Posts Tagged ‘truth’

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Drinking at the Wedding

May 18, 2017

trump at wedding

Back in 1975, my wife Jan and I founded a modest retail photography business.  After struggling for the first year, Jan suggested that we offer wedding photography as a service.  Financially strapped, I reluctantly agreed.  It was the right decision in many ways.  It provided stability to our growing business and it stimulated a new creative process that would carry over into my documentary work later in life.

As was her practice, Jan always became good friends with the family of the bride, so much so that we were often invited to sit at the family’s table.  Eventually, the father of the bride would encourage us to relax and enjoy a drink with them.  I never did.  It was my policy to never be seen drinking as it might later give rise to complaints that I had not performed my job to the highest standards, especially if someone in the family felt that I had failed in some way.  It would create a legitimate objection that could not be denied.

What we must realize is that there are ethical business practices and then there are best practices. It would not have been unethical for me to have taken a drink, but it would have been unwise.  Certainly, we must expect that the leaders of our nation subscribe to best practices to avoid the potential for controversy, especially regarding national security, private conversations and intent. There are many things that we cannot or should not know.  We need to be confident that they are held in secrecy to protect our national security and not the personal security of any single individual or team of co-conspirators.

There are a great many lines that Trump has crossed in this regard.  Whether he is guilty or not of possible malevolent actions that violate his oath of office, he has nevertheless violated the trust of the American people by not following best practices.  Plainly put, he can never be trusted.  You cannot trust a single word he says.  You cannot trust him to do the right thing.  He cannot be trusted to be logical or to think clearly.  He cannot be trusted to consider all possibilities before shooting from the hip.  He cannot be trusted to seek advice before tweeting his outrageous remarks. He cannot be trusted to tell the truth.  He cannot be trusted to cultivate stable relationships with our most important allies. He cannot be trusted to remain calm and objective and most importantly, as he has already shown, he cannot be trusted with national secrets. The list could go on for many paragraphs, but you get my point.

Trump established his business empire based on worst practices and now he is doing the same for our nation.  Oh, you might agree that it could work, after all it worked for Attila the Hun, but is this the nation we want to be?  Can we claim to set the standard for democracy while cloaked in lies and deceit, spin and pushback, and daily newspeak like “alternative facts.”

When a man cannot stand on his own and take the credit or blame for his own actions, when he hides behind surrogates to deflect criticism and present alternative possibilities for bad decisions he has made, we must question his fitness to lead.  The mere fact that this is the way he has chosen to operate betrays his own understanding that he has made a serious misjudgment that he will not admit to.  This is a weak and flawed individual at best but he is a contagious disease that will afflict the whole body of our electorate if we cannot find the right antibiotic treatment.  It seems that truth alone is not enough.

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His Lips Are Moving

February 27, 2017

Donald Trump presidential campaigning, Las Vegas, America - 21 Jan 2016

His Lips Are Moving.

There’s an old joke that has become standard fare on every film production, passed on by crew and cast alike to each new generation of the production community.  It’s in the form of a question and answer and it goes like this:  “How can you tell when a producer is lying?” The answer is, “His lips are moving.”

Donald Trump is nothing if not a producer.  As the producer of so-called reality television this joke takes on additional meaning for our so-called president because far from real, the show itself is a lie.  It can be said that it is also true for his surrogates, who must propagate his falsehoods in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary, buffering him from accountability, absorbing the blame and suffering the embarrassment of his obvious deviations from recorded fact.

But, some lies are less obvious because they are half-truths. Skilled politicians understand that the best way to pass a lie is to surround it in a wrapper of partial truth, thus blending the objective of the lie with a widely accepted truth.  Take for example the recent example of two candidates, Vincent Viola and Phillip Bilden, who refused to accept Trump’s appointment as Secretary of the Army and Secretary of the Navy, respectively.  I’m sure there are any number of reasons for refusing the posts. They follow Vice Admiral Harward’s example, declining a Trump appointment for “family and financial” reasons, a safe choice, which, while totally accurate, may only be half the reason, possibly less. One has to believe that given the choice between profit or patriotism, they would have seen the advantage to patriotism.  All were offered the opportunity to be seen center stage in a national arena making a significant difference for their country.  Seems to me that a savvy candidate would understand the long term financial advantage and career advancement after office of a decision to accept, rather than to decline because of an immediate short term disruption and inconvenience to their finances.  No, I think there was another factor.  The Donald factor.

Sylvester Stallone was another who refused a Trump appointment (it’s almost forgotten by now) to be Head of the National Endowment for the Arts.  Smart guy that he is, he recognized deep conflict brewing and Rambo hightailed it like a scalded dog in the other direction, masking his retreat with the suggestion to run Veteran Affairs.

No, I think they, like Harward, saw the choice to accept as likened to eating a shit sandwich and who would want to be remembered as one with shit on his face?