This essay is going to look at 3 things about the Donald Trump candidacy:
- The News Media
- Trump’s Terrible Statements
- Trump’s Policies
There’s a lot to cover, so lets begin.
The DNC Leaks
Wikileaks released several emails showing that CNN (here), The Washington Post, Politico, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and MSNBC worked with the Democratic Party (DNC) to decide what stories to publish and how to edit stories.
This used to be a “right-wing conspiracy theory”, but now we have a smoking gun. Unsurprisingly you don’t hear those media outlets connected to the DNC talking about those connections.
We now have a very good idea that the leaks came from Seth Rich, as indicated by Julian Assange. The leaks were published on July 22, 2016. Seth Rich was killed on July 10, 2016, in what was said to be a burglary, but none of his possessions were stolen, and he still had his wallet and his watch for example.
What this means is that what wikileaks has is probably just what Seth Rich was able to get, and there is probably much more collusion between what is called “mainstream media” and the DNC.
Another problem is that Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter are all supporting Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Maybe that means nothing, maybe they won’t bias search or trending topics in favor of Hillary, but it’s just something one should know.
Even if CNN, The New York Times, or MSNBC wanted to be objective, they would have a hard time being correct. This is because reporters are typically required to publish at least one story per day, and during certain times are required to publish even more. This limits how much research they can actually do, and the result is going to be very un-nuanced stories.
A paper has to fill up space every day, a TV News station has to fill up roughly 16 hours a day, every day. And the people doing it are simply people who got journalism degrees. I have personal experience with this. These people are not special, and there is no “fact-checking” to any meaningful degree.
And this very model, the “TV News Station” or the “Newspaper”, is not something that was tested or proven to be the best way to disseminate information. It’s simply a model that came about in the past at some point, and the most profitable “news” producers are the ones we have today.
All of this creates a problem: when someone turns on CNN, they think they are watching “the news”, when really they’re just watching what events a coffee-fueled and sleep-deprived reporter could get their hands on and that they thought was interesting.
An interesting thing happened when FOX News came about.
What a “news” station does is tell people what they want to hear, but at the same time having just enough “real talk” to appear objective and professional, as if they are “journalists” and “reporters”.
FOX News however, catered to a different market, and what their audience wanted to hear was different from what CNN’s audience wanted to hear. And so people for whom CNN and MSNBC was the norm came to view FOX as being “not real news”. And of course they were half right!
And lastly, news networks will drop investigations once another network has a scoop. The result is that they all report the same thing. And this makes sense from a marketing standpoint; if you’re CBS, and ABC just reported 10 killed by Chechens in Russia, you can either repeat ABC’s story and move on and try to find a scoop on something else, OR you can go do your own independent investigation and try to falsify ABC.
If you did that, the best that could happen is you do falsify ABC’s claims. Then you have a story about ABC misreporting events. But now you’ve made ABC an enemy, and they may try to debunk you later. What’s more likely to happen is you either confirm ABC’s story, or you find nothing to report at all, neither of which is newsworthy and you just wasted precious reporting hours that could have been used on another story.
For this reason, the fact that multiple “news” media outlets all saying the same thing is not evidence that it is true because they have no incentive to independently verify anything.
This copycat behavior isn’t limited to factual reporting; “news” outlets will sometimes copy opinions, for example the outlets all using literally the same word – “dark” – to describe Trump’s nomination speech.
Why Talk About The “News”?
The reason I talk about “the news” is because I am going to say things that are not in “the news” – i.e. what sleep-deprived coffee-fueled reporters write about. And for some people, they feel “safer” or more “confident” in what a CNN-tagged reporter wrote for their daily story than what I say, no matter how much more evidence I present or how much more time I have spent on the topic.
In fact, if I present too much evidence I become one of those “far right conspiracy” people.
The Mass Attack Strategy
An excellent strategy to attack somebody is to just throw out a sheer number of attacks. What this does is cause the casual observer to go, “well, they can’t all be wrong…”. Moreover, if Trump’s defenders are having to defend him on 10 different statements, it creates an aura, an appearance of impropriety.
The casual observer goes “well, they can’t all be lies” – but of course they can.
In addition, the casual observer sees multiple news networks all in agreement (media convergence) about Terrible Trump, and so imagines that there has been independent verification.
One of the common lines against Trump, used against Trump supporters, is:
“you keep having to defend Trump and clean up his messes. Doesn’t that raise some red flags for you about Trump?”
And of course that’s the game – make 10 accusations, even if they are all wrong, and by the time someone gets through explaining accusation number 5, it starts to “look really bad” that you’re “having to explain so many gaffes”.
That’s by design. That’s the strategy. And having multiple “news” networks makes this much more effective, because now it seems like more voices are saying it, when in reality it’s just the same media convergence that we always see.
Going Through “The News”
1. Trump throws out a baby at a rally
Tim Kaine also certainly pushed the idea that Trump threw a baby out of his rally.
2. Trump wants to nuke Mexico; other unspecified countries.
However, it was later found that Politico was completely fabricating quotes.
By August of 2016, the “news” media converged on the nuke story again, this time citing an “off the record” discussion Trump supposedly had with an advisor, who had since come to hate Trump and was telling the media about this event which he says occurred “several months ago”.
Now of course there’s no way to disprove that Trump, at some unspecified point several months ago, asked “why can’t we just use nukes” multiple times, and that the advisor just sat on this information and just happened to tell the media about it once he soured on Trump, but it seems fake to me, especially since something similar was tried earlier. Especially since the former advisor didn’t name which countries Trump wanted to nuke.
3. Trump called for Hillary to be assassinated; met with Secret Service over it
CNN reported that the Secret Service met with Donald Trump about his “2nd Amendment Remarks”, which were interpreted by several “news” outlets in convergence to possibly be a call to assassinate Hillary Clinton and/or anti-gun judges.
But it turns out CNN literally made that up. There was no secret service meeting; that was a bogus authority play on the part of CNN.
This was regarding comments Trump made about second amendment. Trump later claimed that he was talking about the legal action that 2nd amendment advocates have engaged in for years, not assassinating people. I believe that was the case, and if it was a normal person you would give him the benefit of the doubt.
But because of all of the other attacks on Trump, you might be less charitable to Trump than you would be for a random person. I.e. – the existence of other attacks on Trump also has the effect of you more likely believing any individual attack, including this one.
That aside, Hillary Clinton made what is in my opinion, a much more direct reference to the assassination of Barack Obama during the 2008 primary, and you probably never heard of it:
“There has been this urgency to end this, and, you know, historically this makes no sense…
We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assasinated in June in California…”
4. Trump refused to denounce David Duke
One of the big attacks against Trump was that Trump refused to disavow David Duke, a former KKK leader.
To me, it seems like there was a strategy to ask Trump to denounce David Duke until one time Trump didn’t, and then they could say, “TRUMP REFUSES TO DENOUNCE KKK”.
Or if he keeps denouncing David Duke, then they could say, “why does Trump keep bringing up former KKK leader David Duke?”
5. Trump is running for all of his billionaire friends
One of the more bizarre attacks on Trump is that the billionaire class supports him. This is simply not true, as we can see in both total donations and even in voter preference for people with household incomes above $75k.
6. Trump “attacked the family of a dead soldier” Kazir Khan
Kazir Khan, an advocate of Sharia Supremacy over the US Constitution, and who ran a business getting wealthy muslims residency in the United States, attacked Donald Trump for his ban on muslim immigration.
Of course Trump’s ban is on countries with terrorism ties, not necessarily all muslim countries, but whatever.
The problem though is that the constitution prohibits a religious test for public office, it does NOT prohibit a religious test for immigration. And in fact the US has banned several immigrant groups in the past, including muslims. So Khan’s point is incorrect, a muslim ban would be constitutional, even though Trump doesn’t specifically support a muslim ban.
Trump called Khan a “terrorist sympathizer”, which is matter-of-factly true as two of the scholars of islamic law he cites (see above links) are, in fact, muslim brotherhood members.
However, Khan’s son died in Iraq in 2004, a war which Hillary voted for, and Trump by that time opposed. And since the Khan family was a “gold star family”, this whole episode where Trump argues against a shariah supremacist got turned into “Trump attacks a gold star family”.
Even John Kasich joined in, saying, “There’s only one way to talk about Gold Star parents: with honor and respect. Capt. Khan is a hero. Together, we should pray for his family.”
So, according to Kasich, Khan is supposed to get a free pass because his son died 12 years ago.
7. Trump called all Mexicans rapists
This Trump statement sparked outrage:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
If instead of “some” he said “most” are good people, then this quote would be correct. That is the problem with this quote, which he made off-the-cuff. However, Trump’s behavior, which includes hiring hundreds of hispanics throughout his life, is evidence that he probably thinks most hispanics are good people.
But his general point is true, as hispanics are in fact more criminal than whites, and Mexican immigrants in particular are poorer than almost any immigrant group. This is likely because Mexico has a border with the United States, and so poor people can just cross the border. In other countries, you have to have some wealth to get to the United States, and so Mexican immigrants in particular are more likely to be criminal since poor people are more often criminal.
One common claim is that immigrants commit fewer crimes based on their “incarceration rate”, or percentage of the population ever incarcerated. This is misleading since immigrants have only been here a few years, while the native-born have been here their whole lives.
If you’ve lived in the US for 30 years, and an immigrant only lived for 1 year, and you were both incarcerated one time, that registers as the same incarceration rate. But he got incarcerated in just 1 year! That’s why incarceration rates for immigrants is misleading – they haven’t been here as long, so even if they were exactly as criminal as the native-born, they would still show up as “having lower crime rates”.
This is why prison population is a better to estimate the real criminality of groups.
All this is a long way of saying that Trump is basically correct, if overgeneralized. Hispanics of all types are more criminal than whites, and Mexico is fact unique in that it it’s poorest people are emigrating to the US (which is not the case for other countries), and if you bring them in you will get more crime.
8. Trump asked Russia to hack Hillary
There was great outrage by the “news” media over Trump ostensibly calling on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s private server to find the emails she didn’t send to the FBI. People were attacking Trump for calling on Russia to breach US national security.
First off, that’s not what he said. He was asking for the Russians to give them if they already had them.
But more importantly – why would hacking Clinton’s private server be a breach of national security? According to Hillary, all that was in there that wasn’t handed to the FBI was wedding plans and yoga classes. And so ironically, the outrage at Trump supposedly calling on Russia to hack Hillary’s server (which he didn’t) shows that they know that Hillary was lying and that there most certainly was classified information in there.
9. Trump said McCain wasn’t a war hero
There is this bizarre reverence for John McCain. There are a few things to consider about “war hero” McCain.
First is that recently released Navy records show that John McCain caused the fire on the USS Forrestal Aircraft Carrier which killed 27 men. The fire was caused by McCain “wet-starting” his engine, which is starting it with fuel already in the engine. The fuel “cooked off” too quickly and a flame shot out the back of his aircraft, causing a missile from an aircraft behind him to fire.
McCain’s father, John Sidney McCain, was an admiral in the Navy at the time, and the future senator was transferred to the USS Oriskany immediately following the incident. McCain was the only person to be transferred immediately.
3 months later, McCain was shot down in Vietnam. His busted shoulders were not caused by torture, but by his failure to follow proper ejection protocols from his aircraft. He was shot down not by a surface to air missile, but by anti-aircraft artillery, as he failed to follow proper evasion procedures and flew too low.
He wasn’t initially taken to a prison, but to a hospital, where he received surgery. This is because, as the son of an admiral, the Vietnamese viewed him as a useful bargaining chip and propaganda piece.
McCain then gave pro-Vietnamese, anti-american propaganda that has been uncovered in the national archives.
And all of this came out in 2008, so it is entirely plausible that Donald Trump, mockingly saying of John McCain, “He’s a war hero because he got captured”, knew about all of this. Or if he didn’t, Trump happened to be correct by accident.
10. Trump referred to Megyn Kelly’s period
After the first Republican primary debate, in which Megyn Kelly was one of the moderators, Trump talked about her thusly:
“Well I just don’t respect her as a journalist, I have no respect for her, I don’t think she’s very good I think she’s highly overrated. But when I came out there, you know, what am I doing? I’m not getting paid for this…
So she gets out and starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions, and you know, you could see that there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her, wherever. But she was in my opinion, off base.”
So that’s the text of the quote. I would recommend just watching the video and see if you think he was referring to her period, or if he just couldn’t finish a sentence and wanted to move on so he said “wherever”.
11. Mocking the Disabled
One claim about Trump is that he mocked a disabled reporter. The reporter’s name was Serge Kovaleski, who has a condition known as arthrogryposis.
Here’s what Kovaleski looks like in an interview. He is not spastic nor does he flail is arms about.
Now, if you think Trump was mocking Kovaleski, I would recommend watching this video to get some context and judge for yourself.
There’s no way to know if Trump knew Kovaleski had a condition. Kovaleski of course claims that Trump knew him very well, Trump disagrees, the only recorded contact between Trump and Kovaleski was from 1989.
Obviously I don’t think Trump knew who Kovaleski was or was trying to mock the disabled, and I think this is what a reasonable person would conclude if they just watched the videos in isolation without “analysis”.
12. The La Raza Judge
One claim that was pushed by “the news” was that Donald Trump “attacked a judge for being a Mexican”.
In reality, this is what he said about Curiel:
“So what happens is the judge, who happens to be, we believe Mexican, which is great. I think that is fine. You know what? I think the Mexicans are going to end up loving Donald Trump when I give all these jobs. I think they are going to love it. I think they are going to love me. . . .”
If you think I’m cherry-picking go watch the full speech.
Now as it turns out, Curiel’s parents were Mexican and he was an anchor-baby. This alone is enough to recuse Curiel from ruling on Donald Trump, and in fact Obama blocked Iranain judges from ruling on Iranian immigration cases to guard against ethnic bias.
In addition, Curiel is a member of San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association, which works with and has links from its website to the National Council of La Raza (La Raza meaning “the race”).
Looking at their mission statement, they are obviously a racial activist group, i.e. they seek to increase specifically hispanic legal power as a proportion of the legal power that exists. Now you can think whatever you want about that, think that’s good or bad, but it’s certainly a source of bias in this case, and Trump is correct to be angry and concerned that this isn’t justice, especially since Curiel decided to reactivate the case which had been dead for years out of the blue just as Trump is running for president.
1. Trade and TPP
On trade in general, Trump wants to return the United States to having high effective tariffs on manufactured goods like it had for most of its history, the period which coincided with increased manufacturing and economic development. Coincidentally, China is currently having extreme economic growth coincident with protectionist policies, as did Japan during their catch-up to the west.
The United States has been trying out the policy of low tariffs for manufactured goods for about 70 years now, and over that period, aside from the time period of 1945-1964, real hourly wages have been stagnant. So it’s not like we haven’t tried removing tariffs, we have, and the results are manifest.
And as Ian Fletcher put it in “Free Trade Doesn’t Work”, none of the current industrial economies became industrial, developed economies by practicing free trade. The idea of free trade development is largely hypothetical except for countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and oil rich countries.
In addition, as argued by Ha-Joon Chang, free trade doesn’t even help the developing world either, turning them into manufactories for the west instead of producing a healthy, balanced economy that relies on and thus helps grow domestic demand. So no, free trade is not good for the developing world either, it’s really only good for a thin crust of truly international corporations that lobby for this crap.
Now on the Trans Pacific Partnership, TPP is a really, really bad bill; it is a treaty establishes a tribunal that can enforce the treaty obligations on any country signed onto it known as the “Investor State Dispute Settlement”. Everything else bad about the TPP basically stems from this, because any company can sue any country, or citizen within a country, for having policies that reduce expected profits for that company. A company in Malaysia can sue you for voilating some Malaysian law in a way that reduces their expected revenue.
In particular, the TPP gives copyrights much longer than current US law, it’s unclear if “fair use” will be upheld, and if a company in Japan says you using Mario’s likeness hurts their profits, Nintendo may be able to sue you; it’s unclear how these things will play out.
For food and product safety, a company could sue a country for having laws that reduce expected revenue. And while some of these scenarios are speculative, what’s the point? Why not just have us be in control of our safety and health regulations, have us be in control of intellectual property laws, and have us be in control of environmental and work safety laws? At best the TPP won’t do any harm; at worst it could be a nightmare – why can’t we just be in control of our own policies?
Barack Obama obviously supports the TPP, as does Joe Biden, as did Hillary Clinton until Bernie Sanders (fantastic speech) forced her to also oppose it during the Democrat primary. And of course, Donald Trump opposes it as he opposed NAFTA.
One of the issues that catapulted Trump to the top in the GOP primary was immigration. And Trump’s stance is absolutely correct for the United States.
First off, real US wages have been stagnant at least since 1964. Bringing in new competing workers doesn’t make sense when wages are flatlining. The point of bringing in new workers is if there is a labor shortage. In addition, mass immigration is associated with a slightly negative impact on native wages. But considering that people immigrate to wealthier areas, it’s likely that the real impact is even greater since those areas with high immigration and decline in native wages would have otherwise had wage growth.
Second off, immigration cannot seriously help the developing world – it’s mathematically impossible, as numbersusa pointed out in this presentation.
An third off, immigration in general takes the more connected, more skilled or just more determined people from developing countries. And thus, in the long run, harms their economic development. Mass immigration is not humanitarian for the developing world, and it’s bad of the average person already in the United States.
And so it simply makes sense to put a halt on immigration. Certainly the US should stop immigration for the next 4 years.
3. Foreign Policy
I wouldn’t describe Trump as an ideological non-interventionist (Trump really isn’t ideological at all), but there are a few things about Trump that would be an improvement.
First off, Trump wants to end the new cold war with Russia and work with Russia in the middle east. He says he wants to “bomb the hell out of ISIS”, which in my opinion is necessary, but then the region needs to be handed over to Assad, not some fake “democratic” regime that the neocons want.
Trump has also stated that he supports propping up dictators and that the world would be much better off if Mubarak, Assad, Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein were still in power. Now this is my opinion, but in my opinion, this is how you actually achieve a stable middle east, like what existed before 2003. Al-Qaeda, ISIS and the forces in Libya and now Yemen occur when the governments there collapse; and these US interventions in Libya, Egypt, Syria and Iraq had the effect of destroying those governments and opening up a vacuum.
This is one of the reasons I came to support Trump, because he gets it. The old realists were proven correct, the neocon global-democracy maniacs have been proven wrong in the most spectacular way imaginable, and Trump wants to go back to supporting dictators – a policy that worked.
And lastly, Trump wants wealthy countries that the US provides defense for, to have to pay for some of the cost of that defense. Why don’t we do this already?
4. Universal Healthcare
Increasingly the Affordable Care Act is becoming less popular as people learn that it is essentially a government-enforced cartel for insurance companies, with the exchanges being the the system is managed in each state. Now in the past, insurance companies legally prevented competition from forming, so they can together jack up the prices, but they were kept in check by some people just choosing to not have health insurance.
With “Obamacare”, you are fined for not having health insurance, and so insurance companies can raise rates even higher. And next year insurance premiums are expected to have a large hike.
Hillary Clinton of course supports this crap.
One thing consistent about Trump has been his support for government-funded universal healthcare of some sort. He’s not necessarily for it being government run, simply that everyone needs to be covered.
5. Social Issues
Trump doesn’t care about social issues and said what he needed to say to get through the GOP primary. If you’re a social conservative you should vote Trump because he’ll have to work with Republicans to get things passed. If you’re a social liberal, well all I can say is that Trump will probably be the most socially liberal Republican president ever, for whatever that’s worth.
For an across-the-board progressive, Hillary will be better on social issues, but worse on literally everything else – from foreign policy to trade and even immigration once you actually look at the data on it.
Donald Trump is a non-ideological candidate. He’s running as a Republican kind of like Bernie Sanders ran as a Democrat. It is difficult to attack him as extreme on the issues because he’s simply not. He’s an across-the-board centrist. It’s difficult to attack him as corrupt because he doesn’t get any big money.
So the attacks are all about him being crazy and unhinged as a person, as I pointed out in the 12 media attacks that I went over. He’s more progressive on trade and healthcare, and just plain better on immigration and foreign policy.
And since we’ve cleared up “the news” trying to make him out to be the reincarnation of Yosemite Sam, there’s little reason not to vote Trump.
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