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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/9/18

The Truth About an Untethered Trump

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From Robert Reich Blog

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The petulant adolescent in the White House -- who has replaced most of the adults around him with raging sycophants and has demoted his chief of staff, John Kelly, to lapdog -- lacks adequate supervision.

Before, he was merely petty and vindictive. He'd tweet nasty things about people he wanted to humiliate, like former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Now his vindictiveness has turned cruel. After smearing FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe with unfounded allegations that he lied to investigators, the new Trump made sure McCabe was fired just days before he would have been eligible for a pension after more than 21 years of service.

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Before, he was merely xenophobic. He'd call Mexicans murderers and rapists.

Now his xenophobia has turned belligerent. He's sending thousands of National Guard troops to the Mexican border, even though illegal border crossings are at a record low.

And he's starting a trade war against China.

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China has been expropriating American intellectual property for years. But Trump isn't even trying to negotiate a way out of this jam or build a coalition of other trading partners to pressure China. He's just upping the ante -- and, not incidentally, causing the stock market to go nuts.

But the most dangerous thing about the new Trump is his increased attacks on American democracy itself.

Start with a free press. Before, he just threw rhetorical bombshells at the Washington Post, CNN, and other outlets that criticized him.

Now he's trying to penalize them financially, while bestowing benefits on outlets that praise him.

Last week he demanded that Amazon, the corporation headed by the man who owns the Washington Post, pay higher postal rates and more taxes, and that the Post should register as Amazon's lobbyist. Amazon stock wilted under the attack.

They're absurd charges. Amazon collects and pays state sales taxes on its products, and the Postal Service is losing money because of the decline in first-class mail, not package deliveries.

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Presumably Amazon can take care of itself. Trump's attack was intended as a warning to other companies with media connections that they'd better not mess with him.

Trump is trying to hurt CNN, too. The day after the Justice Department moved to block AT&T's purchase of Time-Warner, parent of CNN, he said the deal wasn't "good for the country." Few missed the connection.

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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