Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Dispatches from an orange tweet storm

            Wait, wait. Did I hear what I just heard? Did you?

            Donald Trump paid no income taxes over an 18-year period.

            "That makes me smart," says he. Not just smart. Brilliant.

            That makes me confused. If this were such a great virtue, you'd assume Trump would have shared his tax returns with us so we could bathe in his brilliance.

            Did I hear Trump say he can't release his tax returns by law because they're being audited? Yes, I heard that.

            Did I read an analysis in Forbes magazine unequivocally say that Trump's claim is ridiculous? Yes, I did.

            Talk about ridiculous claims: Trump says that he knows more than anyone about how to game the tax system, making him best suited to "fix it." Really? So, someone who's dodged millions of dollars in tax liability is going to fix whatever it is that made his windfall possible?

            While we're talking about being Trump smart:

            It's Trump smart to have declared bankruptcy six times. This means, as with letting other taxpayers pay for the government that paves his streets and defends his shores, Trump let others deal with the debts he accumulated as a "very successful businessman."

            Wait, wait. Did I hear that the FBI is virtually certain Russian hackers are trying to influence United States elections? To what end?

            Let's see: They hacked the Democratic National Committee. They hacked the Democratic Congressional Committee. Just whom are they trying to benefit?

            Did I see Donald Trump at the first presidential debate shrug off the question about who might be responsible? Did I hear him allude instead to "some 400-pound guy" in his bedroom?

            The Arizona secretary of state is not shrugging. She shut down the state's entire voter base offline to install security measures after an attempted hack by a Russian group called Fancy Bear.

            Did I hear Trump say things to ingratiate himself with Vladimir Putin? I think I did. Time magazine, in a cover story on this most serious cyber-security matter, writes, "In Trump, Putin has found an almost perfect, if unwitting, ally for his influence operation"?

            "If unwitting"?

            Wait, wait. Did I read that in 1998, Trump's entities violated the Cuban trade embargo by feeling out the Castro regime about establishing hotels there, then covered it up?

            Did I read that right after Trump operatives traveled illegally to Cuba to do this, Trump – who was already feeling a presidential itch -- wrote an op-ed in the Miami Herald supporting the embargo and denouncing the idea of doing business with the Castro regime. 

            Wait, wait. Did I hear that Donald Trump is going to make an issue of Bill Clinton's lack of marital fidelity?

            Maybe that would be a good call if Trump's opponent were Bill Clinton. Or if Trump could claim marital fidelity.

            Did I read, however, that Trump evoked the Fifth Amendment 97 times in his 1990 divorce proceedings with his first wife, Ivana, on whom he cheated with his eventual wife, Marla Maples, and who ultimately was thrown under the lust bus when Trump found another fox to woo?

            Did I see pictures -- or did I simply dream this – of evangelical right leaders placing hands on Trump as their chosen one, the godliest of the candidates, the man who'll bring morality and godliness back to the White House?

            Did I see that? Someone confirm this for me.

            Wait, wait. Did I see this, or did I dream it: Donald Trump at 3:10 in the morning tweeting to challenge the virtues of a Latina beauty queen?

            Dang that Twitter. It only allows 140 characters per tweet, meaning Trump had to construct several compositions in those wee hours to tear into that beauty queen, this as he contemplated the responsibilities of the president, or something.

            Prediction: Were Trump to become president, his first act in office would be to nationalize Twitter and eliminate the 140-word limit.

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

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