Thursday, May 25, 2017

Madoff and Trump

I just watched HBO's Wizard of Lies last night about Bernie Madoff. It was depressing. At the conclusion, he asks the NYT reporter interviewing him in prison whether she thinks he's a sociopath. The movie ends on that note. Like there's any question of it?

And this morning I thought of Donald Trump and his patterns of lies, hypocrisy and deceit, and I use the plural for his patterns as well as his lies. By this point, after he flew to Mexico during the campaign and wimped out on confronting the Mexican President about paying for Trump's Wall, did anyone expect Trump to actually use the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism" in addressing the Saudis, which he frequently invoked previously and dissed Obama for refusing to use? And what about his condemnations of Obama for golfing? Or his criticism of Michelle Obama respecting her not wearing a headscarf when she visited Saudi Arabia? The list goes on and on, and these aren't necessarily Trump's most egregious lies, hypocrisy or deceit. The list is, indeed, endless, but that hardly lessens my ongoing feelings of disgust for Trump.

And, of course, I'm not even talking about Trump's promise to drain the swamp by hiring his Goldman Sachs crew, or his support of a Trumpcare bill that eviscerates medical care for those Trump promised to protect, that include many of his misguided supporters, or Trump's proposed tax "reform" that, together with his Trumpcare, constitutes incredible tax breaks for the richest Americans.

I'm even leaving aside questions of Trump's and/or his team's collusion with Russians or possible money laundering, as well as his firing of Comey to thwart the Russian investigation. We'll leave those issues, for the moment, to the Special Counsel and Congressional investigating committees.

In the HBO movie, Madoff tries to somewhat excuse his guilt and culpability by claiming that the investors whose money he stole had been greedy; that they bore some responsibility for investing with him. I don't believe any failures on the part of Madoff's investors lessen his guilt and culpability. But I do think they bore some responsibility for their actions or, more accurately, inactions in doing any due diligence in most instances. I draw a parallel to Trump's supporters here. I don't think their blindness, selfishness or ignorance excuses in the slightest Trump's culpability for his lies, hypocrisy and deceit. But I do think his supporters bear responsibility for their own behavior.