Sunday, September 09, 2018

President Trump’s Washington: The cliff-hanger that never ends

The above headline is from the Leftist "Boston Globe".  It gave me a laugh.  It's true that Trump stirs the waters every day.  Most days when I get up of a morning in Australia I just google "Trump" to start my day off well. When I see what he has been doing while I was asleep (Australia is in a time zone about half a day ahead of America) I am very often rewarded to read of some fresh outrage he has perpetrated on the Left.  So the "Globe" journalist is right. Trump does keep upsetting the Left more or less daily.  But exactly those things that bother the Left amuse me.  It is great to see Leftist pretensions punctured

The thing that has got the Left on tenterhooks now is the famous letter in the NYT, allegedly from a Trump insider.  Like Trump himself, I am not sure the writer actually exists.  It could be Soviet style disinformation -- a story that sounds true but was all made up for propaganda purposes.

But if it is genuine I am not sure that it need bother anyone. I have read the article and what it describes is in fact rather normal.  A President always has a lot of advisers to keep him on the strait and narrow.  Public policy decisions can have huge implications and you need a range of professionals on hand to make sure that the consequences of the decision are what you really want.  And there is no doubt that Trump needs such advice.  He us NOT a policy wonk nor is he an experienced politician.  What the excoriated article describes is pretty much what I would have expected.  The only novelty is to have it all decribed so frankly

I gather that the more famous shows from British TV do get a run in America so I imagine that some people reading this will be familiar with the "Yes, Prime Minister" series.  Margaret Thatcher regarded it as so true to life that she used to cancel cabinet meetings so all her ministers could watch it.  And what it describes is precisely a Prime Minister's advisers trying to protect an inexperienced Prime Minister from foolish moves. It is, if you like, prophetic of Trump.  Or, more likely, it was the inspiration behind the NYT article.

I have no idea how upset Trump really is about the article but I think he could well dismiss it as a good example of open government. He could even present it as showing that everything that he does is carefully checked by expert advisers

Every week is remarkable. Practically every day is bizarre. So how to describe days that are even more remarkably and bizarrely unprecedented than the last?

Surreal barely hints at the mind-bending dramatic spectacle of Donald Trump’s Washington this week.

It’s as if the reality television show that has consumed the nation’s capital for 20 months is working its way toward a jaw-dropping season finale, but the tension is never relieved. It’s the cliffhanger that won’t end.

The latest installment features a modern-day whodunit wrapped around the core of a constitutional crisis in the executive branch. Trump himself, in a tweet Wednesday night, penned what could be the title page: TREASON?

A parade of top officials came forward Thursday to deny that they were the authors of a scathing, anonymous op-ed in The New York Times that essentially called the president a national security risk. The denials landed amid a frenzy of speculation about the identity of the author.

Who wrote the anonymous Times op-ed? Here are some prime suspects
Here’s a brief look at some of the highest-level officials in the administration who might have a motive or an inclination to write the letter.

“Our office is above such amateur acts,” said a spokesman for Vice President Mike Pence.

“It’s not mine,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters while traveling in India.

“It is laughable to think this could come from the secretary,” said a spokesman for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

etc, etc, etc

But even with a range of other issues in front of them, few could get away from the speculation about who wrote the Times column.

“It probably won’t take long for us to find out who wrote it,” said House minority leader Nancy Pelosi. “The vice president — that was my first thought. . . . Could have been Coats, Pompeo. They denied they wrote it. By process of elimination, you come down to the butler.”



Obama re-emerges

I have just read right through Obama's "get out the vote" speech which clearly targets Trump.  Like most Leftist writing it shows zero attempt at balance.  It just presents everything in the  light most favourable to the Left. There is no room for "yes but"  in Leftist writing.  So, if you take everything as read, it all sounds very convincing.

I will just take one instance. He says that Trump is using fear and anger.  What an extreme denial of the facts!  There is certainly an avalanche of fear and anger in American politics today -- but it is coming from the Left towards Trump and his supporters. Nothing is coming from conservatives that is remotely like that.  So we see immediately how one-eyed Obama is.  His speech is largely composed of vague generalizations but sometimes even that does not rescue it from absurdity.

It's an absolutely typical Leftist bit of projection -- seeing in others what is true of yourself.  I have always said that if you want to find what is true of Leftists, just look at what they say about conservatives -- and this is a superb example of that.

So all that I can think Obama might be referring to is Trump's attempts to limit illegal immigration.  But is that motivated by fear?  The thing that pops up most in conservative news feeds is the frequent vicious crimes committed by illegals.   So yes.  Conservatives are angry about that but why wouldn't they be?  It could be a member of your family next. Surely we SHOULD get angry when innocent women get raped and murdered.

So again you see in that an example of how the Left only ever tell half the story.  Obama says conservatives are angry but fails to say why.  When we look at why they are angry we see that his condemnation of anger is in fact evil.  Does he really think it is OK to rape and murder?

Leftists do have a history of protecting criminals.  Look at the way Leftists in California tried to prevent the execution of the ghastly "Tookie" Williams.  The way that brute just wiped out weak little Asians seems to have been OK by them.  So it looks like Obama is in that category.  He isn't bothered by rape and murder either. He again displays his form as a psychopath.


Trump's Moves on NATO, NAFTA Were Needed

The anonymous op-ed author complains about Trump's policies, but it was time for a change.

The anonymous New York Times op-ed from a “senior administration official” has generated a lot of heat, but it does seem overblown. Among that author’s complaints is how President Donald Trump is dealing with NATO and NAFTA. So what’s the real scoop behind Trump’s purportedly “dangerous” threat to pull out of the alliance and the trade agreement?

Let’s start by acknowledging that we have these powerful trade chips only because this president is willing to question how the status quo benefits America. As for NATO, its purpose was to deter aggression from the Warsaw Pact (really the Soviet Union and a collection of puppet states). Since the fall of the USSR, the alliance’s defenses have badly dwindled. This order of battle (it’s a Word document) shows just how numerically superior the NATO military was in 1989.

Today, the forces NATO can send are fewer in numbers, and there are significant problems with readiness. Then there’s the factor of Russia having geopolitical kompromat on some of our NATO allies. No wonder Trump has been delivering some tough messages to Canada and Germany for their lack of readiness. How bad is it? Germany’s “green” jet fuel grounded its fleet of Tornado attack jets, and Canada needed to borrow a replenishment oiler from Chile.

This type of nonsense is what President Trump is dealing with. The previous strategy of nicely asking allies to address the growing decline of NATO simply failed. Even our closest allies, like the United Kingdom, were dropping capabilities left and right. It was time to hit them with a figurative two-by-four.

The same applied to NAFTA. Mexico and Canada had been ripping off American workers in some areas, notably in the production of automobiles. Trump used the threat of an American pullout to get Mexico to come to the table to renegotiate NAFTA. Now, he’s using hardball to get Canada to rethink its barriers for dairy products, among other things.

This isn’t to say that playing hardball is coming without figurative casualties. On the contrary — standing up for oneself often involves short-term pain, whether the opponent is a schoolyard bully or a trading partner.

Those who think Trump is reckless should take a look at how Ronald Reagan handled arms control. He was willing to go for the complete elimination of a class of nuclear weapons, but when the Soviets wouldn’t negotiate in good faith, he improved our nation’s nuclear arsenal. Eventually, the Soviets caved and negotiated the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (which they are now cheating on) and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

Back then, there was a lot of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth that Reagan would start a global thermonuclear war. Much of it was from Democrats and what was then the establishment Republicans. Thirty years from now, it’s a good bet that Donald Trump, like Reagan before him, will have proven his critics wrong.



U.S. weekly jobless claims drop to near 49-year low

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment aid fell to near a 49-year low last week and private payrolls rose steadily in August, pointing to sustained labor market strength that should continue to underpin economic growth.

A man carrying a stack of job listings listens to a discussion at the One Stop employment center in San Francisco, California, August 12, 2009. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
The economy so far appears to be weathering an escalating trade war between the United States and China as well as tensions with other trade partners, including Canada, the European Union and Mexico, which have rattled financial markets.

This likely keeps the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates this month for the third time this year.

“The economy is in overdrive with jobless claims at lows not seen since the 1960s, and this gives the Fed the green light to raise interest rates later this month and take away some of the economy’s punch,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York.

The Labor Department said on Thursday initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 203,000 for the week ended Sept. 1, the lowest level since December 1969.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 214,000 in the latest week. The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 2,750 last week to 209,500, also the lowest level since December 1969.

Though there have been reports of some companies either planning job cuts or laying off workers because of uncertainty caused by the Trump administration’s protectionist trade policy, that has not yet been reflected in the claims data.

Economists say given labor market tightness, employers were reluctant to lay off workers. The labor market is viewed as being near or at full employment.

U.S. stocks were trading mixed after the data while prices of U.S. Treasuries were slightly higher. The dollar was lower against a basket of currencies.



The Party Of Free Stuff And Illegal Aliens Is Not The Workingman’s Friend

Democrats once passed themselves off as the party of the working guy; pro-union, pro-American manufacturing, pro-infrastructure and anti-communist, but today’s Democratic Party looks nothing like the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt or John F. Kennedy.

In the age of Donald Trump Democrats have become, not the party of the American working man, but the party  Trump companies come backof free stuff and illegal aliens.

Leading Democrats, such as Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio have called for the abolition of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency – which would in effect open America’s borders to the entire world.

Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders has long-advocated debt-free college and the Democrats’ marquee congressional candidate, New York Democratic-Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made free college and Medicare for all hallmarks of her campaign.

Just this week the Democratic Party in Florida nominated Far Left Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum for Governor.

Gillum, an outspokenly progressive African-American, is the candidate of Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders and Far-Left billionaire Tom Steyer, founder of the “Need to Impeach” super PAC.

According to reporting by The New Yorker’s Benjamin Wallace-Wells, Gillum’s campaign platform calls for a steep corporate-tax increase to pay for a billion-dollar boost in public-education spending, a repeal of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, Medicare for all, and a fifteen-dollar-an-hour minimum wage, abolishment of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the impeachment of the President.

On the national level Democrats have put stopping “climate change” ahead of jobs for coal miners – once the bedrock of the Democratic Party in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

And they’ve joined “Not In My Backyard” wealthy urban elites and back-to-nature whackos in campaigning against the Keystone XL pipeline and other infrastructure projects that would bring thousands of jobs to people working in the welding, construction, pipeline operations and other trades.

Perhaps worst of all, Democrats have become the party of the illegal aliens and unlimited immigration that has suppressed the wages and destroyed the quality of life for millions of America’s working families.

As Karen Zeigler and Steven A. Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies noted in a 2015 paper, “Government data show that since 2000 all of the net gain in the number of working-age (16 to 65) people holding a job has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal).”

This is remarkable, concluded Zeigler and Camarota, “given that native-born Americans accounted for two-thirds of the growth in the total working-age population.”

Now here’s the key takeaway from Zeigler and Camarota’s study: “Though there has been some recovery from the Great Recession, there were still fewer working-age natives holding a job in the first quarter of 2014 than in 2000, while the number of immigrants with a job was 5.7 million above the 2000 level.” (Emphasis ours)

According to research by Forbes contributor Chuck Jones, in the first half of this year, there have been 174,000 manufacturing jobs added to the US economy. This is almost as many as any full year over the past decade and should easily surpass any added during Obama’s administration as the economy recovered from the Great Recession.

CNBC analyzed the cumulative job growth in each industry since the president's November 2016 election to help gauge which industries are growing at the fastest pace.

At the top of the list, jobs in the mining and logging industry are up 13.5 percent since the election, well above the gains in construction and transportation, which made second and third place, respectively. Job growth in oil and gas extraction — which are included in the category — typically provide a boost to the headline number.

In the No. 2 spot, the construction industry is one of the hottest in the American economy in terms of employment and has been explicitly cited by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as an area of better-than-average growth.

Jobs in the trucking industry have climbed 4.6 percent since Trump's election.

This Labor Day, as TV commentators and newspaper editors cast about for heroes of the American labor movement to honor they should forget Samuel Gompers (the first and longest-serving president of the American Federation of Labor) John L. Lewis (early leader of the United Mine Workers and a founder of the Congress of Industrial Organizations) Walter Reuther (United Autoworkers President and leading liberal Democrat of the post-WWII era) or Eugene V. Debs (labor leader and Socialist candidate for President) and honor President Donald J. Trump for putting Americans back to work.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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