“Nobody does self-deprecating humour better than I do,”  Donald Trump modestly addressing politicians and journalists in Washington, DC March 2018.

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston’s book “The Making of Donald Trump”*, published just before the 2016 election, is deeply researched and compulsive reading. It’s a shame it wasn’t compulsory reading pre-election .

The author draws on three decades of interviews with Trump, financial records, court documents and public statements.

His book traverses the historic and often dodgy origins of the Trump family fortune and the now President’s then own links with mob bosses and high rollers in the construction and casino phases of his career, his chronic legal and financial troubles and mounting business controversies. His mounting political controversies are possibly a welcome change.

Johnston makes a watertight case in highlighting Trump’s undoubted skill at self-myth making, for example in “The Art of the Deal ”.(I must add that this famous “Trump” tome was written entirely by ghost writer Tony Schwartz, who repented in a July 2016 New Yorker article which is revealing and readable. **).

Repellent indeed though is its subject matter, unfortunately the paperback book itself, or at least the local library copy in my hands, proved not to be as water repellent.

Johnston may have put to bed once and for all facts about Trump that his myth making has obscured. But in the bedclothes is where I left his paperback overnight, after reading the last page, before she who shall remain anonymous scooped up the sheets and contents and conveyed them to the washing machine.

Only the plastic covered cover survived the water boarding and spin cycle. However, there was certainly more than a shred of evidence of the rest of the book stuck to all the more normal contents of the washing machine.

The washing dried on the rotary line and the wind blew confetti-like particles all over  the back lawn like old blossom in late spring.

A harbinger of the unmaking of Donald Trump? A straw in the wind anyway.

Sad?

*Blinks
* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Making_of_Donald_Trump **https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/07/25/donald-trumps-ghostwriter-tells-all

#Lyall Lukey 11 March 2018 http://www.lukey.co.nz/  http://www.smartnet.co.nz http://lukeytraining.wordpress.com/  Another (slightly) more serious blog. https://silververve.com/  Silververve: A new lease of life for mature people-website and blog

 

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“They’re rioting in Africa, they’re starving in Spain.
There’s hurricanes in Florida, and Texas needs rain.
The whole world is festering with unhappy souls.
The French hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles.
Italians hate Yugoslavs, South Africans hate the Dutch.
And I don’t like anybody very much!

But we can be tranquil, and thankful, and proud,
For man’s been endowed with a mushroom-shaped cloud.
And we know for certain that some lovely day
Someone will set the spark off, and we will all be blown away.
They’re rioting in Africa, there’s strife in Iran.
What nature doesn’t do to us, will be done by our fellow man.”*

“They’re Rioting In Africa-aka “The Ode to John Foster Dulles”, from The Merry Minuet by the Kingston Trio 1959*

Strange Love?

59 years later “Rioting…” has re-surfaced as Trump’s Not-so-Merry Minuet-same words, same hotspots, same message, new pics.*

With his call for a Macron-like military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue- and his desire to avoid a micron substitute -is Potus manifesting a strange love dressed up as patriotism or is he just parading his ignorance?

Unclear Nuclear Policy

The latest Pentagon defence thinking has been revealed in a Pentagon policy statement known as the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).

Both Moscow and Beijing have condemned current US military proposals to develop new, smaller atomic bombs mainly to deter any Russian use of nuclear weapons.** Russia’s foreign minister called the move “confrontational” and expressed “deep disappointment”. The Chinese pointed the finger at the US for reviving a “Cold War mentality” with its nuclear policy review.

America First obviously still means American Fist, sans a velvet glove.

Put in/Get out

With the Doomsday Clock recently advanced to two minutes before midnight, if you need to be reminded of the Cold War stand-off in the middle of last century and how near it became to being  Very Hot, push the button on the YouTube video below*. You will get a lot out of the original song and the newly juxtaposed photos.

Also check out Andrew Gunn’s piece “It’s gonna be yuge but not bigger than Putin’s.” ***

*BLINKS
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_PCVX8hJLA Trump’s Minuet-Original song, new pics, same message.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-42935758
https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/donald-trumps-america/101258282/secret-plans-for-yugest-parade-of-all-time-leaked

 #Lyall Lukey 11 February 2018
http://www.lukey.co.nz/  http://www.smartnet.co.nz http://lukeytraining.wordpress.com/  -My other (slightly) more serious blog.


 “…you understand the expression ‘prime the pump’?……Have you heard that expression used before? Because I haven’t heard it. I mean, I just…I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good. It’s what you have to do”. President Trump 4 May 2017*

The group of editors from The Economist would really have appreciated President Trump not only laying his economic cards on the table but giving them, Steve Mnuchin, his treasury secretary and others an advanced Economics tutorial .

It’s just a shame that John Maynard Keynes* didn’t live to be 134 so he could have benefited from the refresher.

I personally can’t wait for the President to invent the horseless carriage. This will probably have to wait, though, until after he’s finished re-writing the American Constitution in his own image. That should not take too much longer.

*Blinks
http://www.economist.com/Trumptranscript
https://www.maynardkeynes.org/
http://www.munchkin.com/

#Lyall Lukey 14 May 2017      http://www.lukey.co.nz/  http://www.smartnet.co.nz http://lukeytraining.wordpress.com/  -My other (slightly) more serious blog


“Our ties with Mexico will be much more firmly established in 2012 because, some time within the next 50 years, the Mexican border will become as the Canadian border, a free one, with the formalities and red tape of ingress and egress cuts to a minimum so that the residents of both countries can travel back and forth across it as if it were not there.” Barry Goldwater

Speaking in 1962 on the occasion of Arizona’s 50th anniversary as a state, Goldwater was obviously a very moderate Republican.  If he had run for President two years later even Hillary may have even supported him…

*Blinks
http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20170502-what-walls-mean-from-hadrian-to-trump
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrxX9TBj2zY  Pink FloydAnother Brick In The Wall     

 #Lyall Lukey 7 May 2017  http://www.lukey.co.nz/  http://www.smartnet.co.nz http://lukeytraining.wordpress.com/  -My other (slightly) more serious blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


“…impeach that man immediately, New Zealand.”  Jimmy Kimmell

This is not pastry flake news. On last Wednesday’s Jimmy Kimmell Show the eponymous American host slammed our PM, the Patient English, for putting canned spaghetti and pineapples on a pizza he served to his children.*

The Italian Embassy in Wellington also responded to this culinary crime  by posting on Twitter a photo snapped by a pizza paparazzo of an ersatz pizza-topped Pavlova with salami rings standing in for the standard strawberries or kiwifruit.**

The latter was an understandable Pavlovian response from the Protectors of the Pizza. However Kimmell’s “impeachment” call was clearly misspoken.  Surely he meant to say “impineapplement”. He can reserve the other term for possible use closer to home.

*BLINKS
*http://www.mtv.com.au/jimmy-kimmel/news/lol-jimmy-kimmel-blasts-bill-english-for-putting-spaghetti-on-his-pizza  Photos and video clip **http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/91340014/italian-embassy-throws-just-dessert-vendetta-at-pms-spaghetti-pizza Pavlovian response

#Lyall Lukey   http://www.lukey.co.nz/  http://www.smartnet.co.nz http://lukeytraining.wordpress.com/  -My other (slightly) more serious blog


 

“This story is a fabrication and has long been discredited. I am amazed it is still making the rounds.”  Brian McAllister Linn, historian and author of Guardians of Empire: The U.S. Army and the Pacific, 1902-1940.

With the usual mix of fascination and incredulity I watched part of the live broadcast of Donald Trump’s address to the Californian Republican Convention on 29 April*.

The presumptive (presumptuous?) Republican candidate displays expressive body language, more impressive than his verbal language. His metronomic right hand makes him appear an expert signer but the hearing disabled would also struggle to find coherent meaning.

Trump repeated to a receptive audience a bloodthirsty anecdote that he had earlier recounted at a Feb. 19, 2016, rally in North Charleston.  Set in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War of 1899-1902  it featured United States Army General John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing and was an “anti-terrorist” parable from the post war years  when the United States sought to exert its authority over the South East Asian archipelago which it had “won” from Spain.

The occupiers faced armed opposition and a three-year war which led to the deaths of more than 4,200 American combatants, more than 20,000 Filipino combatants, and up to 200,000 Filipino civilians.

After the war, Pershing served as military governor of the heavily Muslim Moro Province between 1909 and 1913, years, marked by continuing intransigent insurgencies.

The Parable

According to an account in the Washington Post of the February rally, Trump referred approvingly to the purported actions of Pershing in handling Muslim dissidents in the Southern Philippines province:
And he caught 50 terrorists who did tremendous damage and killed many people. And he took the 50 terrorists, and he took 50 men and he dipped 50 bullets in pigs’ blood — you heard that, right? He took 50 bullets, and he dipped them in pigs’ blood. And he had his men load his rifles, and he lined up the 50 people, and they shot 49 of those people. And the 50th person, he said: You go back to your people, and you tell them what happened. And for 25 years, there wasn’t a problem. Okay? Twenty-five years, there wasn’t a problem.”

(You can watch the April video version on YouTube.  The claimed period of  post-porcine  peace doubles*).

After Trump told the story in February, critics called it apocryphal, misleading or outright false. The facts and rumour checking site Snopes.com* considered the evidence and called it a “legend.” (Snopes has been tracking Internet-based rumours of this sort since 2001, and a California National Guard facility removed a poster telling the apocryphal Pershing story in 2005).

Under the banner Pershing the Thought Snopes concluded that “U.S. General John J. Pershing did not effectively discourage Muslim terrorists in the Philippines by killing them and burying their bodies along with those of pigs.” *

Pulitzer Prize winner Politifact.com* went further and checked with historians specialising in the period to see what they thought of the story. Overall the eight scholars were highly sceptical that the specific story ever happened. On the flaming pantometer on Politifact Trump’s pants were shown as highly combustible*.

The Parallel

“Even if the tale is true, the pacifying effect that Trump claims is nonsense…,” The region “remained in constant unrest during the period of American rule and into the period of independence, right down to the present.”  Michael H. Hunt author of Arc of Empire: America’s Wars in Asia from the Philippines to Vietnam

Facts aside, several of the historians argued that Trump’s larger point was wrong anyway. The idea that Pershing’s blood-smeared bullets pacified “terrorists” is actually an even bigger problem with Trump’s parable than its dubious provenance.

More than a century later, on the island of Mindanao, the Moro conflict is ongoing and Muslim rebel groups are still very active.

The pig parable may strike a respondent chord with ill-informed Trump supporters in a dumbed down populist Primary campaign now about to evolve into the presidential race.

To others it seems like an obvious attempt to sell a pig in a poke, but it’s no joke. The smoke and parabolic mirror musings, from someone aspiring to high office lacks all credibility and inspires even less confidence.

Unreality Show

Trump is the undoubted star of a political unreality show which could have real and dangerous consequences domestically and internationally.

While the bemused world watches on it is now up to American voters in November to decide whether to hire or fire someone who hasn’t bothered doing his political apprenticeship but expects to vault from hog cabin to the White House.

It will be a real test of the wisdom of crowds and the flawed but essential democratic process.

*Blinks

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jxkw3M2He2w  Donald Trump Speaks at California Republican Convention 29 April 2016
http://www.snopes.com/rumors/pershing.asp  Pershing the Thought http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/feb/23/donald-trump/donald-trump-cites-dubious-legend-about-gen-pershi/
http://presidential-candidates.insidegov.com/stories/7422/numbers-define-donald-trump?  25 Numbers That Define Donald Trump
http://presidential-candidates.insidegov.com/l/70/Donald-Trump https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aFo_BV-UzI How Donald Trump Answers A Question [or not]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XOocb-DId4  Hillary Clinton’s attack ad on Donald Trump 4 May 2016
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/26/us/politics/transcript-of-the-republican-presidential-debate-in-houston.html?_r=0  Scroll down to the exchange on health between Rubio and Trump!
http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/79676451/andrew-gunn-the-wit-and-wisdom-of-donald-j-trump  A Kiwi satirical offering

#Lyall Lukey 7 May 2016       http://www.lukey.co.nz/  http://www.smartnet.co.nz http://lukeytraining.wordpress.com/  My other (slightly) more serious blog


NOT ALL AT SEA

24Apr16

Now landsmen all, whoever you may be, If you want to rise to the top of the tree, If your soul isn’t fettered to an office stool, Be careful to be guided by this golden rule. Stick close to your desks and never go to sea, And you all may be rulers of the Queen’s Navee!   HMS Pinafore Gilbert and Sullivan

“May our mountains ever be   Freedom’s ramparts on the sea…”  Because our newest patrol boats won’t be. They haven’t made it to sea in years, HMNZS Pukaki since the end of 2012 and Taupo since 2013.*

The in-shore patrol vessels entered into service in 2009 as part of the late Labour Government’s $500 million naval protection project, but recent Defence Force statistics show that they’ve been tied up and the project also jettisoned.

The Defence Minister has blamed the previous Government for buying the two vessels, calling them “unsuitable” for the rough New Zealand seas. Another opinion is that the two boats don’t have the trained crew needed to run them.

Either way it’s a very thrifty situation which will help balance the budget. First ships without crews, next hospitals without patients and schools without students. The sky’s the limit in terms of economising on labour and Labour costs, though it may not extend to a parliament without MPs.

All grist to the mill of the Labour Party’s Future of Work Commission.

A less than saline solution is to avoid sea water entirely, in order to reduce the rust ratio and also to avoid nasty rough seas, by having each boat patrol the lakes after which they were named.

Each boat would first need to be converted to an aquatic drone guided by a combination of automatic sensors, smart robots and dry land-based Navy desk jockeys, G&S style.

A new policy of inland naval deterrence would deter jet boat and jet ski speeding  on both lakes while flushing out freedom campers on the shoreline. Unused cabin space could be pressed into service in the Peak Chinese Tourist Season.

This would be a world class triple bottom line outcome without any fishhooks.

*Blinks
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/78903319/navys-newest-patrol-boats-havent-made-it-to-sea-in-years-defence-force-admits

#Lyall Lukey 24 April 2016     http://www.lukey.co.nz/  http://www.smartnet.co.nz http://lukeytraining.wordpress.com/  My other (slightly) more serious blog