News and Opinion Based on Facts

Sunday, August 23, 2015

What Is Your Dog Thinking?

A psychological guide to your dog’s dreams, emotions, 
interests, and 
body language.

By Stanley Coren|Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Denis Kuvaev/Shutterstock
Your canine companion slumbers by your side, but is she dreaming of you? Does she feel guilty about stealing your steak off the kitchen counter and eating it for dinner? What is she trying to say with that annoying bark? Does she like watching TV?
After decades of research, neuroscientists have begun to answer such questions, giving us access to the once-secret inner lives of our canine companions and even translating their barks and wags so mere humans can comprehend them.
At the forefront of this effort is Stanley Coren, a behaviorist from the University of British Columbia, who draws on decades of research to explore the psychological motivations behind dogs’ everyday behaviors, as well as what science says about their barks, thoughts, and dreams.
Do Dogs Experience the Same Emotions as People?
Dogs have the same brain structures that produce emotions in humans. They have the same hormones and undergo the same chemical changes that humans do during emotional states. Dogs even have the hormone oxytocin, which in humans is involved with love and affection. So it seems reasonable to suggest that dogs also have emotions similar to ours. However, it is important not to go overboard: The mind of a dog is roughly equivalent to that of a human who is 2 to 2½ years old. A child that age clearly has emotions, but not all possible emotions, since many emerge later in the path to adulthood.
Dogs go through their developmental stages much more quickly than humans do, attaining their full emotional range by the time they are 4 to 6 months old. Much like a human toddler, a dog has the basic emotions: joy, fear, anger, disgust, excitement, contentment, distress, and even love. A dog does not have, and will not develop, more complex emotions, like guilt, pride, contempt, and shame, however.
You might argue that your dog has shown evidence of feeling guilt. In the usual scenario, you come home and your dog starts slinking around and showing discomfort, and you then find his smelly brown deposit on your kitchen floor. It is natural to conclude that the dog’s actions show a sense of guilt about its transgression. However, this is simply the more basic emotion of fear. The dog has learned that when you appear and his droppings are visible on the floor, bad things happen to him. What you see is the dog’s fear of punishment; he will never feel guilt. He will also never feel shame, so feel free to dress him in that ridiculous party costume.
Why Dogs Prefer HDTV
Most dogs show little interest in the average television set because of their visual abilities. In its simplest form, a motion seen on the TV screen is just a changing pattern of light across the retina in our eye. The average person cannot see any flickering above 55 cycles per second (55 Hz). But beagles see flicker rates up to 75 Hz—about 50 percent faster than human rates—suggesting dogs perceive motion better than people do.
Television images flicker at about 60 Hz. Since that is above a human’s flicker resolution ability of 55 Hz, the image appears continuous to us and blends smoothly together.
Since dogs can resolve flickers at 75 Hz, images on a TV screen probably appears less real and less worthy of attention. However, since high-resolution digital screens are refreshed at a much higher rate, reports are increasingly surfacing of pooches who become very interested in newer technology HDTVs when a nature show contains images of animals moving.

Do Dogs Dream?
Many people believe that dogs have dreams. Most dog owners have noticed that at various times during sleep, some dogs may quiver, twitch a leg, even growl or snap at a sleep-created phantom, giving the impression that they are dreaming about something. At the structural level, the brains of dogs are similar to those of humans. In addition, during sleep the brain-wave patterns of dogs are similar to people’s, and they exhibit the same stages of electrical activity that are observed in humans—all of which is consistent with the idea that dogs are dreaming.
Actually, it would be surprising if dogs didn’t dream, since recent evidence suggests that animals simpler and less intelligent than dogs seem to do so. Neuroscientists Matthew Wilson and Kenway Louie of MIT have evidence that the brains of sleeping rats function in a way that irresistibly suggests dreaming. Much of the dreaming you do at night is associated with the activities you engaged in that day. The same seems to be the case in rats. Hence, a rat that ran a maze during the day might be expected to dream about it at night.
From studies of electrical recordings of the rat hippocampus (an area of the brain associated with memory formation and storage), made while the rats were awake and learning a maze, Wilson and Louie found that some electrical patterns were quite specific and identifiable, depending on what the rat was doing. Later, when the rats were asleep and their brain waves indicated that they had entered the stage in which humans normally dream, these same electrical patterns appeared. The patterns were so clear and specific that the researchers were able to tell where in the maze the rat would be if it were awake, and whether it would be moving or standing still.
Since a dog’s brain is more complex than a rat’s and shows the same electrical sequences, it is reasonable to assume that dogs dream as well. There is also evidence that they dream about common dog activities. The human brain stem contains a special structure, the pons, that keeps us from acting out our dreams. When scientists removed or inactivated this same part of the brain in dogs, they observed that the dogs began to move around, even though electrical recordings of the dogs’ brains indicated that they were still fast asleep. The animals started to move only when the brain entered that stage of sleep associated with dreaming. During the course of a dream episode, the dogs actually began to execute the actions they were performing in their dreams. For example, a dreaming pointer may immediately start searching for game, a sleeping springer spaniel may flush an imaginary bird, and a dreaming Doberman pinscher may pick a fight with a dream burglar.
It is an odd fact that small dogs have more dreams than big dogs do. A dog as small as a toy poodle may dream once every 10 minutes, while a large dog like a mastiff or a Great Dane may have about an hour between dreams. On the other hand, the big dog’s dreams last longer.

Do Dogs Smile?
In the minds of most people, the equivalent of a dog’s smiling is when he is wagging his tail. But there is actually one canine facial expression that comes close to what we mean by smiling in humans. In this expression, slightly opened jaws reveal the dog’s tongue lapping out over his front teeth. Frequently the eyes take on a teardrop shape at the same time, as if being pulled upward slightly at the outer corners. It is a casual expression that is usually seen when the dog is relaxed, playing, or interacting socially, especially with people. The moment any anxiety or stress is introduced, the dog’s mouth closes and you can no longer see the tongue.
Dogs are also capable of laughing, and they typically do so when they are playing. Canine laughter begins with the doggy equivalent of smiling but also includes a sound that is much like panting. Several years ago, animal behaviorist Patricia Simonet at Sierra Nevada College by Lake Tahoe recorded those sounds while dogs played. On analyzing the recordings, she found that they involved a broader range of frequencies than does regular dog panting. In one experiment, Simonet noticed that puppies romped for joy when they heard recordings of these sounds; in another, she was able to show that these same sounds helped to calm dogs in an animal shelter.

How To Make Your Dog Laugh

Humans can imitate sounds of dog laughter, but it takes conscious monitoring of mouth shape to get the sound pattern right. Producing dog laughter correctly, says Coren, can make your dog sit up, wag his tail, approach you from across the room, and even laugh along.
  1. Round your lips slightly to make a “hhuh” sound. Note: The sound has to be breathy with no actual voicing, meaning that if you touch your throat while making this sound, you should not feel any vibration.
  2. Use an open-mouthed smiling expression to make a “hhah” sound. Again, breathe the sound; do not voice it.
  3. Combine steps one and two to create canine laughter. It should sound like “hhuh-hhah-hhuh-hhah.”

Dog Decoder

Perhaps the most common misinterpretation of dog behavior is based on the myth that a dog wagging his tail is happy and friendly. Although some tail wags are associated with happiness, others can signal fear or even the warning that you are about to be bitten.
The tail’s position, specifically the height at which it is held, serves as an emotional meter. If the tail is held at a middle height, the dog is relaxed. As the tail position moves up, it is a sign that the dog is becoming more threatening, with a vertical tail being a clearly dominant signal meaning, “I’m boss around here.”
Similarly, barks say a lot about what your dog is thinking. Low-pitched sounds (growls) make the animal seem large and dangerous; they usually indicate anger and the possibility of aggression. High-pitched sounds mean the opposite, a request to be allowed to come closer or a signal from a large dog saying, “It’s safe to approach.”


Sound the alarm  A rapid string of two to four barks with pauses between is the most common form of barking. It means, roughly, “There’s something going on that should be checked out.” Continuous barking at a lower pitch and slower suggests the dog senses an imminent problem. It means “Danger is very close. Get ready to defend yourself!”
Hey there  One or two sharp, short barks of high or midrange pitch is the most typical greeting sound, and it usually replaces alarm barks when a visitor is recognized as friendly. Many people are greeted in this way when they walk through the door. The message is “Hello!”
Let’s hang out  A long string of solitary barks with a deliberate pause after each one is a sign of a lonely dog asking for companionship.
Time for a tussle  A stutter bark, which sounds something like “harr-ruff” is usually given with front legs flat on the ground and the rear held high. It means, simply, “Let’s play!”


Salutation  A slight tail wag, each swing small, is usually seen during greetings and can be interpreted as a tentative “Hello there” or a hopeful “I’m here.”
Satisfaction  A broad tail wag is a friendly “I’m not challenging or threatening you.” In many contexts it may also mean “I’m pleased,” and it is the closest thing to the popular conception of the “happiness” wag, especially if the tail seems to drag the dog’s hips.
Confusion  A slow wag with tail at “half mast” is less social than most of the other tail signals. Slow wags with the tail in neither a particularly dominant (high) nor submissive (low) position signal insecurity or uncertainty about what to do next.
Fight or flight  Small, high-speed tail movements that give the impression of vibrating are a sign that the dog is about to take action (run or fight, usually). If the tail is held high and vibrating, it signals what is most likely an active threat.
Reprinted from Do Dogs Dream?: Nearly Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know by Stanley Coren. Copyright © by Stanley Coren. With the permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. This selection may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Trump, An American Putin?

By David Ignatius - August 19, 2015

WASHINGTON -- He promises to restore his country's greatness, without offering a specific plan. He uses crude, vulgar expressions that make him sound like an ordinary guy, even though he's a billionaire. He's a narcissist who craves media attention. And for all his obvious shortcomings, he's very popular.

Who am I referring to? Russian President Vladimir Putin, of course. But the parallels with a certain American politician known as the "The Donald" are obvious.

Donald Trump is in some respects an American version of Putin. Like the Russian leader, he seeks to reverse his country's losses and return its former glory. He promises a restoration of power and prestige without trifling about the details.

"We have no victories," Trump complained to NBC's Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" last Sunday. "As a country, we don't have victories anymore. And it's very sad."

Trump's official slogan is "Make America Great Again!" It's a line borrowed from Ronald Reagan's acceptance speech at the 1980 Republican convention, when the Gipper promised a "crusade to make America great again." But really, this kind of talk is the mainstay of politicians around the world who campaign on a platform of national restoration. Their message is as much psychological as political.

"Chuck, it'll work out so well," Trump enthused last Sunday. "You will be so happy. In four years, you're going to be interviewing me and you're going to say, 'What a great job you've done, President Trump.' You're going to say, 'You've done one of the great jobs.' It's going to happen."

The appeal of such politicians is partly their brash self-confidence. They don't explain the mundane details of national revival; they just assert it. Think of the character Harold Hill in "The Music Man." He promised to give River City a marching band, even though he couldn't play music.

Putin, like Trump, seems to understand that power and showmanship are inseparable, especially for a nation that is traumatized by military and economic losses. It's a confidence game. "Within the system, Mr. Putin has developed his own idealized view of himself as CEO of 'Russia, Inc.' In reality, his leadership style is more like that of a mafia family Don," write Fiona Hill and Clifford G. Gaddy in their book "Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin."

Gleb Pavlovsky, who was one of Putin's key advisers during his rise to power, confided to the Guardian newspaper in 2012 that Putin was one of an "unseen, unrepresented layer of people" in Russia who dreamed of a revanche that would recover past glory. "By revanche, I mean the resurrection of the great state in which we lived, which we became used to," Pavlovsky explained.

Putin laid out his vision of revival in a December 1999 speech that became known as the "Millennium Message." He stressed the importance of building a strong state that could restore national self-confidence: "Russia has [just] experienced one of the most difficult periods in its many centuries of history. ... She faces the real danger of becoming not just a second- but even a third-tier country. To prevent this from happening, we need an immense effort from all the nation's intellectual, physical and moral forces."

Trump is more nakedly self-promoting than Putin, with a vanity and braggadocio that would embarrass a Russian (or, indeed, almost anyone). Trump's website promotes him as "the very definition of the American success story," gliding over his four corporate bankruptcies. He seems to enjoy it when commentators deride him as an uncouth lout and rabble-rouser, underestimating the power of his message. His blunt comments speak to a nation that's sick of political double-talk.

Trump's tirades about illegal immigration, his loudest campaign theme, are part of a long and ugly story in America. Within 70 years of the republic's founding, a party aptly dubbed the "Know-Nothings" was bashing immigrants, especially Catholics. Over subsequent decades, nativists were attacking every new thread of the American quilt -- Irish, Italian, German, Slavic, Jewish, Chinese and African, as John Higham explains in his landmark history, "Strangers in the Land."

What's surprising about Trump is that he has attracted such a wide following. He's Reagan without Reaganism, running a campaign nearly devoid of ideas. Americans have had flirtations with demagogues, from Father Charles Coughlin in the 1930s to Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s. But the bullying authoritarian personality -- the Putin style -- usually doesn't work here. This summer has been an exception, but history suggests that it won't last.
(c) 2015, Washington Post Writers Group

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Rolling Stone Magazine Names Bob Dylan The Number One Singer Songwriter of All Time

Dylan's vision of American popular music was transformative. No one set the bar higher, or had greater impact. "You want to write songs that are bigger than life," he wrote in his memoir, Chronicles. "You want to say something about strange things that have happened to you, strange things you have seen." Dylan himself saw no difference between modern times and the storied past – reading about the Civil War helped him understand the Sixties –which allowed him to rewire folk ballads passed down through generations into songs that both electrified the current moment and became lasting standards. Early songs like "Blowin' in the Wind" became hits for others –Peter, Paul & Mary took it Number Two on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963; Stevie Wonder brought it Number Nine two years later – and reshaped the ambitions of everyone from the Beatles to Johnny Cash.

Then Dylan began to climb the charts on his own with music that turned pop into prophecy: "Subterranean Homesick Blues," "Like a Rolling Stone," "Positively Fourth Street," "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35." His personas shifted, but songs like "Tangled Up in Blue," "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" and "Forever Young" continued to define their eras in lasting ways. And alone among his peers Dylan's creativity was ceaseless –2000's Love and Theft returned him to a snarling sound that rivaled his electric youth, marking a renaissance that continues unabated. "A song is like a dream, and you try to make it come true," Dylan wrote. "They're like strange countries that you have to enter." And so we do, marveling at the sights, over and over again.

A song is like a dream, and you try to make it come true. They're like strange countries that you have to enter.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Islamophobia: Fact or Fiction?

  • Edward Said leaves us with the impression that all prejudice is only on the part of the West.
  • To the traditionally minded, news of such things as man-made laws based on objective evidence, free speech, equal justice under law, democracy, elections, freedom for women, freedom of religion and respect for the "other," and so on, may have come as a sort of horror. Despots recoiled from the very thought of democracy. Religious leaders fumed at secular education, the freedom to question and say what one liked, even about religion.
  • "It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated; to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet." — Hasan al-Banna', Founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, 1928.
  • The vast amount of what is called "Islamophobia," however, is not that at all. Fair criticism is not phobic, responses to Islamic terrorism are reasonable reactions to violence.
  • Based on news reports of Muslims murdering other Muslims and killing Christians, there is, ironically, probably more Islamophobia among Muslims for each other than there is from Westerners toward Muslims. There is also probably more "Infidelophobia" by Muslims toward non-Muslims than by non-Muslims toward Muslims.
  • Again this year, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation held a conference calling for a universal blasphemy law -- legislation it has repeatedly tried to pass for over a decade, with the help of U.S, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The aim is not to protect other religions (about which Muslims blaspheme without cessation), but to block any criticism of Islam.
  • Sometimes it seems as if Islam ceases to be treated as just another religion and becomes a religion intolerant of all others and unduly protective of its own rights and privileges. In democratic states, Islam is evidently already the only religion that may not be criticized, even though criticism of religion has for centuries been a cornerstone of free speech and transparency that are essential elements in democracy. These freedoms really matter, yet not one Muslim country can claim to implement or protect them, especially freedom of religion.
On July 9th, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, within the Council of Europe, published its annual report for 2014. The report identifies a dramatic increase in antisemitism, Islamophobia, online hate speech and xenophobic political discourse as main trends in 2014. It also indicates that "Islamophobia is reported in many countries, counteracting integration efforts for inclusive European societies. According to the report the rise of extremism and in violent Islamist movements has been manipulated by populist politicians to portray Muslims in general as unable or unwilling to integrate and therefore as a security threat."
This is, of course, troubling, and it is right for the Commission to treat it as a growing problem. But just how widespread is the issue, and to what extent is it readily identifiable?
Some claims of Islamophobia have their roots in the perception of increasing Muslim violence within Europe; some are based on existing racist attitudes, and some are derived from Muslim perceptions of victimhood and charged sensitivities. The latter is the main reason why defining Islamophobia is not as simple as describing anti-Semitism, anti-immigrant prejudice, or anti-black racism.
To understand this more clearly, it is necessary to slip back briefly to the past.
In 1978, Palestinian-American professor Edward Said (1935-2003) published a book,Orientalism, which changed the way many people thought about the Middle East and Islam. Said's book, deeply flawed, nevertheless became a bestseller translated into thirty-six languages. Those of us who were the first to read it – teachers and students in Islamic and Middle East Studies – were taken in by its façade of intellectual impartiality and the sense we all had that it opened our eyes to our own work in an original way. It was, to use Thomas Kuhn's celebrated phrase, a paradigm shift that changed our understanding of our researches and the meaning they had, for we were precisely the 'orientalists' Said so tartly scolded. Some of moved away in later years, but many are still mesmerized by that smooth prose and challenging flair.
It wasn't long before Said's appeal moved into other disciplines and to other regions far from the Middle East. Orientalism even laid the foundations for a new item on the academic curriculum: "Post-colonial Studies." The subject, now taught in universities in many countries, has produced a vast literature, has its own academic journals and numerous associations and institutes. Said, like Franz Fanon, Gayatri Spivak, Derek Gregory and others, remains a core figure, and Orientalism a central text.
According to Said, Westerners, by virtue of not being Muslims, have always falsified and distorted their writings about Islam and Muslims. Said claimed to see deeply-ingrained prejudice in the works of French, British, Russian and other Orientalist scholars and writers. To him, Orientalism was (and is) a tool of the colonial powers, assisting their mission supposedly to administer and subdue the peoples of the East. Since former colonies have achieved independence, he contends that the former imperialists still exert pressure on the ex-colonies in order to control them. Israel is regarded by most Marxists, socialists, and even many liberals as an entity created to colonize the Arab Middle East and is often condemned, even by people who are supposedly educated and should know better, in abrasive terms as a malign extension of the West.
Perhaps the best-known sentence in Said's book is: "[S]ince the time of Homer every European, in what he could say about the Orient, was a racist, an imperialist, and almost totally ethnocentric." As Bernard Lewis has been heard to remark, "If that were true, the only reports of marine biology would have to be by fish." But for Said and his followers, the world is divided between Western guilt and Eastern victimhood.
What is missing from Said's work is any attempt to deal with the long history of Islamic empires,[1] the conquest of, and permanent rule over, non-Muslim states and peoples, and the often distorted ways in which Muslim writers have sought to interpret and explain Christian, Jewish, Hindu and other worlds. Said leaves us with the impression that all prejudice is only on the part of the West.
Said continues to have admirers, most in academic departments of English or multicultural studies, but as time passes, more and more scholars are calling his views into question. Writers such as Bernard Lewis, Ibn Warraq, Efraim Karsh, and Robert Irwin have exposed a string of faults in Said's narrative, from factual errors to staggering bias.[2]
Despite his bias, distortion of facts, and openly documented deceptions, many of Said's followers, who are unwilling or unable to do their own work, see him as an intellectual to students and teachers who adhere to an anti-establishment, anti-Western, and socialist world view.
For many, his book, Orientalism played a role in delegitimizing the West and furthering causes such as multiculturalism or anti-Zionism. In the meantime, however, not surprisingly, the book's influence spread, into the Islamic world and the smaller world of Muslim communities in the West. Better-educated Muslims read and digested Said's message, in a manner rather different from Western readers, many or most of whom were atheists and agnostics. For Muslim readers, Said's message that the West was hostile to Islam became the first strong antidote to their sense of failure. Muslims saw themselves as backward but now believed they were the victims of a Western conspiracy to deny them the fruits of their great civilization. To disparage the West became, for many, a religious imperative.
For religious Muslims, it was becoming increasingly important to deal with the stresses caused by their economic, political, and military subordination to a flourishing West, coupled with their own lack of progress in the non-Muslim world and at home. The repeated defeat of multinational Arab armies by the "despicable" Jews of Israel stood, and for millions of Muslims still stands, as a symbol of their need to reassert themselves on the world stage -- as Iran is trying to do today.
For many Muslim immigrants, adjusting to their new environment is difficult, possibly even more than for other newcomers to the West, from Africa, say, or India. Their religious leaders often tell them that Muslims are superior to all unbelievers.[3] Their history tells them a story of almost uninterrupted conquest, when bands of early Muslims came out of the deserts of Arabia to fight and destroy the two great empires of the day, the Byzantines and the Iranian Sasanids. The same history tells Muslims how Islam spread to the ends of the known world and how for centuries Islamic civilization was superior to all others.
But with the re-emergence of Europe and the gradual subjection of the Muslim world to "infidel" powers, much of that sense of superiority evaporated. From the late nineteenth century, Muslim reformers repeatedly called for a revival of Muslim thought and practice. Renewal (tajdid) was, for more secularist rulers such as the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938), to be achieved by a process of secularization. But for religious thinkers such as Rashid Rida, it meant a revival of the faith as a reaction to the achievements and power of the West, and a reassertion of Islamic superiority.
It may not have been European military might alone that dismayed Muslims. It may also have been the West's universities, science, parliaments, laws, police, press, advocacy for liberty and free speech, attire, culture, and all the psychological and material benefits that have accrued to us.[4]
This cultural collision might well have been difficult for some Muslims to take in. After all, had God not promised them victory, not just for a time, but until the entire world was conquered for the faith? And had God not fulfilled his promise? Conquest had followed conquest, empire had succeeded empire, and on the back of these advances, a great civilization had come into being, with all its variants across the globe. For centuries, Muslims, many uninformed about what the changes in Europe, had, as Lewis argues, indulged a sense of political and religious supremacy. And for centuries they appeared justified in this belief.
But things changed, and not for the better. In 1798, Napoleon conquered Egypt, with ease. Even though his forces remained only a short time, that conquest was the first chink in the armor of Islam. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the British and French occupied and colonized much of the Middle East and Africa. Having been the undisputed masters of their realm for so long, and having ruled so effortlessly over the Jews and Christians who lived among them as second-class citizens, Muslims had grown complacent.
If it was irksome to become subordinate to non-believers, worse was to follow. The West did not just possess superior military might; it soon became clear that Westerners were far from the infidels of popular imagination.
Several countries – Turkey and Iran, notably, which never became fully colonized – started to send students and diplomats to European countries, chiefly Britain and France. In Europe these travellers were introduced to ways that may have made the West seem superior: parliaments, constitutions, man-made laws based on objective evidence, universities with academic freedom, free speech, equal justice under law, democracy, elections, high-quality schools, a general lack of corruption in public affairs and commerce, growing freedoms for women, freedom of religion and respect for the "other," and so on.
To the traditionally minded, news of such things may have come as a sort of horror. Despots recoiled from the very thought of democracy. Religious leaders fumed at secular education, rights for women, the freedom to question and to say what one liked, even about religion.
But younger, modernizing minds were released from the shackles of the past. From the late nineteenth century, pressure for secular reform began to appear, and for a time it seemed as if important events lay on the horizon. The Young Turks in the Ottoman Empire and the reformist anti-clerical movement in Iran seemed to usher in better times and freer lives.
But despite this apparent Muslim Spring and the appetite for reform it inspired, the doors to change quickly slammed down again throughout most of the Islamic world. In Iran, the secularizing but brutal Pahlavi dynasty provoked the Iranian Revolution of 1979, led by the Ayatollah Khomeini. Out of that, as the Islamists sought to quell dissent and impose their own theocratic rule, emerged Iran's current totalitarian and theocratic regime.
Muslims have constructed a variety of responses to these events. A common one, from the late nineteenth-century, was to stress the innate and absolute rightness of Islam in the conduct of all human affairs. During the 1920s, this Salafi thinking from Saudi Arabia took on a new life through the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Its motto is: "Allah is our objective; the Qur'an is our Constitution; the Prophet s our leader; jihad is our way; dying for the sake of Allah is our wish." Its political slogan – seen until recently on banners in the poorer parts of Cairo – is: "Islam is the solution" (for every problem). The movement's founder, Hasan al-Banna', is widely quoted as saying, "It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated; to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet."[5]
This response leads directly to the holy war currently being waged against the West (including Israel) by radical Muslims, through organizations such as al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Hamas, and, even more brutally, the Islamic State (Da'ish).
A second response, devoid of the tactic of violence, was to seek to reform Islam itself from within. These reformers, (such as Muhammad 'Abduh or Rashid Reza), were Salafis who aimed, not at the modernization of Islam, but in the other direction: at its return to the values, mores and practices of seventh-century Arabia -- the time when Muslims lived with, and were guided by, Muhammad and the first three generations of his followers. Their aim is bold: to purify Muslims of the accretions their religion has taken on down through the centuries.
There is an old Islamic juristic principle: innovation (bid'a) is heresy, and leads to hellfire. Valiant as this response may seem to be, it has clearly been unable to stem the tide of rapidly expanding modernity. What it did achieve, even while affording them access to the latest technology, was to drag Muslims backwards.
While science and technology have left a powerful mark on Muslim societies (best summed up in Iran's nuclear program), they are often deployed within a context of old-fashioned religious beliefs that are not innovative in any way. Thus, for example, before and during the Islamic Revolution in Iran (1978-79), cassette tapes were used to powerful effect by the revolutionaries. And today, even the most backward-thinking Islamist groups all advance their cause for a return to basics through the internet and the use of social media.
A third tactic has been to place the blame on the West for each and every misfortune that assails the Islamic world. This applies, not just to military interventions such as Iraq or Afghanistan, but to economic failure; a fall in oil prices; the "immorality" of young people; theconversion of Muslims to Christianity, atheism, or anything that is not Islam; women's rights; the creation and perpetuation of Israel; young people questioning their parents and other free speech; the failure of Muslim immigrants to Europe to flourish, and whatever else takes one's fancy.
The psychological truth behind all this is plain to see: It is a form of Freudian projection: taking the qualities about oneself that one does not like and projecting them onto others. This defense against an affront to our good opinion of ourselves can also be one of many forms of denial, whereby someone with problems denies he has any and instead happily pins the blame for whatever goes wrong in his life on others.
For many Muslims – as for all of us – responses such as these play a particularly important role in making sense of what seems a hostile world. If Muslims thought that Islam itself had failed, that God's promise of eventual triumph across the earth had been left unfulfilled (or worse, that it was hollow in the first place), then the psychological ramifications could be shattering.
For conservative Muslims, the greatest catastrophe would be if, as a result of Westernization, millions in the Islamic world would lose their faith. Societies, held together by mutual belief would fall apart. Better by far to blame outsiders. And, even better, to find that the outsiders responsible for all our woes have all the time been the Jews and Christians whom Scripture instructs Muslims to despise for plots against the true faith.
Out of this tortuous medley comes what some call "Islamophobia." It is evidently not enough to cite Westerners as the agents of Islamic decline. They must, according to that view have a motive, and this Western motive is supposedly uncovered in an active hatred of Islam. It is a hatred, the claim seems to go, born of a jealousy already there at the time of the Prophet, when the Jews, they allege, "conspired" against him. This hatred was supposedly there again in the Crusades, when the Christian Church sought to dislodge Islam from its commanding heights around the Levant and beyond; and also during the colonial and post-colonial periods, not just abroad but also at home, within the borders of Islam itself, as in Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, India, Mali and elsewhere in Africa, and in Indonesia, Malaya, the Philppines, and Central Asia.
Although the term "Islamophobia" may go back as far as 1916 in French, and seems to have been introduced to English by Edward Said himself in 1985, its use has grown rapidly in the UK and the United States. Today, it is employed in vague and sloppy ways, often conflated with claims of a victimhood similar to racism.
The vast amount of what is called "Islamophobia," however, is not that at all. Fair criticism is not phobic; responses to Islamic terrorism are reasonable reactions to violence just as we react against all other forms of terrorism. If you read Muslim or pro-Muslim accounts of Islamophobia, they find fault with just about everything that implies a negative view of something Islamic, whether texts, history, or customary practices. Curiously, the same people who complain about Islamophobia seem never to complain about Muslim anti-Semitism or hatred for homosexuals or other violations of human rights.
In that sense, many have constructed a hate crime that only exists sporadically, within small groups like the UK's fading English Defense League or in comment pages remarks by individuals, few of whom seem well- educated or polite. The Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), for instance, has a website called, but the offenses do not seem nearly as ubiquitous or as hateful as Muslims claim, and often seem to have occurred as a reaction to some kind of "Infidelophobia."
Based on news reports of Muslims murdering other Muslims and killing Christians, there is, ironically, probably more Islamophobia among Muslims toward each other than there is from Westerners toward Muslims. There is also probably more "Infidelophobia" by Muslims toward non-Muslims than by non-Muslims toward Muslims.
What true Islamophobia exists does so only on the margins of Western society. It reveals itself in the racist protests of the English Defence League; in the Reverend Terry Jones calling his book Islam is of the Devil and his threats to burn the Qur'an; and in comments on some anti-Islamic websites.

Fair criticism is not phobic; responses to Islamic terrorism are reasonable reactions to violence just as we react against all other forms of terrorism. What true Islamophobia exists does so only on the margins of Western society. It reveals itself in the Reverend Terry Jones calling his book Islam is of the Devil and his threats to burn the Qur'an.

For all that, some haters make themselves quite visible; even so, they represent only a small number of the public, most of whom do not even know they exist. Most people are simply critical of what they see daily about Islam: violent acts across the globe, threats against freedom and democracy, hatred preached in mosques and Islamic centers – all justified as matters ordained by the Islamic faith.
Others are disturbed by the negative impact of Muslim immigration on Western societies. In America, the destruction of the twin towers and the attacks on the Pentagon on 9/11 were calculated to bring to the surface growing fears about the harm that growing Muslim radicalism could cause.
The accusation of Islamophobia has come to be a knee-jerk reaction to any, even wrongly-perceived, criticism of Islam. For centuries, Muslims have guarded their customs and their religion from criticism, and this has led to severe problems: a lack of safe arenas in both the Muslim world and within Muslim communities in the West, where Muslims may analyse and debate religious issues without fear of severe retribution for stepping across lines, such as declarations that intellect and logic are unIslamic; the prohibition of free speech, the use of murder to silence anyone who steps too far out of line, dissidents or apostates for instance. No healthy society can survive with such restrictions.
The West has thrived on its citizens' freedom to challenge received ideas, to speak openly in debate, and to criticize without fear of reprisal. Accusations of Islamophobia are bandied about by Muslim organizations in Europe and North America, such as the Muslim Council of Britain(MCB) or the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Some of their concerns are genuine. Physical attacks on Muslims just because they are Muslims are totally unacceptable in any civilized society.
On the other hand, it often appears as if any questioning of Islam or Muslims, however minor, is inflated and rebutted by a charge of Islamophobia. Sometimes such questions are interpreted as criticism, and lead to the suppression of free debate and an exchange of ideas. It then seems as if Islam is no longer treated as just another religion and becomes a religion intolerant of all others and unduly protective of, and assertive of, its own rights and privileges.
Islamophobia also sometimes seems conflated with blasphemy. Almost any statement or act deemed disrespectful of Islam, when uttered or committed by a non-Muslim, may be counted by some as a form of hatred for Islam itself, and regarded as subject to punishment or, as we have seen recently, murder and attempted murder. In February, American-Bangladeshi secularist Avijit Roy was hacked to death in Dhaka, as were Washiqur Rahman in March, Anantaa Bijoy Das in May, and Niloy Neel on August 6. In France, the editors of a magazine ,Charlie Hebdo, and the organizers of a Draw Muhammad exhibition in Garland Texas. Incidents such as those occurred apart from the unprovoked murder of Jews outside a religious school in Toulouse France, and in a kosher French grocery store.
In the West, blasphemy is no longer considered a crime worth rebuke, let alone capital punishment, even if many Christians or Jews deplore it as a mortal sin. Freedom of speech has become so vital to the functioning of a healthy, open society that even gross disrespect as shown in Andres Serrano's controversial photograph, "Piss Christ", though often protested, may be placed on public display without legal opposition.
For some Muslims, however, there appears to be a heightened sensitivity over anything that seems scandalous to the religious eye. On November 25 2007, for example, Sudanese mobs called for an English teacher, Gillian Gibbons, at a British school in Khartoum to be put to death because the young children in her classroom had decided to name their teddy-bear the popular name, Muhammad. She was reported for blasphemy and charged under the Sudanese Criminal Act with "insulting religion." On 30 November approximately 10,000 protesters took to the streets in Khartoum some of them waving swords and machetes, demanding Gibbons's execution after imams denounced her during Friday prayers. During the march, chants of "Shame, shame on the UK", "No tolerance – execution" and "Kill her, kill her by firing squad" were heard. In this extreme case, Muslims around the world, including the Muslim Council of Britain, protested. Ms. Gibbons was granted a presidential pardon and returned to Britain. Had she not been a British teacher, her fate might not have had the same fortunate outcome. None of those who called for her death was brought to book for any breach of human rights.
More serious cases have included the Satanic Verses affair; the Danish cartoons controversy; the 2004 murder of the Dutch film-maker, Theo van Gogh, the 2007 controversy over a sketch by Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks; or the attempted murders of the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, or Lars Vilks; and the recent court cases against the Dutch MP, Geert Wilders. But there have been dozens of other cases, many of which have ended in imprisonment, flogging, and, on several occasions, murder. It makes little difference if the "blasphemer" is a non-Muslim or a Muslim, a journalist or an academic. Any perceived show of disrespect for Islam, the Prophet, the Qur'an or Muslim customs and beliefs contravenes a long-established principle that Jews and Christians living under Muslim rule must always act in a spirit of humility towards Muslims and Islam. Invoking blasphemy against non-Muslims who live beyond the realm of Islam, in countries not under Islamic rule, is supposed to be outside the original scope of Islamic law. Nevertheless these also now seem to be areas open to charges of Islamophobia.
Again this year, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation held a conference calling for a universal blasphemy law -- legislation it has repeatedly tried to pass for over a decade, with the help of U.S, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The aim is not to protect other religions (about which Muslims blaspheme without cessation), but to block any criticism of Islam.
More troubling is that several European countries have been suborned by Muslim protests to bring their own citizens to court on charges of insulting Islam for their books, films, or speeches. In Austria, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff has stood trial for her remarks about Islam;Geert Wilders and Gregorius Nekschot have been tried in the Netherlands, and Wilders is now being charged by Austria; in 2002 Michel Houellebecq was charged in Paris for having called Islam stupid; in 2010, Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Commission condemned Michael Smithfor having criticized the burka, and forced him to go for "mediation" with one Omar Hassan, the Muslim who had complained about him. More recently, Lars Hedegaard, head of the Danish Free Press Society, was put on trial on similar charges. Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant in Canada were taken to task for their remarks about Islam.
Islamophobia is now a crime determined as much by Western courts and tribunals as by Muslims. As this trend grows in democratic states, Islam is, apparently, the only religion that may not be criticized, even though criticism of religion has for three centuries been a cornerstone of free speech and transparency that are essential elements in democracy and the rule of reason through open-minded, deductive processes.
Many of these accusations of blasphemy may seem trivial to the Western observer. A teddy bear, some cartoons, an article about the role of women in Islam that led to a 20-year sentence for Afghan journalist Parwiz Kambakhsh (the sentence was originally death) or the inadvertent touching by a Christian teacher of a bag that may have held a copy of the Qur'an. This last is a particularly gruesome story in which something totally trivial unleashed mob violence and resulted in the violent death of a young Christian woman, Christianah Oluwatoyin Oluwasesin, at the government school where she taught in Gombe, Nigeria.
In Pakistan, last November, a young Christian couple, Shama Bibi and Sajjad Masih wereburned alive in a brick kiln for the alleged desecration of a Qur'an. This year, Saudi bloggerRaif Badawi was sentenced to 1000 lashes and ten years' imprisonment for "insulting Islam."Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman arrested in 2009 on a spurious charge of blasphemy remains in prison in poor health, beaten by the guards charged with protecting her under a sentence of death.
For many Muslims, however, these are not trivial occurrences at all. In a case in Malaysia in 2009, a ruling was made that non-Muslims might not use the word "Allah" to refer to God. The decree was upheld in a 2015 ruling by the country's Supreme Court. The argument against the use of Allah was not frivolous. The government's religious advisor, Abdullah Muhammad Zin, argued that as Christians, for example, believed in the Trinity; that Jesus was the Son of God; that God had died on the cross, and so on, it would represent a huge blasphemy to the one, indivisible and true Muslim God. There were arguments – and many Muslims made them at the time – that the ban was somewhat ridiculous: Arab Christians use "Allah" as a matter of course, as in "insha'allah," [if God wills; hopefully]. It is clear, however, that that the motive for such a ruling was not frivolous in the way it certainly seems to Westerners, but a striking indication of the Islamic obsession with exerting power over non-believers even in what appear to Westerners to be minor things.
It is in cases such as this that a genuine rift can be seen between the West and Islam. The situation has been significantly blurred by political correctness from Western multiculturalists and those Muslims who adopt their tactics to argue that all cultures are equal and that any non-Muslim criticism of Islam is Islamophobic.
Such blurring misses the point. One of the most precious things for Westerners is freedom, hence our emphasis on human rights -- which can only be guaranteed in free, open societies -- and where the exercise of rights depends entirely on the preservation of freedom. Thus, free speech; freedom to criticize; freedom of the press; religious rights (above all, the rights to apostasize, convert or choose no religion); separation of church and state; political freedom, and freedom from arbitrary application of the law. These freedoms really matter, yet not one Muslim country can claim to implement or protect them, especially freedom of religion.
For Muslims, liberty of conscience and action, even within the constraints of the law, is anathema. A Muslim is, quite literally, one who submits, just as "Islam" means, literally, "submission." Whether this means submission to God or to the Islamic state or to the clerics who define what is, and what is not, Islamic, the result is individual submission, voluntary or coerced, to the laws of the shari'a, the body of ordinances that constitute the totality of what a Muslim must believe and how he or she should act. Freedom does not enter into it. A man is not at liberty to pray or not as he sees fit: the law says he must pray five times a day, and he must be punished if he does not. Enforcement of this law reached its most explicit form when a Somali cleric decreed that anyone who did not pray five times a day must be beheaded. That is far from typical, but it does show how easily a simple matter of dereliction may be transformed into a major criminal offence.
Here is where the enforcement of shari'a law, taking offence at blasphemy, and fear of Islamophobia come together. For a Muslim to utter something blasphemous, or to do something that infringes the dignity of the faith, leads directly to criminality or, in many jurisdictions, to apostasy. And the penalty for apostasy is, for the most part, death.
The reason for this seems to be that Islam is rooted in a dichotomy.[6] In the Qur'an, the world is depicted in stark black-and-white terms. There are the People of the Right Hand and the People of the Left hand. The former, who are Muslims, are the People of Paradise; the others, non-Muslims, are the People of Hellfire. There is belief and unbelief; there is no grey area between. There is Islam and there is all that is not Islam; all things are measured by this reckoning.
In the classical Islamic formulation, the entire world is divided between Dar al-Islam, (the Realm of Submission) and Dar al-Harb, (the Realm of War.) Thus, these twin realms co-exist in a state of potential or actual war, not just ideologically but also militarily.
From this perspective, the modern Western world presents an unwanted challenge to the realm of Islam.
At present, the West cannot be conquered, although many extremists, such as the fighters who serve with ISIS, believe that conquest is exactly what will happen in the end. Such a victory would embody the triumph of belief over unbelief, as it did in past centuries, when Muslims ruled most of the known world -- but at a horrendous cost for mankind.
Worse still, Muslims living in the West are thought by conservative Muslims to be at risk of apostasy, seduced as they might be by the allurements, physical and intellectual, of non-Islam. Behind the face of apostasy, Islamists proclaim, lies the grinning skull of Satanic lures of debauchery set for the unwary. Freedom to change one's religion, a core feature of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, fills the traditionalist Muslim heart with horror; it portends the possibility that the realm of Islam may end up as nothing more than another province in the empire of non-Islam.
The absence of Islam does not necessarily threaten most religions: a healthy secular society, for instance – of which Israel is one of the best examples – tolerates and supports highly religious people, lightens the tax burden on churches, synagogues and temples, protects holy places, supports religious schools, and so forth.
But Islam in its full sense cannot exist outside the political and legal realms because it is not merely a religion but a system of government and law. For Islamists, their religion must govern, control, and legislate. If Muslims abdicate those responsibilities, they might as well be considered apostates.
Doubtless Islamophobia exists, just as anti-Semitism and anti-Christianity exist -- and it should be resisted. But it is neither as widespread nor as penetrating as it is so often proclaimed to be.
In a piece just published by Sydney University research student Hussain Nadim, this crisis of identity is central:
Moreover, the idea that the "problem lies not with Islam, nor even with some of the Muslims but with the environment Muslims are currently in" has no legs, since Sikhs and numerous other migrant communities are in equal if not lower socio-economic and political conditions than Muslims all over the world but without the radicalisation and terrorism prevalent in their communities.
This tendency amongst the Muslim community leaders to remain in denial about the problem with religion is what is driving the identity crisis which is leading to radicalisation among Muslim youth. Why is it so hard to accept that there is in fact a problem with Islam – the way it is being used?
Its real meaning is not so much active hostility on the part of Westerners as a need for many Muslims to assert their identity in the face of a world made up of unbelief, and the concomitant resistance to coercive expressions of it.
Denis MacEoin taught Islamic Studies at Newcastle University and has written many books, articles and encyclopedia entries on Islamic topics.

[1] See Efraim Karsh, Islamic Imperialism, London, 2009
[2] See, for example, Bernard Lewis, 'The Question of Orientalism', The New York Review of Books, 24 June 1982, available through: Ibn Warraq, Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said's 'Orientalism', USA, 2007] Robert Irwin, For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and their Enemies, London, 2007] Efraim Karsh, 'Did Edward Said Really Speak Truth to Power?', Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2008, pp. 13-21. See also Daniel Martin Varisco, Reading Orientalism: Said and the Unsaid, Washington, 2008; Alexander Lyon Macfie (ed.) Orientalism: A Reader, Edinburgh, 2000
[3] See, for example, the statement by Fautmeh Ardati of Hizbut Tahrir, when she speaks of 'the superiority of Islamic values over Western values'. Cited in Savage Infidel, 20 September 2010. See also Shaykh Salih al-Munajjid, Superiority of Islam over Infidelity.
[4] For a comprehensive study of this situation, see Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response, London, 2002. It is also important to study the writings of three Egyptian exponents of Islamic revival, Rashid Rida (1865-1935), Hasan al-Banna' (1906-1949), the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966), the Brotherhood's leading ideologue. Nor should we neglect the theories of Indo-Pakistani Islamist Abu A'la Mawdudi (1903-1979).
[5] Cited Lawrence Wright, "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11," Vintage Books (New York), 2007, page 29.
[6] This characteristic of Islam was originally revealed in great detail in a magisterial study by M. M. Bravmann, The Spiritual Background of Early Islam.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Inheritance from Dad Made Trump a Wealthy Man


This excerpt from "The Self-Made Myth: The Truth About How Government Helps Individuals and Businesses Succeed" tells the real story about how Trump got so obscenely rich.
​Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from Brian Miller and Mike Lapham's book, The Self-Made Myth: The Truth About How Government Helps Individuals and Businesses Succeed. (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2012). ​You can read AlterNet's Vision editor Sara Robinson's review of the book here.
In March 2011 Forbes estimated Donald Trump's net worth to be $2.7 billion, with a $60 million salary. Many praise and analyze his “success” as if it were self-made, and they fail to attribute the proper credit to others in society where it is deserved. Despite what Trump may espouse, his success would have been in no way possible without his father, the general public, and the US government. Unfortunately, Trump decided to forget or selectively ignore these truths while forming his political philosophy, a sentiment made particularly clear during his brief bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
Trump was born in New York City in 1946, the son of real estate tycoon Fred Trump. Fred Trump’s business success not only provided Donald Trump with a posh youth of private schools and economic security but eventually blessed him with an inheritance worth an estimated $40 million to $200 million. It is critical to note, however, that his father’s success, which granted Donald Trump such a great advantage, was enabled and buffered by governmental financing programs. In 1934, while struggling during the Great Depression, financing from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) allowed Fred Trump to revive his business and begin building a multitude of homes in Brooklyn, selling at $6,000 apiece. Furthermore, throughout World War II, Fred Trump constructed FHA-backed housing for US naval personnel near major shipyards along the East Coast.
In 1974 Donald Trump became president of his father’s organization. During the 15 years following his ascension, he expanded and innovated the corporation, buying and branding buildings, golf courses, hotels, casinos, and other recreational facilities. In 1980 he established The Trump Organization to oversee all of his real estate operations.
Trump eventually found himself in serious financial trouble. In 1990, due to excessive leveraging, The Trump Organization revealed that it was $5 billion in debt ($8.8 billion by some estimates), with $1 billion personally guaranteed by Trump himself. The survival of the company was made possible only by a bailout pact agreed upon in August of that same year by some 70 banks, allowing Trump to defer on nearly $1 billion in debt, as well as to take out second and third mortgages on almost all of his properties. If it were not for the collective effort of all banks and parties involved in that 1990 deal, Trump’s business would have gone bankrupt and failed.
In 1995 Trump took Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc. public and received a substantial financial boost from society and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations that enable the market to function. He initially sold 10 million shares at $14 per share and then in 1996 sold 13.25 million shares at $32.50 a share. This initial public offering granted Trump’s company a stability and legitimacy that would have been impossible without millions of people around the world trusting his organization and investing with the hope of shared success.
Despite the clear societal and governmental assistance described above, Trump continues to be outspoken in his criticism of government. In his bookThe America We Deserve, Trump explains that “the greatest threat to the American Dream is the idea that dreamers need close government scrutiny and control. Job one for us is to make sure the public sector does a limited job, and no more.” This quote proves to be particularly ironic when considering Trump’s feelings about eminent domain laws. He was quoted as saying, “I happen to agree with it 100 percent” when speaking of the 2005 Supreme Court decision on Kolo v. New London, which affirmed the government’s ability to transfer land from one private owner to another for the purpose of economic development in the area. In fact, Trump attempted to take advantage of eminent domain laws on multiple occasions, once even demanding that an elderly widow give up her home so that he could build a limousine parking lot.
Perhaps more disturbing than his hypocritical condemnation of the government is his failure to acknowledge anyone’s contributions, save his own, in the creation of his success. At the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump made clear his feelings on the creation of his wealth: “Over the years I’ve participated in many battles and have really almost come out very, very victorious every single time. I’ve beaten many people and companies, and I’ve won many wars. I have fairly but intelligently earned many billions of dollars, which in a sense was both a scorecard and acknowledgment of my abilities.” Furthermore, Trump apparently sees no benefit in supporting taxes to maintain institutions such as the Securities and Exchange Commission to regulate the stock market, in which he publicly trades his company, or the court system, which actively protects his property rights: “We are the highest taxed nation—I would tax foreign countries that are ripping off the US and lower taxes for Americans.”
From the moment of his birth, Trump was set up for success. The large inheritance left to him by his father, coupled with the contributions and the protections of society and the US government made his ascension to the Forbes 400 list almost inevitable. Nevertheless, Trump fails to recognize this phenomenon and continues to express his belief that he did it alone.
Copyright © 2012 with permission from Berrett Koehler Publishers.