Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

Drawing red lines or, by attacking, implying them

April 8, 2017

To draw, or not to draw–that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the body politic 
To shift and squirm around pre-drawn lines
Or to take to arms, all unforeseen, 
And by attacking, imply them

Just as with Obama, I don’t think that Trump has a very clear Syria strategy – yet. What he probably does have is a cloudy vision of where he would like the US to be. Whereas Obama kept drawing red lines in the sand and then kept shifting them to avoid action, Trump has not bothered with drawing any lines. Instead his strike against Assad’s airfield has just demonstrated that there are undrawn lines which, if crossed, triggers a retaliation. He has just not bothered with months of circular debate, creating “coalitions” of the good or “sexing up of dossiers” for the UN Security Council. (As an aside, there is a zero possibility of the UN subjecting the US to any sanctions for any alleged infringement of international law.) Trump’s red lines are implied and the onus is on his opponents to try and figure out where they are. It is not impossible that even Trump does not know quite where they are until they are crossed.

Trump achieves a number of things with his cruise missile strike, not all intentional perhaps.

  1. Syria and Iran and North Korea, among others, now have to guess where Trump’s red lines actually are.
  2. If Assad felt he could now act with impunity (whether he was responsible for the gas attack or not), he now knows that it is unsafe to cross Trump’s undrawn lines.
  3. Assad could begin to seriously address when and how he withdraws.
  4. Kim Jong Un gets a clear message that he could be subject to a “personally targeted” surgical strike if he crosses some unknown line.

 


 

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A decision before dinner which Obama would have taken 2 years not to make

April 7, 2017

Risk-filled, reactive, unpredictable, dangerous. No doubt.

But decisive.

In the business and entrepreneurial world it is an axiom that speed of decision is the critical factor but must be accompanied by immense flexibility for course corrections. Few decisions are wholly good or wholly bad. The key is to be “in motion” which allows course corrections – and even U-turns – to be made. Altering any course is impossible if the engine is not running. But the worst case scenario nearly always involves decisions taken too late.

My opinion that Trump has few – if any – ideological hangups but is only a pragmatist is only reinforced by his Syria strikes on the Al Shayrat airfield.

Can business-style decision making work in international politics? That is the question.

But the contrast to Obama’s paralysis by analysis, his unending deliberation and overwhelming risk aversion could not be more stark.

Wall Street Journal:

President Donald Trump’s decision to order military strikes in Syria sets his presidency on a new and unpredictable course that is likely to shape his time in office.

Faced with his first major foreign-policy test—a moment that confronts every new president—Mr. Trump demonstrated a comfort with military action and a flexibility in approach that saw him change course not only on comments he made in the campaign but also on his policy toward Syria in just 48 hours after seeing gruesome photographic evidence from the Asssad regime’s chemical-weapons attack Tuesday.

His decision drew support from Republican and Democratic lawmakers who have long called for stronger U.S. action in Syria.  

But with his message delivered both in missiles and in a presidential address from behind a podium at his private resort in Florida, Mr. Trump faces the difficult choice his predecessor and other world leaders have grappled with for years: Now what? It’s the question that repeatedly led President Barack Obama to decide against deeper military involvement in Syria.

Just three months into his presidency Mr. Trump will have to find his own answer. He has to confront a litany of risky unknowns.

It is unclear how the Assad regime, or its allies Russia and Iran, will react. It is unclear whether Mr. Trump intends to move the U.S. more forcefully into the Syrian conflict—committing the U.S. military to greater engagement in the Middle East—or whether he plans to hold back beyond sending a signal that the use of chemical weapons won’t be tolerated by the White House.

One message was clear: Mr. Trump is willing to use force and to make decisions swiftly when he is moved to act.

“Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow, brutal death for so many,” Mr. Trump said in a national address. “No child of God should ever suffer such horror.”

It is a dramatic shift from Mr. Obama, who deliberated at length over military decisions and resisted years of calls for a deeper U.S. military involvement in Syria to help bring the conflict to an end. During his own election campaign, Mr. Trump suggested the U.S. should leave conflicts such as the one in Syria for other nations to resolve, including Russia.

The missile strikes mark an early turning point in Mr. Trump’s presidency. It is his first major military order as commander in chief. But it is also the first military decision of consequence that Americans and the world have seen him make after otherwise fitful first weeks as president, which have been marred by controversy and infighting in his own party.

Mr. Trump had in many ways compelled himself to act by vowing on Wednesday to retaliate for the gas attack. He had limited other options given Mr. Obama had cut a deal with the Assad regime, brokered by Russia, to remove its chemical-weapons stockpile instead of launching military action.

Interesting times indeed.


 

Trump wasn’t wrong about Sweden (just a little early)

February 21, 2017

Fake news in Sweden is nothing new  – it is mainly by omission of course. Politically unpalatable stories are generally ignored or downplayed by a docile main stream media which never questions the basis of political correctness. They have also made a god of multi-culturalism and cannot (or will not) distinguish between multi-ethnic and multicultural (A “society” – to be a society – can be multi-ethnic but not multicultural).

After what seemed to be another “ignorant” Trump comment about Sweden, he has been proven to be correct in substance if not in timing by the extensive riots in Rinkeby (an immigrant dominated suburb of Stockholm) yesterday. What he said was “You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible”. His reference to “last night” was wrong but the rest was spot on. Of course there was high indignation from Sweden in general and from the liberal/left in particular, but their high dudgeon may prove to be badly misplaced.

Meanwhile, Rioting Breaks Out In Sweden

It would appear the mainstream media (along with several celebrities and Swedish politicians) is going to be apologizing to President Trump once again.

Having spent the entire new cycle trying to ignore the immigrant crisis facing Sweden, and pin the ignorant tail on Trump, both Dagbladet and Expressen reports riots breaking out in the highly immigrant concentrated Stockholm borough of Rinkeby, Sweden with police firing warning shots as 100s of young people throw stones and burn cars.

During the evening hundreds of young people gathered in the center of Rinkeby, well known for its high concentration of immigrants and people with immigrant ancestry. In June 2010, Rinkeby was the scene of riots and attacks against the local police station and Rinkeby is the region in which the ’60 Minutes’ crew were attacked in 2016.

……. warnings of increasing radicalization among Sweden’s Muslims – warnings he started to broadcast a decade ago – now seem eerily prophetic in light of an Associated Press investigation that found Stockholm to be a breeding ground for jihadists among Swedish Somalis. 

According to the AP report, which first ran Jan. 24, an al-Qaida-linked group is busy recruiting anti-government fighters among Somali youths living in Rinkeby. A suburb of Stockholm, Rinkeby has earned the nickname of “Little Mogadishu” because of the number of Somalis living there. Rinkeby is also the center of the recruiting efforts of al-Shabab, a group with ties to al-Qaida.

Rinkeby is a known problem area in Stockholm. It was here NRK journalist Anders Magnus was attacked with stones last spring, and here the police never go in the evenings without reinforcements from other patrols according to Dagbladet. A freelancer the newspaper spoke to, described the situation as serious. …

Rinkeby riots Feb 20th 2017

Rinkeby riots Feb 20th 2017

As an immigrant in Sweden, I find a decided lack of courage among Swedish politicians and the main stream media when they will not talk about the immigrant problems (which are primarily issues with Muslim immigrants, and religion is not irrelevant) because:

  1. they cannot bring themselves to admit that the multicultural meme  that they have religiously propounded is shallow, lazy and discredited (as opposed to multi-ethnic but with an evolving mono-culture), and
  2. they believe that keeping silent may make it go away.

Donald Trump is not big on academic, rational, logical thinking. He reacts from the gut and, at least in this instance, his gut emotions about Sweden are not wrong.


 

More countries from the SDC list could be added to Trump’s immigration restrictions

January 31, 2017

Seven countries are currently on the US list for immigration restrictions, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, and Somalia. However there are clear indications from Trump’s chief of staff that other countries could get added to the list. Reince Preibus said on CBS News on Sunday:

“The reason we chose those seven countries was, those were the seven countries that both the Congress and the Obama administration identified as being the seven countries that were most identifiable with dangerous terrorism taking place in their country. …… Now, you can point to other countries that have similar problems, like Pakistan and others. Perhaps we need to take it further. But for now, immediate steps, pulling the Band-Aid off, is to do further vetting for people traveling in and out of those countries,”

These seven countries covered by Trump’s order are also included in a list of countries labeled as specially designated countries (SDCs) that “have shown a tendency to promote, produce, or protect terrorist organizations or their members.”  This list – held by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement department (ICE) consists – it is thought – of 35 countries. The list as of 2011 is still available. However, Barack Obama apparently added Israel to this list but his list was later scrubbed from public view.

While the immigration restrictions are temporary, ostensibly to check screening processes, since these 7 countries are “failed states” and cannot provide sufficient information, government to government, further countries from the list may also be subjected to temporary restrictions. I suspect that this is why Saudi Arabia is not on the list. The government there is fully functioning and has probably promised the US information about travellers. (Much of the support for Saudi support for Sunni, terrorist groups, is from non-governmental sources). Pakistan does not always provide information about terrorists which it has – especially if this is Taliban or Kashmir related. It would not be surprising to see immigration from Pakistan also being subjected to restrictions.

These are countries that harbor and train terrorists. These are countries that we want to know who is coming and going in and out of to prevent calamities from happening in this country.

……….. He was elected president in many respects because people knew that he was going to be tough on immigration from countries that harbor terrorists. And I can’t imagine too many people out there watching this right now think it’s unreasonable to ask a few more questions from someone traveling in and out of Libya and Yemen before being let loose in the United States.


The ICE list as of July 2011

ICE List of Specially Designated Countries (SDCs) that Promote or Protect Terrorists

July 2, 2011

Screening Aliens From Specially Designated Countries

The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General issued a report in May 2011 titled “Supervision of Aliens Commensurate with Risk” that details Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) detention and supervision of aliens.  The report  includes a list of Specially Designated Countries (SDCs) that are said to “promote, produce, or protect terrorist organizations or their members”.  The report states that ICE uses a Third Agency Check (TAC) to screen aliens from specially designated countries (SDCs) that have shown a tendency to promote, produce, or protect terrorist organizations or their members and that the purpose of the additional screening is to determine whether other agencies have an interest in the alien. ICE’s policy requires officers to conduct TAC screenings only for aliens from SDCs if the aliens are in ICE custody.

According to the report, ICE provided this list of specially designated countries. ICE policy requires officers to perform a TAC for detained aliens from these countries.

  • Afghanistan
  • Algeria
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Eritrea
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Malaysia
  • Mauritania
  • Morocco
  • Territories of Gaza West Bank
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Tajikistan
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Uzbekistan
  • Yemen

 

Now even Merkel starts adjusting to the Trump realities

January 22, 2017

Angela Merkel gets it. With Trump it is all about negotiation.

The Democrats still don’t get it. Hillary Clinton supporters still seem to be in denial but European leaders are beginning to adjust their positions. Teresa May was first out with her Brexit speech. She will even meet Trump on Friday next week for his first meeting as President with a foreign leader. About 8 days after the election a German weekly published a joint article by Obama and Merkel warning Trump not to disturb US/EU trade in particular and globalisation in general. A week ago Trump was castigating Merkel for her disastrous refugee policy. But things have moved on. Now much to the disgust of her Social Democrat partners in government Merkel has signaled that compromises are possible with regard to trade and military spending.

(European Social Democrats and left parties are so self-righteous and so convinced of their moral superiority that they may have some difficulty in adjusting to the new game).

Reuters:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed on Saturday to seek compromises on issues like trade and military spending with U.S. President Donald Trump, adding she would work on preserving the important relationship between Europe and the United States.

“He made his convictions clear in his inauguration speech,” Merkel said in remarks broadcast live, a day after Trump vowed to put ‘America first’.

Speaking at a news conference in the south-western town of Schoental, Merkel struck a more conciliatory tone toward Trump than Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who on Friday said Germany should prepare for a rough ride under the new U.S. president.

Relations with the United States, Germany’s biggest trading partner, are likely to be a hot topic in electioneering in coming months leading to a general election in September.

“I say two things with regards to this (speech): first, I believe firmly that it is best for all of us if we work together based on rules, common values and joint action in the international economic system, in the international trade system, and make our contributions to the military alliances,” Merkel said.

The conservative German leader, who is seeking a fourth term and enjoyed a close relationship with former president Barack Obama, is seen by liberals across the Atlantic as a voice of reason that counterbalances rising populist parties in Europe. 

Trump has criticized Merkel’s decision in 2015 to throw open Germany’s borders to asylum seekers fleeing wars and conflicts, and has said he believes other countries will leave the EU after Britain and that the NATO military alliance was obsolete.

……….. “And second, the trans-Atlantic relationship will not be less important in the coming years than it was in past years. And I will work on that. Even when there are different opinions, compromises and solutions can be best found when we exchange ideas with respect,” added Merkel.

German government sources told Reuters this week that Merkel was working to set a date this spring for a meeting with Trump.

Under fire from Trump for not meeting NATO’s goals of spending two percent of national output on defense, Germany said this week that it would meet that goal and demanded that the new U.S. administration map out a consistent foreign policy. ……

Image result for trump merkel

from Twitter

It will take some time before the European Social Democrats, in France and Sweden for example, to swallow their overweening pride and adjust to reality. But I expect Norway, Finland, Poland, Hungary, the Baltic States and even Italy to find a highly pragmatic approach to the new US administration.

Even the Pope is adjusting.


 

The pushback begins

January 21, 2017

There are those who take Donald Trump literally and are terrified. I am not one of them. I am not sure where he might go but I am very glad that the Obama/Clinton, politically correct, platitudinous politics will not continue in the US. In my view Trump is the ultimate pragmatist. He is at heart a “deal-maker”. Everything he says is a negotiable position. Everything he does is part of a negotiation. My expectations are not sky-high, but I am pleased that he represents part of the pushback against the sanctimonious and misguided liberal/left thinking that has reached an extreme position after some five decades. It may have been needed after WW2 but it has gone too far. A globally uniform world consisting of uniformly cloned humans is a nonsense. The blind pursuit of a meaningless “equality” – irrespective of human variations and difference in behaviour – is a barrier rather than a help to fairness and justice.

The pendulum needs to swing back in many areas.

Universal human rights: The concept itself is heavily flawed. That the same “rights” can be enjoyed by and applied to every human, regardless of inherent differences of abilities and behaviour, is fundamentally unfair to good guys and protects the bad guys. The issue here becomes whether there is a difference between “good” and “bad”. The liberal/left position has become, effectively, a denial of the difference between good and bad behaviour. Movements for women’s rights, black rights, LGBT rights and minority rights have all forgotten that enforcing “equality” when natural (and desirable) differences exist, is only a recipe for unfairness. Denying gender difference or denying racial difference or denying behavioural difference is just wrong (and stupid). It is seeking fairness and justice – not equality – which is the goal. These “rights” movements have become vehicles, rather, for spreading injustice because they try to use a reverse discrimination to try and correct for some other perceived discrimination. Behaviour of an individual cannot be divorced from the rights of that individual.

Globalisation: The slogan used to be “think global, act local”. But that has degenerated over the years to ignore the local component. Global rules are now being used to coerce and suppress the local. The EU makes rules in Brussels and forces them, “equally”, down the throats of the labour intensive olive groves in Sicily and the highly automated Scandinavian dairy farms. Global corporations make decisions in their headquarters far away from the factories where their wealth and profits are produced. The UN has become representative of no one and no country. The balance between local and global, states versus central government, EU countries versus Brussels, bilateral deals versus global agreements has become badly skewed towards the global or centralised entities. It is a classic fight between centralised versus distributed. A balance is required and this balance is dynamic. This balance needs to shift back towards a distributed  – rather than a centralised – world.

Wealth and wealth distribution: The poor are not poor because the rich are rich. The focus has shifted too much in favour of taking away from the wealth creators and giving to wealth consumers – regardless of what is deserved. This has been a disincentive for wealth creation to the detriment of all. The distinction between poverty and being poor is being forgotten. A fight against poverty is laudable and desirable. There are two ways of attacking poverty and both are needed. There is a compassionate element and there is a sustainable element. The two are well illustrated by the saying “give the hungry man a fish or teach him how to fish”. Any attempt, however, to eliminate the poor is futile and meaningless. There will always be a distribution (thank goodness) and the bottom end will always be called “the poor” even if everybody is well above the “poverty line”. The traditional liberal/left line is focused on redistribution (deserved or undeserved) while the traditional conservative view is to promote wealth creation (and which assumes a trickle down). Here too the balance has to shift back towards “to each as he deserves” rather than “to each as he needs”.

Taxation: Ultimately taxation is always the confiscation of private property for the good of the majority as determined by the majority. The confiscation is always accompanied by an implied coercive element. It is the society versus the individual. There is nothing inherently wrong with that since any society can determine its own rules for individuals to be members of that society. Here too there is a balance to be struck and a pushback is needed. The balance needs to shift back towards promoting wealth creation and taxing wealth consumption. Taxation needs to shift back closer to the point of sale and further away from the production of wealth. In simple terms, more as sales taxes and less as income tax, more tax on sales of services and less on production of goods.

It is wait and see with Donald Trump. However the world does need a shift back towards the local interest guiding the global engagement rather than global rules being imposed on a local environment. Sovereign interests have to gain a greater sway in global organisations (UN, EU, IMF, WB ….), local manufacturing has to have a greater sway within multinational corporations, states have to have greater sway within central governments and towns have to have a greater sway within their states.  Effective bilateral deals are needed rather than grandiose, global, multi-lateral ones.

Maybe Trump can help with that.


By responding to Trump, China blunders and ensures that “One China” is on the table

January 16, 2017

In the business world one of the first lessons we used to pound into our deal-makers (salesmen, contract negotiators, purchasers, …. ) was that it was “silence” that defined what was really “non-negotiable”. Bringing up such matters or even responding to any mention about what was “non-negotiable” was self-defeating and, in itself, put that matter on the table. Merely saying that something was “non-negotiable” was, in itself, sufficient for the opposing party to always try to keep it on the agenda.

Trump is bringing a business, deal-making approach to politics which even veteran diplomats are finding uncomfortable and incomprehensible. China’s Foreign Ministry has just declared that “One China” is “non negotiable”. That is a massive blunder by their conventional diplomats and bureaucrats. They have just ensured that in any future US/China talks, “One China” will always be present, even if only in pre-talk talks where China tries to keep it off the agenda.

By responding to Trump’s acceptance of a phone call from Taiwan’s president after his victory and a few tweets which followed his attacks on China’s economic “cheating” during the campaign, China has effectively just put “One China” on the table.

The Guardian: 

China has warned Donald Trump that he has no chance of striking a deal with Beijing involving Taiwan’s political status following the US president-elect’s latest controversial intervention on the subject.

The Chinese foreign ministry told Trump that the US’s longstanding “One China” policy, by which it does not challenge Beijing’s claim over the self-ruled island, was the political basis for all Sino-US relations.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Saturday Trump said all options were on the table as he considered how he might reshape Washington’s relations with China, a country he accused of deliberately devaluing its currency in order to hamstring US businesses.

“Everything is under negotiation, including ‘One China’,” Trump said, referring to the US’s longstanding diplomatic decision not to challenge Beijing’s claim that Taiwan, an independently and democratically-ruled island, is part of its territory.

China’s foreign ministry hit back in a statement advising Trump, a billionaire property tycoon who has claimed “deals are my art form”, that he would never be able to achieve such a deal.

“There is only one China in the world, Taiwan is an inalienable region of China, and the government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government representing China,” spokesperson Lu Kang was quoted as saying.

“The ‘One China’ principle, which is the political foundation of the China-US relations, is non-negotiable.”

If this was a chess game, Trump’s tweets are giving him the first move with the white pieces. In chess parlance he has the “tempo”. So far, the Chinese – who are more conservative than is sometimes thought – have not quite caught onto the game that is being played. It is negotiation by tweets. They may well get the US to continue to accept “One China”. But it is going to cost them something else.

Trump has not even entered office and negotiations have started.


 

Trump starts governing, by tweet and before assuming office!

January 3, 2017

Donald Trump has found a new tool, a new weapon which seems to be a remarkably effective way of getting a favourable response.

Without debate and without even being in office.

The Tweet.

CBS: House Republicans decide to strip ethics change in emergency meeting

House Republicans agreed Tuesday to withdraw the rules change that would have stripped the chamber’s outside ethics watchdog of its independence and power after heavy public backlash and tweets of disapproval from President-elect Donald Trump.

Republican lawmakers agreed by unanimous consent in a closed-door emergency meeting Monday to strip the rules change from their overall rules package that the lower chamber is scheduled to vote on later in the day, according to a GOP aide.

This came as the new Congress was supposed to gavel in, and just two hours after Mr. Trump tweeted that congressional Republicans shouldn’t be wasting their time with a major ethics change.

trump-ethics-tweets

On Monday night, a majority of Republicans voted to rename the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to the Office of Congressional Complaint Review. The House Ethics Committee–whose members are lawmakers–will now oversee that outside office’s work.

Under the change proposed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, the outside office would not have been able to investigate anonymous tips, it couldn’t have had a spokesperson and it would have been barred from releasing its findings to the public. Members of the House Ethics Committee would also have been able to stop the office’s investigations.

Two tweets and he got the House Republicans to backtrack. In two tweets he manged to do what Paul Ryan could not. Note that Trump gave the House Republicans who had secretly voted for the rule change, a face saving way to back off by terming the ethics watchdog as possibly “unfair”.

It was a negotiation by twitter and a successful one at that.


 

“Not enough blacks for Clinton, too many whites for Trump”

December 26, 2016

After all the punditry in favour of Clinton, after the main-stream media ganged up against Trump, after the GOP repudiated Trump, and after the world media ridiculed Trump, the story of the US election reduces down to this little phrase:

“Not enough blacks for Clinton, too many whites for Trump”

I can’t quite say “I told you so”, but I found both his winning the Republican nomination and then the election were not too surprising. The wins fitted my theory that there is a global anti-establishment, anti-political-correctness wave going on right now. Part of my theory is also that science in general, and political “science” in particular, has lost its skepticism and has become “consensus science” where confirmation bias reigns. Punditry of all kinds is given far too much weight and far too much respect and there is now a global push-back against the “consensus of experts” where the “experts” are appointed (and anointed) by newspapers and TV channels.

Nate Cohn in the NYT:

But the electoral trends that put Donald J. Trump within striking distance of victory were clear long before Mr. Comey sent his letter. They were clear before WikiLeaks published hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee. They were even clear back in early July, before Mr. Comey excoriated Mrs. Clinton for using a private email server. It was clear from the start that Mrs. Clinton was struggling to reassemble the Obama coalition.

At every point of the race, Mr. Trump was doing better among white voters without a college degree than Mitt Romney did in 2012 — by a wide margin. Mrs. Clinton was also not matching Mr. Obama’s support among black voters. ………

…… Campaign lore has it that President Obama won thanks to a young, diverse, well-educated and metropolitan “coalition of the ascendant” — an emerging Democratic majority anchored in the new economy. Hispanic voters, in particular, were credited with Mr. Obama’s victory. But Mr. Obama would have won re-election even if he hadn’t won the Hispanic vote at all. He would have won even if the electorate had been as old and as white as it had been in 2004.

….. In 2016, Mr. Trump made huge gains among white working-class voters. It wasn’t just in the places where Democratic strength had been eroding for a long time, like western Pennsylvania. It was often in the places where Democrats had seemed resilient or even strong, like Scranton, Pa., and eastern Iowa. 

It was a decisive break from recent trends. White voters without college degrees, for the first time, deviated from the national trend and swung decidedly toward the Republicans. No bastion of white, working-class Democratic strength was immune to the trend.

For the first time in the history of the two parties, the Republican candidate did better among low-income whites than among affluent whites, according to exit poll data and a compilation of New York Times/CBS News surveys.

According to exit polls, Mr. Trump did better than Mr. Romney by 24 points among white voters without a degree making less than $30,000 a year. He won these voters by a margin of 62 to 30 percent, compared with Mr. Romney’s narrow win of 52 percent to 45 percent. ………

…….. The turnout probably increased among all major groups of voters — Hispanics, white Democrats, white Republicans — except black voters.

The conclusive data is available in the Southern states where voters indicate their race on their voter registration forms, and they point toward a considerable decline in black turnout.

In Georgia, the black share of the electorate fell to 27.6 percent from 29.9 percent, and in Louisiana it fell to 28.5 percent from 30.1 percent, according to the completed state turnout data. …….. Turnout dropped by 8 percent in the majority black wards of Philadelphia, while rising everywhere else in the city. …… The turnout in Detroit fell by 14 percent. Turnout fell in other industrial centers with a large black population, like Milwaukee and Flint, Mich. …….. Taken in totality, it appears that black turnout dropped somewhere between 5 percent and 10 percent — with few exceptions.

Hispanic and Asian and female voters were, in the event, not the key to this election. The huge disappointment among women, not just in the US but  all over the world, was entirely gender based and did not reflect the lack of any Clinton message.  “Make America Great Again” resonated with whites but did not scare blacks too much. And Clinton had no real message for blacks except the continuation of the status quo – and that inspired nobody.

Trump over-performed with whites and Clinton badly under-performed with blacks.


 

“Dalai Lama to meet with Donald Trump”

December 3, 2016

That headline hasn’t been written yet but don’t be surprised if it happens,  and soon, sometime before Trump’s inauguration.

Trump needs to rile China as much as possible while minimising any real retaliatory actions. What he does now, before his inauguration, can only lead to threats of retaliation but not any real actions. His mere acceptance of a call from Taiwan’s President has caused large waves. Something the US administration for 40 years has not had the courage to do. Maybe I attribute too much sense to Trump’s team, but I suspect that they have calculated quite well. They have thrown the current Obama administration into a bit of a spin and rendered them effectively impotent in their China posture.

The time before his inauguration is is a unique opportunity for Trump to make statements, meet people and indicate actions which he can later walk away from. It is the time for outrageous trial balloons. Few President-elects have had the nerve to do this before. I note his skillful, and almost Machiavellian, use of the selection process of “possible” members of his administration to confuse and mislead a hostile press.

The liberal/left press still don’t get it. Democracy is all about populism. It may be a trifle stupid but that is what democracy is about. The liberal “elite” – or any elite – cannot prevail in a democracy. They can no longer expect to be blindly followed by the unthinking plebs. They need to court popularity. I suspect there has been a lot more real thinking (whether by heart or by brain) by the Trump voters in deciding to vote for him than those who blindly followed their “elite” leaders in voting for Clinton.

Trump needs, while minimising the consequences, to rile China, India, France, Germany, Mexico, Canada and a few other “socialist” countries. He did Mexico during the campaign. He continued with India with his apparently effusive telephone conversation with Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan. Now he’s done China. The French/German/British investment in – and creation of  – some of the rebel groups now losing in Aleppo has been part of the US strategy disaster in Syria. A losing strategy that Trump will want to move away from. And that he will do by means of contacts with Putin.

It is more unlikely but I would not put it past him to make contact with Iran.

But meeting with the Dalai Lama is an easy decision to take.

Dalai Lama impersonating Trump (Good Morning Britain)

Dalai Lama impersonating Trump (Good Morning Britain)


 


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