new take on spreading real and fake news brought in a new slant to political campaigning. It helped Trump for sure. Will it help again? Who knows. It will be up to the honchos in those dot coms.

But the guiltiest of all parties is us, we the people. We have allowed the human aberration called Donald J. Trump to continue to destroy our land, our nation, and our democratic ways. And we have done nothing of note to rein in his devious practices. We have allowed him to continue to act above the law, to go around Congress and the courts, and to rule by executive order. We the people are the real culprits. We have allowed the pillage to go on. And that is sad.

However, we still have time to mend our ways and do the right thing, to fight back and to petition the government for a redress of our grievances, as guaranteed by the First Amendment. But, we must act with urgency, before it is too late. Before the pernicious President of the United States of America and his cronies completely destroy our nation.

AUTHOR: Pedro Chávez

Categories
Commentary Opinion

Mexico: America’s Second Largest Export Market

IMAGE: Flags from the three NAFTA nations: Canada, Mexico and the United States.

 

The United States needs Mexico just as much as Mexico needs the United States. But few media pundits dwell about it. It’s boring stuff. Besides, it isn’t the kind of content that draws readers to a newspaper, eyes and ears to the TV screen or viewers to a website. The topic isn’t the “if it bleeds it leads” type of news that media folks hunger for. It’s just a reality about an ever-growing symbiotic relationship between two countries next to each other, one rich, the other one not so rich.

Nowadays, when it comes to Mexico or news about Mexicans, most of the coverage is usually tied to the drivel that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth regarding the Spanish-speaking nation to the south. The common thread in his comments about Mexicans, by the way, is trash talk; the kindling he relies on to fire up his rabid political base. It works for him, there’s no doubt. It helped him launch his successful presidential campaign a couple of years ago, and continues to work for him whenever he needs to resort to a media distraction for political reasons.

Trump is a shrewd guy, that’s for sure; shrewd, as in cagey and conniving, like most snake oil salesmen. And like most sly and underhanded benders of the truth, he often discards the facts and turns to lies to support his bravado. That’s how he’s able to sell his wares to a large segment of America that likes what he says and follow him blindly. It’s sad.

When it comes to Mexico and the Mexicans, though, his uncalled for trash talk and his international trade actions are about to backfire on him. The proverbial you know what is also about to hit the fan. Trump folks in Iowa, Wisconsin, Texas and other states will soon “suffer the slings and arrows of an outrages fortune” because of the trade war started by the quirky and grandstanding president.

Soon after Trump decided to impose a tariff on steel and aluminum imports from Mexico and other countries, the nation to the south retaliated with a twenty percent tariff on pork shoulders and legs. Mexico is the second largest market for U.S. pork exports, by the way, and last year bought about a billion dollars of the product from American suppliers. Talk about Iowa farmers that voted for Trump getting financially hurt if the tariff on pork remains.

More than a friend of America, Mexico is the third largest U.S. trading partner, following China and Canada. It’s also the second largest importer of U.S. goods and services. Canada is the largest. In 2017, Mexico’s imports from the United States reached over $243 billion. Only Canada purchased more that year ($300 billion). China, by the way, America’s largest trading partner, only imported $130 billion in goods and services from the United States in 2017. These figures are based on information published by the U.S. Census Bureau.

If commercial relations between Mexico and its neighbor to the north continue to go sour because of Trump’s actions, the negative economic impact will be monumental. Some states will feel it more than others. Texas, for example, exported over $97 billion to Mexico in 2017. There’s a huge potential “ouch” hovering over the Lone Star State if Trump keeps up his craziness. Wisconsin’s exports to Mexico at $3.2 billion are much smaller, but still significant. Lots of dairy products are sent to Mexico from that state. Corn exports will also get hurt. Last year Mexico imported $19 billion of American corn, but with all the Trump trash talk about NAFTA, Mexicans are turning to South America, mainly Brazil, for some of their corn needs. That’s another big “ouch.” The picture doesn’t look good. It’s really pretty ominous for a lot of farmers and many other hard working Americans.

Trump often exaggerates and lies, but figures don’t. They call it like it is. And like it has been. When it comes to Mexico and Mexicans, many Americans, especially those under the Trumpian spell, need to realize that the nation to the south is not the enemy. It is actually a friend and a needed trading partner.

Pogo, of comic strip fame, summarized well many years ago. The enemy is us. Yes, us, for allowing a boastful reality TV showman to run our country.

 

AUTHOR: Pedro Chávez

 

 

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Commentary Opinion

Donald Trump, a Bad, Bad Hombre

IMAGE: Donald Trump, the smack-talker in chief.

 

Some folks love talking smack. Donald Trump is one of them. He insults people all the time. But I understand; he does it because he gets away with it. And because a great chunk of white America is okay with his vile behavior. He certainly likes to berate us Mexicans, I’m telling you. He launched his presidential campaign doing so and a lot of folks loved it. He called us this and that, but mainly criminals. He was probably told to go after us so he could incite the sometimes dormant bigotry that lies beneath the outer lining of some people. We were an easy pick, after all, we the Mexicans in America often become the scapegoats and get blamed for some of the country’s ills.

Pandering to that voter base worked for Trump and got him elected. That base is a big and significant segment of the population, made up by both, passive and outspoken men and women that live and breed hate mongering. They have been around for ages. They’re the ignorant, the uninformed, the less educated, the racist faction of our land. Most them are republicans.

By the way, every time Trump feels that he needs to rekindle that obnoxious camp, he takes his trash talk on the road and again spouts his drivel about us. To further incite those folks, he keeps giving us names. At one time he called us “bad hombres.” Just recently, he said that we were “animals.” Ay, ay, ay. He just doesn’t get tired of talking smack about Mexicans. I guess we’ll be his punching bag for a while more. Unless, of course, he has “a great fall and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men” can no longer cover up for him and he ends up in the hoosegow (along with his crooked cronies). Boy, that would be great relief.

Talking about names, Trump is good at coming up with monikers for the folks he attacks. Instead of participating in intelligent and civil discourse about a topic or a controversy, he resorts to less scintillating ways to have his say or to defend himself. He gives his supposed opponents nicknames. It’s another way of talking smack and a defense mechanism that he probably picked up during his early years, when he had to come up with wicked names to insult other kids.

In August of last year, for example, at a time when North Korea practiced launching inter-continental ballistic missiles into the air and the ocean, threatening the West with its growing arsenals of nukes, Trump answered the call with tweets and his own line of defense: menacing words and name calling. From his golf club in New Jersey, the president said that the threat from North Korea would “be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.” A few months later, Trump referred to Kim Jong Un, the North Korean dictator, as the “Little Rocket Man.”

It was just smack talk. The Trump kind. By late April of this year, he changed his tune and referred to Jong Un as a “very honorable” person as the two countries prepared for a summit between both presidents, to broker a deal on Pyongyang’s nuclear program. Amazing. So easy to see, Trump’s only about trash talk. His track record speaks for him. He has no morals, no backbone, and not a pinch of manliness. He changes his mind at the whim of the wind and the words he spews are devoid of substance, of worthiness. I call it talking smack.

And not being an “hombre.”

 

AUTHOR: Pedro Chávez

 

Categories
Commentary Opinion

Pomp, Circumstance, and the Downward Spiral

IMAGE: Table settings for the Macron-Trump state dinner at the White House.

 

The setting was the White House, the event a state dinner. The first one in the era of Trump. It was conceived to honor the President of France and his wife, Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron. First Lady Melania planned the gig, an opulent rendezvous fit for royalty. It took her several months to prepare it. No expenses were spared and not even the most microscopic detail was left out. There was a cream and gold scheme for the setting, we’re told, matched by fine gold-rimmed China. The menu was not the rubber-chicken kind; the guests dined on luscious French inspired entrees: goat cheese gâteau, rack of lamb, Cajun gold rice, and other bon vivant delicacies. Most ladies in the shindig showed off their best rags. Among them, some haute couture. Melania wore a Chanel gown, Brigitte opted for Louis Vuitton, while first daughter Ivanka had a Rodarte. Almost every guest was just as pompous, presumptuous and out of touch with a world brimming with have-nots.

While one-hundred-and-twenty-plus cretinous and ostentatious wannabe bluebloods celebrated a spurious friendship, draped in fancy clothing and unashamed by their two-faced joy, a lot of women and men in our divided nation metaphorically wore black. It was mostly for the same reasons mentioned in the late Johnny Cash song, but also to remind everyone of the perils that threaten the foundation of our democracy. To tell those in Congress that still cling to the nefarious president, that they can no longer look the other way when it comes time to undo a wrong. That America will not survive unless Donald Trump is stopped from fanning the flames of discontent with his divisive hatred-filled ways.

Besides trying to kill our freedom, Trump is doing the same to our economic future, unabashedly removing the safeguards primarily meant to maintain the free enterprise principles on track, but also to protect us all from the shoddy actions and shenanigans of big business. Trump’s also hocking our nation with trillions of dollars in debt for unnecessary ends, wasting our hard earned money on objectives born in his delusional mind. One of those endeavors is a border wall to replace one that already exists. He’s also into helping his supposed buddies: tax cuts for the rich and for corporate America. The president is also into destroying our land, our piece of the earth, turning back the clock on environmental protection.

As the days, the weeks, and the months pass, Trump’s ineffective and dysfunctional presidency continues to derail the underpinnings of our democracy, our economy, and our values. As the clock ticks, our nation’s stature diminishes in the world stage, while malignant cancers keep on growing and plaguing inner America and our inner selves. The price that we the people will have to pay for the undoings carried out by Trump and his cronies, is pretty monumental. The collectors are already knocking at our doors. As we await for the nightmarish situation to end, some of us keep hoping for better times. But they won’t get here soon enough. Not as long as the cowards in Congress renege on their duties and fail to do what is right.

In the meantime, I’m hoping no one tells me to eat cake.

 

AUTOR: Pedro Chávez

Categories
Commentary Opinion

Media Outlets Profit in Trump Era

IMAGE: Donald Trump during presidential campaign. iStock photo (Getty Images)

 

The legendary king of late night TV, Johnny Carson, would sometimes blame a “slow news day” for the lack of comedic material for his standup. It was a different era. No CNN 24-hour news, no other networks doing the same, no political pundits spreading their hype on television and the Internet, no social media.

Times have changed, though, especially now that The Donald oversees a scandal-a-day presidency. There’s plenty news to go around not only for the late night talk show hosts, but also for everyone else in America and in many parts of the world. It’s crazy. And guess what? I bet the wacky, constant news feeds are keeping more eyeballs and minds pegged to TV, phone and computer screens and other news bearing gizmos, and away from the old mundane concerns of those hooked on the frenzy.

Ever since he launched his run for the presidency, Trump’s brazen and erratic comments have not just been tabloid fodder, but also forage to fill many once empty news hours. Stories of his personal behavior and dirty doings have added to the fold. It’s crazy, really crazy. But it’s also music to the ears of corporate honchos at media et al. Trump is making them richer. That’s my take on the matter.

It’s sad too, not just crazy. As media outlets fill their coffers with the additional revenue provided by more television viewers, radio listeners, and online page views, the nation is also becoming more divided by the constant chatter. If you were to ask me, I’d say “the media done it.” Besides helping elect Trump with coverage mostly focused on him during the campaign, the folks at most media outlets continue to add to the frenzy, breeding discord with their never ending and often slanted drivel. But that’s how it is in the crazy news world, in which the old adage of “If it bleeds, it leads” still applies. And let me tell you, there’s plenty bleeding going around now with Trump at the helm. Figuratively and real.

Of course, Trump won’t be around forever. With the Mueller investigation doing its due diligence and stretching with prudence the long arm of the law, chances are The Donald won’t get to finish out his term of office, especially once democrats take over Congress in the fall. He will be shown the door. That’s my belief. Once he’s out, the media frenzy will also come to an end, along with diminished bottom lines. For a while, anyway.

My hope is that we return to the good old times of some slow news days, when late night show hosts scrounged around for comedic political material. But it won’t be so. The corporate media sharks are out now. They’ve tasted blood and I’m sure cherish what a news frenzy can do to their financial statements. They will find other like-Trump figures to feed their news needs and continue to inflame the minds of the people.

That’s for sure.

 

AUTHOR: Pedro Chávez