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 in 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 Creepin’ on Clinton? Gimme a break!

Ermagerd!  He’s so creepy!

To my fellow travelers on the Trump Train, here’s how we should deal with this absurd claim that Trump was creeping on Hillary in that second debate.

Donald Trump is married to the beautiful, intelligent, exotic Melania Trump.

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Yeah, Hillary Clinton’s got nothin’ he wants!  Boom!  I’m out!

 

Trump Should Walk In Humility

 

Sexual assault is no joke.

(This blog post contains sexually explicit stories – no images.  Reader discretion advised.)

I confess, when I first heard the story of Trump’s “hot mic” comments, my first instinct was to brush it off.  As a man who worked in a UPS warehouse for 3 years, I’m very familiar with “guy talk”.  Nothing was off limits – there was no filter.

“Hey, sorry I’m not keepin’ up!  Yer wife wore me out last night!”

“Hey bitch!”  “Who you callin’ bitch?”  “I know you like it!”

“Hey, do you know what they call ‘rodeo fucking’?”  “No.  What’s that?”  “It’s when you’re about to get with a girl, you reach around and grab her tit with one hand, put the other around the waist, and then whisper in her ear ‘yer the ungliest bitch I ever seen’, then you try to hold on for 8 seconds.”

And God have mercy on our souls for the things we said when a box of pornographic magazines busted open.

I saw the light

But this morning, our priest gave a sermon in part dealing with this topic.  I was worried at first that she was about to get political.  She and I have different political views, and I’m fine with that.  As long as she is a priest, and not a political activist at the pulpit, she’s entitled to her political views and I think no less of her as a priest.

Fortunately, the sermon was only slightly political, and focused instead of the real victims of sexual assault.  She spoke of how this recent news has opened up old wounds to men and women who have been groped, or worse.  I quickly let my guard down and let her words in, and I’m glad I did.  (This is why us sinners need church.  He came not to call the righteous.)

I have a few close female friends in my life, and between them and family, I’ve heard stories of sexual assault, ranging from some jerk in a bar grabbing her in the wrong place repeatedly, to full scale rape.  When I hear numbers like 1 in 5 women have been victims of sexual assault, I am at first skeptical.  But when I think of the women with whom I’ve been close enough that they’d confide in me, I find that number more believable.  Just in my life, it seems half the women I’ve known well have a story like this.

The problem with guy talk

Like my 23 year old self sweating my way through UPS to pay for college, Donald Trump was likely engaged in “guy talk”.  But whether he meant to or not, his words, like the words of so many of us, contribute to rape culture.  Sure, I’d never do that to anyone.  But other people, hearing words like that from people like me, might take it a step further.

It desensitizes us.  When comedians joke about prison rape – “Don’t drop the soap” – it desensitizes us to the roughly 20% of prison inmates who are raped.  When Trump jokes about grabbing women (you know where), it desensitizes us.

I’m glad that Trump apologized for this.  Tonight, as he debates Hillary Clinton, it’s inevitable that this will come up.  Given Clinton’s sorted past, she hardly has the moral high ground.  I’m not merely talking about her husband’s actions, but also her defense of her husband’s actions.  I won’t blame Trump one bit if he counter punches her inevitable attack.  I hope, however, that he will show humility and penitence for his comments 11 years ago.

How Trump should handle this issue tonight

I hope Trump will express genuine compassion for the victims of sexual assault.  If I were advising Trump, I’d recommend that early in, he makes it clear that he is humbled by this experience, and it has forced him to do some deep soul searching.  I’d advise that he then make addressing sexual assault part of his platform.  He’s the “law and order” guy, right?  He should therefore propose increasing efforts to bring rapists and other sexual criminals to justice.

Furthermore (and I hope Ivanka Trump is advising her father of this as I write this), we need to focus on education in order to prevent this from happening in the first place.  I have before scoffed at third wave feminists when they say things like “teach men not to rape”.  I still don’t think that alone is a solution, but I do think it is part of the solution.  Don’t take those words too literally.  Of course, in principle, we know rape is wrong.  But yet we are desensitized to rape and other forms of sexual assault.

Trump should even reach out to Hillary Clinton.  He ended last debate by saying that if she wins, “I’d absolutely support her”.  He should now say that, win or lose, he will work with her, Joe Biden, and anyone else to end the rape culture and bring rapists to justice.  He should then ask if Hillary Clinton would be willing to do the same.  I don’t know if Trump will think to do this.  He may just fall into his old ways and go on the attack.  But I can always hope.

Does self-defense work?  My story

Lastly, I’d like to share a story of my own.  When I was 12 years old, I was a trouble maker.  I was skipping school one day, and hung out with two other boys.  One was about my age, the other was probably 15.  The boys were joking about raping some girl.  I didn’t take them seriously.  But then they started joking about how they should rape me.  I still thought they were joking.  Then one of them grabbed me.  From behind, he wrapped his arms around me.  I struggled, and managed to gain enough wiggle room that I elbowed him in the stomach as hard as I could, and I took off running.

I’m glad I was able to defend myself.  I don’t feel like a victim, I am not traumatized.  I felt, and feel, empowered!  I’d encourage women everywhere to take self-defense courses.  Again, this is not the only solution!  This is only part of the solution.  I know that it won’t always work.  But often it will.  And I’d rather more rapists get elbowed in the stomach, than more people getting raped just because third wave feminists think that the only solution is to “teach men not to rape”.  I don’t think those two boys who attacked me could have been “taught” otherwise.  Maybe I’m wrong.  But there are thousands of them out there, and some are even women by the way.

Solutions, people!

We need to put all solutions on the table and address every form of rape and sexual assault, including but not limited to someone breaking in and raping someone, groping in crowds or parties, frat boys taking advantage of the unconscious girl who had too much to drink, prison rape, child molestation, all of it!  Whoever becomes president, I hope they will show more integrity than the Washington Post, who sees this as nothing more than a political opportunity, and instead takes sexual assault seriously.

Who is really giving a megaphone to “deplorables”?

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Who is really giving a megaphone to “Deplorables”?

Throughout the last several decades, white supremacist groups have been in their rightful place – the margins of society and the butt of several jokes.  The most attention that the KKK could hope for was a slot on the Jerry Springer show, somewhere between the lesbian cousin lovers and the “kung fu hillbilly”.  In the late 1910s to early 1920s, however, the Klan enjoyed a brief period of being part of the American mainstream.  The Klan of today sometimes tries to make itself palatable to the American mainstream, and desperately seeks attention, but they can’t achieve this if nobody even bothers to notice them.

The “Deplorables”

According to Hillary Clinton, there’s always been a paranoid fringe in our politics, steeped in racial resentment. But it’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it, and giving it a national megaphone. Until now.”

Frequently we hear stories of some Klansman, or former Klansman, who decided to support Donald Trump.  White supremacists in this country are very anti-immigration, and Trump’s desire to build a wall and deport 11 million illegals certainly appeals to them.  But one need not be a white supremacist to support enforcing immigration laws.  And these white supremacists would likely disagree with Trump’s support for LEGAL immigration.  

Of course, Trump has also received kind words from the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.  Farrakhan, an avid anti-Semite, likes that Trump is the only member who has stood in front of the Jewish community and said ‘I don’t want your money.”

There’s plenty of reasons that radicals, and “deplorables” might support Clinton or Trump, but acknowledging these groups only gives them a megaphone.  No such megaphone has been given by the Trump campaign to the USA Communist Party, which has endorsed Hillary Clinton, nor should there be.

Who is really granting them a megaphone?

Remember David Duke?  Most Americans, especially young Americans, probably didn’t even know the name until it came out that Duke was endorsing Trump.  Those who did know the name were probably more than happy to let him fall into anachronistic obscurity right along with the KKK of which he was once a member.  But David Duke cleverly breathed new life into his infamy by giving the mainstream media the opportunity to tarnish Trump’s campaign by drawing attention to David Duke’s half-hearted endorsement.  Trump made the mistake of individually disavowing him, thereby giving him the attention he sought.  Fortunately, Trump has been careful not to repeat that mistake.

In truth, Clinton and her supporters do more to help groups like the KKK, or the less extreme white nationalist “alt-right” movement by constantly denouncing them and Trump for having their tacit support.  There are plenty of Klansman nobodies, trying to become somebody by saying, “Hey, I’m wearing a white sheet with a swastika on my arm and I’m voting for Trump”.  Every now and then, someone from the Klan will get clever and endorse Clinton instead.  Oooopsss!  Didn’t see that one coming!  

If Trump goes through each of his deplorable endorsements, calling them out by name and disavowing them individually, all he will accomplish is recognizing that these people are even worth noticing.  Trump has collectively disavowed all white supremacists, and that’s all he should do.  Anything more just gives them the attention they crave, which it seems Hillary Clinton and her supporters are happy to do.

Trump / Kasich ? My Prediction

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Have you noticed that Kasich has said little to nothing about Trump?  Unlike every other establishment candidate, Kasich doesn’t seem that worried about him.

I was watching CNN, thinking about the electoral map, and a light bulb appeared above my head!  In a Trump vs. Clinton race, Trump will need to focus heavily on the Midwest, AKA “the rust belt”.  These are swing states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and of course, Kasich’s Ohio.  These are states with a history of manufacturing, and a strongly blue collar mostly Caucasian group of voters.  Who better to help Trump win these states than Kasich?

In a Trump v. Clinton matchup, we know Trump will sweep the south simply because he is the Republican, with the exception of Florida, and maybe VA and NC.  We know Trump will win those very red and sparsely populated western, non-coastal states like Arizona and Montana.  We know Clinton will dominate New England, except for New Hampshire, and we know she’ll win the West Coast.  Florida and the Midwest will therefore determine the next President, as they so often do.

So back to Kasich.  The media has noticed that he’s been very hesitant to criticize Trump.  While Trump is almost certain to win more delegates to the RNC than any other, he may not win a majority.  That would mean a “brokered convention”.  Trump’s delegates will have to cut a deal, or maybe second place Ted Cruz might work something out sooner.  Trump is almost certainly not teaming up with Cruz or Rubio at this point.  But as things have been relatively civil (considering it’s Trump) with Kasich, Kasich only needs to win enough delegates to be able to give Trump the majority.  Also, Kasich could help Trump at least in Ohio, if not the entire “rust belt”.  Not only that, but Kasich is politically experienced, and in the establishment of the GOP.

Therefore, I’m predicting that one way or the other, if Trump is the nominee, he picks Kasich as his running mate.  Kasich could help satiate the establishment.  And more importantly, would be valuable to Trump in a race against Clinton.  About the only swing state where he’d be of little help is Florida, but then, Rubio and Jeb Bush are clearly out of the question.  Trump may fight extra hard in Florida, or write it off and focus on the Midwest.  But Trump already has his trade policy that will be well received in states that have suffered from decades of outsourcing.  Those states are always close, especially Ohio, so Trump needs any edge he can get.

Maybe I’ll be right, maybe I’ll be wrong.  We’ll see.  I just wanted to put this out there and see if I get some bragging rights after the RNC.

What the Last Clinton did to US – Part 1 our jobs

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Presidents are praised when the economy does well, and blamed when it does poorly.  The average voter doesn’t realize that it usually takes years to feel the effects of policies, and sitting Presidents are usually presiding over the effects of the previous administration.  Furthermore, the US President can’t do a whole lot on domestic policy without Congress.  With that in mind, let’s revisit the Clinton years from 1993-2000.  This is the first of three blog posts I will publish on Clinton’s legacy that we should consider before offering the White House to another Clinton.  This first blog post will consider Clinton’s “free trade” policies and how they hurt America’s working class.

Clinton was generally a popular president, and is praised for the booming economy of the 90s.  However, he had little to do with it.  When Reagan and Tipp O’Neal reformed the tax code in 1986, they made it much easier for new businesses to emerge and pay a more modest tax rate in the mid 20 percentages, rather than nearly 70%.  The Tech Boom that created all that 90s prosperity was possible in part thanks to Reagan and O’Neal working together.

So what did Clinton do?

When Clinton ran in 1992, America was at an economic crossroads.  In short, do we protect our thriving manufacturing sector and unique blue collar middle class; or do we open ourselves to free trade in pursuit of cheaper goods, with the intention of maintaining that middle class by allowing cozy office jobs to replace the old manufacturing jobs?  Bush wanted the later, Perot wanted the former.  Clinton presented himself as a centrist on this issue, supporting freer trade with some protections for working people at home and abroad.  Clinton won the White House in part on that platform.

How Clinton crippled America’s manufacturing sector

NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, was implemented in 1994.  Many manufacturing jobs went to Mexico, but the American economy thrived.  Many economists, therefore, believed it was a success.  I may lose my job at the factory, but I can learn some new tech skills, put on a short sleeve white collared shirt and a tie and become Dilbert!  Not bad, eh?

As Ross Perot noted, you can show me all the numbers you want, but if you look at what was happening on the ground, the people suffered.  I don’t mean Americans (not yet anyway) but Mexicans.  Where factories popped up in Mexico, so did poverty.  So did pollution.  So did long hours for low wages.  There were few, if any, protections for exploited Mexican workers, and the profit margin for CEOs massively increased.  We were told we’d get cheap stuff in America, but most of the cost savings of cheap labor was eaten up by upper management and shareholders.  But that’s OK, we’ve got our tech jobs, right?

We might have survived NAFTA anyway.  Mexico’s government is far from perfect, but it isn’t a dictatorship.  They do have a Constitution, they do have rights, and the people were demanding better.  Wages were starting to increase in Mexico over time.  Their economy was picking up.  In time, their living standards likely would have come close enough to American living standards that CEOs would no longer stand to make too much profit from outsourcing, and if anything would redevelop manufacturing in America to save on shipping.

They needed cheaper labor.

In 2000, Clinton’s last year in office, he did something much, much worse than NAFTA.  Clinton signed a bill to “normalize trade” with China – to permanently lower tariffs and phase out quotas.  Unlike Mexico, China is run by a strict oligarchy – the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).  Elections are but a rigged formality where the candidates are chosen by the CCP, and the people “vote” for them.  There is an official constitution, but it’s a joke.  The people of China have as much rights as the CCP will allow them to have.  Therefore, whereas Mexican workers can vote for better laws, form unions, etc. Chinese workers have no such recourse.

But for US, this was particularly harmful and couldn’t have come at a worse time.  The tech bubble was bursting, a recession was beginning, and just when we needed to fall back on our manufacturing base, Clinton was handing it over to the Chinese Communist Party.  As it currently stands, our trade deficit with China is astronomical.  As you can see from the US Census, we import from China about 4 times as much as we export to China.  They’re beating US 4 to 1!

Meanwhile, the American middle class is crippled.  We were told that “free trade” would improve our standard of living.  The only people who benefit are the uber-wealthy in both China and the US.  CEOs these days are paid on average over 200 times what their employees are paid.  In 1965, CEOs usually made about 20 times their employees.  Ya know, back in the old days.  Today, average wages in manufacturing are above $19 an hour, but these jobs now.  Manufacturing made up nearly 40% of GDP when Clinton took office, but that has dropped to under 17%, so by more than half!  Meanwhile, the average retail associate earned just above $9.50 an hour.

In my next blog post, I’ll discuss how Clinton favored Wall Street and banksters over the American people.  I’ve broken this into three parts because as I did more research and developed more solid arguments to support my position, I realized that it was about to turn into information overload.  My blog posts are often used to spur debate, and I’d like such debates to focus on one topic at a time.

Notes:

While this politifact article rates Ed Shultz’s claim as “half-true”, it still acknowledges that at least 32,000 factories have closed since these “free trade” deals began 

For further info on the plight of Chinese workers, visit www.chinalaborwatch.org/