American Elephants


Who Is Donald Trump? The Billionaire New York Businessman? by The Elephant's Child

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John O’Sullivan is a prominent British conservative political journalist who was once speechwriter for Margaret Thatcher, and is an editor for National Review. Can’t vote here, not a citizen, but a visitor. He remarked “But it’s obvious that this election cycle is about Trump rather than about the other candidates. He has come from nowhere and surged ahead of the pack. My suspicion is that he didn’t originally expect to be a contender for long and was surprised when he established a strong lead. But he overcame his surprise and began to do things candidates do – put out position papers, etc. – while sticking to his unique style of campaigning, namely riffing entertainingly on the day’s news, jabbing opponents with sharp verbal sticks, and treating his audiences like neighborhood friends.” I thought that a particularly sharp observation.

Holman Jenkins said “They say they like Mr. Trump because he tells it like it is, except he doesn’t. They say he is politically incorrect, but he is factually incorrect.”
“The Donald may be as surprised as anybody by the way his campaign has taken fire — his utterances certainly suggest so.”

He likes riding the wave and may be unable or unwilling to get off. He launched this adventure purely to accrue value in his lifelong personal brand-building pursuit.

That doesn’t mean he ever seriously thought about being president, having to do the job. And one way that might become apparent is when, after winning the nomination and celebrating his personal triumph, he turns to the GOP and its donor armies to see what they are willing to do to win him the presidency. If it’s not as much as he would like—if he would actually have to fulfill his promise to finance his own honest-to-goodness presidential campaign, which could cost $1 billion—that’s when things get hinky.

That’s a second observation that Trump was just fooling around with a campaign, and then people took him seriously, so he’s going to see how far it can go.

Have you ever known a real con-man? I have. He was, for a time a new manager in the department where I worked. Everybody liked him because he was so personable. They thought he was great, but one day one of his stories touched on something I actually knew about. It was a complete and deliberate lie, for no reason at all.  It wasn’t much longer before he departed, fired for some irregular problems with his expense accounts. That was my first hustler. It’s not comfortable to have been taken for a fool, even though I wasn’t alone.

From Bloomberg Business: 2/26/2016

Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc., the casino operator founded by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, emerged from bankruptcy court protection on Friday and is now a subsidiary of billionaire Carl Icahn’s Icahn Enterprises LP.
Trump opened the Taj Mahal in 1990. The parent company continually struggled with debt, and Trump Entertainment filed for bankruptcy court protection in September 2014. The filing coincided with a protracted downturn in betting in Atlantic City that led four of the city’s 12 casinos to close. It was the Trump casino businesses’ fourth time in bankruptcy.

From Jim Geraghty at National Review: “What if Trump Doesn’t Have Billions?” “There’s a good chance we’ll never see his tax returns.

Trump told Hugh Hewitt on his radio show a year ago that he would release his tax return shortly, as soon as they were completed. A few years ago he refused to release “un-redacted tax returns, even when it could help him win a $5 billion libel lawsuit against a New York Times reporter. Forbes magazine estimated his net worth after 80 interviews and many resources as less than half of what he claimed last year. Others with direct knowledge of his finances think his net worth is closer to $150 -$250 million. Still comfortably wealthy but not a billionaire.

Trump said that was a lie and sued, lost in court, appealed, and lost again. The case dragged on because he would not turn over the tax returns. So the likelihood that they will be released to the public is slim.

Bloomberg Politics, February 24, 2016 “A Look Inside Trump’s Global Deals Exposes Trouble in Many Spots” In Panama, condominium owners are trying to fire him.  In Canada and Turkey, his business partners want to cut him loose. In Scotland and Ireland, he claims to be making millions on his golf courses, but so far is losing money. In Toronto the Toronto Tower Owners want Trump out.

“Donald Trump says his organization is in talks on more than 100 deals, 85 percent of them outside the U.S., and that if elected president he will bring to international relations the savvy he has demonstrated as a global deal maker.”

The article suggests that an examination of his operations shows that while he has made millions selling his name, he has chosen inexperienced or questionable partners, and there are legal conflicts amid claims of broken promises and empty apartments. Trump disputes the claims.

Yahoo Finance 10/19/2014 “12 Donald Trump businesses that no longer exist:” Also see “Donald Trump’s Record of Business Failures and Bluster” 2/16/2016, PJ Media.

  1. Trump Mortgage (announced 2006, closed 2007)
  2. Trump Steaks (2007-?)
  3. Trump Vodka (2006-2011)
  4. Trump: The Game (1989-1990, 2005)
  5. Trump Ice (Shut down 2010)
  6. Go Trump.com (2006-2007)
  7. Trump Magazine
  8. The New Jersey Generals (1983-1985)
  9. Trump Airlines (1989-1992)
  10. Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. 4 bankruptcies (1991, 2004, 2009, 2014)
  11. Trump Tower Tampa (2006-2007)
  12. Trump University (2005 -2011) Current lawsuit for fraud

“Trump and the Rise of the Unprotected” by Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, 2/25/2016

I don’t know. Donald Trump seems to me to be a hustler. Too many lies, too much Big talk. Everything is going to be Great!, Beautiful! He knows how to do that. He knows how to fix that. But he never tells us how, or who is going to pay for it and how. There are some really big problems in the world and we have no hint about how Trump might address them.



Anger Management: Everybody’s Angry! by The Elephant's Child

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Everybody is angry, or so we are told. The election is about a nation consumed with anger. That’s an easy diagnosis, if perhaps too facile. The debate last night would seem to confirm that diagnosis. The tag line to the debate was Ben Carson’s wistful “Would somebody please attack me?” (so I can have a chance to speak) Otherwise, it was obvious that Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz were thoroughly fed up with Donald Trump’s constant rude slurs and attacks, and gave him a dose of his own medicine. He was clearly unprepared for that.

Donald Trump, we are told, is conducting a “populist campaign.” But what does that mean? Merriam Webster simply says a populist is:

a member of a political party claiming to represent the common people

So I turned to Business Dictionary.com (which was the next post) :

In general, ideology or political movement that mobilizes the population (often, but not always, the lower classes) against an institution or government, usually in the defense of the underdog or the wronged. Whether of left, right or middle political persuasion, it seeks to unite the uncorrupt and the unsophisticated (the ‘little man’) against the corrupt dominant elites (usually the orthodox politicians) and their camp followers (usually the rich and the intellectuals). It is guided by the belief that political and social goals are best achieved by the direct actions of the masses.

I haven’t heard anyone talking about “the little man” in years. And yes, there’s way too much talk about “the working class” (vs. the leisure class?), the common people, the unwashed, the lower classes — that sort of thing. I have always thought of America as a classless society. I grew up very rural, and have always known people who were very poor, as well as people who were unusually rich. I didn’t know until recent years that was unusual, that most people grew up in neighborhoods were everyone was pretty much like them.

As far as Donald Trump representing the “common man” or “the little people”, Kimberly Strassel disposed of that theme in today’s column at the Wall Street Journal, pointing out that “Trump is the Ultimate Insider,” today’s must read, (paywall, or look on Google)

I’m not sure that the anger is not misdirected. President Obama has famously announced that he has a phone and a pen, and will attempt to make law on his own, since Congress will not cooperate. And he has been successfully doing exactly that. Many voters are furious with Republicans in Congress for not stopping him. And it is really the first time a president has so flagrantly violated the laws and the Constitution in ignoring the tripartite nature of our government deliberately, and  attempted to enact his own preferences in violation of public opinion.

There has been a campaign by Democrats to blame the police and policing for “mass incarceration” though that incarceration is to blame for a dramatically reduced crime rate, in order to keep the black community focused on “white privilege,” in particular and unfair treatment in general, rather than the dreadful unemployment rate in the black community, and the lack of opportunity, resentment which is supposed to make sure that blacks vote.

David Gerlernter wrote that the source of the anger is political correctness, where changed vocabulary and changed emphasis are changing our culture in ways that we could not have imagined. Who could have imagined that the government would demand that people be freely able to use the restroom based on what sex they are identifying with on that particular day. Or women in combat despite the objections of the military. Or that the military would be required to run the engines of war-making on biofuels because global warming. There’s some pretty strong evidence for an aversion to PC in all its forms.

There’s a lot of evidence for anger over our foreign policy, and the neglect of long term allies in favor of pandering to our enemies. We have given Iran everything it wants in exchange for some vague agreements they are already ignoring. Ditto for Cuba, and Obama plans to visit shortly where he will promise all sorts of aid in exchange for nothing at all — the mistreatment of the Cuban people will continue, as will the mistreatment or execution of dissidents.

A lot of small businesses have found themselves unable to compete with other businesses who hire illegal aliens at reduced wages. Workers at Disney were famously fired, but forced to train their H1B replacements in order to get the severance pay to which they were entitled. Those workers are testifying before Congress, but any resulting legislation will be a long time coming, and that’s a source of a lot of anger.

And of course you have the people enrolled in ObamaCare who have learned that the promise that “you can keep your doctor” was a bunch of hooey, and you will have to pay far more, and wait longer to see a new doctor that you may or may not like.



Here’s The Donald: The Businessman from New York. by The Elephant's Child

Whether you are an admirer of the businessman from New York, or one of his detractors,  you should get acquainted with this documentary made a few years back about ‘the Donald.’ It is long, but utterly fascinating.  I come from the other side of the Rocky Mountains, and New York ways are not really familiar territory. We have enough trouble with the West Coast ways of Seattle and environs, and enviros. I added that last because I liked the combination, but Seattle is excessively environmentally loony.



Fundamentally Changing Who Can Vote In America by The Elephant's Child

Crowds of immigrants protest in favor of comprehensive immigration reform while on the West side of Capitol Hill in Washington, April 10, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST SOCIETY IMMIGRATION)

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is joining with several Latino organizations who advocate for illegal Latino immigrants, and activist House Democrat Luis Gutierrez , D-Ill., to get as many of the 5 million Latino residents naturalized and registered to vote  as possible before Election Day in November.

Gutierrez, long a radical socialist, is capitalizing on the anti-immigrant rhetoric from Republican presidential candidates. He wants them to get angry, particularly over the remarks of real estate mogul Donald Trump. SEIU’s campaign slogan is “Naturalize. Register. Vote.”

Gutierrez expects to travel across the country to attend as many of the nearly 100 naturalization seminars with iAmerica Action, Latino Victory Foundation, Mi Famila Vota, National Partnership for New Americans, and the SEIU. He’ll be starting Gutierrezin his hometown of Chicago and plans speeches in states with significant Latino populations like Colorado, Florida and Nevada. He’s hoping to turn 5 million Latino immigrants into voters by getting them to “stand up to hate.”

That’s an effective rabble-rousing message, but the republican message is not “hate,” but anger at the administration over executive actions that set aside the laws of the United States, order Border Patrol to stand down, ignore the millions of legal immigrants waiting in line — in favor of those who cross the border illegally and demand public services to which they are not entitled, and whose nationality and loyalties cannot be determined. But Trump’s rhetoric is ripe for twisting.

The groups cannot make the naturalization process any faster, but the campaign is aimed at making sure that those who are legal permanent residents trade in their green cards for citizenship. According to some sources, many Latin American immigrants simply want to work here and send money back home, but are not really interested in citizenship. I don’t know to what extent that is true, but many believe that Obama’s lax immigration policies are aimed at changing the nature and numbers of voters.

They will also launch a digital campaign, beginning with a website for the New American Democracy Campaign, which strives to “remove the barriers that keep eligible immigrants from naturalizing, increase naturalization and mobilize voters by creating the first-ever voter registration program for naturalized citizens and for the U.S.-citizen children of immigrants.”

The site, which points visitors to events in their areas, states that the campaign launched because “xenophobic and anti-immigrant rhetoric has inundated the presidential campaign trail” and therefore, “we must empower the immigrant community so that their voices may be heard at the polls.”

Obama’s plan to “fundamentally change the United States of America” has always been about making permanent— Democrat control of the reins of government — not of doing anything to improve the country, which should be clear by now.

It’s just about power and control.



The Great Big Wall, Revisited. by The Elephant's Child

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A lot of Americans are concerned about immigration, particularly illegal immigration. Donald Trump has made immigration central to his campaign, with his talk of building “a great big wall” and deporting everybody. He will make Mexico pay for it, and after he has deported all the illegals, he’ll put in a great big door and let the good ones back in. This is bombast, not a solution to anything. But Trump is speaking to public anger, and garnering the needed media attention. The Left attempts to portray concern about illegal immigration as nativism, or lack of concern for the unfortunate, or just plain mean, but that’s just what they always do.

Illegal immigrants welcomed with welfare and food stamps and public housing instead of being deported, doesn’t seem quite right to taxpayers. Sanctuary cities that prevent illegal immigrants from being deported don’t seem right either. When Katy Steinle is murdered senselessly in a sanctuary city, by illegal alien Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, with seven felony convictions, who has been deported 5 times, which means he has entered the country illegally at least 6 times — Americans really don’t like it.

When the numbers of Americans no longer looking for work reach incredible heights, and the Chamber of Commerce is simultaneously demanding more visas for foreign workers, something doesn’t seem right. Then there were the videos of trains from Mexico with children and adults, members of Mara Salvatrucha with their tattoos, crowded on top of the railway cars, admitted and scattered all over the country to wreak havoc with school districts and local welfare services. We were told they were required to report back to Customs and Immigration for hearings, but that never happened either. Some said the Democrats just wanted more Democrat voters.

The American people have been pretty clear about what they want. They want the immigration laws enforced, and Obama’s waivers and executive orders and executive notes and never minds halted. We have laws and open borders isn’t in them. We don’t care for presidents deciding which laws will be enforced and which will not. There is this thing called the oath of office, which we believe it is not only wrong, but immoral to ignore.

Congress has developed some bad habits. They want to solve problems with big comprehensive bills that cover everything and get the problems out of the way. And that is the way they intend to solve immigration. The people want the borders closed, and our current laws fully enforced — then we’ll talk about the next step.

We are regularly told that we must have amnesty for the 11 million illegal aliens among us; that they cannot be deported because there are 11 million of them. The Heritage Foundation exposed the dirty secret in a post at their Daily Signal. We have no idea how many illegals there are in the country. We have no idea how many have overstayed their visas. We have no idea how many are not citizens. We don’t have meaningful exit controls. The 11 million number is a guess, and it’s been the same number for over a decade. Congress just wants to get rid of the problem. A big fix, and if it doesn’t work, another big fix down the road, and so on and so on.

ADDENDUM: I must emphasize that I do not believe that Americans are anti-immigrant. They are anti-illegal immigrant. We are a nation of laws and we expect the laws to be enforced. It is unconscionable that we have millions of people who have gone through the legal process of wanting to immigrate, and have to wait 10 or 20 years, while illegals just pop over the border or overstay their visas.



Treat Serious Subjects with a Degree of Respect by The Elephant's Child

Muslim-PrayerThe media’s freakout over Donald Trump and especially his insistence that he will ban Muslims from the United States continues apace. Steven Hayward summed it up nicely at Powerline.

But let’s face it: the institution with the most at stake in Trump’s continued success is . . . the media. Here’s a not so secret fact of modern journalism: covering presidential campaigns is really boring. Most leading candidates are fairly disciplined, and stick to a standard stump speech. They don’t make a lot of national news, with the exception of having to respond to events (or in this case, respond to Trump). If you’re covering Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio right now, you aren’t getting much broadcast airtime or front-page space. Covering Trump has to be the best thing since the invention of movable type: you never know what he’s going to say.  …

All he has to do to capture the news cycle is to pick up the phone and make some outrageous statement.

Our new Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s response to the San Bernardino massacre, was that she would be concerned about a rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric. Politically incorrect speech, which is of course, free speech —protected by the First Amendment. She later backed down. There were innumerable cries about Trump’s statement being totally unconstitutional, but several law professors specializing in First Amendment law explained carefully that we can legally forbid entry to anyone.

On the other hand, there is a religious test for refugees. In theory, as I understand it, a refugee is someone admitted above and beyond the quota for the year on the basis that they face persecution and danger in their native country because of their religion. This is a real problem for Christians in the Middle East whose lives are threatened.

The suggestion that we might target Muslims is assumed to be a “hate crime”  largely by the Democratic Party.  Despite the liberal narrative, it is Jews, not Muslims who are the greatest victims of what the FBI calls religiously targeted hate crimes in America. 57% of anti-religious hate crimes targeted Jews, 16% targeted Muslims. Anti-Christian or anti-Protestant bias came in third at 8.6%.

The problem for the West seems to be Sharia Law, handed down by the Prophet as rules that govern every aspect of life for believing Muslims. We speak of “radical Islam” but that seems to mean only that adherents are expected to follow its tenets to the letter. The penalty for rejecting Islam is death. The penalty for speaking any words that can be interpreted as critical of the Prophet is death. Those who are “not radicalized” feel that the passage of centuries has perhaps changed or  modified things somewhat, or has it?

Others say that Islam is not a religion but an ideology. Osama bin Laden was radicalized by the work of Sayud Qtub who came to believe that the misfortunes facing Muslims were because Allah had turned his face away from Muslims because the people had not followed Shariah closely enough, and failed to eliminate those who would not submit.

British police have come forward to say that Trump is right because Muslim areas of Britain are “so radicalized” they are no-go areas. While we debate Trump’s statements, France has closed three mosques, in which they found hundreds of weapons. Nine people have been arrested and another 22 have been banned. They have also kicked in the doors of 2,235 homes and taken 232 people into custody or placed them  under house arrest.

From The Daily Mail: ISIS army of scientists set to wage chemical and biological war on the West. They claim to have already smuggled weapons of mass destruction into the European Union. The terror organization has recruited experts with chemistry, physics and Computer science degrees to wage war with future attacks.

Obama said that America must enlist Muslim communities to combat terrorism. Former FBI Counterterrorism Agent John Guandolo said that since 9/11, “we collectively have received nearly zero help from the Muslim community,” In the Wall Street Journal Yesterday, Khurram Dara, an attorney and author of The Crescent Directive and Contracting Fear wrote that “after San Bernardino, American Muslims have to come to terms with an ever more apparent truth; that we and our mainstream Muslim brethren, are the only ones who can lead a winning fight against the radicalism crippling our faith.”

This is all a deep and troubling conundrum, and worth far more study and thought than a would-be politician popping off to get the day’s most notable news bite.

 



Carly Fiorina Can Take Care of Herself! by The Elephant's Child

Among  his many intemperate remarks, Donald Trump chose to insult Carly Fiorina. Why not, he’s turned his insults on everybody else. He said something to the effect of “Look at that face. Could you vote for somebody with a face like that for president?” This may not be completely correct as I’m not looking it up. But never mind, Carly can take care of herself.

Smart commercial, and really puts the Donald in his place. Can you imagine having Trump as president, insulting our allies around the world, and remarking on how stupid other world leaders are?




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