We all share a distant relation with animals; their behavioral characteristics and love for them intimately connect us. To his peers and foes Mr. Trump distinguishes himself with his irritableness and cunning, and his mannerisms draw comparison to a cornered distressed lion, but a more appropriate comparison is an ant, and not any common garden variety, but Australia’s bulldog ant, which readily punishes anyone who loiters near their nest. Their jaws are long but their sting is dispensed from the rear.
As one of our smallest animal’s they farm fungi, raise aphids as livestock, launch armies into war, use chemical sprays to alarm and confuse enemies, capture slaves, engage in child labor while exchanging information constantly.
With his germaphobe disposition, President Trump may very well use chemicals but his more potent attack is his daily spray of lies and choreographed twitter drivel. He assails us with word salad and in his latest series of attacks against Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Mr. Trump could not resist the temptation to muse over her Muslim background and associate her with the 9/11 tragedy.
A feature of life below ground is the ability of ants to survive on only a few minutes sleep a day. Above ground Mr. Trump could undoubtedly benefit from being less ant and more human. Sleep does wonders for the brain, and while more is unlikely to shift the President from his erratic twitter schedule starting early morning, with rage continuing into late evening, it may help him understand the country he governs is much more than the 38% he targets.
He may also come to realize that his immigration specialist, the youthful Stephen Miller, architect of sanctuary city, family separation and child caging coming to a town near you, is one adult short of cultivated. Together they offer a 24-hour policy response to a generational and geopolitical challenge.
It should be noted that when Syria, Yemen and other countries have been in flames, the displaced descend on Europe, but none walk north to Russia, not because there is a wall, because there is none, but because Russia, while successful in sowing discord and disrupting democracies around the world, offers little future to its declining population, with 50% unable to afford a holiday and one in three households unable to afford two pairs of shoes.
While I don’t recommend Mr. Trump attempt to do what his fellow brethren are known for…..being able to survive for nineteen days under water or his cousin the wood ant which can manage for 24 days without a head, but I do believe Mr. Trump could benefit from what the ants cannot do without, their colonies.
Ants cannot live outside, head or no head; and by colony I don’t just mean the faithful who turn up to the frothed-up Trump campaign rallies, but the inclusive majority, many of whom believe that disappearing white mountains and raging wild fires can no longer be ignored, and an immediate response is required.
America rightly talks up its preeminence. It salvaged the colossal destruction in the aftermath of World War II offering more than simple casual patch repair. The US brought its formidable talent in country reconstruction to the fore, and flattened, decimated Europe was reborn, and to this day remains a strong trading partner to the US, and a bastion of stability in an otherwise unstable world.
In the same way, China has learned to stay within its borders in large measure because the might of US military power sits within range. Democrats and Republicans both agree the conversation on immigration is incomplete and requires a combination of 21st century interception and rehumanizing the American people on what it means to be part of a global community with different personalities and pigmentations.
The trick is to blend in and colonization has become so last century it no longer has place. Sovereignty is sovereign, but that doesn’t mean we should stop moving. Ants have survived for more than 130 million years because they have learnt to adapt. The average nest size of 40,000 has about the same number of brain cells as one person, and they are now one of the dominant species, estimated at more than 10,000 trillion in size, a mass slightly heavier than the total of human beings.
Taken together, ants understand the life affirming power of community better than the President who has managed for a good part of his 72 years to live outside of moral society. He suffers from the same oligarchic mindset as Mr. Putin; feeling entitled, so he takes. Laws are for others, but with dried up credit lines and a history of burning Western banks, Mr. Trump has been forced to look elsewhere, and it is this elsewhere, operating without discipline or any semblance of humanity which may become his undoing.
In 2001, Sotheby’s International Realty entered his life. They teamed up with Russian real estate companies to help capital flight find reliable homes. Always accommodating, particularly when shell games are so profitable, the Russians are said to have helped Mr. Trump out of a $4 billion bankruptcy bind following a disastrous venture in Atlantic City. The association helped to reinforce his understanding that there is more benefit doing business with criminals than with honest people.
If your wealth comes from dubious sources and necessity requires that money to leave Russia for safer shores then Trump real estate offered a full-service dry-cleaning business free from uncomfortable questions or moral dilemma. His Russian clients were often willing to pay over the odds because the source of their soiled proceeds would never see the light of day, and the very public Trump with his track record of suing encouraged criminals to remain in the shadows because they understood reneging on deals would draw unnecessary attention from the authorities.
We have a president who has a long-tangled history with figures connected to Russian organized crime, and unless the various House Committees and Southern District of New York determine otherwise, we may come to understand that while shameful and murky, the practice of dipping into a cesspool of dirty money is apparently legal, and maybe more Americans should try it.
Mr. Trump is not the first and won’t be the last high net worth individual or real estate developer to inflate property values, but there are laws against defrauding by providing false information. Mueller’s collusion and obstruction investigation fell short because intent was never fully proved. Individual one prided himself on his ability to hold court and claims to have been willing to provide personal testimony, but Mr. Giuliani and his inner circle of protectors understood the president’s vulnerabilities. Their client is an inveterate liar and his cloak of deception would quickly be stripped under Mueller cross examination.
Mr. Putin suffers from negative press for lack of geographical constraint and intemperate behavior, but he has always been right about one thing………. there is much in American society which is corrupt. Hundreds of billions of dollars has left his country in the hands of oligarchs, wealthy apparatchiks, mobsters and satellites. A BuzzFeed investigation established more than 1,300 condos, one-fifth of all Trump-branded condos sold in the United States since the 1980s, were shifted “in secretive, all-cash transactions that enable buyers to avoid legal scrutiny by shielding their finances and identities,” and many of these are understood to be Russian connected.
To build something which is whole requires steadiness and work ethic, combining together with a clear set of values and vision. After more than 45 years of blowing his father’s wealth while pursuing disastrous business ventures, including steak, vodka, casinos, airlines and universities, Mr. Trump met Bayrock who offered him enormous fees, 18 to 25 percent of profits simply by using the TRUMP name on their developments. Tower Moscow would have required nothing more than a signature…….no guarantees and no deposit. An almost risk-free development with potential for massive gain with Putin sitting atop in a $50 million penthouse gifted to seal the deal, all because of a name.
Mr. Trumps brand was then and now about loftiness and high rolling. A thin veneer of gold, diamond trim with no core or understanding of how these salts from the earth were developed over millions of years. Businessman and now President Trump trades off an illusion which is as fickle as the neon that lights up his buildings. He has never built any colossal giant sweeping the world with innovation; rather he has presided over a small family concern which figured out a way to churn out millions in licensing fees from a public clamoring for lofty lifestyle.
Trump’s relationship with the Russian underworld (state actors in a different cloth) has had little attention, but friendly subpoenas are understood to have been sent to Deutsche Bank, his accountants and others so that we may finally understand the Trump deference to totalitarian regimes like Russia and Saudi and whether any nefarious intersections exist between US foreign policy and Mr. Trumps business dealings.
It is naive to think that one prosecutor could save us from ourselves and provide cure for the shameful conduct of one businessman and his Presidency, and yesterday the redacted fruits of Mueller’s 22-month investigations were laid bare to Congress. While four different colour redactions may be used, they will serve the same purpose as the blackened version we are accustomed to seeing on nightly screens. Rainbows are wonderful when viewed on the horizon but the redaction rainbow is unlikely to provide any enjoyment because we have become so tribalized that our interpretation will be determined by what side of the wall we stand on.
While others flail with opioid and other abuse, Mr. Trump flails with creative accounting, and until now, decades of irregularity have had little consequence for this businessman. For Mr. Trump it has always been about growing his paper fortune and being able to shift numbers according to different audiences.
Book No.1 is reserved for the taxman and this has long suffered from bendy distortions. They should be serious documents but Mr. Trump and his bankers, accountants and lawyers have mastered the art of the disappearing, with the consequence that book No 2, the one he shows to perspective investors and journalists, has become so animated with falsity that all seriousness has been removed. Taken together they have become humorous documents with both in constant collision, but the trick has always been to ensure the two books are never in the same room at the same time.
In just about every other person’s life such behavior would be called fraud. Bragging is one thing, but gaming numbers for advantage on insurance or loan applications takes you into the realm of criminal conduct. Since the 1980s, Mr. Trump defined himself by his wealth and mostly avoided providing any proof to back up his boasts or any credible evidence to justify his inflated asset values, and then he finally broke with tradition in 2016 by not releasing his tax returns as every president since Jimmy Carter has done.
Mr. Trump could benefit from a quieter life with more brain and less brawn. He has mastered the 1 percent gain but should now be considering the benefits that come from diversity within. Ants live at our feet and go about their business without rancor or insult, and somehow manage to work together and stay in their lanes. They have the largest brain in comparison to their size and as one of our smallest we have something to learn from each and every one of them.