Wednesday, 19 September 2018
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

The land of the Donald and the home of the Trump

By  Mark Thomas Jan 31, 2017

So I watched, glued to the TV, as the inauguration unfolded. As the Donald put his hand on the bible to take his oath as the president I half expected it to catch fire. But no! And just as well because his Slovenian model wife, who was holding it, would also have gone up in flames, and there are so few Slovenians that we don’t want to lose another one.

Never in my lifetime did I think that I would see this sight, President Trump. Surreal would be an understatement. America now has a President who starred in Home Alone! And not even Home Alone, but Home Alone 2! I have a feeling that Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” will just be “Make America Again” in four years time.

I have found myself addicted to YouTube. I can’t get enough of the serious and not-so-serious debate from the other side of the Atlantic. The inauguration speech in general was shocking, far from humble; he painted a picture of a country in ruins. Right from the beginning the speech was, well weird, his first word were “…fellow Americans and people of the world, thank you.” Why would he thank the people of the world? I have no idea, they didn’t vote of participate. The speech continued with words like – blood, decay and carnage. I don’t think Donald will ever get a job working for the American Tourist Board, after that speech nobody would want to go near the country. But he doesn’t need to sell holidays, no he is the leader of the most important and powerful country in the world. Scary stuff! This man now has the nuclear weapons codes.

And instead of clearing the swamp, as he promised, he seems to be intent of refilling the swamp; no he is making a whole new swamp! Business cronies and oligarchs now fill almost all of the important seats in his cabinet. They are going to make mountains and mountains of dollars; it is a corporate Coup d’État. How ironic that with the populist vote he looks now of course to reward the 1 percent, like an anti Robin Hood. And we thought that Croatian politics was mad! We are nowhere near this level of madness. Corruption is now in open season.

But when you think about it more, it makes sense, well for the oligarchs not for the general public. Instead of the CEO's of the massive corporations having to constantly lobby and “bribe” politicians to get favourable decisions and laws, now they have basically cut out the middle man, now they hold the levers of power. No more wining and dining liberal politicians in the hope that another oil rig can be built or that a highway can be ploughed through a forest, no now they are the decision makers. A frightening thought.

If we thought Croatia was corrupt, well we are small fish in a big pond compared to what will come in the next four years. The academic Noam Chomsky described Trump as a “dangerous clown...and that the most predictable thing about Trump was his unpredictability.” It is certainly going to be an unpredictable four years.

How did the Republican Party go from Abraham Lincoln to Donald Trump? One of the buzz phrases in Croatian politics is “conflict of interests.” Well we are about to see the mother of conflict of interests. Trump’s business interest span the globe, he has a finger in countless foreign pies. Some of them are so weird all you can do is laugh. For example the state bank of China, the largest state bank in the world, rents offices in Trump Tower in New York for which they pay a whooping $2 million a year.

So once you have unraveled the pieces it basically means that a foreign government, China, is now paying the President of the US $2 million annually. This is actually illegal in the US as a section of the American constitution states that Presidents can’t accept payments or gifts from foreign governments. So how does Trump deal with this conflict of interests, well in a truly Balkan manner, maybe he is getting advice from Melania or Melanija as is her birth name, he puts his children in charge of his business. And then he employs one of his son-in-laws as his advisor. Let’s be honest our local sheriffs are beginners compared to this guy. And don’t get me started on the Russian connection.

After going bankrupt four times American banks were not so generous in lending him cash, so he went to Mother Russia to get funds. If you were reading this story in a book you would be surprised, but this real life, this is actually happening. I will leave the last word to Donald, sorry President Trump, and yes he actually said this ““One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace. Good people don’t go into government.” At least he is showing self awareness.

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