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    • Here was my neighborhood last night
      Because the family of a mentally ill Philadelphia man holding a knife called for an ambulance, and the cops showed up. They claim he “charged” them and they shot and killed him. The mental health unit is a pilot program and isn’t paid to work on the weekends. Protesters didn’t do this, looters did. (Maybe … Continue reading Here was my neighborhood last nigh […]
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    • Interview Part 2: Politics Thru Climate Change
      This second excerpt from my interview is more interesting and longer. This is the second clip from my interview with Ian Welsh (Ian blogs at ianwelsh.net). For this segment, we went on a wild ride discussing the big picture mess that is US politics and society more broadly. I asked Ian what might happen if […]
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Read Mary’s Book.

Mary Trump’s book is very well written but it’s not what you might think it is.

This is a book about a dysfunctional family, one that was headed by a sociopath, Fred Trump. On top of his ability to exploit government contracts for post WWII housing and his landlord from hell style, he was an uncompromising father who had one worldview that everyone in the family was expected to adhere to. He would tolerate no dissent or individuality. He demanded complete obedience. And he had a particular problem with his eldest, a more academically inclined kid with a passion for flying planes. Freddy tried to please his father but didn’t have the killer instinct for screwing people over. He didn’t have that ability to see the set ups coming and ended up taking the public blame for his father’s bad behavior.

After years of trying to fit in, he experimented with a career as an airline pilot. But the years of trying to live up to his fathers demands, he succumbed to alcoholism. One thing that stood out to me is that Fred Trump would call his son on the phone and tell him what a loser he was and that his job as a pilot was the equivalent of a bad bus driver. Eventually, the rest of the family abandoned him and he died in the hospital from heart disease at the age of 42.

Then Fred cut Freddy’s family out of the will, like he never existed. The rest of the siblings took advantage of this excision to enrich themselves at Mary and her brother’s expense.

Mary Trump got on with her life. She became a clinical psychologist and is now looking back on what made Donald Trump the person he is today. Let’s just say that the only thing Donald learned well was how to be the kind of son his father wanted: aggressive, opportunistic, uncompromising, selfish, unaccountable and self-promoting. Mary saw his professional life as closely as any of the family could and found it utterly lacking in any ability, work ethic or business acumen.

Anyway, if you’ve grown up in a family like this, you will relate. It’s not surprising that Freddy became a broken man and an alcoholic. What’s surprising is that so many of us who got the same kind of treatment at the hands of a vicious parent do not.

The takeaway is that there aren’t too many Donald Trump’s out there, shaped by genetics and the example his father set. Ordinary people, those with feelings for others, don’t stand a chance around him. And people who expect to get something from association with him just make his general proclivities that much worse. We have seen this in action. It’s Fred Trump, the cruel patriarchal bully, working his iron will on the country through his son.

Get the book. Mary is a gifted writer. It’s a 5 sponge read. (Rating is based on how much cleaning you can accomplish while you are distracted by the audiobook)