April 2, 2017

Donald Trump

Blue Army: Persons of Interest

Truth for us nowadays is not what is, but what others can be brought to accept …
[Dissimulation has become] one of the most striking characteristics of our age. …
Our understanding is conducted solely by means of the word: anyone who falsifies it betrays public society.
It is the only tool by which we communicate our wishes and our thoughts; it is our soul's interpreter: if we lack that, we can no longer hold together; we can no longer know each other.
When words deceive us, it breaks all intercourse and loosens the bonds of our polity.


Michel de Montaigne (1533 – 92), On giving the lie, Essais, Chapter 18, Book II, 1580.


We live in a time when:
  • political passions run high,
  • channels of free expression are dwindling, and
  • organised lying exists on a scale never before known.

George Orwell (1903 – 50), New Statesman and Nation, 9 January 1943.


I Am Your Voice




(Michael Kirk, Trump's Divided States of America, PBS Frontline, Episode 2, WGBH, 2017)


Hillary's Margin per 10,000 votersDonald's Margin per 10,000 voters
RaceNon-white1590RaceWhite1470
ReligionNon-Christian or No Religion1035ReligionChristian1149
ResidenceUrban816ResidenceSuburban or Rural721
Marital StatusUnmarried714Marital StatusMarried580
GenderFemale624GenderMale576
Age18-44528Age45 and older504
EducationCollege Degree450NativismAmerican Born Citizen455
Military ServiceNon-veteran435EducationNo College Degree400
IncomeUnder $50,000396Military ServiceVeteran351
Orientation Queer390Income$50,000 or more128
NativismOverseas Born Citizen297OrientationStraight95





(Barak Goodman, Clinton, PBS American Experience, WGBH, 2012)




(Russia’s Influence Campaign Targeting the 2016 US Presidential Election, ODNI Statement on Declassified Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, 6 January 2017, p 11)


Richard Nixon (1913 – 94), 8 August 1971:
[As] president, I must put the interests of America first.
Therefore, I shall resign the presidency, effective noon tomorrow.
(The United States vs Nixon, The Seventies, Episode 2, 2015)

Arthur Goldwag:
Paleoconservatives like the former Nixon speechwriter … Pat Buchanan hearken back to the anti-New Deal, America First ideologues of the 1920s and 1930s, such as the aviation hero and Nazi sympathizer Charles Lindbergh (1902 – 74) and the radio priest Father Charles Coughlin (1891 – 1979).
(pp 49-20)

George Wallace's presidential campaigns of the late 1960s and early 1970s and Pat Bucanan's in the 1990s all incorporated tropes from the America Firsters of the 1930s, inveighing as they did against elite academics and the media, globally minded Wall Streeters and multinational corporations, homosexuals, immigrants, and, implicitly, international Jewry.
(p 51)

In 1947, Gerald L K Smith (1898 – 1976) … founder of the America First Party, launched the Christian Nationalist Crusade, which called for the deportation of Zionists and blacks, and the dismantling of the United Nations.
(Isms and Ologies, Quercus, 2007, p 210)



(Michael Kirk, Trump's Divided States of America, PBS Frontline, Episode 2, WGBH, 2017)

Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004) [1 September 1980]:
This country needs a new administration with a renewed dedication to the [American] dream …
An administration that will give that dream new life, and make America great again.
(The State of the Union Is Not Good, The Seventies, Episode 5, 2015)

Michael Kirk:
[The Taj Mahal casino was] the biggest deal of his lifetime …
[Trump] spent a billion dollars on the Taj. …
Burdened by debt, [it] would not turn a profit [and closed in October 2016.]
The Plaza Hotel — a financial disaster; the airline, Trump Shuttle, was bleeding money. …
Trump and his companies owed more the $3 billion, much of it to the banks …
[But as the bankers] stared into the Trump Organization's abyss, [they] came to believe that Trump's assets … were worth more with his name on them than in foreclosure. …
They sold the yacht and the airline; and they put Trump on a $450,000 allowance.
In exchange he would continue to promote the business.

Donald Trump had survived but his casinos were deeply in debt.
He was looking for a way out.
He found one: Wall Street. …
Trump paid himself $44 million for services … even as the stock price began to fall.
The company filed for bankruptcy 3 times, investors lost billions. …
Trump characteristically described his time in Atlantic City as a success.

For Trump — real estate was increasingly a side business — marketing his name, a full time job. …
For 14 seasons [of The Apprentice,] millions of Americans watched a carefully crafted Donald Trump. …
And for his political guru … the TV audience could become Trump voters.
Roger Stone (1952):
Now, I understand that the elites say:
Oh that's reality TV!
Voters don't see it that way.
Television news and television entertainment — it's all television.
Now he saw an issue he could turn into headlines … the birther issue …
(Michael Kirk, President Trump, PBS Frontline, WGBH, 2017)




Omarosa Manigault (1974) [Director of Communications for Donald Trump, September 2016]:
[If he wins, every] critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump.
[Everyone] who's ever doubted Donald, whoever disagreed, whoever challenged him.
It [would be] the ultimate revenge [for him] to become the most powerful man in the universe.
(Michael Kirk, President Trump, PBS Frontline, WGBH, 2017)

On May 1, 1989, [Donald Trump spent an estimated $85,000 on] full-page advertisements in all four of the [New York] city's major newspapers [calling for the return of the death penalty for the Central Park five. …]
In 2002, [Metias] Reyes declared that he [had] assaulted and raped the jogger. …
The city [subsequently reached] a settlement of more than $40 million in the civil suit brought by the five defendants.
In June 2014, Trump wrote an opinion article for the New York Daily News in which he called the settlement "a disgrace" and said that the group's guilt was still likely:
Donald Trump:
Settling doesn't mean innocence. …
Speak to the detectives on the case and try listening to the facts.
These young men do not exactly have the pasts of angels. …
[In] October 2016 [he again] refused to acknowledge the Central Park Five's innocence and stated that their convictions should never have been vacated.
(Central Park jogger case, Wikipedia, 6 July 2017)


Tom Switzer (1971):
We are into the sixth month of the Trump presidency [and, according to the Wall Street Journal,] of the 558 key positions requiring senate confirmation 427 have no nominee. …

Jake Sullivan (1976):
[Trump] is not actually interested in doing the job of president.
He's just interested in being the president.
( American policymaker Jake Sullivan on US foreign policy, Between the Lines, 15 June 2017)

Nicolas de Caritat (1743 – 1794) [Marquis de Condorcet]:
If we cannot find voters who are sufficiently enlightened, we must avoid making a bad choice by accepting as candidates, only those men in whose competence we can trust.
(1785)

William King (1874 – 1950) [Prime Minister of Canada, 1921-26, 1926-30, 1935-48):
The extreme man is always more or less dangerous, but nowhere more so than in politics.
(Margaret MacMillan, History's People, Text, 2015, p 51)

George Orwell (1903 – 50):
The energy that actually shapes the world springs from emotions —
  • racial pride,
  • leader-worship,
  • religious belief,
  • love of war
— which liberal intellectuals mechanically write off as anachronism, and which they have usually destroyed so completely in themselves as to have lost all power of action.
(Wells, Hitler and the World State, Horizon, August 1941)

Totalitarianism has abolished freedom of thought to an extent unheard of in any previous age. …
The totalitarian state tries to control the thoughts and emotions of its subjects at least as completely as it controls their actions. …
It sets up unquestionable dogmas, and it alters them from day to day.
It needs the dogmas, because it needs absolute obedience from its subjects, but it cannot avoid changes, which are dictated by the needs of power politics.
It declares itself infallible, and at the same time it attacks the very concept of objective truth.
(Listener, 19 June 1941)

Adolf Hitler (1889 – 1945):
I know perfectly well … that in a scientific sense there is [no] such thing as race …
[But] as a politician [I] need a concept which enables the order which has hitherto existed on historic bases to be abolished and an entirely new and antihistoric order enforced and given and intellectual basis …
[For] this purpose the concept of races serves me well …
With the concept of race, [we will] recast the world.
(Anthony Grayling, The Meaning of Things, Phoenix, 2001, p 51)

Don Watson (1949):
Noble and creative as it has often been, provider of an essential thread in the best of the American ideal and source of a rare grace one encounters only in the United States, American Christianity also disguises fear and feeds ignorance, paranoia and prejudice, along with a readiness to smite enemies with weapons of unspeakable destructive force.
(Enemy Within: American Politics in the Time of Trump, Quarterly Essay, Issue 63, 2016, p 23)

Alice Miranda Ollstein [Political Reporter]:
According to a book written by [Argentinian President] Macri’s father Franco, Trump threw a tantrum after losing a round of golf to Mauricio Macri and broke his friend’s golf clubs — one by one.
(There is a lot more to the Trump Argentina story, ThinkProgress, 23 November 2016)

Ying Ma [Deputy Director of a Trump Super PAC, The Committee for American Sovereignty]:
[We] know that in state-craft, every now and then, to be unpredictable is not such a bad thing in negotiations. …
One of the reasons Donald Trump won is that … he is able to simplify a lot of issues that the GOP have not been able to simplify for voters …
(The Trump victory, Between The Lines, ABC Radio National, 10 November 2016)

John Ashton (1956):
Our mainstream politics is less connected to the base of society than [it has been] for generations.
Into that gap scurry opportunists, attention-seekers, populists, pied pipers and demagogues, always good entertainers, peddling the illusion of simple solutions in a complex world.
We don’t feel close to our politicians, or trust them. …
We yearn for a real conversation about who were are and where we are going as a country, a vision for the future.
(Lifting the Lid on the Politics of Climate Change, RSA, 16 May 2013)

Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 65):
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new Nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. …
The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us,
  • that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion,
  • that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain,
  • that this Nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and
  • that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
(Soldiers' National Cemetery, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 19 November 1863)

Franklin Roosevelt (1882 – 1945)


Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital — all undreamed of by the [founding] fathers — the whole structure of modern life [has been] impressed into [a new royal servitude. …]
It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, [should reach] out for control over Government itself.
They [have] created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. …
Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of Government. …

The royalists of the economic order have conceded that political freedom was the business of the Government, but they have maintained that economic slavery was nobody's business.
They granted that the Government could protect the citizen in his right to vote, but they denied that the Government could do anything to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to live.
Today we stand committed to the proposition that freedom is no half-and-half affair.
If the average citizen is guaranteed equal opportunity in the polling place, he must have equal opportunity in the market place. …

Governments can err, Presidents do make mistakes, but the immortal Dante tells us that divine justice weighs the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted in different scales.
Better the occasional faults of a Government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a Government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.

(Acceptance Speech for the Renomination for the Presidency, Democratic Convention, Philadelphia, 27 June 1936)


Contents


Populism in America

From the Scientific American to Ignorance is Strength

In Trump We Trust

CNN Exit Poll 2016

American Kleptocracy

Trump's Pharmaceutical Plan

Trump gives himself an 80% tax cut

Trump and Russia


Donald John Trump (1946)


45th President of the United States.

Populism in America


Alexis de Tocqueville (1805 – 59)

General Jackson, whom the Americans have twice elected to the head of their Government, is a man of a violent temper and mediocre talents; no one circumstance in the whole course of his career ever proved that he is qualified to govern a free people, and indeed the majority of the enlightened classes of the Union has always been opposed to him. …
(p 335)

We have been told that … he is an energetic man, prone by nature and by habit to the use of force, covetous of power, and a despot by taste.
(p 479)

It is by perpetually flattering [the passions of the people] that he maintains his station and his popularity.
General Jackson is the slave of the majority:
  • he yields to its wishes, its propensities, and its demands;
  • say rather, that he anticipates and forestalls them. …

General Jackson stoops to gain the favor of the majority, but when he feels that his popularity is secure, he overthrows all obstacles in the pursuit
  • of the objects which the community approves, or
  • of those which it does not look upon with a jealous eye.
(p 480)

He is supported by a power with which his predecessors were unacquainted; and he tramples on his personal enemies whenever they cross his path with a facility which no former President [has] ever enjoyed …
(p 481)

(Democracy in America, Vol I, 1835, Bantam, 2011)


From the Scientific American to Ignorance is Strength


George Washington (1732 — 1799):
There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature.
Knowledge is, in every country, the surest basis of public happiness.
(Address to Congress, 8 January 1790)

John Kennedy (1917 — 1963):
I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.
No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.
(Special Message, Joint Session of Congress, 25 May 1961)

We choose to go to the Moon.
We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. …
We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding. …
And [so,] as we set sail, we ask God's blessing, on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.
(Rice University Address on the Nation's Space Effort, Houston, Texas, 2 September 1962)

Ronald Reagan (1911 — 2004):
Why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?
(Campaign Speech, 1980)

Larry Marshall (CEO, CSIRO):
[We're making] a fundamental shift away from curiosity-led research …
(The inconvenient scientists, Background Briefing, ABC Radio National, 29 May 2016)

Tom Paine (1737 – 1809):
Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what one does not believe.
It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief … that mental lying has produced in society.
When man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime.
(The Age of Reason, 1794-1807)

Donald Trump:
Science is science and facts are facts.


Grading the US Presidential Candidates on Science

(Christine Gorman & Ryan Mandelbaum, Scientific American, 26 September 2016)

HillaryDonald
Total Score64/957/95 (scored 0/5 on 12 of 19 questions)
Innovation4/51/5
Research2/51/5
Climate Climate4/50/5
Clinton acknowledges that "climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time."
She outlines a [10 year plan:]
  • "to generate half of our electricity from clean sources,"
  • to cut "energy waste" [in homes, hospitals and schools] by a third and
  • to "reduce American oil consumption by a third" …
To achieve these goals she plans to "implement and build on" current "pollution and efficiency standards and clean energy tax incentives."
Clinton loses a point for not saying where she will find the money to pay for such initiatives.
Trump refers to "climate change" in quotation marks, apparently to signal that he still believes — as he has asserted in the past — that human-caused global warming is a hoax.
Then he suggests that "our limited financial resources" are best spent on things such as clean water and anti-malaria efforts, without acknowledging the argument that the success of such efforts could be largely influenced by how climate change is addressed.
Biodiversity3/50/5
Clinton says "climate change, pollution, habitat destruction," and other forces "pose serious threats to biodiversity and our way of life."
She mentions plans "to double the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants" to help communities and tribal nations conserve various types of wildlife "before they become threatened or endangered."
She also wants to "establish an American Parks Trust Fund" to "modernize how we protect and enhance our natural treasures."
Clinton loses points for not discussing the funding or execution of these plans.
Trump blames "agencies filled with unelected officials" for "writing rules and regulations" that "cater to special interests."
He says there should be a "shared governance of our public lands" and that "state and local governments" should be empowered to protect "wildlife and fisheries."
A healthy ecosystem—crucial to the survival of humans and other species—is not a "special interest."
The Internet3/51/5
Mental Health3/51/5
Energy5/50/5
Clinton "rejects the notion that we as a country are forced to choose between
  • our economy,
  • our environment, and
  • our security."
She hopes to … install "half a billion solar panels" by the end of her first term.
She plans to:
  • launch "a $60 billion clean energy challenge to partner with states, cities, and rural communities to cut carbon pollution and expand clean energy;"
  • invest "in clean energy infrastructure, innovation, manufacturing and workforce development;" …
  • [reform] "leasing and expand clean energy production on public lands and waters tenfold within a decade;"
  • [cut] "the billions of wasteful tax subsidies [handed out to] oil and gas companies;" [and]
  • "cut methane emissions."
Her detailed plan includes specific funds required and how she will work alongside climate change deniers.
Trump says Americans should "achieve energy independence as soon as possible," and that "a thriving market system" will allow for a consumers to pick "the best sources of energy for future consumption."
Scientific American has previously reported on why the free market alone cannot stop climate change and has characterized the goal of "energy independence" as a bipartisan pipe dream.
Trump fails to provide any details for his energy policy.
Education3/50/5
Clinton lists statistics including that "less than one in five high school students has ever taken a computer science course."
She supports President Barack Obama's existing "Computer Science for All" initiative, and hopes to "train an additional 50,000 [computer science] teachers in the next decade."
She mentions plans to support states that develop "innovative schools" and to support diverse institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
More than one reader wrote to Scientific American criticizing her response for focusing too much on "computer science."
Trump says "there are a host of STEM programs already in existence," and wants to focus on "market influences to bring better, higher quality educational circumstances to more children."
Yet recent investigations of private education companies such as ITT — not to mention Trump University — for deceptive advertising practices, among other things, make clear that the for-profit education industry is no panacea.
Public Health4/50/5
Clinton argues that "we are not investing in public health preparedness and emergency response the way we should," and backs up her claim with evidence showing that "spending on public health had fallen more than 9% since 2008."
She says she plans to address the problem in part by creating a "Public Health Rapid Response Fund" that offers "consistent, year-to-year budgets, to better enable" public health officials "to quickly and aggressively respond to major public health crises and pandemics."
Clinton loses a point for not detailing how much money she thinks the rapid response budget should contain or how it will be funded.
Trump suggests that "in a time of limited resources," public health spending may not provide "the greatest bang for the buck."
In fact, studies show that public health efforts typically offer returns on investment of between 125% and 3,900%, depending on the program.
Trump offers no indication that he has grappled with the issue in any detail.
He also states that he will work with Congress to make sure that "adequate resources are assigned to achieve our goals" — not noting that Congress has still declined, as of press time, to approve money to deal with the Zika threat that has emerged in the southern US.
Water4/50/5
Clinton says she worries about our country's "chronic underinvestment" in drinking and wastewater systems, and is concerned with risks to humans, wildlife and ecosystems.
She hopes to "invest in infrastructure" to modernize water resources and that the federal government will be a "better partner" to "improve water security" on the local level.
She adds that she would like to create a "Western Water Partnership" to handle these issues in the west and to establish a "Water Innovation Lab" to bring farmers, engineers, entrepreneurs and others together to deal with water issues.
She does not outline a time schedule or monetary assessment of these plans.
Trump says water "may be the most important issue we face as a nation for the next generation," but offers no solutions other than "making desalinization more affordable."
But as one reader noted, we "cannot desalinate our way out of the problem."
Increasing supply without boosting conservation and reuse is not sustainable.
Meanwhile, Trump told a crowd at a rally in Fresno that "there is no drought" in California.
His inconsistencies earn him zero points.
Nuclear Power3/51/5
Food2/50/5
Clinton proposes to do more to "support family farms," which made up 97% of farm operations in the US in 2011.
She also plans to expand investment in the rural economy and health care.
Most of her answer is based on economic arguments and does not address using "objective knowledge from science," as described in the question.
Trump thinks that "the agriculture industry should be free to seek its best solutions through the market system," but offers no guidance on how to unravel the hundreds of millions of dollars invested in the industry via
  • federal subsidies,
  • government-funded agricultural research and
  • government-led international market development.
Global Challenges3/50/5
Clinton says she would like to "appoint our country's first Special Envoy for Climate Change" and make climate policy "a key part of our broader relationship with China" and others.
She plans to cut emissions by "at least 80 percent of 2005 levels by mid century" through "more clean energy investment in emerging economies" and other methods.
She would like to create a "dedicated Rapid Response Fund" and "comprehensive global health strategy" to help "shore up our defenses" against epidemics and pandemics.
Clinton loses points for offering plenty of facts but few specifics as to what multilateral partnerships or a comprehensive global health strategy will look like.
Trump believes that "a prosperous America is a much better partner in tackling global problems."
And yet, there is little evidence that wealth automatically translates into better decisions on a variety of issues.
The gross domestic product of the US is one of the highest of any country in the world according to the CIA's The World Factbook, but the US is also one of the top greenhouse gas emitters and ranks 31st in life expectancy, according to the World Health Organization.
Trump’s answer is built on an incorrect premise.
Regulations3/50/5
Clinton says "it is essential that environmental, health, and energy regulations, among other areas, use the best available science to guide decision-making."
She does not, however, address how to maintain a thriving business sector without compromising American health and the environment.
Trump says we must balance a "thriving economy" with resources and "protecting citizens from threats," and that "science will inform our decisions."
These assertions are inconsistent with previous false statements on climate change and vaccine safety rendered throughout his campaign.
Vaccination4/51/5
Space2/51/5
Opioids4/50/5
Clinton touches on a variety of concerns, which shows that she has thoroughly engaged in the issue.
Among other things, she wants to allow first responders to administer naloxone (an anti-overdose treatment).
Trump focuses on illicit drug smuggling, leaving out the arguably larger problem of addiction to prescription drugs.
He asserts that he can stop the flow of opioids into the US but offers no details on how he would change current drug enforcement policy, demonstrating a near-total lack of understanding of the issue.
Ocean Health4/50/5
Clinton promises to "oppose efforts in Congress that seek to weaken" current legislation against overfishing in US Waters.
She also promises to "act globally to address the fisheries crisis" as well as the negative impact of rising temperature and acidification of ocean water.
Trump does not mention the ocean, fish, fisheries, coral reefs or coastlines in his answer.
Scientific Integrity4/50/5
Clinton recognizes one of the largest issues in objective science: conflicts of interest that can lead to self-serving results.
(A prime example: the recent realization that some companies had suppressed or redirected scientific findings regarding sugar's effect on coronary heart disease.)
While her answer can use more detail, it demonstrates a willingness to fight for evidence-based knowledge rather than results that are politically or economically driven.
Trump says "science is science and facts are facts," and yet his campaign has repeatedly demonstrated an utter disregard for facts.
His PolitiFact scorecard shows more than two thirds of his statements to be "Mostly False," "False," or "Pants on Fire," which is unprecedented in its evaluation of politicians.
In an evaluation sent to us, a college instructor from Michigan characterized Trump's response to this question "as so simplistic that it made me concerned that he may not actually understand the scientific method or the government structures that support it."


In Trump We Trust: From Reality Television to Fantasy Government


John Quiggin (1956):
[In the late 1990s, when debating about the Great Depression, Real Business Cycle advocates] downplayed the huge downturn in output between 1929 and 1933, focusing instead on the slowness of the subsequent recovery, which they blamed, unsurprisingly, on Franklin D Roosevelt and the New Deal.
(Zombie Economics, Princeton University Press, 2012, p 101)

Jan Mayer:
[A 2013] survey of leading American economists chosen for their ideological diversity and eminence in the field, taken by the Initiative on Global Markets, a project run by the University of Chicago, found nearly unanimous consensus that the Recovery Act had achieved its goal of reducing unemployment.
Only one of the thirty-seven economists surveyed disagreed.
The free-market orthodoxy that dominated the Republican Party in Washington had completely veered from rational, professional expertise …
As it was, Obama’s opponents forced the administration to adopt a smaller stimulus package than many economists thought necessary, undercutting the recovery.
(Dark Money, Doubleday, 2016, p 176)

Tim Jackson (1957):
[Labour] productivity growth in the advanced economies has been falling consistently tor several decades, and was doing so long before the financial crisis. …
Growth rates of 4% or more were typical in the 1950s and 1960s.
A sharp decline in in the 1970s was stabilised briefly during the 1980s and 1990s, primarily through the productivity gains from the emerging digital economy.
But these were not to last.
Trend productivity growth has fallen consistently since the turn of the millennium and in 2015 was less than 0.5%.
(Prosperity Without Growth, 2nd Edition, 2017, p 44)


Mary Kissel (1976)


Editorial Board Member, Wall Street Journal

The American people were discontented with the economic malaise that we have seen over the Obama presidency.
We have had the worst recovery since the Great Depression
{[In] a normal recovery America would grow 4-5% a year and what President Obama did was tax and spend, and crush the private sector in red tape and so [we] didn't get the normal bounce-back recovery. …
So when you hear that there's some sort of new normal out there and we should just accept this kind of growth; well it isn't normal and Americans don't accept that level of growth …}

Voters [have] repudiated government paternalism.
The Obama administration have injected … an enormous about of regulatory diktat on the American public.
They've inflicted:
  • their cultural mores in the forms of transgender bathrooms …
  • their law suits against Catholic nuns, and
  • their views on religion.
[This] is a very strong message to the Democratic party that the American people simply reject their big government, high tax liberalism.
They want to return to growth and they want to return to American leadership in the world …


2016Donald (1946)Hillary (1947)
Popular Vote45.95%48.04%
Electoral Vote56.50%42.20%

2000George WAl
Popular Vote47.87%48.38%
Electoral Vote50.4%49.4%

Edward Rosenthal:
Since 1824, three different presidential candidates have lost the popular vote but won the election:
  • Rutherford B Hayes in 1876,
  • Benjamin Harrison in 1888, and
  • George W Bush in 2000.
(The Complete Idiot's Guide To Game Theory, 2011, p 187)

[Hillary won the popular vote by 2,865,075 and lost the electoral vote by 77.]
Among the 24,537 respondents to the CNN exit poll, 47% voted for Donald (vs 50% for Hillary):]
  • 42% of women [and 53% of men (vs the 54% of women and 41% of men for Hillary) …]
  • a larger percentage of the black vote than Mitt Romney — 8%, [and]
  • 29% of latinos and asians …

peaceandlonglife:
53% of respondents approved of Barack Obama as president, of whom 84% (45% of all respondents) voted for Hillary.
Over 50% of respondents had a unfavorable opinion of each candidate:
  • Donald (60%)
  • Hillary (54%)
  • Both (18%)
69% were dissatisfied/angry with the federal government, of whom 58% (40% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
50% thought the government was doing too much, of whom 73% (36% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
45% thought the government was doing too little, of whom 74% (33% of all respondents) voted for Hillary.

62% thought the country was on the wrong track, of whom 69% (43% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
39% felt that being a change agent was what mattered most in a candidate, of whom 83% (32% of all respondents) voted for Donald.

66% of were from suburban or rural areas, of whom 53% (35% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
Of the 34% from urban areas, 59% (25% of all respondents) voted for Hillary.

64% reported earning $50,000 or more, of whom 49% (31% of all respondents) voted for Donald (vs 47% for Hillary).
Of the 36% who earned less than $50,000, 52% (19% of all respondents) voted for Hillary (vs 41% for Donald).

70% were white, of whom 58% (41% of all respondents) voted for Donald:
  • 63% (21% of all respondents) of white men, and
  • 53% (20% of all respondents) of white women.
50% had a college degree, of whom 52% voted for Hillary (vs 43% for Donald):
  • 49% (18% of all respondents) of whites with a degree voted for Donald (vs 45% for Hillary),
    • 54% (9% of all respondents) of white men with a degree voted for Donald, while
    • 51% (10% of all respondents) of white women with a degree voted for Hillary,
  • 71% (9% of all respondents) of non-whites with a degree voted for Hillary.
Of the 50% who did not have a degree, 52% voted for Donald (vs 44% for Hillary):
  • 67% (23% of all respondents) of whites without a degree voted for Donald, while
  • 75% (12% of all respondents) of non-whites without a degree voted for Hillary.

[I wouldn't] classify Colin Powell as a Republican.
[He backed] President Obama. …

[Foreign] policy is a concern with Donald Trump.
He doesn't seem to know much about the world. …
What isn't known is [whether what says about the alliance system and trade protectionism] is simply a negotiating ploy from the guy who wrote "The Art of the Deal'; [a guy] who takes an extreme [ambit position before moving to a] more reasonable stance when he's actually at the negotiating table — we just don't know.
The idea that Trump would abandon American alliances in Asia is absurd.

[The liberal] media often takes Trump literally, when he speaks … because that's how they've treated every other president, but … Donald Trump is [not] like any other president …
They've called him a fascist — I don't believe that he's that …
I believe [that] we have a system of checks and balances [in this country] and that it will function very well …
I caution against hearing his words and taking him literally, I don't think that's how we can hear him and understand him. …

Climate change, for the left, means imposing an enormous amount of regulation and cost on the American consumer, and it means favoring certain politically connected industries namely solar and wind, and that is probably going to go away with the Donald Trump presidency, and that's not a bad thing. …
The American people were [also] concerned that a Clinton presidency would usher in a Supreme Court that simply made up the law to suit the liberal progressive agenda; [and, they] voted resoundingly against Obamacare …

peaceandlonglife:
30% of respondents indicated supreme court appointments were not an important voting issue.
Of the 70% for whom it was important:
  • 50% (35% of all respondents) voted for Donald, while
  • 46% (32% of all respondents) supported Hillary.
75% were Christians, of whom 56% (42% of all respondents) voted for Donald, including:
  • 81% (21% of all respondents) of white born-again or evangelical Christians,
  • 52% (12% of all respondents) of Catholics, and
  • 61% (1% of all respondents) of Mormons.
47% thought Obamacare went "too far", of whom 83% (39% of all respondents) voted for Donald.

{In many respects Donald Trump is a leap of faith.
We know there is at least a potential upside with him on the economic growth front.
Whereas, [with Hillary Clinton, there was] zero economic upside [combined with a record of] many poor decisions [such as] the Iran deal and … the Russian reset with Putin.
So voters did have a clear choice, and now we're going to live with the consequences.}

(The Trump victory, Between The Lines, ABC Radio National, 10 November 2016)


CNN Exit Poll 2016


Each candidate was considered dishonest/untrustworthy by over 60% of 24,537 respondents:
  • Donald (63%)
  • Hillary (61%)
  • Both (29%)

63% thought Donald did not have the right temperament to be president (vs 43% for Hillary).
However, of these, 20% (13% of all respondents) voted for him anyway.
Of the 14% who thought neither candidate had the right temperament, 71% (10% of all respondents) voted for Donald.

49% had an unfavorable view of the Democratic Party, of whom 85% (42% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
55% had an unfavorable view of the Republican Party, of whom 73% (40% of all respondents) voted for Hillary.

63% felt the state of the national economy was poor, of whom 63% (40% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
31% thought the financial situation had improved in the last 4 years, while 27% thought it had worsened.
A greater proportion thought Donald (49%) would better handle the economy than Hillary (46%).
However, of the 52% who thought the economy was the most important issue facing the country:
  • 52% (27% of all respondents) voted for Hillary, while
  • 42% (22% of all respondents) voted for Donald.

45% were bothered "a lot" by Hillary's use of private email, of whom 87% (39% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
43% thought the US criminal justice system treated everyone fairly, of whom 74% (32% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
56% were aged 45 and older, of whom 53% (30% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
13% were veterans, of whom 61% (8% of all respondents) voted for Donald.

50% of native born Americans voted for Donald (vs 45% for Hillary).
70% of respondents thought illegal immigrants working in the US should be offered legal status, of whom 60% (42% of all respondents) voted for Hillary.
Of the 25% who thought they should be deported, 84% (21% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
41% supported a wall along the entire Mexican border, of whom 86% (35% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
13% thought that immigration was the most important issue facing the country, of whom 64% (8% of all respondents) voted for Donald.

65% were Liberal or Moderate in ideology, of whom 65% (42% of all respondents) voted for Hillary.
Of the 35% who were Conservative, 81% (28% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
48% of Independents voted for Donald (vs 42% for Hillary).

13% made their voting decision in the last week, of whom 47% (6% of all respondents) voted for Donald and 42% (5% of all respondents) for Hillary.


Government of the People, by the President, for the President (and his family)


Emoluments Clause:
No … person holding any office of profit or trust under [the United States,] shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.
(Article I, Section 9, Clause 8, US Constitution)

Judd Legum


Editor-In-Chief

Donald Trump is leveraging his new position as president-elect to empower his business empire …
Instead of liquidating his assets and placing them in a Qualified Diversified Trust, as President Bush did, or investing in index funds and government bonds, as President Obama did, Trump has done nothing.

He’s waved away concerns about conflicts-of-interest, saying that he would just hand over control of his business interests to his children.
He called this a “blind trust” but it is actually the [complete] opposite.
A blind trust is when you hand marketable assets over to a neutral third party to control.
The contents of the trust, since they can be traded at any time by the administrator, are soon unknown to you.
Trump knows what his assets are and says he is handing them to his children.

Immediately after Trump’s election, he named three of his adult children — Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr — to his transition team.
This means the same people running the Trump Organization will also be choosing the top officials in the Trump administration. …
[And since] Trump will retain ownership in his businesses, [success of those businesses] will mean money in Trump’s pocket.

(This isn’t just a photo of Ivanka Trump. It’s a middle finger to democracy, ThinkProgress, 18 November 2016)


Alice Miranda Ollstein


Politics Reporter

[There is mounting evidence that Donald] Trump and his adult children are leveraging the presidency to advance their business interests. …
[Felipe] Yaryura, the Argentinian investor working on building a Trump Tower in Buenos Aires, … breakfasted with Ivanka, Eric, and Don Jr the [morning after the election,] where they spoke about how Trump’s presidency would improve his company’s brand worldwide, and in Argentina in particular.

{Trump rejected the State Department’s help in fielding calls from around the world, and chose instead to wing it on unsecured phone lines.}

(There is a lot more to the Trump Argentina story, ThinkProgress, 23 November 2016)


Kim Robinson (1952)


A presidential transition [is] a major thing, and there were famous cases of failed transitions [and] the dire consequences that ineptitude in this area could have on the subsequent fates of the presidents involved.
It was important to make a good running start, to craft the kind of "first hundred days" that had energized the incoming administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933, setting the model for that most presidents since to try to emulate.
Critical appointments had to be made, bold new programs turned into law.
(p 29)

[After the assassination attempt, President Chase] started sending to Congress a new volley of legislation …
[He] was already getting a lot of things through: …
  • Fuel-mileage efficiency standards of seventy and eighty miles a gallon.
  • A doubling of the gas tax.
  • A return to progressive tax rates.
  • An end to all corporate loopholes and offshoring of profits.
  • Heavy financial support for the World Health Organization's population stabilization efforts.
  • AIDS and malaria eradication funds.
  • Gun control legislation to give the NRA nightmares. …
It became clear that his team had taken over the tactic called, ironically enough, flooding, which had been used to such effect by the criminals who had hijacked the presidency at the start of the century.
It was like a flurry in boxing, the hits just kept on coming, at a pace of three or four a week, so that in the scramble the opposition could not react adequately, not to any individual slaps nor to the general deluge.
Right-wing pundits were wondering if [he] had arranged to get shot to gain this advantage:
[Why] had the gunman [only] used a twenty-two?
[Where] was the evidence he had actually been shot anyway?
[Could] they stick a minicam down the hole?
No?
Wasn't that suspicious?
(p 347)

(Sixty Days and Counting, Bantam, 2007)

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