Archive | May, 2016

57. Secret of Trump

16 May

(News flash: Mr. Incorruptible is now taking money from rich donors.)

As Trump started to loosen up on his various positions, I began to see him and the whole process more clearly. The secret of Trump is his ability to adapt. He observes contingencies and people’s needs and changes his approach accordingly. This has worked for his businesses and has worked in his political career so far. Adaptation in fact, is the way most enterprises do best (but alas, is not conservative).

Trump is a man devoted to success, not principles. He does throw out a few ideas, but a substantial part of every speech is concerned with various aspects of winning. He talks a lot about his winning in the polls, his number of delegates, the number of people voting for him, the states he has won, and the defeat of his enemies. He is now backing off many of his ideas suitable for the primary, and developing new ideas for the general election. So now lets see how Trump fits into the political realm.

Republican (conservative) leaders want everything to remain the same, because it is under the current (corrupt) system that they have succeeded. They do talk about some ideals, but mostly their motivation is to keep their lucrative positions,  hold on to their great wealth, and please their rich donors. They create laws that make rich people richer and if necessary, take benefits away from the general population (you and me). Republican leaders talk a lot about religion because religious people are generally more conservative and that keeps them in the party. Religion is also a diversion from questionable budgetary policies.

On the other hand, Conservative voters want things to remain the same, because they fear change. “Lets just keep doing things the same way because that is safer and new things are often hard to understand.” For some GOP voters, of course, religion is most important and they see Republicans as their champions, even though Republicans in practice, are not any more ethical or moral than Democrats, and are less Christian in terms of helping the poor.

Some Democrat leaders support the wealthy, but many genuinely promote programs to help the middle class and those in poverty. Democrat voters are more adaptable and support progressive principles, such as climate-change actions, LGBT needs, job creation, infrastructure improvements, research, support of social programs, etc.

Of course, I have over-simplified, but the main features are clear. By design or just by luck, Trump joined the Republicans because that party has a large group of fearful, traditional, and/or less-educated voters. He could present simple, forceful ideas, like building a wall and strengthening the military, that would appeal to that group.  And, of course, he can amplify the fear by talking about ISIS cutting off heads.

Now that he has achieved the nomination, he can adapt to what is necessary for the general election. He says that past ideas are only suggestions, just proposals. He is now clearly moving more towards the center and even liberal views because that adaptation is more likely to win.

So picture Trump walking along the top his giant border wall trying to stay balanced, but deviations too far to the liberal left or conservative right will make him fall off. Trump is a great adapter and that works well for businesses. But will the voters see him as principled or just opportunistic ??  And clearly, he has now abandoned his original fans.

56. Why: Not-Trump?

10 May

While millions of well-qualified people are unable to get entry-level jobs, Trump zooms into a viable candidacy, which for him is an entry-level position — the most difficult job in the world. In previous blogs, I have discussed Trump supporters and their rationale. Trump’s early success was his appeal to people with less general education and/or less political knowledge; those with prejudices against various minority groups; and those influenced by FEAR mongering. Most are looking for simple solutions (often violent) to very complex problems. The don’t accept life styles dissimilar to “American” ways. That said, I argue that most of his early supporters have these characteristics, but later supporters often simply join in with what appears to be a winner. Now I am going to provide some reasons why Trump should not have this entry-level position:
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He often does NOT tell the truth, or is painfully ignorant about past facts. Briefly:

His portrayal of the Iran nuclear deal is terribly false. The USA took NO money out of its treasury to give to Iran. The money belonged to Iran and was confiscated by a group of nations that supported its sanctions. The treaty was not between Iran and the USA but was developed by a group of nations including China, Russia, France, Germany, UK, etc.   He says we got nothing from this deal, which is a terrible lie. Iran lost its enriched Uranium, lost most of its bomb-making equipment, there are provisions for inspection, etc.

His “birther” (citizenship) ideas about Obama were ridiculous and proven false. He never acknowledged this or apologized.

He claims that Hillary Clinton enabled her husband to abuse women. All of this is nonsense. There was no evidence of abuse and Hillary did not encourage these actions.

There is NO evidence that Hillary committed crimes with respect to her emails — and after years of investigation nothing criminal was found.

He says that Mexico “sends” criminals and rapists to the USA. The Mexican government does not send any immigrants to us and most who come are simply good workers trying to support desperate relatives back home. After the immigrant attacks, he later says “He loves the Mexicans”. (Note: I do not support illegal immigration)

The attack of Islamic militants on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi and Hillary’s role, is falsely portrayed. Over two years, there were nine official investigations, none of which revealed any wrong-doing. The ambassador knew he was going to a dangerous area, but went anyway. Immediately after the attack, a variety of intelligence reports came in and Hillary’s explanations varied because our knowledge was rapidly changing. And in the end, one of the arrested terrorists admitted he was angry about the publication that was offensive to Islam. People die in wars and we really don’t know what the killers were thinking. Kevin McCarthy (a top Republican) admitted that all of the investigation was just to bring down Hillary.

Attacks by Trump (and Republicans in general) on the Clinton Foundation have been false and nothing illegal was ever found. Republicans are desperate to attack anything that Democrats do.

Trump claimed that Muslims in New Jersey celebrated in the streets on 9-11 when the Trade-Center towers were attacked. This was made-up and there is absolutely no evidence to this.
There are many other deceptions. One good source is:
http://www.ibtimes.com/list-donald-trump-lies-10-claims-gop-front-runner-immigration-muslims-kkk-dont-hold-2330265
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Trump’s proposals involve numerous “flip-flops” and many are irrational and impossible. A good example is the Mexican-USA wall. It would be extremely expensive and would not stop people from coming into our country. Terrorists would have the money to come in by sea or by air. There always will be other ways for people to circumvent any barriers. Mexico cannot be forced into paying for the wall — that’s nonsense. We need the support of our neighbors in many ways and coercion of any kind would be harmful.
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Trump is crude and lacks the temperament to be President. A really good example is his remark about a Democratic debate intermission. Hillary came back a little late and you can see Trump thinking about this and visualizing it (in an abnormal way) and concluding that it was “disgusting”. What was he seeing in his head?  It’s scary to imagine the way his mind works.  Trump endorsed torture, including water-boarding and worse — despite the fact that R. Reagan and almost all U.S. and world leaders opposed it.
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Trump deals with questions and criticism, not by talking about issues or facts, but by attacking the critics, often in childish way. He lost a wonderful opportunity of support by the Pope who said it is better to build bridges than walls. He could have agreed, and said that bridges are most desirable but in some cases like national defense, walls are necessary. What kind of person reacts so negatively and does not take advantage of opportunities to gain important allies.
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Many have observed that Trump’s crude, bizarre, and childish behavior reflects a mental problem. He acts like someone who is sleep deprived, and how he describes his lifestyle supports this notion. He is almost 70, dob: June 14, 1946, and the borderline age for Alzheimer’s disease is 65. At his age, many people have the noticeable cognitive impairments due to this disease. (Hillary Clinton, 68, by contrast, is very sharp, accurate, and presidential.)
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My Conclusion.
Trump is unfit for President for these reasons.
He is unfit because without hesitation he lies about past events to support his goals. If this is not lying then he is so poorly informed about the world that he is still unfit. He acts like a person with brain malfunctions, due to Alzheimer’s and/or lack of sleep. His methods emphasize vengeance and dangerous simple solutions to very complex problems. Every foreign-policy decision a President makes involves our relationships with other countries, our national budget, the lives of our soldiers, the support of allies, expensive and serious long-term commitments, etc., etc.  His decisions when dealing with building contractors, zoning laws, bankruptcies, firing people, TV, etc. are trivial compared to the complex presidential decisions.

Now, one could argue that he would have the support of advisors. But he would have to choose good advisors and ultimately must make the final decision. Almost any of the other candidates could do this at least fairly well, but given Trump’s bizarre behavior, who knows? He claims to be incorruptible by very rich donors, but he is already one of them. Trump claims to be supportive of non-rich people, but says that working people are paid too much, the minimum wage should not be increased, his budget plan reduces taxes for rich people, and he started out his adult life with a “small loan” from his father, of One Million Dollars. Does this sound like he will promote the middle class ?  As the primary process is concluded, he will no doubt alter some ideas, but can we trust him?

55. Why Do They Hate Us?

6 May

There is a lot of speculation as to “why they hate us.” Commentators have various reasons, some rather complicated. First we must identify two entities: the U.S. government and “Americans.” (Note: this blog does NOT address right, wrong, or justifications — it is just an attempt to provide an objective, unbiased answer to the question.)

People in certain countries hate  our government for obvious reasons. Our armies have killed and injured many thousands of their people and have tried to change their way of life. Our post-war occupation policies were not always well thought out. We attacked social organizations that were established over a period of hundreds of years. Left alone, many people did prosper and enjoyed their social structures. Americans appeared and I am sure that at least some arrogantly criticized customs that people were used to. (As I said above, I am not endorsing or criticizing any actions).

By now, you probably assume that I am talking about Afghanistan and Iraq. Yes, but much of what I argue I think is applicable to many other countries with which we have interacted.

Now let us turn to hatred of “Americans” and our way of life. My first thought is that they are jealous of our wealth and romantic freedom. I think part of the problem is this jealousy. But there is always another very basic factor: we challenge their beliefs. Most adults develop a rigid set of religious, political and social beliefs. Changing fundamental beliefs of mature adults, in most cases, is almost impossible. Any threats to beliefs, in many cases, are met with considerable anger and/or fear. And, of course, hatred for those who make the threats. Many people have spent dozens of years acting in certain ways so that they could achieve an ultimate reward. How can someone like that accept the fact that this great effort was all wasted and fruitless? You might want to punish someone who shatters your dreams.