Friday, November 4, 2016

Things About Trump

I got a note from someone asking what I thought about a supposed email article from Peggy Noonan. My thoughts:

The email in bold, my thoughts inline.

Warning. This is long.

Tl;dr I fucking hate chain letters and the people that right them. And, this is mostly a biased BS view in my opinion.

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First, this isn't by Mrs. Noonan. It isn't on the WSJ site, nor her personal site. This is written by an angry, conservative person that lacks critical insight.

Peggy Noonan is a professional, trusted writer who is fair in her reporting.  Before voting, every Democrat and every Republican should read this to understand who Trump really is.  You would never get this from either party, especially said so clearly that it is easily understandable.

Whatever your position, Peggy Noonan is a soberly sound and well respected journalist:  THIS IS AN INTERESTING ARTICLE ON TRUMP.


Peggy Noonan wrote about Trump this weekend in her Wall Street Journal - Trump (Things You Might Not Know About Him)

Trump, hopefully, is waking some of the RINOs up. The criticisms of Trump are amazingly missing something. They are lacking in negative stories from those who work for him or have had business dealings with him.  After all the employees he's had and all the business deals he's made there is a void of criticism. In fact, long term employees call him a strong and merciful leader and say he is far more righteous and of high integrity than people may think.  And while it may surprise many, he's actually humble when it comes to his generosity and kindness.

A good example is a story that tells of his limo breaking down on a deserted highway outside of New York City.  A middle-aged couple stopped to help him and as a thank you he paid off their mortgage, but he didn't brag about that. Generous and good people rarely talk of charity they bestow on others.  But as much as all this is interesting, the real thing that people want to know is what Donald Trump's plan is for America. It's funny how so many people say they don't know what it is, or they act like Trump is hiding it. The information is readily available if people would just do a little homework. But, since most Americans won't –

I'm sure Mr. Trump has been generous to a few people. However, he's been shown numerous times to not be generous at any scale. I don't want a President who only favors those that personally touch him, but one that has empathy and generosity in a wider sense. If Mr. Trump had been President for the last 4 years, would he ever have done something like President Carter and worked to help the world? Would he have done things like Mr. Cuban has done in writing checks to the city he lives in? He rebuilt the ice rink in Central Park, but not as a gift. He did it as low cost, low profit, but not free. Would he donate his wealth on death as Mr. Gates and Mr. Buffet? He hasn't, and I find that to be something that bothers me. He has promised donations that don't often appear to Veterans and other charities. Is that a failure in his chain of command? Perhaps, but he hasn't gone out of his way to correct and apologize for these things.

1. ) Trump believes that America should not intervene militarily in other country's problems without being compensated for doing so. If America is going to risk the lives of our soldiers and incur the expense of going to war, then the nations we help must be willing to pay for our help. Using the Iraq War as an example, he cites the huge monetary expense to American taxpayers (over $1. 5 trillion, and possibly much more depending on what  sources are used to determine the cost) in addition to the cost in human life. He suggests that Iraq should have been required to give us enough of their oil to pay for the expenses we incurred. He includes in those expenses the medical costs for our military and $5 million for each family that lost a loved one in the war and $2 million for each family of soldiers who received severe injuries.

Fair points. I think we should not have ever been in Iraq, and should not be there now. I think it's hard to reconcile this for me with Mr. Trump's statements on attacking ISIS, or jumping into Syria, or his quickly escalating temper to perceived wrongs. I can't be sure that he would involve us less than Senator Clinton. I think it's a coin flip that he might cause more war.

2. ) Trump wants America to have a strong military again. He believes the single most important function of the federal government is national defense. He has said he wants to find the General Patton or General MacArthur who could lead our military buildup back to the strength it needs to be.  While he hasn't said it directly that I know of, Trump's attitude about America and about winning tells me he'd most likely be quick to eliminate rules of  engagement that handicap our military in battle. Clearly Trump is a "win at all costs" kind of guy, and I'm sure that would apply to our national defense and security, too.

How does this fit with the item above? He hasn't really stated what this means? In my mind, this is likely a cavalier call for support from military companies and veterans that would enrich a few, but not necessarily help everyone. I want a larger military as well, but in people, not armaments. That way we are truly (I hope) less likely to engage in war.

3. ) Trump wants a strong foreign policy and believes that it must include 7 core principles: A) American interests come first.  Always. No apologies. B) Maximum firepower and military preparedness. C) Only go to war to win. D) Stay loyal to your friends and suspicious of your enemies. E) Keep the technological sword razor sharp. F) See the unseen Prepare for threats before they materialize. G) Respect and support our present and past warriors.

These are platitudes that are very difficult in practice. Trump is far, far too quick to threaten and bully. It someone doesn't back down, does this then put us in war quicker? I agree US interests trump others, but they aren't so far ahead of everyone else's interests. We need to get along with other countries, but balance that with our needs.

4. ) Trump believes that terrorists who are captured should be treated as military combatants, not as criminals like the Obama administration treats them.

I mostly call BS here, not because President Obama hasn't done some of this, but because in many cases this is a continuation of what happened under President Bush. However, many of the "terrorists" we captured, weren't necessarily engaged in terrorism. We haven't proved that or shown that. In many cases, we are holding them not even as military combatants, which would require adherence to decency and the Geneva Convention. Instead, we treat them as Stalin, Hitler, Mao would treat people they "think" have gone against the country.

We have Habeas Corpus, and need to treat people appropriately. We charge them or release them. We consider them POWs or we do not. This stuff from Guantanamo Bay is un-American, in my opinion. At this point, prove these people are guilty of war crimes, or criminal crimes, but don't hold them without any review of why.

5. ) Trump makes the point that China's manipulation of their currency has given them unfair advantage in our trade dealings with them. He says we must tax their imports to offset their currency manipulation, which will cause American companies to be competitive again and drive manufacturing back to America and create jobs here. Although he sees China as the biggest offender, he believes that America should protect itself from all foreign efforts to take our jobs and manufacturing. For example, Ford is building a plant in Mexico and Trump suggests that every part or vehicle Ford makes in Mexico be taxed 35% if they want to bring it into the U.S., which would  cause companies like Ford to no longer be competitive using their Mexican operations and move manufacturing back to the U. S., once again creating jobs here.

This can't be Mrs. Noonan, but some GOP apologist. Some companies have invested in other countries, but NAFTA has also been a boon in many cases. Jobs and products have been going to China since the 70s (or earlier). Some of the growth of Texas is from NAFTA.

Mr. Trump is using an emotional appeal here, not a rational one. If you tax Ford more, who isn't removing jobs, you may only be raising the cost of cars for everyone (either a tariff tax or a larger cost here). Certainly paying people here more means they can help the economy, but this might be a small amount of increase. Plenty of companies, like BMW, Toyota, Mercedes, etc. build cars in this US. Steel manufacturing has come back. We are the fourth leading country in the world. It's silly to think that other countries won't compete with us and we can always be the top.

by the way, China holds the most of our debt of anyone. They can't just manipulate currency against us willy nilly without hurting their investment. There is work to be done with trade, but I'm not sure, in fact I'd bet against, Mr. Trump really understanding the scale and scope of the issues.

6. ) Trump wants passage of NOPEC legislation (No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act – NOPEC – S. 394), which would allow the government to sue OPEC for violating antitrust laws. According to Trump, that would  break up the cartel. He also wants to unleash our energy companies to drill domestically (sound like Sarah Palin's drill baby, drill?) thereby increasing domestic production creating jobs and driving domestic costs of oil and gas down while reducing dependence on foreign oil.

good luck on suing OPEC. Remember the bill passed to allow 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia? Lots of regret there. Doing this could certainly lead to lots of suits against US companies (tech perhaps?) and might cause more countries to import less of our products, meaning we'd have bigger trade imbalances. Or less trade.

Sounds great, makes a nice boastful statement. Unlikely to remotely happen.

I am for more domestic industry here, but it also needs regulation, or at least escrow and protections. How would you like your property to be ruined because someone drills nearby? What about Chesapeake Bay Oysters, ruined for decades because of industry and only coming back because of regulation. I am all for allowing companies to do more, but they need more accountability and responsibility.

7. ) Trump believes a secure border is critical for both security and prosperity in America. He wants to build a wall to stop illegals from entering and put controls on immigration. (And he says he'll get Mexico to pay for the wall, which many have scoffed at, but given his business successes I wouldn't put it past him.) He also wants to enforce our immigration laws and provide no path to citizenship for those who are here illegally.

Sounds good. In practice, how can you deport 11mm people? So many of these people are de facto citizens, working in many cases for lots of GOP businessmen who have interest in checking papers or preventing them from working because it can be cheaper. Or more reliable against some US workers (our own social issue). This is silly. Even President Reagan didn't think this.
Want a better border, sure, but I'm not sure I think this is the path. Mexico pay for this? I doubt it. If they do, they'll end up building it with plenty of holes. Drug cartels will help and leave tunnels. Corrupt businesses will use substandard materials and make money. It won’t pass any US standards.

It will be a waste of money. We need to work on immigration, but it’s nowhere near as simple, or cheap, as let everyone in or kick everyone out.

8. ) Trump wants a radical change to the tax system to not only make it better for average Americans, but also to encourage businesses to stay here and foreign businesses to move here. The resulting influx of money to our nation would do wonders for our economy. He wants to make America the place to do business. He also wants to lower the death tax and the taxes on capital gains and dividends. This would put more than $1. 6 trillion back into the economy and help rebuild the 1. 5 million jobs we've lost to the current tax system. He also wants to charge companies who outsource jobs overseas a 20% tax, but for those willing to move jobs back to America they would not be taxed. And for citizens he has a tax plan that would allow Americans to keep more of what they earn and spark economic growth. He wants to change the personal income tax to: Up to $30,000 taxed at 1%. From $30,000 to $100,000 taxed at 5%. From $100,000 to $1,000,000 taxed at 10%. $1,000,000 and above taxed at 15%.

The "death" tax is silly. It affects  01% of people who want to leave > $5mm to their kids. Who in this country has more than a $5mm estate? I might, but it's not going to my kids. Most will go to charity, or the local school, or something else. I'd rather see that they perpetuating wealth for people that don't need it. After all, if the kids are high achievers like Ivanka Trump, the taxes won't matter. They'll succeed. If they're idiots like Paris Hilton, I'm not terribly interested in helping them save $1b out of $10b. Just stop talking about this. Want to exempt farms, sure, make an appeals process. I'm not interested in bankrupting anyone, but I won't want a "farmer" that makes $1mm a year avoiding taxes.

Low capital gains and dividends. We did lower long term CGs and what happened? Investment? Sure, some in the stock market, increasing the wealth of people with wealth. Do capital gains encourage business? Well, some large businesses make "investment" a part of what they do. Most of Jack Welch's success at GE came not from GE Industry, but from GE Financial, which acted as an investment group of sorts. This means very, very few jobs, very little wealth spread to investors, large bonuses and some shareholder growth. However, this doesn't make GE bigger as a company in people. Just wealth, which exacerbates the income equality issues in this country. No substantial amount of people in the US benefit from this.

Dividends. Who gets these? Some people who have invested. If we want to help them, then set a tax exemption for a certain amount, or at a certain income level. Does Mr. Buffet need to avoid dividend taxes?

I am for, overall, a consumption, not income tax. How we get there? No idea. However, I can't examine Mr. Trumps tax policy in detail. However, many, many economists and groups view this as a net tax loss, which doesn't help the $20tr debt. Does this help the economy? If people spend. However, most likely we'd see some debt retired and perhaps some savings as people have struggled. May help, may not, but not necessarily making a better economy by saving money for those making over $1mm.

It's a bit of a shell game because many people with large incomes shelter lots of it.

9. ) Trump wants Obamacare repealed. He says it's a "job-killing, health care-destroying monstrosity" that "can't be reformed, salvaged, or fixed".  He believes in allowing real competition in the health insurance marketplace to allow competition to drive prices down. He also believes in tort reform to get rid of defensive medicine and lower costs.

I agree with lots of this, but it's not simple. Can the ACA be fixed? No idea. However, if we repeal it, will we get anything done or that will help people? I think not. I want pieces superseded with new rules and a framework. No plan will be right when we start. We need to make change, see some results, make more change.

Tort reform sounds great. What do we think when a doctor makes a mistake and a kid dies? Or a parent? Everyone wants to get paid then. I'd like to see lawyer fees capped, but then that might mean a $1mm suit becomes a $5mm suit so the lawyer gets paid.

This is a huge mess and it makes me sad. However, I also see some European countries and Canada making a government system work pretty well. Plus there's still the private options there.

10. ) Trump wants spending reforms in Washington, acknowledging that America spends far more than it receives in revenue. He has said he believes that if we don't stop increasing the national debt once it hits $24 trillion it will be impossible to save this country.

Agree on reform. How? Term limits? That means more slick lobbyists influence inexperienced reps. Turn over the civil service? What would that mean? Are we saying there's no value in experience?

This is a mess. I agree that both sides spend too much. One of the few things I think Trump gets right. However, he doesn't seem to get that this ideas cause spending. Build of the military. Think that helps match up spending with revenue?

11. ) Even though he says we need to cut spending, he does not want to harm those on Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security. He believes that the citizens have faithfully paid in to the system to have these services available and that the American government has an obligation to fulfill its end of the bargain and provide those benefits. Therefore, he wants to build the economy up so that we have the revenue to pay those costs without cutting the benefits to the recipients. He disagrees with Democrats who think raising taxes is the answer and says that when you do that you stifle the economy. On the other hand, when you lower taxes and create an environment to help businesses they will grow, hire more workers, and those new workers will be paying taxes that become more tax revenue for the government.

Maybe. I 100% agree we cannot cut benefits for those that have spent their lives paying in. We have an obligation. However, we also need to find a way to pay. It's likely a combination of better economy (Which is a bet), taxes, changing future benefits, and setting aside money, not using it elsewhere.

12. ) Trump also wants reform of the welfare state saying that America needs "a safety net, not a hammock. " He believes in a welfare to work program that would help reduce the welfare rolls and encourage people to get  back to work. And he wants a crackdown on entitlement fraud.

Sure, good things. Some of this has happened, but not sure there's a good plan for helping people get to work.

13. ) Trump believes climate change is a hoax.

Silly. Evidence exists. The idea this is man made, or how much is man made, is a worthy debate. Not worth believing or dismissing.

14. ) Trump opposes Common Core.

Why? Education is hard, and needs reform. We know the world has changed. So much of the anger from people supporting Mr. Trump is from this. Why do we want education to be the same? Why not try something?

By the way, this isn't mandated. Another false lie spread by people sympathetic to the GOP or GOP reps because it gets them votes. It's a framework for learning that asks kids to think, not memorize. I don't know how I feel, but when I've looked, this is far, far more complex than any silly meme people put out.

15. ) Trump is pro-life, although he allows for an exception due to rape, incest, or the life of the mother.

I am pro-choice, believing this is an awful choice for anyone to make. But it is their choice between themselves and their faith/creator/god. Not my place to tell them what to do.

16. ) Trump is pro 2nd Amendment rights.

What does this mean? President Obama has said on dozen's of occasions he supports the 2nd amendment and the right to bear arms. Same for Senator Clinton. They want some reform or restrictions, and not an unlimited right.

The vast majority of the time I see this brought up by the NRA or others, it's a silly straw man argument. If we change one thing, we'll take away guns. It's stupid and asinine. We should respect, but debate, the 2nd amendment.

17. ) Trump's view on same-sex marriage is that marriage is between a man and a woman, but he also believes that this is a state’s rights issue, not a federal issue.

I would disagree because states are controlled by small minorities and we easily get the tyranny of the majority over the minority. We need a consistent view here because people change states, they travel, they need marriage licenses and rights respected.

Don't like gay marriage? Don't marry a gay person. This is an individual's choice.

18. ) Trump supports the death penalty.

Whatever. I disagree, mostly because I think in most cases we aren't perfect and make mistakes. Plenty of convictions are on emotion, not logic or evidence. We also make this very, very expensive.

19. ) Trump believes that there is a lack of common sense, innovative thinking in Washington (Hmmm. . . looks like he believes in horse sense! ). He says it's about seeing the unseen and that's the kind of thinking we need to turn this country around.  He tells a personal story to illustrate the point: "When I opened Trump National Golf Club at Rancho Palos Verdes in Los Angeles, I was immediately told that I would need to build a new and costly ballroom. The current ballroom was gorgeous, but it only sat 200 people and we were losing business because people needed a larger space for their events. Building a new ballroom  would take years to get approval and permits (since it's on the Pacific Ocean), and cost about $5 million. I took one look at the ballroom and saw immediately what needed to be done. The problem wasn't the size of the room, it was the size of the chairs. They were huge, heavy, and unwieldy.  We didn't need a bigger ballroom, we needed smaller chairs! So I had them replaced with high-end, smaller chairs. I then had our people sell the old chairs and got more money for them than the cost of the new chairs. In the end, the ballroom went from seating 200 people to seating 320 people. Our visitors got the space they desired, and I spared everyone the hassle of years of construction and $5 million of expense. It's amazing what you can accomplish with a little common sense. On top of his saving years of construction and $5 million in expenses, he also was able to keep the ballroom open for business during the time it would have been under remodeling, which allowed him to continue to make money on the space instead of losing that revenue during construction time.

What does this remotely have to do with being the leader of a country? A five year old would see this as well. Another sign this was written by someone lacking thoughtfulness or vision.

20. Donald Trump's entire life has been made up of success and winning. He's been accused of bankruptcies, but that's not true. He's never filed personal bankruptcy. He's bought companies and legally used bankruptcy laws to restructure their debt, just as businesses do all the time. But he's never been bankrupt personally.

Again, what does this have to do with anything? He's claimed he's a great businessman. However, if his company, which he controls and isn't public, declares bankruptcy, does that mean it's not his doing? Will he declare bankruptcy for the US? Silly.

21. He's a fighter that clearly loves America and would fight for our nation. Earlier I quoted Trump saying, "I love America. And when you love something, you protect it passionately – fiercely, even."

That's fine. Think this is remotely not true for Senator Clinton? Or President Obama? President Bush? Everyone says, and believes this. Or most people do. We disagree how to protect the country.

We never hear that from Democrats or even from most Republicans.  Donald Trump is saying things that desperately need to be said but no other candidate has shown the fortitude to stand up and say them. Looking over this list of what he wants for America I see a very necessary set of goals that are long past due.  Before we criticize someone because the media does, maybe we should seriously consider what he has to offer, as it is important to know what each of our candidates to replace a President who has ruined us globally, and  who has put us on a path to disaster! This is not an appeal to vote for Trump, only to give some depth of comparison.   "A mile of road will take you one mile. A mile of runway can take you anywhere"

"...a President who has ruined us globally, and who has put us on a path to disaster!" - a hugely subjective opinion. Again, poorly written, and an emotional appeal. Many people, including a huge number of people around the world would disagree. What I find overseas is that progressive people think President Obama is amazing, despite the debt and lack of ending wars. Conservative people think he's done a poor job.

Just like people here.

If you really think President Obama has done a poor job, give me a real, rational reason. Then think of the counter argument and examine that. I constantly question whether I have a good view or perspective on things. Most all issues are a mixed bag.

Please don't continue to read email chain letters with any sort of belief. Almost all of these (conservative or liberal) are written by an angry person that doesn't think through issues.

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