Emil Guillermo: Trump's dog and gloating; California fires; and Halloween

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The president is finding out that killing a global terrorist doesn’t necessarily make you a conquering hero.

So in his unique Trumpian form of humility, the prez tweeted out a picture of a real hero–the yet unnamed dog who was instrumental in last weekend’s raid and killing of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Trump finally has a dog he likes. (Just not sure if it’s reciprocal).

If you haven’t noticed, the Trump White House is the first in 120 years not to have a dog or a pet.

For an administration known for its revolving door that has left a lot of positions unfilled, there isn’t even room for an “acting” dog.

When the president was asked earlier this year why he doesn’t have a dog, he told the Washington Post he didn’t have time.

It could be because the Obamas had a dog. But more likely, because in the Trump White House, there can be just one top dog.

Last weekend, that top dog was proud of a dog warrior for leading the hunt that trapped al-Baghdadi.

“He died like a dog, he died like a coward, he was whimpering, screaming and crying,” Trump said of al-Baghdadi, indicating in his language a species-ist attitude.

And then he went on and on about how we should all see how the dog died.

Not sure that’s a good idea.

Let’s be clear. Baghdadi was a global terrorist, and his demise is welcome. But gloating about the operation is not presidential, nor is it smart.

In fact, can killing Baghdadi be called “bringing him to justice”? Or is it really fighting terror with our own approved terror? Certainly, Baghdadi’s death makes our ISIS nemesis leaderless for now, but there are still followers who have elevated Baghdadi into an immortal hero.

The reality we’re left with: ISIS isn’t dismantled and remains a threat, and the overall problem in Syria is muddier than ever.

Trump said he abandoned the Kurds because he didn’t want the U.S. in an endless war. But by playing the world’s cop that Trump said he didn’t want to be, we are now deeper in the muck than ever.

We know less about what ISIS may or may not do next. And we’re still in Syria protecting all that valuable oil.

Meanwhile, the Kurds who helped us get Baghdadi now hate us. And the Russians, our enemy who tampers in our elections, love us for doing the dirty work of getting Baghdadi and clearing out the Kurds.

Yet, Trump continues to gloat about the weekend with a dangerous artlessness, dehumanizing Baghdadi with a naïve zeal. Does he really want to whip up the emotions of ISIS? Baghdadi was one man, the leader of an organization with many believers. Why does Trump want to motivate them?

Trump’s new style of demonization—to doggify and insult Baghdadi—may really be intended to call off the impeachment dogs and excite his 2020 campaign supporters here.

But every time he gloats about Baghdadi, Trump squanders his status as commander-in-chief.

The more he goes on, he increases the possibility of turning an act of justice into racism, as the divider-in-chief incites an irrational hate in our country that impacts all innocent American Muslims.

When Whitey Bulger got caught and brought to justice, no one talked about how all whites are criminals.

But in America, it’s “seen one Muslim, seen them all.” Trap them, kill them like dogs. Trump knows what he’s doing with his rhetoric and actions. And then he feels compelled to show off images of the Baghdadi raid like the spoils of a trophy hunt.

After the travel ban, we don’t need any more examples of Trump Islamophobia.

We need a president who can speak in a measured way during these dangerous and uncertain times.

Instead, we get an uncertain president who keeps fumbling on the world stage looking for applause.

When Trump sees he’s getting no love for the Baghdadi raid, I’m sure even the dog love will be gone before too long .

Two weeks ago, when all was clear, I drove up to Sonoma county in California and the vines were a radiant gold.

Now the fires are back, smoke is everywhere, and people have been evacuated or forced to live with power outages that have lasted days.

I’ve been lucky, but many in the most Asian American state in the nation have not.

PG&E, Pacific Gas and Electric, the publicly-traded public utility, is at the center of it all. Downed power lines in dry grassy areas have ignited fires in the Bay Area. Other fires of undetermined origin but fanned by winds and fueled by the dryness are raging in Southern California.

The fires are one thing, but the forced blackouts? It speaks to a failing infrastructure in California–and a philosophy blinded by money. It shows how public utilities when publicly traded feel more beholden to shareholders and not to the consuming public who are left in the dark.

It’s a sentiment corporatists are debating in recent times. Where does the public good fit into the greed equation? Time for a rejiggering of capitalism? It’s not a move toward socialism. More like acknowledging that humanity still matters just a bit–if it does.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has called for the Public Utilities Commission to investigate PG&E. He’s also called for Warren Buffett to buy the utility. Buffet, whose main business is re-insurance, is going to bail all those impacted by the damage anyway. He might as well have a huge equity interest.

But that’s little solace for now, while California keeps burning.

I leave you on a cheery note. Halloween is coming up and it’s often more adult-oriented than it should be. If you’ve been wanting to retire that French Maid outfit, here are some challenging ideas for 2019:

Whistle-blower: You can go in bureaucratic, deep-state business suiting and pull a whistle out of your pocket. Or if outfitted as an actual oversized whistle, you can blow or be blown all night. I would blow for non-vegan candy.

Twenty Patriots: That’s how many Republicans it will take in the Senate to remove Trump after the House impeaches him. You can be one of the 20 or all 20. Drape yourself(selves) in a flag. Carry the Constitution. Or you can be just a normal patriot, wearing one of those triangular Paul Revere hats. Just don’t be connected to the Old North Church that had congregants connected to the slave trade, according to a recent Boston Globe report.

An Asian American: It’s old hat and super-racist to try blackface, even after Justin Trudeau won re-election in Canada. But Asian on Asian could be a new twist. We have celebrities on the map now. You can be Andrew Yang and pass out $1000 dollar bills in Monopoly money.

Too serious? You can be Ken Jeong’s Dr. Chow. Clothes optional.

Or you could go cross Asian. Be the one you’re not. Chinese? Vietnamese? South Asian? Central Asian? Filipino? A yellowish or brownish Asian? Say you’re practicing intra-ethnic empathy.

OK, back to celebrity. Pick a character from “Crazy Rich Asians” or “Fresh Off the Boat.” The grandmother? Or be the “Superstore” Asian. Nico Santos fans anyone?

This Halloween, I figure we will see a few people in Asian drag. Be prepared.

Just remember: If you run into folks in racist Shane Gillis costumes, those aren’t costumes.

Image by AALDEF

Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator. Updates at Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.

The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF’s views or policies.

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