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Billionaires, Vanity and Modern Democracy -- Cheeseburgers, Women and Golf

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Barack Obama and Donald Trump
Barack Obama and Donald Trump
(Image by (From Wikimedia) DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos / dvidshub.net/image/3114504/obama-hands-over-presidency-trump-58th-presidential-inauguration, Author: See Source)
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The bullying in Washington is the current trend. On Monday, the British ambassador resigned his post after Trump refused to deal with him. Well-liked in Washington and the halls of Congress, his downfall was an honest assessment of the Trump administration as 'inept' and 'dysfunctional'. The letters were leaked in the U.K.

Suppose the president tweets comments contrary to current established policy, does that mean a policy change? Do departments adapt promptly? Nobody knows. That's dysfunctional, and everyone knows it. In the meantime, he has enjoyed 17 golf outings since February, averaging three a month. No wonder he is that rare president who does not seem to age in office from the stresses of the job. Obama's hair turned gray.

But then a lighter hand on the tiller has kept us out of war, whereas Obama, the Nobel Peace Laureate, destroyed Libya and escalated in Afghanistan. The consequences are still being felt in Southern Europe particularly, through the hordes of refugees still continuing to arrive. Also in the resurgence of anti-immigration political parties in northern Europe.

The supreme irony is the fact of refugees being rescued from ramshackle boats and dinghies or often dying in one part of the Mediterranean while the Obamas cruise on a billionaire's luxury yachtin another. Is that a metaphor for democracies in the modern world? One is also reminded of Mr. Modi's specially woven pinstripe cloth repeating his name endlessly on the stripes in the material.

Fortunately, the current president does not like the sea, or we would never see him in Washington. As it is he has had 14 visits to golf clubs (not as much time on the course however) since the beginning of June. He once had a small yacht that lay anchored in New York until he sold it. His pleasures have generally centered on the more mundane: cheeseburgers and women -- the younger the better, although perhaps not as young as those that have gotten his friend Jeffrey Epstein in trouble again. To be fair, Trump had a falling out with him 'about 15 years ago' he said recently. 'I was not a fan of his, I can tell you,' he added, although he called him a 'terrific guy' in 2002.

At least one party had 28 girls, a so-called calendar-girl party at Mar-a-Lago (Trump's estate and club) in Florida, meaning selection of a calendar girl. The male celebrities attending, according to the man assigned the task of finding the girls, happened to be Trump and Epstein, and no one else! So surprised, the man still remembers the story. The falling out between Trump and Epstein was rumored to have been a business deal.

It brings us to the second resignation, that of Alex Acosta the Labor Secretary. A Harvard-educated lawyer, Mr. Acosta was the US attorney for the Southern District of Florida when he made a generous agreement with Epstein who had been charged with sex crimes. For a 13-month sentence of mostly community work, usually from his mansion, Mr. Epstein was protected from further prosecution. In a clear rebuke to Acosta, the case has been re-opened with a new charge of sex-trafficking minors.

As a result, Mr. Acosta has had to bow to the chorus of calls for his resignation. The real question: How ever did Trump get elected? A mainstream press failure?

 

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Arshad M Khan is a former Professor. Educated at King's College London, Oklahoma State University and the University of Chicago, he has a multidisciplinary background that has frequently informed his research. He was elected a Fellow of the (more...)
 
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