Monday, August 7, 2017

Trump's Big CON: The Donald Admits that the Wall is 'Boob Bait for Bubbas'

UPDATE:  The border wall "was always a scam; perhaps more interesting is that Trump would admit it so openly to a foreign leader — and that he himself is in no way deluded about it.

Trump plainly knew that he’d never get Mexico to pay for a wall (if it ever gets built), even as he was telling crowds that they would. And he cared deeply about it, because he understood just how powerful a symbol it had become for his followers. Which meant that he wanted to keep the illusion alive for as long as possible . . .

I’m not saying that Trump doesn’t actually want to cut down on undocumented immigration. He certainly does. But why was it so important that Mexico pay for the wall? Why did Trump do that call-and-response with his rabid crowds about it? “And who’s going to pay for it?” he’d ask. “Mexico!” they’d shout. The reason is that making Mexico pay for the wall would be an act of domination, humiliating them so we could show that we were in control.

This idea lay at the very heart of Trump’s appeal to white working-class voters, particularly men. He understood that those people no longer felt in control — their economic opportunities had dwindled, their communities had declined, they felt deeply uncomfortable in a country growing more diverse all the time and a bunch of liberals are telling them to check their privilege. Trump promised them not just that he would turn back the clock and Make America Great Again, but also that he would empower them to strike back at those who had made them feel small.

Keep in mind that Trump’s entire worldview is shaped by the idea of domination and submission. Every interaction — between people or countries — is a zero-sum contest in which there’s a winner and a loser. If you aren’t the winner then you’re the loser, the chump, the one everyone’s laughing at. It’s why whenever he talks about trade he seems obsessed with the idea of other countries 'laughing at us,' as though China filling up our dollar stores with trinkets causes us endless public humiliation. The idea of Mexico being forced against its will to pay for our wall was a potent symbol of America standing tall again, as Trump knew it would be for many people who felt they were no longer standing tall in their own lives. . .

So here’s the truth: There’s never going to be a wall.

Oh, there will be some additional border fencing in some areas. Some of it may even be wall-esque (the Department of Homeland Security just issued environmental waivers to build a 15-mile stretch of wall near San Diego). But it’s not going to stretch for 2,000 miles, and it won’t be the gold-plated monument to Trumpian excess that the president promised. Republicans, especially those who come from areas far from the border, will continue to tell voters they want a wall. Here’s a little music video that House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) put out of him at the border, acting super tough with the Border Patrol — he even got to sit on a real-live horse! But it’s not going to happen.

And Mexico is never going to pay for it. But Trump knows he can’t tell his supporters that, because as he told president Peña Nieto, 'psychologically, it means something.'"

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s border wall? It was in their hearts all along.

On Jan. 27, a week after The Donalds's inauguration, he called Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

In the call The Donald "acknowledges that the wall is 'the least important thing we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important.'"

You hear that, Trump supporters? That applause line that Trump used with such gusto for basically his entire campaign — 'Build that wall,' and 'Who's going to pay for it? (Crowd response: MEXICO!)'? It was all vote-bait, red meat for voters who didn't know that it was completely impractical and would never happen. And within his first days in office — this call took place on Jan. 27, a week after Trump's inauguration — Trump was already throwing in the towel on it on a call with the Mexican president.

Trump was instead hoping people could be made to forget this “least important” issue and wouldn't punish him politically for it.

Trump spent much of his call with Pena Nieto just trying to convince him to stop talking about how Mexico would not pay for the wall. Trump even suggested he would fudge it in the end so that both sides could claim they didn't give in.

'We should both say, ‘We will work it out.’ It will work out in the formula somehow,' Trump said. 'As opposed to you saying, ‘We will not pay,’ and me saying, ‘We will not pay.’ '

Pena Nieto said Trump's promise had put a 'very big mark on our back' and 'is an issue related to the dignity of Mexico and goes to the national pride of my country.” Trump's response to all of that was basically: Okay, well let's just stop talking about it publicly.

[In a tweet about an article reporting the call,] Jonathan Martin

Trump all but invokes Moynihan in convo w Mex president: the Wall is boob bait for bubbas …
8:13 AM - Aug 3, 2017

'But you cannot say that to the press,' Trump said. 'The press is going to go with that, and I cannot live with that.' . .

Hearing Trump basically acknowledge that fact and concede he pulled the wool over his supporters' eyes, just seven days into his presidency, is pretty remarkable."

Read the Washington Post, Trump admits he punked his supporters on Mexico paying for the wall.

Read also Trump's Big CON: Mexico Will Pay For His Wall.

Trump's Big CON: I Will Save the Oppressed White Majority

UPDATE V:  "The Trump administration is preparing to have the Justice Department’s civil rights division investigate and possibly sue universities over affirmative action programs that the administration believes discriminate against white people.

This initiative fits a pattern. Since his inauguration, Trump has been hard to pin down on many issues — for example, he demanded the repeal of Obamacare and then called the House Republican health-care bill “mean” — but he has remained steadfast on one thing: his particular brand of identity politics.

And now, with this new initiative, he is once again addressing, and perhaps stoking, the grievances of the white voters who are integral to his base of support.

A sense of victimhood among whites was ascendant even before Trump’s candidacy. As sociologist Arlie Hochschild documented in her extensive conversations with rural whites in Louisiana, there was a pervasive sense that the beneficiaries of affirmative action, immigrants and refugees were 'stealing their place in line,' cutting ahead 'at the expense of white men and their wives.' In Hochschild’s phrase, these people felt like 'strangers in their own land.'

This sentiment showed up in polls as well. In 2011-2012, 38 percent of Republicans thought that there was at least a moderate amount of discrimination against whites, according to American National Election Study surveys. That figure jumped to 47 percent in the ANES study in January 2016. Similarly, an October 2015 Public Religion Research Institute poll found that nearly two-thirds of Republicans thought that 'discrimination against whites has become as big of a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities.'

These views were crucial to Trump’s rise."

Read the Washington Post, Resentful white people propelled Trump to the White House — and he is rewarding their loyalty, which includes a graph which "illustrates this, and, to my mind, it is crucial to understanding Trump’s rise. It shows that Trump did only a little bit better among Republicans concerned about losing their job compared to those with no such concern, as measured in January 2016 YouGov polls. But he did much better among those who thought whites were losing jobs to minorities":

UPDATE IV:  "The Justice Department’s plan to investigate and sue universities over affirmative action admissions policies they determine discriminate against white students represents a shift in the department’s civil rights division. But the move also addresses a central concern for voters who fueled President Trump’s victory last year: that whites are losing out in today’s society."

Read the Washington Post, Discrimination against whites was a core concern of Trump’s base.

UPDATE III: "Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s internal announcement indicating that the Justice Department is seeking to curb affirmative action in a university admissions case has roused President Trump’s conservative base by seizing on a longtime grievance of the right at a moment when the administration is struggling to fulfill core Republican promises. . .

For a Republican Party still searching for consensus in the Trump era, Sessions’s moves signal that the administration is embracing the base during a time of turbulence and tension, with heavy attention being paid to the concerns of the white voters who lifted Trump into the presidency."

Read the Washington Post, Sessions’s move to take on affirmative action energizes Trump’s base.

UPDATE II:  "White Americans obtain bachelor's degrees at significantly higher rates than blacks or hispanics. A 2012 Stanford University study found that while whites comprised 60 percent of the nation's graduating high school class in 2004, they accounted for nearly three quarters of admissions to the nation's most selective colleges. At elite schools, wealthy white families have traditionally used donations and legacy admission preferences to tip the scales in favor of their children.

Nevertheless, the Justice Department's move appears to be linked to a widespread belief among white conservatives that so-called "anti-white bias" is a serious problem in society today. Recent polling underscores the point. A Huffington Post/YouGov survey from last fall, for instance, found that Trump voters believe that whites are more discriminated against than Muslims, Blacks, Jews, and Latinos. . .

A 2011 study found that white people believe anti-white bias has worsened over the decades, to the point that they think it's now a more serious problem than bias against blacks. That study opened with a prescient 2009 quote from then-Senator Jeff Sessions, who will oversee the DOJ's bias investigation as Attorney General: 'Empathy for one party is always prejudice against another.'

White Americans' zero-sum framing is not supported by data. Across any number of available metrics -- income, wealth, education, life expectancy, you name it -- white people continue to fare significantly better than their black counterparts. But the Trump administration's move is likely to validate these beliefs, making them strongly and more widely held among Trump's base.

Some progressive groups, like the Century Foundation, have in recent years moved toward supporting income-based affirmative action policies, rather than race-based ones, as a way of defusing the racial tensions around college admissions. A Gallup poll last year found that aside from direct measures of academic achievement (like grades, SAT scores and course selection), economic considerations were the admissions factor most widely-supported by members of the general public. Race-based measures were near the bottom of the list.

A conservative administration less steeped in the ideology of white nationalism might have chosen to tackle college admissions from the angle of economics, promoting income-based admissions criteria that many voters across the political spectrum would have a hard time disagreeing with. Instead, by focusing on perceived anti-white bias the Sessions Justice Department has all but ensured that race and identity will remain at the center of college admissions battles for years to come."

Read the Washington Post, White Trump voters think they face more discrimination than blacks. The Trump administration is listening.

UPDATE: Maybe The Donald is trying to save oppressed white people like 'His Boy Wonder'.

Read ProPublica, The Story Behind Jared Kushner’s Curious Acceptance into Harvard, by Daniel Golden, who wrote the 2006 book, “The Price of Admission.” The article stated that

"[The] book exposed a grubby secret of American higher education: that the rich buy their under-achieving children’s way into elite universities with massive, tax-deductible donations. It reported that New Jersey real estate developer Charles Kushner had pledged $2.5 million to Harvard University in 1998, not long before his son Jared was admitted to the prestigious Ivy League school. At the time, Harvard accepted about one of every nine applicants. (Nowadays, it only takes one out of twenty.)

I also quoted administrators at Jared’s high school, who described him as a less than stellar student and expressed dismay at Harvard’s decision."

"After the 2012 election, the leadership of the Republican Party (including one Reince Priebus) became convinced that in a country that is becoming steadily more diverse, if it didn’t find a way to reach out to minority voters and win at least some of them over, it would be nearly impossible for the party to win the White House again. But then Donald Trump came along, animated by a theory that was just the opposite. Rather than reach out to minorities, the way to win was to run an explicitly white nationalist campaign that used racial resentment as its engine. To the surprise of most people, it worked. And now the Trump administration is looking for ways to show its voters that it’s delivering for them. Charlie Savage reports on a new Justice Department initiative:

The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a document obtained by The New York Times.
To many people reading this, the idea that white people are being discriminated against in higher education — or anywhere else — is absurd. The idea that discrimination against whites is such a significant problem that it demands Justice Department action is positively ludicrous. But we should understand that this is exactly the kind of thing many of Trump’s voters wanted him to deliver. . .

Affirmative action is just one particularly resonant part of this puzzle, in which white people are told that any effort to address historical and current discrimination must necessarily involve taking something from white people and giving it to black people, a zero-sum contest in which, if racism is being ameliorated, it must mean whites are being victimized.

This idea goes back a long way, but it’s important to understand that it needs to be constantly maintained, which is where the conservative media come in. If you’re not a regular viewer of Fox News, reader of Breitbart or listener to the likes of Rush Limbaugh, you may not understand what a central role white racial grievance plays in the media presentations that shape how conservatives today see the world. There are constant reminders in those forums that government is an entity that swoops into your life to steal things from you so that it can give them to undeserving black people.

Sometimes it requires wholesale invention of crimes and outrages, but much of the time the conservative media do it by taking something real and jamming it through a racial extruder to come out on the other end as evidence of the cushy life minorities are being granted. For instance, a Federal Communications Commission program that has existed for decades to help low-income people afford telephone service gets turned by the conservative media into “Obamaphones” supposedly given only to black people, once there’s an African American in the White House. . .

And of course, these arguments are joined to a steady diet of stories about how African Americans are dangerous criminals who pose a constant threat to the safety and security of good citizens. For instance, you may think that Black Lives Matter is a movement whose goal is to get police to treat African Americans with the same respect they treat white people (including by not killing them), but if you’re a consumer of right-wing media, you’ve been told a hundred times that BLM is actually an insanely violent quasi-terrorist organization that literally advocates the murder of police officers. You’ve also been told that discrimination against racial minorities is all but nonexistent; the only racism that remains in America is white people being unfairly accused of being racist.

To white people who look around at their communities and see poverty, addiction and lack of economic opportunity, the claims about things such as affirmative action and the smorgasbord of government benefits supposedly available only to minorities are enormously compelling. They take tribal impulses and turn them into an argument about economics and fairness. What’s holding you back, Republicans say, is those people and the special favors they get.

So you can be sure that in the White House, they’re only too happy to have a big controversy about affirmative action. It reinforces the racial allegiance of their core voters, with the happy side effect of diffusing any dissatisfaction that might arise from the fact that their economic policy is geared entirely toward serving the interests of the wealthy and powerful. And if they’re successful in making it harder for African Americans to succeed, well, that’s just icing on the cake."

Read the Washington Post, The Trump administration takes up the cause of oppressed white people

Trump's Big CON: Many Trump Products Are NOT Made in America (And He Doesn't 'Hire American' Either)

UPDATE IV:  "President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club needs to hire 35 waiters for this winter’s social season in Palm Beach, Fla.

Late last month, the club placed an ad on page C8 of the Palm Beach Post, crammed full of tiny print laying out the job experience requirements in classified ad shorthand. “3 mos recent & verifiable exp in fine dining/country club,” the ad said. “No tips.”

The ad gave no email address or phone number. “Apply by fax,” it said. The ad also provided a mailing address. It ran twice, then never again.

This was an underwhelming way to attract local job-seekers. But that wasn’t the point. The ads were actually part of Mar-a-Lago’s efforts to hire foreign workers for those 35 jobs.

About a week before the ads ran, the president’s club asked the Labor Department for permission to hire 70 temporary workers from overseas, government records show. Beside the 35 waiters, it asked for 20 cooks and 15 housekeepers, slightly more than it hired last year.

To get visas for those workers, Mar-a-Lago, like other businesses that rely on temporary employees each year, must first take legally mandated steps to look for U.S. workers. That includes placing two ads in a newspaper.

Typically, this attempt to recruit U.S. workers is a ritualized failure. Its outcome is usually a conclusion that there are no qualified Americans to hire, justifying the need for the government to issue the visas. . .

Mar-a-Lago has relied on foreign workers since at least 2008, according to government documents. To recruit them, it relies on Petrina Group International, a firm with offices in Ithaca, N.Y., and Romania. News reports have said that Mar-a-Lago’s workers have largely been from Romania and Haiti. Representatives for Petrina did not respond to requests for comment.

In the past, Trump’s club has followed the same pattern of searching for — and not hiring — American workers. Two years ago, for instance, Jeannie Coleman, who lives in nearby West Palm Beach, applied for a job as a housekeeper.

Mar-a-Lago called back. She had an interview. Then: nothing."

Read the Washington Post, ‘Apply by fax’: Before it can hire foreign workers, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club advertises at home — briefly.

Of course, the process is a sham, what else would you expect.

UPDATE III: "Many have pointed out that Trump's words don't match his actions. He promotes American-made at the same time that he and his daughter Ivanka Trump manufacture their own products overseas, in countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and China (as a Washington Post investigation detailed). This very week, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club applied to hire 70 foreign workers.

The problem is a lot of Americans do what the Trumps do: They say they want to buy stuff made in the U.S.A., but when asked if they would be willing to pay more for it, they reconsider. . .

While small domestic manufacturers . . . want tariffs to help their businesses, economists say costs would go up for many products, a risky proposition when customers care more about price than country of origin."

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s ‘Made in America’ campaign has a big problem.

UPDATE II:  Read the Washington Post, During ‘Made in America Week,’ President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club applies to hire 70 foreign workers, which noted:

"Trump built his campaign last year in part on an appeal to American workers angry that their jobs had been taken by immigrants or laborers overseas. In his inaugural address, Trump said that under his leadership the country would 'follow two simple rules: buy American, and hire American.'

And this week, Trump has celebrated American companies and American labor, including an event at the White House where the president climbed into the cab of an American-made firetruck. In a proclamation Monday, Trump said he called 'upon Americans to pay special tribute to the builders, to the ranchers, to the crafters, and to all those who work every day to make America great.'

Earlier this year, the Trump Winery near Charlottesville, Va., applied for visas to hire 23 foreign workers under a different visa program meant for farm workers."

UPDATE: This week is "'Made in America' week, a new Washington ritual during which a president who routinely boasts of being the best at everything admits that he is not the best after all. Because if American-made products are the best, then products made abroad, such as many of Trump’s own branded products, are by definition not the best. . .

But because the Trump Organization and related companies haven’t seen fit to produce their own goods in the United States, that means either their products aren’t the best or Trump is engaged in a craven manipulation of his fans. Or both.

If America produces the best craftsmanship, why, then, does Ivanka Trump’s company manufacture no items in the United States? As The Post reported just last week, her company relies 'exclusively on foreign factories,' including in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Vietnam and China, to manufacture the shoes, handbags, blouses, dresses, jeans and shirts for the first daughter’s line of clothing.

Similarly, many items in Trump’s own clothing and home accessories are produced overseas in countries including China, Bangladesh and Mexico. When he excoriates American companies for moving manufacturing jobs overseas, then, he is including himself in his own criticism — but of course would never admit that. Instead, when questioned about why he manufactures items overseas, his answer was, essentially, everyone else does it. . .

Trump doesn’t even bother to pay more for American-made goods for those in his customer base who could pay more for items: guests at his luxury hotels. While staying in an $850-per-night room at Trump’s Washington, D.C., hotel last year, The Post’s Dana Milbank revealed that the posh 'Trump Hotels' bathrobe and slippers were made in China, and the guest rooms are replete with foreign-made goods. Among the items made overseas, Milbank found towels made in India, china made in Japan, Malaysian-made telephones, and a coffee machine and several lamps, among other things, all made in China.

While Trump has promised steel workers in Rust Belt states that he will restore lost jobs to their economically battered communities, he has built at least two hotels with steel and aluminum from China — the persistent bogeyman of Trump’s campaign speeches in which he decried the decline of American manufacturing. When faced with the evidence of his Chinese steel purchases, though, Trump just plowed ahead, continuing the charade that he is an unemployed steelworker’s best friend. . .

In office, though, Trump has just continued engaging in more gestures, which would be most charitably portrayed as substance-free photo ops but are actually more venal than that. For example, he promoted his April 18 executive order, 'Buy American — Hire American,' at Kenosha, Wis.-based Snap-On Tools, which has numerous manufacturing sites and distribution centers overseas, with more in the works. Trump’s base, though, does not seem to care about his blatant hypocrisies; the stagecraft on its face is sufficient for his voters to believe he is indeed making America great. . .

Trump’s hypocrisy on 'made in the USA' has been on display for months, so it seems doubtful that this week’s farce will make a difference one way or another.

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s ‘Made in America’ week is a hypocritical joke.

UPDATE:  "The Department of Homeland Security on Monday announced a one-time increase of 15,000 additional visas for low-wage, seasonal workers for the remainder of this fiscal year, a seeming about-face from President Trump's "Hire American" rhetoric, following heavy lobbying from the fisheries, hospitality and other industries that rely on temporary foreign workers.

The increase represents a 45 percent bump from the number of H-2B visas normally issued for the second half of the fiscal year, said senior Homeland Security officials in a call with reporters Monday. . .

Trump himself has used H-2B visas to hire temporary workers at his golf resorts in Palm Beach, Fla., and Jupiter, Fla."

Read the Washington Post, Trump officials open border to 15,000 more foreign workers.

Read also the Washington Post, Despite Trump’s ‘Hire American’ pledge, budget bill would dramatically expand the number of foreign workers, which nmted:

"So much for President Trump’s 'Hire American' promise.

Just two weeks after Trump signed an executive order vowing to crack down on a program designed to import high-skilled foreign labor, a provision slipped into the budget compromise with Democrats this week could double the number of visas for low-wage, seasonal workers such as those in the landscaping, forestry and hospitality industries.

The guest worker visa, known as the H-2B, is the exact kind that helps Trump staff his Mar-a-Lago golf resort."

President Trump, whose company outsources the manufacturing of many of its products to overseas factories, is unveiling 'Made in America' week at the White House to promote products made in the United States. . .

For Trump, highlighting U.S.-made products is inconsistent with his practices as a businessman. For years, the Trump Organization has outsourced much of its product manufacturing, relying on a global network of factories in a dozen countries — including Bangladesh, China and Mexico — to make its clothing, home decor pieces and other items.

Similarly, the clothing line of Ivanka Trump, the president’s older daughter and a senior White House adviser, relies exclusively on foreign factories employing low-wage workers in countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and China, according to a recent Washington Post investigation."

Read the Washington Post, White House unveils ‘Made in America’ week, though many Trump products are made overseas.

Read also Trump's Big CON: Like Father, Like Daughter, which included another Washington Post article, Ivanka Inc., that noted that "while Ivanka Trump published a book this spring declaring that improving the lives of working women is 'my life’s mission,' The Post found that her company lags behind many in the apparel industry when it comes to monitoring the treatment of the largely female workforce employed in factories around the world."