Is Trump giving Americans “bread and circus”to keep them happy?

February 20, 2017

Dr.Fareed is back with his latest take on Trump

Is Trump giving Americans “bread and circus”to keep them happy?

by Dr Fareed Zakaria

Image result for fareed zakaria

Let’s say you are a Trump voter, the kind we often hear about — an honest, hard-working American who put up with Donald Trump’s unusual behavior because you wanted a president who would stop playing Washington’s political games, bring a businessman’s obsession with action and results, and focus on the economy. How is that working out for you?

The first few weeks of President Trump’s administration have been an illustration of writer Alfred Montapert’s adage, “Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.” We are witnessing a rocking-horse Presidency in which everyone is jerking back and forth furiously, yet there is no forward movement.

Image result for Combative Trump
Image result for Combative TrumpBoth Trump and Nixon: Taking on the Media

Since winning the election, Trump has dominated the news nearly every day. He has picked fights with the media, making a series of bizarre, mostly false claims — about the magnitude of his victory, the size of his inauguration crowd, the weather that day, the numbers of illegally cast ballots, among many others. He has had photo ops with everyone from Kanye West and Jack Ma to Shinzo Abe and Justin Trudeau. Now he is embroiled in a controversy about ties to Russia. But in the midst of it all, what has he actually done? Hardly anything.


14 thoughts on “Is Trump giving Americans “bread and circus”to keep them happy?

  1. At least Trump’s antics keep Americans entertained and expecting. Al Jubor’s extravagance and indifference are keeping Malaysians fuming and wide awake. What a contrast!

    However, on hindsight, both are the same. One is rich but is still a novice when it comes to siphoning public wealth. The other, with the connivance of his wife, has made stealing a hobby and is slowly turning it into an art.

  2. ………………………did any one see that interwview between Fareed and the outgoing US Ambassador to Japan. He asked the questions and also gave the answers………….

  3. Sorry guys, while you go on yodeling and and getting terribly antsy with Da Drumpf and bemoaning the Great American Fate and it’s cousin serendipity – we, in Malusia are totally immersed with what happened in KLIA2 last week and the unfolding saga.

    Incumbent kartun POTUS should be afraid, very afraid (or rather his Secret Service will), what with an aerosolized level 6 toxin?

    Anyone need a Korean translation?

  4. For my fellow Malaysians who are here in this blog but are half the global away from the United States of America, I would like to remind us that what you see is not what you got when you observe from afar a seismic change of American politics. Well crafted article like that above and a couple hundreds of protesters at each airport do not tell you much about America politics, just like watching zoo’s majestic lions eating dead meat do not tell you much about the dynamic of Serengeti plain between million of wildebeests in herds and lions prides.

    When I see many Malaysians parroting on the notion of “Muslim Ban” without acknowledging the notion is used exclusively by one side of the American politics to attack or counter-attack the other side, I feel many Malaysians are again fooled, just the way they are fooled by Hollywood films for decades, and just the way they are fooled by the notion that lion is the king of all animals after watching lions eating dead meat in zoo.

    I think Malaysians, Muslims or not, should be glad that there is still a nation like the United States that has the clarity to discern between American ideas and Islamism. Americans have tried Obama’s approach to Islamism in the direction of moderation and understanding but to no avail. Now Americans will try the way of Trump’s approach in the direction of clarity and firmness. You may one day find midnight rider Paul Revere ( has its modern-day equivalence in the form of Stephen Couglin ( while many are still asleep.

    Domestically, Americans have tried more socialistic approach under Obama. They now want to try approach more in the direction of individual liberty under Trump’s presidency. Pendulum swings just the way it has been and will be.
    Good commentary. Lest it is forgotten, politics is all about perception. Anyway, how do you explain Mr. Trump’s flip flopping, reversals, and contradictions?–Din Merican

    • I think the appearance of contradiction come from two sources:
      1) The opponents work hard to twist Trump’s message as much as they could.
      2) Trump intentionally uses 7th grade language, which allows him to connect very well with many but causes contempt among media elites. That just works well for him.

      For example, Zakaria thinks he scores some point by merely mentioning Trump’s inaccurate description about the magnitude of his victory, the size of his inauguration crowd, the weather that day, the numbers of illegally cast ballots, among many others. But, Zakaria score nothing by mere mentioning those without providing the context of each individual statements. Many people really can tell what is relevant and what is not.

    • The saying “From the outside looking in you can’t understand it, and from the inside looking out you can’t explain it,” has nothing to do with distance. The map is not the territory. Only a fool or a half-baked potato will relate this to distance.

      As a matter of fact, from the outside looking in we tend to see things more objectively. And we tend to be more subjective seeing things from the inside looking out.

      My favorite is this Kendrick Lamar’s line: “I’m not on the inside lookin out. I’m not on the outside lookin in. I’m in the dead-fuckin-center lookin around.” I admit it’s kinda spoken-word, and not a line, but it’s still my favorite.

  5. Malaysia Boleh, hotbed for spies and operatives. Used to be Beirut and Bangkok, now Kuala Lumpur has moved up to top 10 spot. Good marketing material for Tourism Malaysia. ‘My name is Bong, Jong Bong” begin the trailer. Ha ha or maybe the old Mad magazine Spy vs Spy series.

  6. Shiou represents the other side of the fake culture war and so it’s pretty hypocritical to lecture Malaysians for parroting one side, even though they may legitimately believe in that side, as do the folks who propagate right wing views.

    As I have said before, I’m more conservative in thought but Tump is a lying sack of shit , who really has no intention of draining the swamp, a demagogue who attacks the pillars of the American Establishment and hoodwinks people using dog whistle politics.

    The right have been exposed as complete hypocrites something they always accused the Left of but where the Left has done nothing on the scale of Comrade Trump.

    The only good thing is that all this makes people reconsider the idea that America is a hegemonic power for good and that perhaps it is better that we seek ways that do not rely on American “benevolence”.

    But even in this Comrade Trump flip flops, because his lackeys travel the world assuring that the status quo is still a thing while the Twitter in Chief, ejaculates all over social media saying something completely different but eventually getting in line with his lackeys.

    • Conrad:
      Like you, I’m conservative in thought. I’ve been a Republican for almost half a century, a membership just as long as Trump. The problem in the US today is not about conservative or liberal, right or left. It’s about Trump. Like you, I do not believe he has any of the country’s interests in his mind. All he thinks about is “me, mine and myself.” He believes he is smarter than any one on earth, that he can always cheat, lie and fool any one. He believes he is invincible and above the laws….

      How do you say “drain the swamp” in Chinese? Trump spent a good part of his presidential campaign railing against what he described as China’s economic predations, making false accusations on RMB manipulations, threatening trade wars and making issue on the one China policy. These are only smoke screen. On Feb. 10 Trump said that he would honor the one-China policy in full and without concessions from China. Four days later, a Chinese court extended trademark protections to the Trump Organization, enjoining a Chinese construction company from using the Trump name for itself, something that the Trump Organization had been pursuing unsuccessfully for about a decade.

      Meanwhile, the Trump Organization still has 49 other trademark applications pending in China, according to the Associated Press, all of which were submitted during his presidential campaign. There are also 77 other existing trademarks that the Trump Organization controls in China and most of those will reportedly be coming up for renewal during Trump’s first White House term.

      That’s all well and good for Trump the businessman. But what about President Trump the public servant?All of this circles back to Trump’s conflicts-of-interest problem, and the fact that, as president, he hasn’t fully detached himself from the workings or earnings of the Trump Organization. That has left a cloud hanging over Trump’s White House, with confusion about where his self-interest ends and the public interest begins.

      Given that Trump still hasn’t released his tax returns and hasn’t observed White House traditions of fully disclosing his assets and then distancing himself from them, the presumption will always be that there’s a good chance he’s getting preferential treatment from foreign governments eager to court his favor — and that the most straightforward way to do that is to find ways of helping the Trump Organization financially.

      Trump likes to declare publicly that he isn’t subject to federal conflict-of-interest laws, and his stupid and gullible followers believe every thing he says. But he is subject to the Constitution, specifically the “emoluments clause” that forbids the president from receiving any gift or benefit from a foreign government. Preferential treatment for trademarks in overseas markets sure seems like a benefit to me.

      Draining the swamp? How do you say drain the swamp in Chinese?

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