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Post Trump's Problems? Immigration is Only a Start
Created by John Eipper on 02/13/19 9:48 AM

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Trump's Problems? Immigration is Only a Start (Carmen Negrin, France, 02/13/19 9:48 am)

I assure Richard Hancock that he has no need to change his opinion about Trump!

Trump's problem is not just immigration. It's women, people of color (whatever the color), his honesty, his "buddies," his use of religion, his lack of empathy, his lack of knowledge, and in particular that of foreign policy and of science (climate change for instance). The list is quite long.

Add to that the deficit he has created and his ability to increase our chances of war.

JE comments: WAIS is a wide tent, but few colleagues have stepped up to defend Trump.  One thing I've noticed about the Trumpian base:  if you cite anything akin to Carmen Negrín's "laundry list" above, the answer you hear is "absolutely!"  (Meaning, good.)

WAIS has not yet taken note of one of The Donald's biggest claims in his State of the Union address:  if he weren't president, we'd now be at war with North Korea.  Our nations' strongmen do share a bizarre, cosmic bond--I'm looking forward in a generation's time to attending the opera:  Kim and Trump.

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  • Has Trump Taught the American People Any Lessons? (Tor Guimaraes, USA 02/13/19 2:02 PM)
    Carmen Negrín wrote on February 13th: "Trump's problem is not just immigration. It's women, people of color (whatever the color), his honesty, his 'buddies,' his use of religion, his lack of empathy, his lack of knowledge, and in particular that of foreign policy and of science (climate change for instance)."

    John Eipper commented: "One thing I've noticed about the Trumpian base: if you cite anything akin to Carmen Negrín's 'laundry list' above, the answer you hear is 'absolutely!' (Meaning, good.)"

    Both are probably right; thus the scary conclusion is that a significant portion of the American nation thinks it is OK to disrespect women, be racist, or be too ignorant or opinionated to be a president.

    I must confess to the wishful thinking that having someone like Trump as president would teach the American people a lesson on the importance of seeking the truth, being rational and knowledgeable, being respectful of everything and everyone. It seems that a large segment of our American nation is not capable of learning. They prefer to believe whatever they believe, and right now for them Trump is the Messiah, right or wrong. That is why I think religion is a curse. Trump is just a symptom; be prepared for more irrational behavior.

    On another topic, John asked if my family has any converts to God the Universe. The answer is no, not one. However, some seedlings may be germinating very slowly. Meanwhile I have been learning a lot about the conversion process.

    JE comments: Tor, no man (or woman, of course) is a prophet in his or her own nation (house).

    Returning to Trump, perhaps we should revisit Eric Hoffer's seminal work of mass psychology, The True Believer (1951).  Hoffer's distinction between the "newly poor" and the "abjectly poor" is useful for understanding the Trump base.  Hoffer also stresses the primacy of faith over reason for the TB.

    The True Believer has come up in different contexts, in particular Islamism.  See this 2015 post from Francisco Wong-Díaz:


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  • What Might a Hillary Presidency Have Looked Like? (Brian Blodgett, USA 02/14/19 4:07 AM)
    John E mentioned how no one in WAIS seems to support Trump, but let's take a moment and look at what we might have had if Hillary Clinton had become president.

    Now remember that the Congress would have been Republican for her first two years, and depending on what she did, the House of Representatives might have stayed Republican in 2018.

    Hillary's campaign promises:

    Families making less than $125,000 a year would not have to pay tuition for in-state public colleges, and she advocated for free tuition at community colleges. Now I am not sure how this would have occurred, as states already do not have enough money to support their colleges and therefore the likely way was the money coming from the federal government, at of course a cost to all taxpayers. Her plan was to include closing tax loopholes for wealthy Americans, but it would also cost over $350 billion over 10 years, so on average $3.5 billion a year--less than what President Trump wants for a "wall" but still significant.

    Comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship that keeps families together, which may have faced issues in Congress. The Supreme Court had already blocked some of Obama's actions regarding giving legal protection to certain categories of immigrants.

    Something, although it's hard to tell exactly what, dealing with affordable healthcare with a goal towards universal health care--again this would have faced problems in Congress and "universal" again means that someone is going to have to pay for it.

    Overturning Citizens United--a landmark Supreme Court decision that kept unlimited super PAC spending in place. It would be, as she stated, her litmus test for anyone she would nominate for the Supreme Court. Now on this one, Trump had also been against super PACs. However, Hillary had no problem taking millions from anonymous donors backing her campaign. She also wanted a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the super PAC--which would be necessary since the Supreme Court had already ruled on it.

    Equal pay for men and women.  We all would like that, but is it equal for two people with the same job title and responsibility regardless of experience and education, or equal for those that are truly equal?

    No raising of middle-class taxes. Well... right now I am trying to figure out how with the free state college and universal health car there would be no tax increase at all for the middle class. Note she did not say she would not raise taxes for the lower class, but the plan was to add a 4 percent surcharge on incomes over $5 million, so the top 1 percent would pay more. If the 1% did not find ways to hide their money, then it could work and raise $500 billion in a decade, thereby at least offsetting the free college.

    No bad trade deals, no unfair trade practices, and no attacks on working families. Perhaps Hillary and Trump agree on this one to an extent, as she said no to trade deals unless (a caveat of course) they create American jobs, raise wages, and improve national security.

    Increase federal minimal wage. Easy to say, but who is going to do it? She did not say how much, but a commonly floated amount was $12 an hour. Would it apply to all Americans regardless of employer? If so, while not taxing the middle class, those that have small businesses would end up making less by having to pay their employees more. Oh, let us not forget that if wages go up, so will the cost of everything else, so low-income people make more but have to pay more for everything, as do the rest of the Americans, but no tax increase at least.

    Expand background checks for gun sales. This has been going on for years and they echo what gun control advocates want. This plan, as it did with presidents before her, would face a hard time getting by Congress.

    Increase federal infrastructure by $275 billion over five years. This is past due but again, the money comes from where? Also, a study showed that by 2020 there would be a $1.6 trillion infrastructure funding gap, so her amount of around $55 billion a year would not be nearly enough but it sure sounds good.

    So, she was going to tax the top 1 percent for $50 billion a year, but then spend $55 billion on infrastructure, $35 billion on free college, and an unknown amount on universal care of some type--note that she was already in the red just with infrastructure, and it alone was insignificant compared to what was needed.

    Also, as president she was going to build consensus in Congress--which she would need in order to pass a new amendment and everything else she promised her followers.

    JE comments: Brian Blodgett provides a very clear window into what might have been--although promises and reality are never the same thing for politicians. Brian, care to expand your analysis to foreign policy? Hillary by any measure is more willing to "engage" internationally. For starters, do you place any value in Trump's claim that if it weren't for him, we'd be at war with North Korea?

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    • How to Tell When a Politician is Lying (John Heelan, UK 02/14/19 2:23 PM)

      John E commented that "promises and reality are never the same thing for politicians."

      Here's a tip.  You can always tell when a politician is lying.  His or her lips move!

      JE comments:  Hard to argue with that!  But remember William F Buckley?  He wasn't a politician (and I'm not saying he was a liar), but he managed to speak without moving his lips.  "Greenwich Lockjaw."

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      • William F Buckley as Politician (David Duggan, USA 02/15/19 3:59 AM)
        John E wrote that Bill Buckley was "not a politician." He ran for mayor of New York City in the mid 1960s. John Lindsay was elected by my recollection.

        JE comments: You are correct, David, in 1965. He represented the Conservative Party and received 13.4% of the vote.  Wikipedia recalls one of the most refreshing quips ever uttered in a political debate.  At one point Buckley declined the opportunity to rebut, saying instead, "I am satisfied to sit back and contemplate my own former eloquence."  (You listening, Mr President?)


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        • William F Buckley's Mayoral Campaign (Patrick Mears, Germany 02/15/19 12:35 PM)
          One of William F. Buckley's best comments during the 1965 NYC mayoral campaign was his answer to the question, "What will you do if you win?" His response: "Immediately demand a recount."

          Buckley wrote a book about this campaign that was published soon after the election and is entitled The Unmaking of a Mayor. As it is will most, if not all, of his writings, these memoirs of the campaign are enjoyable to read and absorb his extensive vocabulary. As a senior in law school interviewing with a firm in New York City, I had a free afternoon one day and decided to visit him on a drop-in basis at the National Review HQ, which was (and maybe still is) in Manhattan's Murray Hill district. He wasn't in, unfortunately, but I received a tour of his personal office and the facility itself accompanied by his secretary.

          JE comments:  Does the Intellectual Right have anyone today to rival Bill Buckley?  I'd like to hear WAISdom's thoughts.

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  • In (Partial) Defense of Trump (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 02/15/19 2:53 AM)
    My apologies to Carmen Negrín (February 13), but this "Bastian Contrario" wants to say a few things in favor of Trump.

    1) Immigration. Any country has the right to check the influx of immigrants, even with tough laws. Personally, I remember the long wait before I received a US "Green Card." This involved my company advertising in various professional and national newspapers about the vacant position, which I could fill only if a US citizen was the required qualifications was not available. It also included medical examinations and a final inquiry. During all this time, a specialized lawyer, paid for by the company, followed the developments. Fortunately, US immigration did not ask if I was "politically correct." The greatest nuisance was the prohibition against leaving the US in the last 6 months prior to the delivery of the Green Card, as my job involved inspecting ships and ports worldwide. Anyway, I believe that it was all correct even if, selfishly, I did not like some of the procedures.

    2) War. So far Trump has not started wars, but he inherited the many wars started one way or another by Clinton, Bush and Obama. On the contrary, Trump wants to get troops out of Syria and Afghanistan (please from Italy too). With reference to North Korea, the situation was already extremely bad following the imposed sanctions, the Axis of Evil and the suppression of the "Agreed Framework" by Bush (continued by the good guy Obama), so Trump may be right. Unfortunately considering the uncontrollable attitude of Trump and many warmongers in the "Deep State" of the Empire, it is not easy to be optimistic, but a war against Iran seems more possible.

    3) Lack of knowledge in foreign policy. Please find a US President with a great knowledge in geopolitics, starting with FDR who in his letter to Hitler, copied to Mussolini, on 14 April 1939 asked them not to attack a lot of independent nations which included Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Egypt. Prior to sending the letter, the poor fellow or someone in his inner circle should have given a quick look at the map to see that the first three nations were part of the French or British Empires, while the so-called independence of Egypt from 14 September 1936 was a British fake.

    4) Women. Oh, oh, the Presidents have a long controversial tradition about women. It's better not go in this field.

    5) Lack of knowledge in science. Here I fully agree with Carmen.

    JE comments:  It pains me even to ask this question, but might Trump be an evil genius in foreign policy?  If he can get China to capitulate on the trade war, convince Kim to (verifiably) give up his nukes, and not start a war with Iran, history may grudgingly give him a good grade.  But then there's that Wall...

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    • An Evaluation of Trump (from Ric Mauricio) (John Eipper, USA 02/16/19 3:59 AM)

      Ric Mauricio writes:

      A few thoughts on the subjects visited by Eugenio Battaglia on February 15th.

      1) Immigration: Yes, Eugenio is correct that a country has the right to check the influx of immigrants. That is why we have passports and visas. When I visited the PRC, I had to get a visa. The first time I waited in line at the Chinese consulate. The second time, I paid someone to do the honors (this was legal by the way). So yes, those who wish to enter our country, should be able to wait in line in Mexico, enter through legal checkpoints and get approval for entrance (asylum for many.) But I read that because the process has been slowed by the current administration, people are losing patience and attempting to cross illegally by climbing barriers. Thus, "The Wall." Entrepreneurs on the south side of the border are thanking Mr. Trump for this. It's about time. They have worked hard digging tunnels to circumvent the barriers to transport their much-in-demand contraband and now they will be utilizing these tunnels to service another market: people. Already, profits are way up from the greater utilization of their tunnels. Thank you, Mr. Trump and good luck with your wall.

      2) War: In 1930, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act was signed by President Hoover, raising tariffs on 20,000 products to protect US industries. The Act exacerbated the Great Depression of the 1930s, culminating in World War II (starting in 1937 in Asia and 1939 in Europe). This war catapulted the United States into the Numero Uno position of world power. Yes, make America Great Again. With our accelerated timelines due to technology today, it wouldn't take 8 years to arrive at this point again in history. As far as removing troops from Syria, it would of course, hand over power in that region to our allies, the Russians. Removing troops from Afghanistan would unfortunately affect the price of a much-in-demand commodity here in the US: opium. And removing troops from Italy, oh, Eugenio, we don't want to do that. Being stationed in Italy is like being on vacation in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

      3) Lack of knowledge in foreign policy: Foreign policies are complicated. That's why presidents rely on people with great knowledge in the diplomatic arena. However, choices of Secretaries of State can reflect positively or negatively on their appointers. Reagan had Haig and Schultz (grade B), Nixon had Kissinger (grade A), Clinton had Christopher and Albright (Grade A-), George W. Bush had Powell (grade A) and Rice (grade D), Obama had Hillary Clinton (grade F) and Kerry (grade A-), and Trump had Tillerson (grade C) and Pompeo (yet to be determined). George HW Bush was probably the most knowledgeable in foreign policy of any president.

      4) Women: With the signing of Kareem Hunt by the Cleveland Browns, it is evident that beating up on women is better than kneeling to protest police brutality.

      5) Science: Many will separate science from religion, believing only in a science that they believe in. Oh, yes, everything was created in 7 days, "the Bible tells us so" (I believe there is a song that uses those words and every Christian child is taught that song). Never mind that man wasn't there to witness the creation of the universe to write down what was happening. Make America Great. Burn coal. Damn the pollution. If the Chinese people can grow their economy by double that of the US and do so breathing bad air, well, darn, so can we.

      6) Chinese economics: When I was in Beijing, I visited many construction sites. What I noticed was unrestrained building, but talking to the developers (through an interpreter), they had no tenants locked in, not even prospective tenants. Of course, their economy was growing fast, when you are starting from a low point, like a small company, you can grow faster, but as you grow faster, that growth will slow down (kinda like a person growing up). And if you try to force that growth through debt, it can slow down even faster. So, along comes a trade war and the country's growth will slow down. It's only natural. Thanks, Mr. President. China will remain affordable for tourists like me.

      JE comments:  I tell WAISers to be careful with ironic comments, as they can easily be misunderstood.  But Ric Mauricio's points ring loud and clear.

      As of yesterday (February 15th), Trump has declared a National Emergency.  The trouble is, there's no actual emergency.  What can WAISers say about Trump's latest stunt to build his wall?

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      • And the National Emergency Is... (John Heelan, UK 02/16/19 10:47 AM)

        Some people think that Trump is the US National Emergency.

        JE comments:  John Heelan has been on a quipping roll this week!  One thing the Pundit Class has been saying about Trump's Wall emergency:  the precedent of creating emergencies, rather than reacting to them, has now been set.  Once a Democrat moves into the White House, the emergencies will become gun control and health care, just to start.

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    • The SST and My Father's Company (David Duggan, USA 02/16/19 4:40 AM)
      Like Eugenio Battaglia (15 February), I believe Trump's accomplishments are underrated. Economic vitality, withdrawal from time-worn or disastrous treaties or "joint frameworks" (INF, Iran, Paris), the repeal of the "individual mandate" on Obamacare, and a return to due-process in student disciplinary cases are just a few of the well-needed adjustments to our polity.

      But I am more intrigued by the discussion of the Super-Sonic Transport, particularly in light of Boeing's NeXt Hypersonic Concept plane with speeds at Mach 5 and altitudes of 100,000 feet, and Boom Overture's XB-1 scheduled roll-out of its 55-seat plane later this year. Japan Airlines has bought an option on 20 of these planes which have been designed to fly faster than the Concorde at business-class prices.

      The SST provided some boost to my father's long-time employer, Fansteel [Metallurgical] Inc. of North Chicago, Illinois. As I mentioned at WAIS-2013, Fansteel has a somewhat storied history in Chicago legal affairs: the Supreme Court upheld the right of workers to engage in "sit-down strikes" to protest labor practices in a plant. Fansteel's experience with tantalum and titanium made it Grumman's prime subcontractor in building the lunar modules of the Apollo program. The son of one of the tool-makers on that project played clarinet with me at the Lake Forest High School band. Fansteel hoped to leverage that experience to Boeing's SST, as the swing-wing needed lighter-than-aluminum to handle both the stress of supersonic flight as well as the severe environment of the stratosphere.

      Killing the SST didn't do Fansteel any favors, and in the mid-1970s, it was taken over by a New York corporate raider. My father rode out the last 10 years before retiring in 1986. But in the late 1970s, when I was a young lawyer working in New York City, I was on a road-trip to review documents in LA. The lawyer handling the document production had done legal work for Fansteel in a claims suit arising from the SST kill-off. He knew my father.

      JE comments: WAISers will best remember James G. Duggan (besides being David's dad) as a Marine officer who witnessed a Nevada nuclear test in the early 1950s--the ironically named "Operation Greenhouse." Duggan père's memoir can be accessed at this 2014 post:


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