Response to the Avaaz Petition Against Trump
13 November, 2016
You can see the Avaaz petition here. It reads as an open letter to Trump. Its the main content is:
The world rejects your fear, hate-mongering, and bigotry. We reject your support for torture, your calls for murdering civilians, and your general encouragement of violence. We reject your denigration of women, Muslims, Mexicans, and millions of others who don’t look like you, talk like you, or pray to the same god as you. Facing your fear we choose compassion. Hearing your despair we choose hope. Seeing your ignorance we choose understanding.
Firstly let me say that in my opinion Trump was the best of a bad choice, better than Clinton. I won’t tackle that debate here, but just because I correct a lot of inaccurate statements about Trump doesn’t mean I like the guy.
In my morbid opinion the best outcome would be that he dies of natural causes and his VP — Mike Pence, a stable, sensible and bright fellow — takes over. In my opinion if Mike Pence had run against Hillary or her VP Tim Kaine, he would have won by a large margin.
The chances of him becoming President are quite high, given that of the five Presidents elected who have been over the age of 64, two died early in their term and one was shot (but survived). Only Ronald Reagan went to two terms. I think if Trump makes it to the end of one term he could bow out and Pence would be the natural successor.
Anyway back to misinformation and this silly petition. Petitions are not how elections are overturned by the way!
What I support is accuracy, not uninformed emotion. What one response to this petition wrote is true. A great deal of politics is like religion. One group supports their religion with blind faith and without question, while they believe a lot of the misinformation they hear from the pulpit about other religions. They do not attempt to understand the other religions.
This petition and many of the comments made against Trump are simply based on misinformation. This misinformation gets repeated often by the biased mainstream media, until it becomes uncritically accepted as a ‘truth’ in certain quarters.
Yes, there is no question Trump was an unfaithful womanizer, and has treated women like many rich and powerful men, such as Democratic President John F Kennedy or any number of Hollywood celebrities or rock stars.
So to call Trump sexist is fine, in the same way that Charlie Sheen is, both in real life and on TV. Or Bruce Willis, James Bond, Simon Cowell, Tom Cruise, Rod Stewart, Richard Branson, Bill Clinton and so on.
But the leap to misogyny (in this petition “denigration of women”) is based on nothing, other than he used bad names against women who have said bad things about him. He calls men bad names too, so equality.
He has also called men bad names, which is generously equal and non-sexist of him. But that doesn’t rate a mention in the Avaaz petition, which is thus veering into sexist and unequal territory. He says bad things about people, especially if they say bad things about him — he doesn’t seem to discriminate between men and women in that department. Treating women differently would be sexist and denigrating.
Take Rosie O’Donnell for instance. The spat with Rosie O’Donnell started in 2006 and eventually led to Trump calling her a pig. The media seems to only focus on that last point. Is calling a man a pig ok?
When Trump decided not to fire Miss USA Tara Conner after revelations of drug use, underage drinking and sexual activities, Trump said “I’ve always been a believer in second chances. Tara is a good person. Tara has tried hard. Tara is going to be given a second chance,” This was on December 19 2006. Conner was allowed to keep her crown but had to go to rehab.
The next day O’Donnell, who was a co-host of “The View” at the time, criticized his decision, saying that she doesn’t “enjoy” Trump and said he went bankrupt. She added that Trump is “not a self-made man” but a “snake-oil salesman on Little House On The Prairie,” and she proceeded to slam his multiple marriages: “[He] left the first wife — had an affair. [He] had kids both times, but he’s the moral compass for 20-year-olds in America. Donald, sit and spin, my friend.”
From there the spat has gone on for the last 10 years, with the media never focusing on what Rosie O’Donnell says, only on what Trump said in response. (Any bias there?) It was a childish spiteful spat on both sides.
Incidentally, the claim made by Hillary Clinton and many others that Trump went bankrupt is untrue. Trump has never been bankrupt. Trump doesn’t deny that four of his dozens of businesses have filed for bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy is a common business decision, and he was smart to make the moves when he did. Trump’s four company bankruptcies were Chapter 11 reorganisations (named for its location in federal bankruptcy code), which are designed to restructure businesses without shutting them down completely. The purpose is to “save” the business, as opposed to other forms of bankruptcy which would liquidate the company. In each case he gave up some equity in the business to his creditors and also sold some other assets to reduce debt.
The cause of the businesses getting into trouble were varied — from over leveraging and lower than expected income in the short term, to the general shock from the GFC in the most recent case. Nothing unusual. The world’s most famous investor, Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, has made plenty of investments which have ended up as net losses, but no-one blames him for that because the companies are not named after him. But they are investments just the same.
One investment that lost more than any of Trump’s was Dexter Shoe Company. Buffett bought the footwear manufacturer in 1993, with $443 million worth of Berkshire stock. Dexter had a strong brand, competitive advantages and excellent management. But low labour costs overseas eventually undercut the business, and eight years later Buffett folded Dexter into another Berkshire subsidiary. In his 2007 shareholder letter, Buffett wrote, “To date, Dexter is the worst deal that I’ve made.” He noted that by using Berkshire stock to make the acquisition, he compounded the loss, from roughly $400 million to $3.5 billion (the value that the Berkshire shares he used to buy Dexter would have grown to). Many of the companies Buffet has invested in have at one time or another filed for Chapter 11 protection.
So to clarify the record, four of Trump’s many companies did file for Chapter 11 protection and were successfully restructured, but Trump personally has never filed for chapter 11 or ever gone bankrupt. People who think Trump went bankrupt might be rather dismayed to find they have been misinformed.
Back to the misogyny claim against Trump, his alleged denigration of women. Do the people who make that claim even know what misogyny means? It means that a man has a dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.
It is ridiculous to make such a claim of Trump. He clearly loves women, but he also has them in very important positions. His campaign director is a woman, the CEO and VP’s of a number of his businesses are women. The claim is absurd.
It is called playing the gender card. Trump can call men whatever name he likes and no one goes in to toxic shock. But if he calls a woman an infantile name or has a go at the way she looks (something you might recall was done consistently against him, over his hair and his skin colour), he is suddenly called a misogynist by some – well that is demonstrably rubbish, and merely betrays a bias.
What about the claim he is racist? That is a person who believes that their particular race is superior to another. Firstly I shouldn’t have to point out that he has married foreigners who are the mother of his children making them part ‘foreigners’. He doesn’t seem to have a problem with that. Secondly his company is full of executives and employees from various different racial backgrounds.
This claim of racism comes from two things — his justification for expelling and keeping out illegal immigrants, especially those coming over the Mexican border, and also his suggestion that Judge Curiel could not fairly adjudicate on a lawsuit involving Trump university because she is of Mexican heritage.
Let’s take that second one first. It is a natural legal precedent to disallow anyone to stand in judgement of another if it is possible they have a vested interest or bias, even if there is no proven vested interest or bias.
For instance you would never let a relative of a person being tried be on their jury. In the case of Judge Curiel, she is of Mexican heritage. The case was proceeding at a time when publicity for Trumps policies about a wall on the Mexican border and expelling illegal Mexicans was at its height. It could well impact on Judge Curiel’s friends and relatives, or just impact on her impartiality. She should have recused herself from the case. Trump was not racist in saying that due to her Hispanic decent she should not be ruling on the case.
But didn’t Trump call all Mexicans rapists and murderers I hear you say? Well no he didn’t, but the claim keeps getting repeated in the media. What Trump stated was a truth. His exact words were:
When do we beat Mexico at the border? They’re laughing at us, at our stupidity. […] When Mexico sends its people they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you; they’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting.
What he stated is true, as shown by FBI crime statistics –which show that illegal immigrants are more likely to be murderers, rapists and drug dealers than American citizens. It is just a fact. It is not racist to state a fact, and by the way, Mexicans are not a race, just like Australians aren’t!
But what about his comments regarding Muslims? Again, Muslims are not a race. Islam is a religion and an all-encompassing political ideology, but it is not a race. It is a belief system, not part of DNA. But what I think people really mean when they say Trump is racist is that he’s bigoted. So let’s examine what he said, going back to December 15th last year:
Trump called for a complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until the country’s representatives “can figure out what is going on”.
According to Pew Research, among others, there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population. Most recently, a poll from the Center for Security Policy released data showing “25% of those Muslims polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad” and 51% of those polled, “agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah.”
Shariah, the political ideology that is part of Islam, authorizes atrocities against non-believers, such as murder, beheading, and more unthinkable acts, especially women. We have of course seen such actions in graphic video from Syria and Iraq, but also in Britain. Trump stated,
Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life. If I win the election for President, we are going to Make America Great Again.
This came immediately after the San Bernardino attack by a Muslim couple. On December 2, 2015, 14 people were killed and 22 were seriously injured in an Islamic terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California — by mass shooting and an attempted bombing. The perpetrators, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple living in the city of Redlands, targeted a San Bernardino County Department of Public Health training event and Christmas party, with about 80 employees.
Farook had found Malik on a radical Islamist website and chatted with her over many months. He went to Pakistan where she lived, got permission to marry and they both travelled to Saudi Arabia together before returning to the US via Pakistan. Malik was allowed to enter the US on a spouse visa.
Had the most simple of background checks been done it would have led to further investigation which would have discovered they had been regularly discussing jihad over the internet.
Racial and other profiling goes on all the time at airports and other points of border entry — if you look like you are a drug user you will get checked more closely for drugs. No problem with that.
On a recent return from Vietnam and Cambodia, I was required to start my camera so the Australian customs officers could look at the pictures in the memory. I was also required to start my computer so they could repeat the exercise. All my luggage was thoroughly checked.
It was clear that, as a middle aged white man returning from Asia, I fit the profile of a sex tourist and may have been carrying pornography, or may have participated in sexual activities with underage children which may have been recorded on my camera or in my computer. So they got to view all my personal pictures and documents. The process was embarrassing for me, but understandable. I have never had such scrutiny when traveling which my wife.
That is what profiling is all about. If we have a non-citizen Muslim who seeks to enter the country, it is reasonable to do some basic checks. Where have they been, what websites have they visited? A simple program could sift their email account for trigger words like jihad, bomb, attack etc to illicit further inquiries. Had this been done, the San Bernardino massacres would not have happened. Nor would the 9/11 attacks. It seems pretty reasonable to me for a presidential candidate to suggest suspending Muslim immigration until better vetting procedures can be put in place.
You might remember that similar vetting was applied to German, Italian and Japanese visitors after the outbreak of WWII before America was involved. Not racist, just good sense.
A significant part of the Muslim population, according to the Pew research, support ISIS, jihadist attacks and an eventual global Caliphate. To ignore this is to deliberately put the security of the country at risk — but that is something Hillary Clinton is perfectly OK with as evidenced by having a private email server and transmitting classified information over that server. But for some that isn’t a problem, while a suggestion for extreme vetting of Muslim immigrants is? I don’t see that logic.
Trump cannot logically be called racist for his proposal to stop Muslim immigration until a vetting process, which would stop attacks of the type already carried out, is in place. That is just sensible.
While this is only anecdotal evidence, I note that during the campaign Lynne Patton, vice president of the Eric Trump Foundation, who described herself as a black, female executive at the Trump Organization, praised Trump for “hiring more minority and female executives than any other company for which I’ve ever worked.”
It is said that Trump’s opening of his private club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach has forced other similar private clubs in the area to open their doors to Jews and blacks, who were allowed membership at Mar-a-Lago from day one.
It is hard to find genuine evidence of bigotry by Trump. yet the ill-founded accusation of racism is continually repeated.
The petition also claims to reject Trumps calls for torture and the murdering of civilians.
I cannot find one single piece of evidence that Trump supports the “murdering of civilians”. What Trump proposed was a continuation of the Obama/Clinton policy — to take out an ISIS operative you might have to kill their families too, particularly with drone strikes. That is termed collateral damage. You think Obama and Clinton weren’t doing that? Even with the precision attack to get Bin Laden, members of his household were killed.
Trump justified what he said by stating, reasonably, that “the policy would be warranted because family members know what is going on with their relatives.” I have no problem with the death of people who are providing support and succour to ISIS terrorists. In criminal law such people are known as accomplices who aid and abet.
With regards to torture, Trump was referring to the re-in-statement of techniques such as water-boarding (pouring water on a cloth covering the victims face making it difficult to breathe and making them feel like they are drowning), and other techniques such as sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation and possibly the use of drugs such as Sodium thiopental.
I know that there are lots of people who say they do not approve of torture in any circumstances. Yet nearly every day we can watch movies and TV series where the hero, say Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer in ’24’ saves the day, stopping nuclear explosions or mass carnage, or the end of the world as we know it, by beating information out of the terrorist, or threatening their families. Those characters are considered heroes and there is apparently no movement from the progressives in Hollywood to get such scenes written out of our movies and TV scripts.
Yes, there is research that says torture doesn’t work very well. But had you come across one of the perpetrators of 9/11 before the planes were taken over, don’t tell me you wouldn’t advocate getting vital information out of the person to save thousands of lives.
It is also naive to think that Obama and Clinton have not given the go ahead for some levels of interrogation which would be considered torture when it was called for. Trump is new to the game of politics, and was simply being honest.
It is also not a great idea to advertise to your most evil adversaries that if they are caught, they aren’t going to be tortured. Sometimes even the threat of torture can get the information required. If you officially take it off the table, you make it harder to defend your country.
Just consider for a moment what you might do if you have caught the person who has buried your child alive in a box slowly running out of oxygen and he won’t tell you where it is. Tell me you wouldn’t use any techniques to get the information from him. I’m sorry but I would start with the most painful techniques I could think of, and I would have no qualms about chopping off appendages one at a time.
In summary, the petition is based on a generous helping of false beliefs and is naive — yet another example of misinformed virtue signalling.
I think everyone who wants to support and share this petition should take a deep breath and read this article first: Are You Guilty of “Virtue-Signaling?