Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Trump's Big CON: TrumpTrade Might Kill Ya

"The first known shipment of cooked chicken from China reached the United States last week, following a much-touted trade deal between the Trump administration and the Chinese government.

But consumer groups and former food-safety officials are warning that the chicken could pose a public health risk, arguing that China has made only minor progress in overhauling a food safety regime that produced melamine-laced infant formula and deadly dog biscuits."

Read the Washington Post, The dark side of Trump’s much-hyped China trade deal: It could literally make you sick.

Trump's Big CON: It's All About the Show (The Trump Family Show)

UPDATE VIII: It's all about building the family brand, and dynasty.

"Though Trump's oldest daughter has repeatedly said she tries to steer clear of politics, she found herself thrust into a political maelstrom Saturday when she briefly filled in for her father at a table of world leaders when he left the room for other meetings.

A grainy photo of Ivanka, taken by a member of Russia's delegation, showed the president's daughter seated between British Prime Minister Theresa May and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a massive table during a G-20 working session on 'Partnership With Africa, Migration and Health.'"

Read the Washington Post, Trump defends his daughter Ivanka’s breach of diplomatic protocol.

As stated below: To the con man, it not whether it is actually true, or good, or works, it is the show that is most important, style and form over substance.

The essence of Trump is the show.

So why does Ivanka have an office in the White House, or take her Dad's seat at a table during a G-20 working session of world leaders?  Not because of her qualifications, because she looks good in the Trump family show.

Remember: it's all 'bout the show, 'bout the show, stupid people!!! (Repeat til you get it).

UPDATE VII:  And what's wrong with keeping it all in the family?

Nepotism "is, in fact, 'a beautiful thing.' . .

But calling nepotism “a beautiful thing” and saying it's actually beneficial is really testing the bounds of what's been politically and socially acceptable."

Read the Washington Post, The Trumps’ war for nepotism.

UPDATE VI:  Trump is like his many voter, a man of pictures, not words.

"The man is a TV viewer, not known to be interested in books. "

Read the Washington Post, The president of visuals.

UPDATE V:  "Why don’t we just stitch him a red cape, put him in spandex, affix a stylized “S” to his chest and be done with it?

SuperJared has taken flight.

He’s President Trump’s point man with the Chinese, having finalized the details of the big meeting at Mar-a-Loco later this week. . .

Kushner’s to-do list, not Tillerson’s, contains the small, pesky item of brokering a durable truce between the Israelis and the Palestinians. “If you can’t produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can,” Trump said to the 36-year-old real estate scion, who has absolutely no background in diplomacy, from the stage of an inaugural party.

The precise strategy is under wraps. . .

Mere details! Just leave things to Kushner. He’ll figure it out in those down moments when he’s not supervising the brand new Office of American Innovation, whose modest ambition is a full-scale reorganization of the federal government that makes it more efficient.

But Kushner’s many mandates aren’t a laughing matter. They’re a reflection of some of Trump’s most unsettling traits as president, and Kushner is a symbol of his delusions.

Trump’s overreliance on Kushner illustrates the extraordinary premium he places on loyalty. Kushner’s status as a visionary is entirely disputable: His real-estate company was a birthright, not a start-up, and as an article by Charles Bagli in The Times this week demonstrated, one of Kushner’s key acquisitions, the skyscraper at 666 Fifth Avenue, turned into an albatross. . .

The president seems to see certain people as exempt from the laws of gravity, and he has accorded Kushner a place snug beside him in that pantheon. He keeps telling us that he can predict the future, and he keeps telling himself that Kushner can juggle more than even the most seasoned, brilliant White House aides of yesteryear pulled off. Kushner doesn’t seem to be quibbling.

I’m told by insiders that when Trump’s long-shot campaign led to victory, he and Kushner became convinced not only that they’d tapped into something that everybody was missing about America, but that they’d tapped into something that everybody was missing about the two of them.

Kushner was reborn with new powers, and to the heavens he ascended.

It’s a bird! It’s a plane!

It’s ridiculous."

Read The New York Times, Jared Kushner, Man of Steel

UPDATE IV: "Kushner hadn’t served a day on a school board before Trump put him in charge of, you know, America. Near as I can tell, his sole achievement in his young life — much like his wife’s — is to have spent his parents’ money on cool stuff, like some buildings and a once trendy newspaper you’ve never read. . .

I’d be willing to give Jared and Ivanka the benefit of the doubt — even absent any obvious humility or aptitude for their jobs — if they were willing to entirely divest themselves from competing interests, as Cabinet secretaries do. They won’t, because it’s not their way to sacrifice for any greater good, and because they have an evident disdain for those who devote their lives to bettering the country.

To the Trump-Kushner axis, those people are just suckers who don’t have what it takes to get rich, or at least to be born that way.

The privileges they inherited are theirs to keep while they meddle around with policies that affect the rest of us. The honor, I guess, is all ours.

Read Yahoo, Jared and Ivanka ask what their country can do for them.

UPDATE III:  Trump is creating a dynastic, insular White House.

There is his daughter, who is now an 'official' employee.

Read the Washington Post, Ivanka Trump to become official White House employee.

As noted below, why is Ivanka  an 'official' employee in the White House?  Not because of her qualifications, because she looks good.

Now his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who was given a 'new office and several vanity projects, mant that exist' "primarily to put Kushner in the same room with people he admires whom he wouldn’t have had access to before, glossing government agencies in the process with a thin veneer of what appears to be capitalism but is really just nihilistic cost-cutting designed to project the optics of efficiency. If the outside experts have good advice, it will be heeded only where it reinforces what the administration would do anyway. And anyone who volunteers to carry out the administration’s agenda may be handed wholesale control of an area of government where their domain expertise isn’t just low, but nonexistent."

Read the Washington Post, I worked for Jared Kushner. He’s the wrong businessman to reinvent government.

Read also the Washington Post, How President Trump could use the White House to enrich himself and his family and Jared Kushner’s White House job may be legal. But history shows it’s a bad idea.

UPDATE II:  "Even if Trump 'wins' and the bill passes, this whole process has been an utter disaster from start to finish. The media analysis is already being framed in a way that will obscure this from view. And Trump himself is determined not to learn the right lessons from the whole mess — no matter what happens."

Read the Washington Post, Even if Trump ‘wins,’ this health-care mess has been a horrendous disaster.

UPDATE:  You must read this great anlysis about Trump winning the election and now having to fulfill his promise to save us from Obamacare.

Read the Washington Post, Trumpcare: How we got from ‘wonderful’ to widely panned, which in part notes;

"After Thursday’s embarrassing failure to round up enough votes for passage of the GOP-sponsored American Health Care Act, the White House insists the House vote on a bill that:

    Knocks 24 million people off coverage
    Increases the costs for many older, rural voters
    Removes requirements to include 10 basic items (e.g. pediatric care)
    Cuts Medicaid by $880 billion
    Is silent on selling insurance across state lines

How did this happen? How did the populist president who appealed to 'the forgotten' men and women wind up with a bill that’s so harmful to his base, something that is aimed at cutting and de-federalizing Medicaid and giving huge tax cuts to the rich?

One is tempted to say Trump never intended to make good on his promises. Perhaps he always planned on betraying his base and was interested only in big tax cuts for the rich. The man who conned customers into buying inferior products (a 'university' education, vodka, steaks) may simply have said whatever he thought people wanted to hear — with no intention of following through.

There is, however, a more nuanced explanation. Trump, he admits, never thought he would win the presidency. He never cared for nor developed detailed policies, because he saw the race as a giant media show in which substance was irrelevant. He never dreamed he would actually have to figure out what 'terrific' insurance looked like. He was candid when he said recently that “nobody [i.e. Trump] knew health care could be so complicated.” He really had no idea what he was doing."

Let me repeat that most important point; "He really had no idea what he was doing."

Trump is the dog who caught his tail, now what!

To the con man, it not whether it is actually true, or good, or works, it is the show that is most important, style and form over substance.

The essence of Trump is the show.

So why does Ivanka have an office in the White House?  Not because of her qualifications, because she looks good.

Don't believe me, watch as she poses in the video from the Washington Post, Ivanka Trump’s West Wing job isn’t just unethical. It’s also dangerous.:

I especially like her thinking man pose at 0:58 seconds in the video.

The Donald also knows how to put on a show, see him "behind the wheel of a truck at the White House on Thursday, as he met with truckers during a health-care event":

The truck has to do with health care, but it big and powerful, an image that the Donald love to cultivate.

So is the GOP health care plan good or bad, does it work and do what Trump, promised?

No, but Trump doesn't care, The Donald wants a "win".

Read The New York Times, Trump the Dealmaker Projects Bravado, but Behind the Scenes, Faces Rare Self-Doubt, which notes that:

"A president who prefers unilateral executive action and takes intense pride in his ability to cut deals finds himself in a humbling negotiation unlike any other in his career, pinned between moderates who believe the health care measure is too harsh, and a larger group of fiscal conservatives adept at using their leverage to scuttle big deals cut by other Republican leaders. . .

Crashing on the shoals of Congress marks Mr. Trump’s first true encounter with legislative realities and the realization that a president’s power is less limitless than it appears, particularly in the face of an intransigent voting bloc. Mr. Trump is not used to a hard no — but that was the word of the week. . .

If Mr. Trump has any advantage in the negotiations, it is his ideological flexibility: He is more interested in a win, or avoiding a loss, than any of the arcane policy specifics of the complicated measure, according to a dozen aides and allies interviewed over the past week who described his mood as impatient and jittery. Already, he has shown that flexibility by going back on campaign promises that no one would lose coverage when the Affordable Care Act was replaced and he would not cut Medicaid."

Read also the Washington Post, Trump’s health care ultimatum is straight out of ‘The Art of the Deal.’ It just might work.

Read also Trump's Big CON: It's All About the Threatre.

Trump's Big CON: "More Coal Jobs"

UPDATE IV:  "In terms of raw numbers, though, there’s another industry that has fared even worse. Compared to January 2009, there are 35,600 fewer coal miners. But over that period there are also 198,400 fewer department store employees. . .

Far less of Trump’s core base of support is negatively affected by a stumbling coal industry than a crumbling department store chain. But department stores don’t carry the cultural weight that coal mining does, particularly to Trump and his base of support. As with so many other aspects of the United States these days, the political utility of the people who are negatively affected makes an enormous difference in how much political leaders care."

Read the Washington Post, Why is Trump more worried about coal miners than department store employees?

UPDATE III:  "The coal-mining jobs that President Trump thinks were destroyed by government regulation — adopted to combat air pollution and global warming — were actually lost to old-fashioned competition from other American firms and workers. Eastern coal mines lost market share to Western coal, which was cheaper. And natural gas grew at coal’s expense because it had low costs and lower greenhouse-gas emissions.

[So those 50,000 jobs Trump promised, it will be] closer to 1,000."

Read the Washington Post, What really happened to coal?

UPDATE II:  Read the Washington Post, The entire coal industry employs fewer people than Arby’s, which notes that:

"The point isn't that coal jobs don't matter — they matter to the people who have them and to the communities they support, especially as they typically pay far more than do jobs in the retail and service industries, But if you're looking to make a meaningful increase in the number of jobs available to U.S. workers, bringing back coal jobs isn't going to do it.

Of course, part of the fixation on coal is because mining has always loomed large in the American imagination. There's something mysterious and ennobling about the dangerous endeavor to extract valuable commodities from deep within the earth, something that's missing from, say, used-car sales or ski-lift operation."
UPDATE:  "[T]he number of miners began a steep decline after World War II, and especially after 1980, even though coal production continued to rise. This was mainly because modern extraction techniques — like blowing the tops off mountains — require far less labor than old-fashioned pick-and-shovel mining. The decline accelerated about a decade ago as the rise of fracking led to competition from cheap natural gas.

So coal-mining jobs have been disappearing for a long time. Even in West Virginia, the most coal-oriented state, it has been a quarter century since they accounted for as much as 5 percent of total employment.

What, then, do West Virginians actually do for a living these days? Well, many of them work in health care: Almost one in six workers is employed in the category “health care and social assistance.”

Oh, and where does the money for those health care jobs come from? Actually, a lot of it comes from Washington.

West Virginia has a relatively old population, so 22 percent of its residents are on Medicare, versus 16.7 percent for the nation as a whole. It’s also a state that has benefited hugely from Obamacare, with the percentage of the population lacking health insurance falling from 14 percent in 2013 to 6 percent in 2015; these gains came mainly from a big expansion of Medicaid. . .

Now think about what Trumpism means for a state like this. Killing environmental rules might bring back a few mining jobs, but not many, and mining isn’t really central to the economy in any case. Meanwhile, the Trump administration and its allies just tried to replace the Affordable Care Act. If they had succeeded, the effect would have been catastrophic for West Virginia, slashing Medicaid and sending insurance premiums for lower-income, older residents soaring. . .

It’s almost certain that the job losses from Trumpcare cuts would have greatly exceeded any possible gains in coal.

So West Virginia voted overwhelmingly against its own interests. And it wasn’t just because its citizens failed to understand the numbers, the reality of the trade-off between coal and health care jobs.

For the striking thing, as I said, is that coal isn’t even the state’s dominant industry these days. “Coal country” residents weren’t voting to preserve what they have, or had until recently; they were voting on behalf of a story their region tells about itself, a story that hasn’t been true for a generation or more.

Their Trump votes weren’t even about the region’s interests; they were about cultural symbolism. . .

So it’s incredible, and terrifying, to think that we may really be about to do all of that because Donald Trump successfully pandered to cultural nostalgia, to a longing for a vanished past when men were men and miners dug deep."

Read The New York Times, Coal Country Is a State of Mind.

"With coal miners gathered around him, Trump signed an executive order rolling back a temporary ban on mining coal and a stream protection rule imposed by the Obama administration. The order follows the president’s campaign promise to revive the struggling coal industry and bring back thousands of lost mining jobs in rural America.

'I made them this promise,' Trump said, 'we will put our miners back to work.'

But industry experts say coal mining jobs will continue to be lost, not because of blocked access to coal, but because power plant owners are turning to natural gas. . .

Paul Bledsoe, a lecturer at American University’s Center for Environmental Policy, an Interior official under President Bill Clinton, called Trump’s attempt at job creation 'sheer nonsense.' Coal’s decline is too steep.

'No company will bid on new leases when there’s already a glut of unwanted coal on the market,' Bledsoe said. 'Trump’s false promise that he can bring back coal is really exposed as so much coal dust and mirrors by this executive order, since utilities will continue to use natural gas instead of coal.'"
Read the Washington Post, Trump promised to bring back coal jobs. That promise 'will not be kept,' experts say

Read also Trump's Big CON: "More U.S. Manufacturing Jobs"