Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Division Dynamics

Some call him the most divisive president ever. Some say he’s also the worst while others say he’s the best. He’s been in the White House a year now. Will he serve out the four-year term for which he was elected? Not if Trump-haters have their way. They’ve been looking to prevent that since before he was inaugurated.

Even his supporters acknowledge his numerous and obvious flaws, but will overlook them so long as he fulfills his campaign promises. Many expected his narcissism to subside but, alas, it has not, nor is it likely to. President Trump has suffered the most relentlessly negative media coverage in living memory, perhaps of all time, but it hasn’t diminished his opinion of himself. Even former President Carter remarked: “I think the media have been harder on Trump than any other president certainly that I’ve known about. I think they feel free to claim that Trump is mentally deranged and everything else without hesitation.”

According to Justice Antonin Scalia's friend, Brian Garner, “Scalia thought it was most refreshing to have a candidate who was pretty much unfiltered and utterly frank.” That’s a summation of Trump upon which both his supporters and detractors will agree. Scalia may have liked him as a candidate, but whether he’d have liked Trump to be elected we’ll never know because he died ten months before election day. One of Trump’s first actions as president was to nominate a Supreme Court justice as much like Scalia as possible.

Hoping to cripple him or remove him, Trump-haters focused at first on alleged collusion between Trump and Vladimir Putin to win the election. That comprised the bulk of media coverage ever since he defeated Hillary Clinton even though no evidence has emerged to support it after intense investigation by the FBI, several congressional committees, and a special prosecutor for over a year. The only evidence of Russian collusion found so far has involved the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton Campaign, but Trump-haters are not inclined to follow those threads.

Collusion allegations have thus faded. To get rid of Trump, detractors are searching for other means. The special prosecutor isn’t limited to Russian election collusion; he can investigate anything he chooses, and he is. The special prosecutor who went after President Clinton two decades ago was appointed to investigate a shady Arkansas real estate deal called Whitewater, but instead probed not only sexual harassment but consensual sexual escapades as well. When Clinton lied about those under oath, he was impeached. Something similar could happen to President Trump.

As President Carter pointed out, some detractors claim he’s deranged and would invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him. That’s never been attempted and would be a long shot at best. So now what? Mainstream media are currently in high dudgeon about allegations that Trump used the S-word to describe El Salvador, Haiti, and some African countries while negotiating immigration policy with Democrats. Accusing the president of saying sh** isn’t going to outrage many people so media are claiming the president is “racist.” Though not so in El Salvador, most people in Haiti and African countries are black. Therefore, calling them “sh**hole countries” is tantamount to racism, they insist. It’s a stretch, but mainstream media are riding it for as much mileage as it will bring them.

During a visit by the prime minister of Norway, Trump is said to have asked why we can’t have more immigrants from that country. Because most people in Norway are white, media continued piling up their “Trump is racist” coverage. Locally, Maine’s Portland Press Herald editorialized:

“This was the white nationalist vision of America that was promoted by Trump and his disgraced adviser Steve Bannon in the campaign. It is a view of America that was embraced by some large numbers of voters, who cheered Trump’s vision of a fortress America, where dark-skinned immigrants were kept out by a great wall.”

Really? Trump and Bannon “promoted a white nationalist vision of America”? Their slogan was “America First” and that’s certainly nationalist, but where and when did either of them ever say anything about skin color? Trump organized a lot of rallies and made a lot of speeches. Can the Press Herald cite anything he said to support its claim? The paper has promoted the “Russia/Trump collusion” story for a year without evidence. Now it has jumped to accusations of “white nationalism” without evidence as well. 

Is Trump dividing America, or did America’s divisions exist before he was elected? What might those divisions have been? Left vs right? Class divisions? Coastal elites vs heartland? College-educated vs non-college-indoctrinated? All of them? Was Trump elected because of those divisions? Whatever divisions there were, they’ve widened considerably since the election, but who is driving the wedge? Trump supporters or Trump haters?


Uber_Fritz said...

What people don't like about you, Tom, is your recitation of facts. Thus, in that case you must be a racist or a white supremacist. Unfortunately, main stream media has no interest in veracity, only improving ratings!

I am waiting for indictments to be issued against the Clinton Foundation, a true scam, and a pay to play organization!

Never fear, you will be subjected to the same mindless criticism that always appears here! And as noted, the liberals will unsuccessfully continue to seek the ouster of President Trump.

Anonymous said...

I see a silver lining in the behavior of the Left. Eventually, their lies, vitriol and clear hatred for American traditions and values will eventually expose them for what they are, i.e. global Marxists revolutionaries. They rely on the gullibility of the American people to believe what the losers in the mainstream media are pushing, but that narrative will eventually collapse in favor of fundamental conservative ideals.

I have faith that the Clintons, NerOs and their allies in the stealth jihad movement such as CAIR, and their affiliated Muslim Brotherhood front groups, WILL be held accountable.

Brian said...

No evidence of collusion??!!?? Did this become reality because Trump and Faux News repeated it over and over?

What more evidence of Trump-Russia collusion do you need?


Also, at this point pretending that Trump is not racist either makes you incredibly ignorant and ill-informed, or a racist yourself. Starting with his getting in trouble for not renting to blacks, here is quite a list of racist behavior:


So go ahead with our fantasy world, in which the KKK and Neo-Nazi endorsed Racist in Chief "is, like, the least racist most stable genius in like ever"

Anonymous said...

Fox News poll: Majority thinks Trump is tearing the country apart


Get Real said...

"where and when did either of them ever say anything about skin color?"

So if somebody said something like "I hate people from Africa, I like people from Norway" it would not be racist because color is not explicitly mentioned? Get real. It is textbook racism. It would be hard to imagine something that doesn't fit the definition better.

Grow a spine and call a spade a spade.

Anonymous said...

I thought, in the name of cherry picking, that I should add on other comments by Jimmy Carter, in which he was particularly critical of the nation’s direction under Trump.

He told Trump he should "tell the truth", and cast Trump as a disappointment on the world stage.


Anonymous said...

Nixon: "I am not a crook!"

Trump: "I am not a racist!"

The two worst presidents in history have more and more in common!

Anonymous said...

...on average, African immigrants are better educated that people born in the U.S. or the immigrant population as a whole....research found that of the 1.4 million who are 25 and older, 41% have a bachelor's degree, compared with 30% of all immigrants and 32% of the U.S.-born population. Of the 19,000 U.S. immigrants from Norway — a country Trump reportedly told lawmakers is a good source of immigrants — 38% have college educations.

"Overwhelmingly the evidence shows that [African immigrants] make a significant, positive economic contribution to the U.S. economy," both at a national level and in districts where they are concentrated, Lim said. "They contribute more than $10.1 billion in federal taxes, $4.7 billion in state and local taxes, and most importantly, they have significant economic clout to the point of $40.3 billion in spending power."


Rick said...

How embarrassing to have our country led by President Shithole.

A note ion these "shithole" countries from SNL:

“They’re in bad shape because they’ve been robbed and exploited for centuries by Western powers. So the president of the United States calling Africa a ‘shithole’ is like telling a kid you molested, ‘Boy, did you grow up to be weird.’”

I was going to add that the Trumpies would still support their man had he actually molested a kid, but after watching the support given to Roy Moore I guess it goes without saying.

Anonymous said...

I thought I would jump the gun on the predictable comments sure to come:

"You really riled the libtards up, Tom, great job, keep hammerin'"

"Yuck, yuck, funny how libs hate racism - keep it coming!"

"Grow a sack you gutless Anons, we all know that facts don't matter if you don't give yourself a name on a message board!"

CJ Johnson said...

Poor Brian, There is no law against "collusion" to begin with....
Gonna have to go back to the Racist card and try that one again....

Brian said...

Who said there was a law against collusion? I just mentioned the fact that collusion happened. If you are fine with Russia treating our country like its little bitch and our pansy president not trying to do a thing about it, then that is up to you.

Anonymous said...

For the record, "Just keep hammerin'!"
(From an old story about a kid's recollection of blacksmith that I can't find.)

"...but who is driving the wedge? Trump supporters or Trump haters?"
Not sure that's the right group of mind sets to examine.
(IE) Personally, I've never met the man. Don't "follow" (or stalk) him on social media.
Oh SURE, there's coincidental intersectionality, always is, never the less...
Don't know how much of your career in history brought you face to face with
Political Science, thinly veiled by Economics,...that's where I keep ending up as I
follow the money.
Make no mistake, I have a biased leaning in that direction, as WELL as Aesop, Brothers Grimm, Dr, Seuss, Mother Goose, Tales from a 1,001 Arabian Nights, etc...
I abandoned APA Diagnostic and Statistical quite some time ago.

Montedoro44 said...

Remember when President Obama called President Netanyahu "chickenshit"? Textbook antisemite!

Remember when President Obama said the "future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam"? Textbook Muslim!

Remember when President Obama supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt? Textbook jihadist!

Remember when President Obama claimed that he hardly knew Bill Ayers, and he didn't know that his pastor Jeremiah Wright hated America, and he claimed that the Benghazi attack was caused by a YouTube video? Textbook liar!

Remember when you learned in elementary school that name-calling is bad and informed & civil discourse is good? Textbook textbook!

Anonymous said...

Montedoro44 = textbook ignoramus

Anonymous said...

America was divided long before Trump. I remember the Left's hatred of George Bush. ( I still haven't forgiven him for his lies about Iraq.) I remember the Right's hatred of Obama. And now we have swung back to the Left's hatred of the incumbent Republican president.

What is perhaps most disturbing is how negative the mainstream media has been. In fact, the only time they supported Trump was when he sent 59 cruise missiles to Syria, wasting almost 60 million of taxpayer money, on a pointless exercise based on dubious evidence. (It should be clear that the Establishment/Deep State wants to get rid of Assad, but I digress.)

Yes, Trump is flawed. His tweets and personal attacks are un-presidential. So what?

Unless he starts a war with N. Korea or Iran he will still be far better than George Bush.

Anonymous said...

Trump is the best president ever, I love him. Anybody watching the stock market? I think its up.

Get Real said...

I know this is like talking to a baby that sees something shiny, but here goes. Trump has very little to do at all with the current stock market. In reality, Trump inherited a strong economy from Barack Obama, as headlines from the end of last year like Politico’s “Trump Inherits Obama Boom” demonstrate. The S&P 500 increased by more than 200 percent while Obama was president, while hitting 127 record highs.


And even if he did have something to do with it, is that really what counts? If you were a German under Hitler and the economy was booming then he would be the best Fuhrer ever?

Just wait and see how much credit wussy Donald takes (never any for anything) when the inevitable happens and the Stock Market plummets before his term is up. It will certainly be Hillary's fault and his little Trumps will eat up his excuses.

As for bad press, remember that bad press does not equal unfair press. Nixon got a lot of bad press as did Jimmy Carter. Poor picked on Kim Jung Un gets such negative press everywhere but North Korea - unfair! I guess that is how you see it.

Judge a man on his actions, not on the press he gets (be it Breitbart of MSNBC) or events that happen without his involvement. If we do this we see one deplorable human being.

Anonymous said...

The Stock Market? A rigged rich man's game that only really effects the average worker when they greedily screw it up so badly that it all tumbles down. Then they can build it back up again with the help of taxpayer dollars!

Did Breitbart, in a desperate attempt to find a Trump positive, get you excited about the Market?

Go ahead and keep loving the endorser of child molesters though, you are in good company with the KKK and Neo Nazis!

Anonymous said...

Racist? Trump has always been on good terms with "the blacks"

Brian said...

About the matter of "unfair/fake" media coverage of Trump, it seems that there still are a few Republicans with enough balls to speak the truth.

Jeff Flake correctly stated that the use of the terms "fake news" and "enemy of the people" is shameful and reminiscent of words infamously used by Stalin. He called the attacks on the media repulsive and said that Trump has it backwards, that despotism is the enemy of the people, while free press is the despot's enemy and a guardian of democracy. He went on to say that when Trump calls stories he doesn't like "fake news" he should be the figure of suspicion, not the press.

McCain stated that Trump was encouraging autocrats around the world to silence reporters, undermine political opponents, stave off media scrutiny, and mislead citizens.

How small and shriveled up are the cajones of the spineless wimps that put up with this assault on truth simply because the lies support their positions?

Anonymous said...

Trump hotels are getting swarmed with reviews of "Shithole"

How cool is that?!

Anonymous said...

I agree that it hasn't been proven that Trump personally invited the Russians to interfere in the elections. But there is more than enough evidence to prove that the Russians did interfere with the U.S. elections. Possibly enough to swing the vote towards Trump in a few important districts.

Far right conservatives love Trump because he is doing just what they want.

The basic philosophy of the far right is related to the prosperity gospel. It's really a might makes right view of the world. If someone is rich they are rich because God wanted them to be rich. It doesn't really matter how many laws they broke to get rich, the fact that they are rich means God is on their side and they deserve all the breaks in the world.

The religious right loves him because he is putting conservative judges in place who will push their objectives. Such as, outlawing abortion, eliminating the separation of church and state, allow Christians to discriminate openly against people they don't like such as anyone who is not white, straight and Christian.

The corporate right loves him because he is doing what they want.
A massive tax cut for the richest Americans.Destroying the American education system. The business world doesn't need as many workers as it used to because computers are taking their place and uneducated people are easier to manipulate and lie to then educated people.

The small government people love him because he is doing what he said he was going to do. He has hired almost no one at the State Department since he took office. When something happens in an obscure part of the world, the U.S. has no real way of figuring out what is going on because the people in government whose job was to study that part of the world have quit and haven't been replaced. But that doesn't really matter to them. If a small country doesn't do what we want, we should just threaten to nuke them. Why talk, when threats work just as well? They like Trump standing up and giving speeches that make no sense at all but sound vaguely threatening and hit all the right buzz words. Trump has put people in charge of every department who has been an open opponent of the department. The EPA is now rolling back protections. There are several cases where studies show that a particular chemical causes thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of birth defects but it would cost businesses millions of dollars if it was banned. The Obama administration put in guidelines to have companies phase out the use of the chemical over the next 10 years. Trump's people have removed the restriction. They have cut funding to research whether or not products are safe. If we don't know something causes cancer than it doesn't.


Tom McLaughlin said...

Well Scenario, at least you're talking about issues.

I hear "far right" a lot. I'm a conservative in a classic sense. I voted for Trump hoping he would do most of what he said during the campaign and so far he has -- most of it.

He talks too much and brags too much and that's tiresome, but inconsequential to me. It's the issues that count. I don't need to be charmed.

Peter said...

Interesting comments from a fellow conservative about whether or not the ends justify the means:

I may agree with the outcomes and ends that Trump set–such as exiting the Paris Accords, or appointing Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, or beginning to dismantle the administrative state. These ends may actually help to restore the ability to govern through means and conservative values, but those victories are really incidental to the man who achieves them.

Therefore, regardless of what Trump might “achieve” in his ends, I cannot support him for totally ignoring the means. It’s not conservative–in fact it’s the opposite of conservative–to give no value to means over ends. It’s the liberal model, with ersatz conservative outcomes.

Like Ozymandias, a kingdom built on ends, without the supporting ideals of means, will eventually collapse. It cannot stand, because the ideals themselves are the means through which those outcomes are achieved.

Trump is building a building, erecting a bridge, trying to achieve a form of greatness, without the tools to make them stand. It’s all form and no function. It’s an amoral form of social engineering, that ignores the human moral consequences of cutting corners. And like a bridge built exactly to the engineer’s minimum standards, using the lowest quality materials that meet those requirements, it will fail.

Trump loyalist conservatives who stop and engage in some introspection know this. They know they’re investing in an illusory victory. But they want to get the bridge built, the building constructed, the MAGA completed. In the end, they’ll be disappointed. The results may last for a while–the Romans got Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius after Hadrian.

But pursuing ends over means ensures a society’s collapse. History shows it over and over again.

The Bible instructs us to value means over ends. God created man in His image. We have the capacity to discern moral goodness, or to abandon it for evil. God Himself controls the ends, but mankind controls the means.

That Trump does not accept this fact is the entirety of the reason I cannot place my trust in the man. Though I may agree with many of his achievements, and laud those when they advance the cause of conservative ideals, I cannot trust a man who is incapable of sharing those ideals.


Tom McLaughlin said...

Well Peter, I cannot find anything in your post with which I would disagree. I hope you're wrong, however, when you seem to predict that weak leaders will necessarily follow him because he is so flawed in character.

With the exception of the budget he proposed with its $600 billion deficit, I must applaud his actions so far, and perhaps economic growth spurred by his other policies will bring future budgets into balance.

Anonymous said...

I'd really like to understand the modern conservatives idea that cutting taxes on rich people and on corporations while cutting funding for things like education and the safety net for poor people will result in more jobs.

For example, I own a medium sized company with 500 employees that is doing well. I'm thinking about expanding but I don't feel the time is right. I have enough good employees and because I pay them a decent rate of pay and treat them decently so my rate of attrition is pretty low so I don't have to constantly train new people to replace the old ones who've left.

Now I get a tax cut. If I'm making enough money to afford to hire new employees but haven't it usually means I don't need them. If I'm not making enough money to afford to hire new employees, maybe I should be looking at changing my business to make it more profitable before increasing my expenses.

I really can't see any cases where a business person would hire more people they don't need just because their income goes up. Businesses hire new people when they are planning to expand. If they are making money, they will expand when they think it's right to expend no matter what the tax rate is (within reason).

The U.S. has one of the lowest effective business tax rates for any industrialised nation. Lowering it even more at the expense of supporting the infrastructure it needs to survive just won't work.

Many of the modern conservatives ideas are like that. They sound good on the surface but when you really think about them, they really don't.

An example of this is Trump gutting the State Department. I've heard why should we care about what some really small country in a far away place does? But our economy is linked to an awful lot of raw material that can only be gotten from a few far away places. Maybe the country in question is really totally unimportant to the U.S. but what if one of the nearby companies is one of the few suppliers of a material that is needed to make cell phones, or a certain car part or any number of things that drive our economy.

This type of situation comes up all the time. We don't get a lot of our oil from the middle east. But Europe does. If the middle east cuts off supply, Europe will start competing for our oil. If we are willing to pay $1.50 a gallon wholesale for oil and Europe is willing to pay $3.00 a gallon wholesale, who do you think the oil companies will sell the oil to?

Trump has been cleaning house in the state department of all of the people who really understand how the middle east actually works. He's replacing them with bluster and threats. If the situation in the middle east heats up, Trump has forced out many of the people who could give him realist options. He's going to be getting his advice from people who really don't understand the situation and are getting their information about what is going on from Fox News because the conservatives have cut out the jobs of everyone who is actually on site with any real information.

Republican plans sound like the company that makes change. The machine gives out 4 quarters for every paper dollar put in. It expects to make its money because of volume.


Tom McLaughlin said...

"Trump has been cleaning house in the state department of all of the people who really understand how the middle east actually works," writes Scenario.

Did they consider ISIS the "JV Team"? Did they draw the line in Syria? The ones who dithered over fighting ISIS before Trump wiped them out in months? The ones who toppled Ghaddafi and made Libya another haven for jihadis? The ones who negotiated the Iran Nuclear Deal?

And now John Kerry is telling Palestinian terrorists to ignore Trump and wait for Kerry to become president in 2121. Treasonous? I'd say so.

Not only should Trump clean house at Foggy Bottom. He should fumigate afterward.

Anonymous said...

So you expect quick easy fixes in a part of the world that has had near constant conflict for over a thousand years. I don't know enough to know what the good tactics are in the area. What I do know is that you're not going to solve all of the problems in a few months or years. Any realistic plan is going to take decades. You're also not going to solve problems by firing every person who has studied the issues or have actually spent time there. The U.S. government is replacing a policy that many people considered poor with chaos, threats, bluster and insults. It's a classic example of running your government based on faith. Trump has no idea of what's going on in the world and is firing everyone who might be able to help him understand. He's just winging it. Winging it doesn't work in the long term.

Trump didn't wipe out ISIS in months. The fight had been going on for years and Trump came in during the last few months. Did Truman win WWII? This is the same thing.

Ghaddafi was a brutal dictator. There was a popular revolt. We gave air support to the people fighting against a brutal dictator. Now we could have supported Ghaddafi (a dictator that Reagan bombed) or supported the freedom fighter or did nothing. I believe that supporting yet another brutal dictator is likely to create even more terrorists. Doing nothing and allowing hundreds of thousands or millions of civilians to die would also not be a good option.

Oil is the big problem there. Oil keeps us there. Oil gives money and an excuse for widespread slaughter. There's no history of democracies in the area so many countries become dictatorships. Supporting dictatorships keeps things stable for a while but the people will only stand to see their family, friends and neighbors tortured and killed for so long before standing up and saying no more.

Trump is saying appalling and insulting things over and over again. So you're a dirt poor angry teenager in some poor African country that Trump has just called a cesspool. You're thinking about becoming a terrorist because Trump is a prime example of the worst of America. You consider someone standing up and saying that not all Americans are racists like Trump, please wait, they'll be someone new in three years Treasonous?


Tom McLaughlin said...

"There's no history of democracies in the area so many countries become dictatorships."

There is only one democracy in the area: Israel.

John Kerry sides with Arab and Persian Muslims against Israel. So did his boss, Barack Obama. Then they both sided with Persian Shiite Muslims against Israelis and Arab Sunni Muslims by appeasing Iran. With the disastrous Iran nuclear treaty, Kerry and Obama gave away the store and endangered the entire world

Trump is playing the hand Obama dealt and doing very well considering the cards he's holding.