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Trump and the big lie

The big lie (German: große Lüge) is a propaganda technique. The basic idea is that the bigger a lie you tell, the more likely people will be to believe it, because it’s difficult for them to accept that someone could tell a lie that huge with a straight face.

It is the telling of a lie so colossal that no one would believe that someone could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.

Donald Trump has repeated lie after lie about almost every area of what passes for his knowledge of history, politics, economics, and foreign policy. He has been called a racist, a nativist, a misogynist, and worse. The theory of the big lie was developed by Adolf Hitler in his 1925 book “Mein Kampf” (James Murphy translation, page 134):

“… in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted … and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying. These people know only too well how to use falsehood for the basest purposes.”

Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s minister of propaganda, stated that if a lie is repeated enough times it would become widely accepted as truth. Res ipsa loquitur.

Dr. Wallace Greene
Fair Lawn

‘T’ is for Treif

Regardless of the question of whether or not to vote for Donald Trump, there is a moral issue that has been troubling me. It will have to be dealt with in the post-election era.

When The Donald decided to run for the presidency of the United States, he considered it an opportunistic step, whereby even if he loses, he wins. It is now known that his finances have been on shaky grounds for some time, and if nothing else, the presidential race would give a far greater value to his brand name. Trump is a very sophisticated player, who during the course of three decades learned how to manipulate banks, lenders, and investors. Now he’s doing the same by manipulating the voters, the media, and everybody involved in the process of choosing the next American president.

While he seems to be doing well on the political front, it has come out over the long year of his candidacy that everything he has touched was infected with malicious deception. His overall focus seems to have been on extorting money without giving the investors, buyers, and workers involved in his many enterprises the value he had promised them.

From Trump University, Trump gambling casinos, and real estate ventures to buyers from whom he has taken money with promises of delivering fantastic Trump quality, all the way to the Trump Charity Foundation, everybody who has done business with him has been left cheated, and often defeated through his complex network of deception.

Students didn’t gain anything from the so-called Trump University, which some of its own employees regarded as being a massive rip-off (and have said so), and that even the highest legal officer in New York State has described as a classic bait-and-switch scheme! Ronald Schnackenberg, who worked in Trump’s office at 40 Wall Street, testified in an affidavit that “Trump University was a fraudulent scheme, that preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.”

Mr. Trump does not appear to have given his own money to the Trump Foundation since as far back as 2008. Rather, the charity has been funded by others. That has not stopped Mr. Trump from claiming credit for doling out other people’s cash, and he is being pursued by the authorities for claiming deductions on charity donations contributed by others, not by him.

We all heard how The Donald claimed that the banks knew what they were doing in their investments on his gambling enterprise, but in fact he alone had bankrupted many small businesses in Atlantic City. These were small contractors who supplied him with goods and delivered him services in good faith, relying on his payment as a fair and decent businessman. He even bullied some businesses into accepting a settlement of 10 cents on the dollar, threatening that otherwise they would not see a penny in bankruptcy.

His refusal to pay his architect and the surfacing of many of his victims, each telling their individual stories of his lack of payment for work they provided, suggests that we are dealing with a dishonest and deceptive businessman. Unfortunately, there has been much dishonesty in business and politics, but not to this degree and not so arrogantly in the open.

Whether you are voting for him or not, I ask you a simple question: Should we support a businessman who left such a trail of victims and pain in his wake? I am not even discussing politics here, but the fact that Trump seems to be unscrupulous in his desire for one thing — your hard-earned money.

He is counting on your gullible naiveté to be able to sell you stuff: a golf membership or a high-end apartment bearing his name, or cufflinks, tie-pins, shirts, suits, ties, and even the campaign hats that he manufacturers outside the USA and overseas while talking about the evils of companies outsourcing manufacturing, just as if he were not doing that very thing himself.

We should teach The Donald a lesson! We should teach him what fairness and decency is and show him that average Americans, regardless of our politics, are fair people who despise swindlers. We should refuse to buy anything, or stay anywhere, that is in any way connected with his egoistic fraudulent T mark.

We should treat his merchandise as treif — that is what Jewish people call anything that is non-kosher — and substitute this name for his brand name. The Treif Brand.

You don’t need to be Jewish to exile his brand to the nickel & dime section of the economy. To say to his face that he is not being morally or ethically worthy of holding any office in the U.S. government, all you need to be is a fair, open-minded person, who has decided that supporting Trump in any of his enterprises is a mark of shame.

Let your friends know that you refuse to golf, congregate, buy merchandise or visit any place that bears the Treif (Trump) brand name, or associate with anybody who does.

Let’s teach him that there is no free lunch from the backs of more hard-working, unsuspecting victims.

We may not get the president we want, the tax simplification we want, or the health care we want, but we can do one good thing this year.

We can Stump the Trump.

Soli Israel Foger
Englewood

Remembering Alan

My husband Alan was truly one of a kind. He was empathetic, personable compassionate, loving, and honest. He always put others before himself, even when he was very sick. Alan was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and came to Israel during the Yom Kippur War. I met him right after that. He owned a pub, one of the first in Tel Aviv. It was Christmas Eve and I had a friend who invited me to join her in an evening there. I was confounded by the irony.

We met there on that Xmas Eve and got to know each other. Both of us had the same outlook on life, family, children. We talked like we had always known each other.. Alan was an alcoholic. He had a very rough life in South Africa — a lot of losses and a lot of pain. He managed to overcome it with his own method: simply stop drinking. He did — and it was forever.

He also lost his mother to cancer and his father soon broke down, so he had to help raise his brother, too, before he could live his own life.

Our marriage came after a few years. He was not the kind of man I thought I would marry, but yes I did. He was loyal and responsible, and together we adopted three children in Israel, who had been waiting so many years. Not much time went by with our lovely children, and Alan became sick with pneumonia, and that became the beginning of 11 years of suffering from lung cancer.

There were ups and downs. Many times we thought he would be all right and sometimes we gave up. We still had young kids to raise and no family in Israel to help us. We came back to the U.S. from Israel for that reason. Being alone without support is very, very tough with illness and young children.

Toward the end of his years of cancer, Alan had a major stroke, which he did overcome to some degree. His willpower was enormous, but God had other plans for him, and he died of the cancer after three years of suffering with the stroke. Very little stopped him, but that did. It would have bent the strongest tree.

Alan ran the NYC marathon with one lung. He was an avid runner and swimmer. He did more than his share to raise our children, and helped to look after both of my parents when they needed it.

I looked to his spirit for my guidance, but I needed him back then and now, to get through the days. It didn’t happen. I have suffered from depression all of my life, and he, and only he, understood so well and helped me with it. Our losses can destroy our memories.

I have to remember that he didn’t get a chance to live his life. He died at 54 with so many years of sickness behind him. I have never known a stronger man than he was, in every conceivable way. He never ignored someone who needed him, even in the midst of his own troubled life. He deserved a good life more than most, for all he did for others. He listened to all and answered all. He did not use his handicaps as excuses. He let the rest of us complain to him. He put others first. I know so few people who give their time and hearts to others so selflessly.

It is so very sad that the world lost a true mensch. He may have had a life of great accomplishments, but as we Jews know so well, God doesn’t really make that distinction between good people and bad. At least, I believe that much. Our children suffered and are still suffering, but I doubt they understand the deeper meaning of what losing him meant.

He had nothing to ask forgiveness for on Yom Kippur. Nothing.

Sandra Steuer Cohen
Teaneck

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