Is Trump a better Democrat than the Democrats?

TrumpAsDemocrat

I used to be one of those obnoxious “white liberal” types, asking my fellow blue collar whites – Why do you vote against your own best interests?  I was even tempted to call it “racism”.

When it came to Trump v. Clinton, though, that just didn’t make sense anymore.  Here was Trump proposing what some of the better Democrats have been pushing for decades, protection of American jobs; and here was the Democratic Party nominating a would be outsourcer-in-chief.  When my fellow “white liberals” picked up the old – Why do you vote against your own best interests? – rhetoric, I was like – ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

As my regular readers know, I am not part of Trump’s cult of personality.  I reluctantly supported him, because it was him or Clinton, and I have been willing to criticize him when I think it’s due.  But this week, Trump is earning my praise!

  1. Trade – Remember when this was the Democrats’ thing?  Little by little, Trump is coming through on his trade promises.  About a month ago, he implemented 30% tariffs on imported solar panels.  I remember in 2009-10ish when the AFL-CIO was denouncing China for their predatory trade practices in relation to solar panels and considering a lawsuit before the WTO.  I worried that this would be as far as Trump would go, but now, here he is about to slap a 25% tariff on imported steel, and 10% on aluminum!  Thank you Trump!  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!  Trump is getting flak from his own party on this because, as I’ve always hoped, Trump is a bad Republican.  On trade, Trump is a much better Democrat than the Clintons, and much of the members of the Democratic Caucuses in Congress.
  2. Repealing the Individual Mandate – Lest we forget, it was the neoconservative Heritage Foundation that originally came up with the idea to force people to buy health insurance.  Obama himself, in 2008, warned that this could put people in a situation where insurance would be so expensive they’d sooner pay the tax penalty.  Then Obama implemented the mandate, and many are, as he warned, paying the penalty because insurance is too expensive.  Thanks Obama!  But if Obama won’t honor his own positions, Trump will do it for him.  Trump first tried to repeal the individual mandate as part of a larger health care reform.  Upon failing to do that, rather than giving up, he worked a repeal of the mandate into his tax reform.  Starting this year, there will no longer be a tax penalty for not buying health insurance.  So while Obama did the bidding of the corporatist Heritage Foundation, Trump turned out to be a better Democrat than Obama on healthcare.
  3. Cautious foreign policy* – Remember when the Republicans were the warmongers? Things were simpler then.  We hated Bush, the war in Iraq was a yuge mistake, and Obama would bring us change we could believe in.  Then Obama made the mistake of appointing Clinton as Sec. of State, and she talked him into Libya, the biggest foreign policy disaster of his entire presidency.  Thank goodness Obama didn’t go all in on Syria!  While Trump isn’t perfect on this, so far he’s proven to be more cautious in practice than Obama, Bush, or either of the Clintons.  While we are continuing to attack ISIS targets in Syria, we’ve mostly avoided conflict with the Syrian government, we’ve backed the Iraqi government just enough to push ISIS out, and there doesn’t seem to be any quagmires on the horizon.  Meanwhile the “Democrats” are red baiting on Russia and beating the war drums themselves towards the Assad regime.  It seems on foreign policy, Trump is a better Democrat than any Democratic President since Jimmy Carter, and better than most of the Democrats in Congress.
  4. Guns – This one is still uncertain, but following Trump’s listening session with the families and friends of victims of the recent shootings, Trump is open to some sensible gun safety regulations. He’s proposed expanding background checks, raising the age to 21 to purchase semi-automatics, and removing firearms from the hands of people with mental illnesses that could be at risk.  We don’t know how much of this Trump will follow through with yet, but it is certainly noteworthy that once again, populist Trump is clashing with the real Republicans (and I don’t mean that as a complement to them) in order to do what’s best for the American people.

I’m not joining the cult of Trump or anything.  I reluctantly supported him in 2016, and I just may again in 2020, depending on whom the Democrats nominate.  I still have plenty of grievances with Trump.  He is deregulating the financial sector like a Clinton and he’s completely blind to the realities of institutional racism in our criminal justice system.  But as a blue collar Democrat, disgusted at the party that ignores our concerns to maintain its unholy alliance of Political Correctness and Neoliberal Corporatism; I’m looking at Trump and thinking –

I voted for some of my own best interests, and I just might do it again. 

 

Read Also:

Defiant Trump Battles Globalists Like No President Before Him (by DC Whispers)

Is Joe the Plumber a Hypocrite for taking a union job?

Why I’m Not A Republican

 

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The Media’s Fantastic Coverage of Trump’s “S***hole” Remark

TrumpsShiphole

Over the last several days, I’ve been highly impressed with how the media has covered the claim that Trump referred to certain countries as “s***hole countries”.  They didn’t assume he’d said it.  Instead, they reported that it was claimed that he said it.  First it was Democratic Senator Dick Durban who made this claim.  Lindsey Graham has said something very close to it also.  The media has been on top of every detail as soon as they become available!  I heard George Stephanopoulos this morning saying essentially that Trump “probably said it” on the basis that Trump didn’t deny it at first, and seemed to be feeling around to see how the public was reacting to it.  Trump then started denying it when it became clear that the public wasn’t receiving it well.  Spot on, George!

With the media’s fair and thorough coverage of this issue, it shouldn’t be long before we know for sure whether or not President Trump really did call Haiti, and Africa, and much of Latin America, “s***hole countries”.  They will interview every single Senator who was in that room, and they will get to the bottom of this.  I’m sure that as soon as they are sure, they’ll make sure to report it all over every major network so that we all can be sure of what Trump surely said.

Most importantly of all, I really appreciate the media for not getting distracted.  It seems every time Trump says something horrible, his base supporters use deflection.  Talk about anything but that!  And there’s so many things with which the media could have been deflected from this oh so important story of Trump saying “s***hole countries”.  Here’s a list of all the things the media has not allowed to distract them:

  1. ISIS is defeated in Iraq, and nearly defeated in Syria, but they may be regrouping in still chaotic Syria.
  2. Following the 2010 “no fly zone”, largely pushed into US policy by then Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, Libya has devolved into a semi-anarchic slave trading state . Al Jazeera has been all over this for years, but our mainstream media has only picked it up recently. But I’m glad they’re shelving this minor story to focus on whether or not Trump called Libya a “s***hole”!  #priorities
  3. Trump recently pardoned 5 banksters for fraud charges . Only independent sources like Free Thought Project have wasted their time with this little distraction.
  4. GDP is soaring, unemployment is low, but some experts worry that a recession is just around the corner
  5. Iran has been secretly sending weapons to the Shi’a side of the deadly Yemeni civil war that has been raging since 2015, and the UN has recently confirmed this fact.
  6. Former Haitian dictator Duvalier may have laundered money through Trump Tower. Sure, this kind of thing is part of the reason Haiti would be considered a “s***hole” country, but let’s not deflect!
  7. DACA will soon expire for many, and over the next year, more undocumented immigrants brought here as children, most of whom are peaceful, will find themselves vulnerable to deportation to a native land they barely remember, without serious immigration reform. But let’s not get distracted with the details, like those silly libertarians at the CATO Institute (Oh libertarians with the obsession with policies and how they actually effect regular people!)

Thank goodness our televised media knows how to stay focused!  They won’t rest until they get to the bottom of whether or not Trump said “s***hole countries”, and if so, exactly which countries he was referring to.  Let Huffington Post, and CATO, and independent rabble rousers like the Free Thought Project worry about all these diversions.

Thank goodness though that we have wonderful corporations like Google to protect us from this unimportant news by setting their search engine to show preference to the important stuff.  Mr. Trump!  You are on notice!  We will find out what you said, and the America people will know the truth!

 

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance – Thomas Jefferson

 

*On a serious note, I really appreciate Huffington Post’s Dwayne Wong (cited in number 2 above) for putting this in perspective.  I’m glad to see that semi-mainstream media sources in print and online can get past the sensationalism pushed by televised media and actual engage in the often thankless job of journalism.

 

Related to this Africa issue, you may also enjoy my recent column for The Pavlovic Today “MLK On The Evils Of War

CNN is not exactly “fake news”, but…

cnnignoringalleppogasattack

When Trump and some of his supporters call media outlets like CNN “fake news”, establishmentarians love to snort in derision.  “Oh you Trump supporters.  You just hate facts.”  Neither Trump nor his supporters are known for their eloquence, but that doesn’t mean they are wrong.

The civil war in Syria has been raging since 2010, and it is absolutely crucial for us to understand it.  ISIS has emerged out of the civil war, and as I write this, a new group is emerging called Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, which includes the former Al Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra Front.  As this group seems to have some of the characteristics of Al Qaeda, and some of ISIS, it is a group that Americans should seriously be warned about.  Instead, CNN would rather devote most of their time to mocking Trump’s gaffs, or something as trivial as eating fried chicken with a knife and fork, and defending their wounded pride (ya know, from the Clinton loss despite expert predictions to the contrary) with more elitist arrogance.

CNN isn’t fake news because of fake facts.  It’s more an issue of relevance.  All mainstream media has done a poor job of informing the American public of what is going on in Syria.  As I’ve explained many times before, if Americans knew about these dangerous terrorist groups, and the fact that the Assad regime, for all their faults, are fighting AGAINST these terrorist groups, we wouldn’t even be considering regime change in Syria.  The only thing we’d be debating at this point is whether to help Assad, or just stay out of the way and let him take care of it.

But, ya know, Trump just says all those crazy things, and we just gotta report that.  And as a southerner, I take deep offense to Trump butchering that fried chicken with a knife and fork.  Pick it up with your hands, foo!

As Trump would say,

Sad!

Now, let me do CNN’s job for them.  The above briefly mentioned gas attack.  We aren’t yet sure who did it.  It may have been the Assad regime, as air craft were likely required.  But it very well could have been a rival terrorist group.  The area that was attacked is firmly held by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham.  So, the attack was on an area held by an Al Qaeda linked group, though this group has no present official ties to Al Qaeda.  It’s just another example of the kind of ruthless tactics that are used in this ongoing, brutal civil war.  If it was indeed by the Assad regime, we should remember that it was directed at a very dangerous terrorist group that is clearly hostile to the US.  But it should also be noted that the attack showed no regard for civilian lives.

There, CNN!  That’s how it’s done!

5 Things I don’t like about President Trump

Between Clinton and Trump, I supported Trump.  There are some things I love about Trump, especially his trade policies.  But while I shower praise on Trump for getting us out of TPP, and hopefully will for more excellent trade policies to follow, I want to go on record for where I think he is wrong.

  1. “Make Mexico Pay for it!” We are a sovereign nation, we have borders, and we have a right to enforce those borders.  But I don’t support antagonizing our neighbor Mexico in the process or trying to make a poor country pay for a $14 billion wall.  Furthermore, attempting to do so with tariffs is misplaced, not that I’m against tariffs.  But you aren’t making the Mexican government, or even necessarily Mexico pay for it with tariffs.  Tariffs are paid by exporters from Mexico to the US, some of whom are American, and others of varying nationality.
  2. Iran The truth is that Iran has been fighting ISIS more effectively than our own government.  We should be competing with Iran to fight terrorists even more effectively, rather than antagonizing them just because they are an Islamic Republic.  That’s also the problem with this whole “radical Islam” thing.  Muslims can be “radical”, without being terrorists.  What has Iran actually done to US since 1979 other than words?
  3. Torture Trump made an excellent choice of Gen. Mattis for Sec. of Defense, and I wish he’d take his advice on this.  Torture via “waterboarding” was used throughout much of the Bush administration and there is no evidence that any useful information was gathered that way.  It isn’t even a question of whether or not terrorists deserve it, it’s just ineffective.  The information gathered this way is very unreliable and can send us on a wild goose chase!  Fortunately, Trump is at least going to let Mattis use his methods while he is Sec. of Defense, so there is unlikely to be any torture for the time being.
  4. Restricting Scientists from revealing their research EPA Scientists funded by the government will have to have their research approved by Trump’s bureaucrats before it can be published, and the USDA is facing similar hurdles.  This is a horrible affront to academic freedom!  As an academic myself, I highly value and know the importance of academic freedom in promoting new ideas and studies that can change the way we think of the world.  I will agree that academic freedom is already impeded by much of the political left, and they are clearly pushing an alarmist agenda on “global warming theory”, but they should be countered with legitimate research to the contrary, not suppression.  (For the record, I myself am agnostic on the extent of global warming caused by human activity.)
  5. Trump’s disregard for racial injustice in the criminal justice system I saved the most important for last.  Trump has a very long history of always, without question, siding with the police.  I respect our many good police officers who put their lives on the line for our safety, but justice should be color blind, to black and blue alike.  There is significant evidence of racial injustice that needs to be addressed.  It’s a difficult balancing act, because it is also unjust for certain crime ridden black communities to be neglected by police.  Sadly, you try to fix one problem and you can create another.  Reforming our criminal justice system in a way that addresses systemic racism while simultaneously ensuring that the police can effectively do their jobs is going to require the kind of nuance and thoughtfulness for which Trump is severely lacking.  I just hope that Trump makes some very wise appointments to address this issue and leaves it in their hands.

So there you have it!  Just because I love certain things about Trump doesn’t mean that I am a blind follower of his cult of personality.  I have mixed opinions of the temporary moratorium on refugees by the way, but don’t necessarily oppose it.  But in practice, I find myself constantly defending Trump on social media because of the cacophony of vicious attacks from the hypocritical center-left who seem to think their shit don’t stink…that shit being their last nominee for President.  You tried to shove Hillary Clinton down our throats when Bernie Sanders was right there!  Now, you have to deal with Trump!

Trump and Emotional Politics

TrumpYelling

Some are angry with Trump, others are angry at Trump.  Either way, Trump evokes lots of anger.  The anger at Trump is certainly justified.  Trump has claimed that Mexico sends its worst people into America, including rapists and drug dealers.  To be fair, he also said “…some, I assume, are good people.”  Trump’s views on Islam are far more disturbing.  He has called for shutting down mosques in the US, and banning Muslims from entering the country.  Some have tried to justify this by bringing up former President Carter’s temporary ban on Iranians during the hostage crisis.  It’s one thing to ban people from a particular country with whom we have hostility.  It’s another to ban an entire world religion, especially considering that some Muslims are native born American citizens.  How do you ban them?!

So, in short, Trump is nuts!  And I am deeply concerned that all of the anger he is able to invoke will cause large segments of the middle and working class population in America to vote against their own interests…by voting for Hillary Clinton!  Trump, for all his faults, knows that we can’t continue to allow China to erode our manufacturing sector.  Though he may seem like a “shoot first, aim later” type, he also has enough sense not to get us tangled up in the Syrian civil war trying to attack both sides (The Assad regime and ISIS).  Trump wants to focus on going after ISIS, while Clinton seems to think we should try to take out ISIS AND Assad.  Most of the political establishment wants to take out ISIS AND Assad!  This is pure lunacy!  You don’t go into the middle of a bloody civil war, and start attacking both sides.  If you must get involved, pick a side.  Otherwise, instead of killing each other, they both kill you instead.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, IS the establishment.  She’s Dick Cheney in a pants suit and a “D” next to her name instead of an “R”.  She has a long history of supporting “free trade” agreements that cripple the economy for working Americans, and her husband signed the devastating “China Free Trade Act” into law in 2000.  (Recession of 2000, weak recovery, and “Great Recession” follow…coincidence?)  Blacks and Hispanics are hit the hardest, by the way.  On foreign policy, Clinton, like any Republican neocon, claims that ISIS exists because we didn’t take out Assad!  This is your “serious candidate”?  She seriously thinks that we can take out ISIS by attacking the very regime that is also fighting to take out ISIS?  If Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Rand Paul, Carson, etc. ever proposed a foreign policy so utterly absurd, the media would be all over them talking about how unrealistic it is and how it shows their lack of “experience”.  But Clinton, Bush, Rubio are free to propose these kinds of lunatic foreign policies and be only politely questioned by the mainstream media.  Sure, once in a while a journalist might mention, “psss….you know Assad is on the other side of the Syrian Civil War, right?  He is fighting against ISIS, right?”

The base of Trump’s support is highly emotional, and often dismissed as a bunch of narrow minded poorly educated whites who hate diversity.  Trump does appeal particularly to working class whites who have been feeling the shaft from the establishment for decades.  He also seems to have a sizeable portion of the black community supporting him, for many of the same reasons.  They are angry at career politicians, and they are angry that their job opportunities are diminishing.  As whites are losing their middle class status, blacks who were reaching so close for middle class status that they could feel it at the tip of their fingers have had it yanked away and sent to China.  Most of them haven’t considered the policy positions I’ve laid out above.  They vote for Trump with their hearts, not their heads.  But even if by pure chance, emotions have led many to the perfectly logical conclusion that Trump is preferable to the establishment, were there better choices?  Of course!  Jim Webb and Rand Paul, to name two.  But neither of them can stir the emotions of the masses like Trump, or Sanders.

And so, the current narrative from the main stream media goes something like this…

There’s a lot of anti-establishment sentiment.  Instead of looking at experience and qualifications, voters are angry, and that’s why Trump and Sanders won in New Hampshire.  But neither has executive experience.  Neither has much electability. 

Then the interviews follow, where the media speaks to pundits who sound something like this…

(Insert Clinton, Rubio, Bush) is clearly more qualified than (insert Sanders, Trump, Cruz) as he/she has a history of getting things done.  Many may be excited by (Sanders, Trump, Cruz) but his policies are very unlikely to pass through Congress.  (Clinton, Rubio, Bush) on the other hand, knows how to work across the aisle and get things done.  And (if Clinton) we’ve never had a woman president before!

Let me break it down for you.  None of these candidates will get much of what they propose in domestic policy!  None of them!  We live in the era of congressional obstructionism.  Congress has learned that the people praise the president when things get done, and blame the president when they don’t.  Therefore, it is in the best interest of the opposite party in Congress to block anything and everything until they get 110% of what they want.  If Clinton becomes president, the only way she’ll get funding for whatever domestic programs she wants from Republicans (and remember, Republicans only need 41 out of 100 Senators to block everything via filibuster), is to give, give, and give.  I’m sure if she bloats the military budget by another $200 billion, slaps new sanctions on Iran and stations troops on their border, the Republicans will let a little birth control subsidy or two slip into an omnibus budget bill which will include massive tax cuts for Wall Street.  And Clinton will say, “See?  I’m a progressive who gets things done!”  Nothing will be done about job loss to SE Asia, and little to nothing will be done to curb risky behavior by the big banks.  Much of “Dodd/Frank” is still up to interpretation by the President, and don’t expect Clinton with all her Wall Street/big bank support to interpret Dodd/Frank in a way that her financial campaign support doesn’t like.

A Trump Presidency would probably look more like this.  There will be no wall on the border of Mexico.  Yes, technically the President is already legally authorized to build a wall, but that cost bucks!  We ain’t got ‘em.  And Mexico is not going to build a wall for the US on their border.  Here’s the good news for you Trump supporters, if he wins…and for all of us who work for a living (including Sanders supporters and misguided Clintonites).  Even if Congress does nothing about trade, simply based on current trade agreements, Trump can enforce portions of these agreements against currency manipulation.  He can and will slap tariffs on China at least, if not many others who suck our jobs.  On foreign policy, there will be no ban on Muslims.  It’s blatantly unconstitutional and impossible to enforce.  But here’s the good news!  Trump knows that ISIS is the enemy.  Not Assad, not Iran, and certainly not Russia.  He’ll be firm when negotiating with Iran, but he knows that we need to focus on ISIS.  While the establishment candidates seem to think we can take out all of the bad buys and democratize the world, Trump knows better.

So, in short, I am not moved by Trump’s populism.  With Paul out, if the Democrats nominate Sanders, I’d choose Sanders over Trump.  Sanders can win, but it’s an uphill battle for him.  In the more likely “Clinton vs. Trump” scenario, I’ll take a reality show patriot over a “serious” candidate whose loyalty is with the international community, Wall Street, and the global banksters.  Some say, “Vote blue no matter who!  There’s too much at stake to let the Republicans win!”  I say there’s too much at stake to let the establishment win.  We can’t afford to keep losing our manufacturing jobs, and we can’t more neocon military adventurism that destabilizes the Islamic world further empowering ISIS.  If I have to hold my nose and vote for Trump, so be it!

 

Time for Rand Paul to Go for Broke?

PaulTrumpCNN

Is it time for Rand Paul to “go for broke”?  I’ve been urging caution.  I know the GOP base, they’re a bunch of apes, and Paul has to appeal to them.  The apes are well trained by a GOP establishment to react positively to certain buzz words and catch phrases like “take back America”, and “fight radical Islam”.   They also know to fling their feces at anyone who sounds like they “hate uh’mer’ca”.  But when you’re surrounded by apes, remember – they’re still apes.  They are irrational primates who respect vulgar displays of power.

That’s why they love Trump.  At the CNN debate, I saw Trump mostly doing more of the same.  He refused to apologize to Jeb Bush’s wife for claiming that she being Mexican had softened Bush on immigration.  He hurled insults, completely unprovoked, at Rand Paul.  But Trump remained bold.  He had the courage to look right at Bush and criticize the mess his brother left this country in, right in front of an audience of Republican basers.  Nobody else showed such courage, including Paul.  When Paul had an opportunity to criticize Bush for being a rich kid who smoked marijuana, and later become Gov. of Florida, Paul hesitated.  Apes don’t respect that.

When Paul did finally show some courage and explain point blank that the policy of removing secular dictators like Saddam Hussein, and possibly Assad, leaves instability and bites us in the back; Paul finally got some of the apes to clap their paws.  They’re so like us, aren’t they?

As the actual primary draws near, I’m wondering if Paul should stop worrying so much about not offending the apes, and instead just tell it like it is.  Trump had no qualms about calling out Bush, criticizing the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and slapping hands with Ben Carson for doing the same.  These normally provoke the Republican basers to hurl feces, yet, they don’t.  They respect Trump as the alpha.  Paul was right to say what he did about secular dictators, but maybe it’s time to take the next step.

As Lindsey Graham spoke of ISIS, Iran, and Assad, and I struggled to keep my lunch down, I kept thinking, “Will nobody call him out?”  Graham keeps talking about the growth of ISIS, and saying how we should have taken out Assad, and be prepared to use force against Iran.  NEWS FLASH!  Iran is doing more to stop ISIS than we are right now.  Assad was too until Obama took Graham’s advice and armed the “rebels”.  Yeah, long story short, ISIS has those arms now.  If Paul got a gentle but positive response from the apes for criticizing the reckless toppling of secular dictators in the Middle East, how much more of a response will he get for calling out disastrous policies that played into the hands of ISIS?  I’m not an anthropologist, but I am an academic, and I’m sure anthropological departments across the country would like to see the results.

On a more serious note, Paul isn’t doing great in the polls.  Trump is at the top, Carson is gaining on him, and Fiorina is picking up the pace.  All three of them look like leadership material to the GOP base.  I’m thinking it’s time for Paul to take some risks like a good leader must, and show the GOP base that he can lead.  I know he can lead, a handful of libertarian leaning Republicans know that.  Some libertarian leaning liberals also know that.  But this is the GOP primary, the planet of the apes.  While I respect Paul’s consistent reverence for the 10th amendment, the rule of law means little to primates.  They respect strength, and Paul needs to show it now.

Another interesting take on this:

Julie Borowski’s hilarious parody of the GOP debates

PS If I thought any GOP basers actually read my blog, I wouldn’t be calling them “apes”, but I can’t imagine this offending my 50 or so readers who are likely Paul supporters, or people who came due to my social commentary and don’t care much about this subject.

PPS  The above is more of a rant.  Sometimes it’s healthy to blow off steam.  It’s not an issue of being a bad sport.  It’s that I’m seriously frustrated that after all the mistakes we’ve made in the last few decades, I fear that some demagogue (Trump) is going to distract the GOP base from our best hope (Paul) of not making those mistakes again.  Honestly, if Trump actually does win, he’ll have my support.  He’s nuts, but he is a patriot, and I don’t think he’ll hurl us into another pointless war.

Nuclear Iran? Here are our options

Professor Wag explains that there are four ways this could turn out:

1. No further action, resulting in Iran getting a nuclear weapon
2. A weak deal, resulting in a nuclear weapon
3. A full scale war, defeating Iran – no nuclear weapon
4. A strong deal, no war – no nuclear weapon

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