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Donald Trump and Defeating the Threat to America

Donald TrumpA Donald Trump presidency, I believe, would pose the most significant existential threat to the very fabric of the United States since the Civil War.  Please take a moment to read this explanation and if you still disagree with me email me, and I will vote for Trump.

Donald Trump Does Not Have Respect for the Rule of Law

The recent attention on whether Trump’s comments about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel were bigoted misses the much more important point:   Trump has no respect for the law.

This is not the first time, of course, that Trump has demonstrated this.  He repeatedly encouraged followers at his rallies to break the law, saying things like:

If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. Okay? Just knock the hell — I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.

And his words have had the intended violent effect: Trump protestors have been attacked at Trump rallies.

If Judge Curiel himself now were attacked by a Trump supporter, would that be totally unexpected?

Salon put it this way when it recently wrote that Trump is

[U]sing campaign rallies to single out and intimidate a judge who is handling a legal matter in which the candidate has a direct financial stake. Trump issued a not-so-veiled threat at a sitting federal judge, calling for some unspecified body to ‘look into Judge Curiel.’ He’s sending an unmistakable message to any judge who happens to be paying attention: do not disagree with Donald Trump, or he will make an example of you.

This conduct should be enough to foreshadow what Trump will be capable of should he elected.

Donald Trump Uses His Political Power to Further His Business Interests

There is no rule of law that would prevent Trump from owning or promoting his various Trump business entities if he’s elected.

Donald TrumpFederal officers do not have to use blind trusts. Federal officials in the executive branch do, however, generally have to “recuse” or disqualify themselves from participating in any particular governmental matter in which they have a financial interest, or in which their spouse, dependent children, partner, or business with which they are associated, has a financial interest.  See 18 U.S.C. §208.  Yet, 18 U.S.C. § 202(c) expressly exempts the President and Vice President?

But that doesn’t mean Trump would abuse his position to further his business interests. He can put on blinders, right? After all, his former campaign manager, Corey Lewendowski has been quoted as saying that if Trump wins “he will be spending 110 percent of his time on … [the presidency].”

I don’t believe him.  Do you?

It is unlikely that Trump will be able to help himself- he’s still interviewing for the job yet he doesn’t hesitate to use his newly found political power to intimidate a federal judge.  What do we expect to happen after he moves into the White House?  Do we expect he will become more reasonable?

He will not. And his own words prove it. When asked about why he was disappointed and surprised by Republican leaders who criticized his comments about Judge Curiel as “racist,” Trump explained that the reason was that he “had just won more votes than anyone in the history of the party.”

There is no logic here.  At least no logic that isn’t deeply concerning to me and ought to be concerning to you.   Trump believes that, as long as he is winning, it is unreasonable for anyone in the Republican Party to criticize him.

Donald Trump is a Flip-Flopper and Serial Liar

I don’t believe Trump when he says things like “I couldn’t care less about my company. It’s peanuts.”  Do you?  Then again, how can anyone believe anything Trump says when there is so much incontrovertible evidence about  Trump’s challenges with consistency and the truth?  Click here, here, and here for some examples.

Trump will do what it takes to try to win.  As he continues to speak more from scripts, and starts to resist the urge to say what he really wants to say, please do not confuse that with a fundamental change in his personality or beliefs.  All it will reflect is a change in tactics to win.

Trump wants power and he will say and do whatever he needs to try to grab it.

Donald Trump Would Be Very, Very Bad for the Economy

Financial Poise is not about politics and this is the first time that anything, on any of its properties, has been written about politics.  But Financial Poise is about providing information that will help our readers in business, and in life.  Aside from my own common sense, many smart people believe that a Trump presidency would be a disaster for the U.S. economy.

According to the American Action Forum, a right-leaning policy institute, immediately and fully enforcing current immigration law, as Trump has suggested, would cost the federal government from $400 billion to $600 billion and would shrink the labor force by 11 million workers, reduce real GDP by $1.6 trillion and take 20 years to complete.

Others, including Derek Thompson in The Atlantic, agree. Thompson summarizes Trump’s economic plans this way:

Create an unnecessary economic downturn by deporting 7 million workers while cutting taxes for the rich and requiring the United States to borrow trillions of dollars from creditors, whom Trump has now threatened to stiff, if he feels like it. It would be the greatest, dumbest recession in American history.

Thompson’s article, “Donald Trump’s Economic Plans Would Destroy the U.S. Economy,” is well worth a read.

The nonsense Trump spouted a month or two ago, suggesting that holders of U.S. Treasury debts might not be paid in full, is just so absurd that I don’t know what else to say about it.   Austan Goolsbee, a University of Chicago economist who once chaired the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, called the idea insane and predicted that if implemented it “would lead to a financial crisis larger than 2008.”

Or you can read this from Pulitzer Prize winner author, David Cay Johnson, whose recent Investopedia article concluded:

Trump just tosses concepts into a pot. He starts with made-up numbers (our China trade deficit is $338 billion, not Trump’s $500 billion); adds some brazen conspiracy theories (Obama was not born an American citizen); mixes them with irreconcilable vagaries (taxes should go down, but so should budget deficits); tosses in some populist myths (thousands in North Jersey celebrated as the Twin Towers burned) and rotten ideas (the President telling Carrier, Ford and Nabisco where to build factories) – and finishes it all off with a bucket of rhetorical nonsense.

Trump is superb at one aspect of this. His economic stew would induce economic food poisoning, but he sells it with an appealing name: Make America Great Again.

As to his own wealth, the fact of the matter is, as many media outlets have reported, Trump would be much wealthier today if he had retired 30 years ago and simply invested his money in an unmanaged stock index fund.  More on this here.

And, although Trump keeps talking about a $1 million loan from his father, he does not seem to talk about the estimated $40 million he inherited from his father in 1974.  More on this here.

Finally, while Trump continues to talk about how Hillary Clinton is beholden to Wall Street for speaking fees she has received, he doesn’t go out of his way to tell people that he owes at least $250 million to banks.  For more on this, see here.

The Comparisons Between Donald Trump and Hitler Are Unfair

Many people have compared Trump to Adolph Hitler. Such comparisons are simply unfair.   Trump has not tried to stage a violent coup (though he suggested violence would result if the Republican nomination were denied him), nor has he demonstrated any intent to exterminate a people (though he wants to keep an entire religion out of the country).  Nor has he started any wars, though he hasn’t had the opportunity to do so- – yet.

Trump, however, like Hitler, is the leader of a fascist movement.

In a letter to the editor in the National Post, freelance writer Glenn Woiceshyn put it this way:

 “Trumpism” is a major transition to fascism, which opposes individual rights, which is anti-American. Aside from the Second Amendment (on guns), Trump is virtually silent on defending the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Instead, he wants total executive power to restrict immigration and free trade, seize private property, punish corporations that bother him, and so on. His campaign tactics are fascistic: appeal to emotion and for blind trust, demonize critics, foreigners and religious/ethnic groups, and speak in vague generalities about positive effects — “I will make America great again!” — without naming or explaining causes. Everything is about “making deals,” not protecting rights. It’s no accident that Trump likes Vladimir Putin, who also likes Trump.

Other interesting articles that call out Trumpism as fascism include a piece by Andrew Wood on Counterpunch, one from Dennis Bryne in Chicago Now, one by Fedja Buric in Salon and one from Ross Douthat in the New York Times.

Trump, However, Apparently Has Learned Something From Hitler

Trump’s ex-wife, Ivana, told her attorney that Trump kept a copy of My New Order, which contained Adolph Hitler’s collected speeches, by his bedside and that he would read it from time to time.

Trump admitted this to Vanity Fair in an interview.  I’m not suggesting that the man should be criticized for the books he chooses to read.  I certainly have never heard Trump praise Hitler (though Trump’s claim that he knew nothing about former KKK leader David Duke after Trump failed to immediately denounce Duke when Duke announced his support for Trump certainly got my attention).  You can see more about this here.

Trump’s lies are just getting more and more outrageous.   This practice is a page right out of Hitler’s playbook, as it is action that is consistent with this quote from the pages of history:

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

This statement, if you don’t know, was that of one Joseph Goebbels, the Reich Minister of Propaganda in Germany from 1933 to 1945.

If you want to read a really good article about the broader psychological tools the Trump Propaganda Machine uses, read this by Bwynn Guilford on Quartz.  If you want to see a partial list of more than 100 statements Trump made that have been verified as lies, click here.

By the way, did you know that Trump’s latest slogan, “America First,” was the name of an isolationist, defeatist, anti-Semitic national organization that urged the United States to appease Adolf Hitler?  Google it.

Conclusion

If you agree with my views please consider sharing this with every Trump supporter you know who might just change her or his mind if presented with enough evidence.

If you disagree, you should know that I was kidding in the second sentence of this editorial. Of course I won’t be voting for Trump.  To do so would be, in my view, anti-American.

Defeating Trump, I believe, is an existential imperative for the United States.

Who am I?  I’m a business attorney and a financial literacy advocate.  Like so many, I have an opinion about Donald Trump’s presidential bid.  I also happen to be the publisher of this media outlet and, in my view, not to use it as a platform to try to do some good would be irresponsible.  After all, as Edmund Burke famously said. “[t]he only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

In the interest of full disclosure, I was a student of Elizabeth Warren in law school, though I have not spoken with her since the day I graduated more than 20 years ago.  For what it’s worth, by the way, I am not a particular fan of Hillary Clinton, have voted for both parties’ candidates in the past, and would have preferred to vote for a Republican candidate this time around if the Republican option didn’t scare the hell out of me. 

If you find the information here interesting, please consider subscribing to the free Financial Poise Weekly e-newsletter.  It only takes 15 seconds.

About Jonathan Friedland

Jonathan Friedland is a partner with Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer, a law firm with offices in Chicago and New York City. Born and raised in a New York suburb, Friedland graduated SUNY-Albany magna cum laude in three years and then earned his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Friedland clerked for…

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