Peter Cavanaugh

Bamboozlement

Happy December.

Our operative word for this month of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Mawlid un Nabi (Muhammad’s Birthday), the Winter Solstice, Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve is “Bamboozlement.” As Oliver Hardy might say - “That’s what gotten us into this fine mess.” Who’s Oliver Hardy? Ask your grandparents. Or their grandparents.

Definition of Bamboozle (Merriam-Webster):

(1) To deceive by underhanded methods: dupe, hoodwink.

(2) To confuse, frustrate or throw off thoroughly and completely.

Love him or hate him, any reasonably objective assessment of Donald Trump’s astounding victory in November concludes that it was due to unparalleled bamboozlement of the highest order, including a stunning realization that the liar was finally triumphant lying about his lying - successfully branding his opponent with such damning designation - even in the lack of any valid supporting evidence.

That’s right. Benghazi? Emails? The Clinton Foundation? Conservative talk show commentary to the contrary, there was never anything upon which to truly hang Hillary or “lock her up,” but there was plenty of unfounded innuendo with which to hatchet her mercilessly. Secretary Clinton’s campaign died of a thousand cuts. This proves anew Adolf Hitler’s infamous observation in Mein Kampf that “A big lie must be so colossal that no one would believe someone could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”

Hitler’s chief Nazi propagandist, Dr. Joseph Goebbels, picked up on the theme. He wrote: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating, people will eventually come to believe it.” Goebbels thoughtfully added, “The truth is the mortal enemy of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the state to use all its powers to repress dissent.”

On Monday, Nov. 21, Donald Trump appeared at a meeting with several dozen media heads and primary network anchors, summoned to a boardroom at Trump Tower in hopes of establishing a more congenial relationship with the press.

But Donald detonated, starting the meeting by directly addressing CNN President Jeff Zuker with these words: “I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and CNN is a network of liars.” Then things went way downhill. Trump has made several outright threats to “open up libel laws” and “take the press to court” when elected. Think about it.

It’s become disturbingly easy to discredit Trump by simply quoting his own words. I have also come to believe that Donald J. Trump functions almost exclusively by intuitive impulse, often sacrificing logic and reason in the process.

This is terrifying.

We are about to live under rule by whim. Donald shifts with the wind and appears powerless to do otherwise. Maybe we’ll get lucky.

Yet along with “bamboozlement,” there’s another big word starting to make the rounds. It’s right there in the U.S. Constitution plain as day - “Emolument.”

“No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them shall, without the Consent of Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office or Title, of any kind whatsoever, from any King, Prince, or Foreign State.”

Definition of Emolument (Merriam-Webster):

(1) A return arising from office or employment usually in the form of compensation or perquisites.

(2) Money you receive from working.

Trump has every intention of keeping business interests intact without restriction, stating: “The law’s totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest.”

Trump’s projects, loans and business deals include such things as hundreds of millions owed to Deutsche Bank in Germany, an institution from which federal regulators are now seeking a $14 billion dollar fine for issuing toxic loans during the 2008 housing crisis.

Trump companies are also hundreds of millions in debt to the Bank of China, owned by the government of China - a nation directly competing with us for worldwide influence. These are just two highlights from extensive holdings all over the planet.

Will the new Republican Congress provide the consent constitutionally required for Donald to do as he will? I’m herein asking our newly re-elected Fourth District Representative, Tom McClintock, for his take in this matter. I trust you’ll do likewise.

I also hope I see you this Saturday morning at Denny’s for “Homeless for The Holidays: 2016.” That’s the theme for our December meeting of the Oakhurst Democratic Club. Mike Rhodes, noted progressive journalist and former editor of Fresno’s Community Alliance newspaper, will join us for a discussion of his book, Dispatches from the War Zone. We’ll also be reviewing election results and wondering, where do we go from here?

As we Rock On.

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