45 thoughts on “News/Politics 1-3-17

  1. This appears to be another positive indicator. And fans of Reagan should be happy too, as Mr. Lighthizer was a former deputy US trade representative in the Reagan administration.

    President-elect Donald Trump nominated Robert E. Lighthizer as the U.S. trade representative on Tuesday, recruiting to his Cabinet a veteran of the Reagan administration who has decades of experience in trade policy and litigation.

    Lighthizer, whose selected was first leaked by Trump transition officials late Monday, will join a team of Trump lieutenants charged with fulfilling one the central promises of Trump’s populist candidacy: aggressively confronting China, Mexico and other nations the president-elect believes have been taking advantage of international trade agreements, to the detriment of U.S. workers.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/01/02/trump-to-name-lighthizer-as-trade-representative-tap-pence-adviser-for-west-wing/?utm_term=.504d334281c6

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  2. Debra’s not the only one. 🙂

    http://money.cnn.com/2017/01/03/news/economy/ford-700-jobs-trump/index.html

    “Ford is canceling plans to build a new plant in Mexico. It will invest $700 million in Michigan instead, creating 700 new U.S. jobs.

    Ford (F) CEO Mark Fields said the investment is a “vote of confidence” in the pro-business environment president-elect Donald Trump is creating. However, he stressed Ford did not do any sort of special deal with Trump.

    “We didn’t cut a deal with Trump. We did it for our business,” Fields told CNN’s Poppy Harlow in an exclusive interview Tuesday. He said Ford did speak with Trump and vice-president elect Mike Pence this morning.”
    —-
    “The news is a major U-turn for Ford. Last year, the company announced it would invest $1.6 billion in Mexico to transfer the production of the Ford Focus from Michigan to Mexico to save costs. Now the Focus will be built at an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, and Ford will expand its plant in Flat Rock.

    “Our announcements today are really a vote of confidence in the [U.S.] economy,” said Fields.”

    ——————————————-

    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/03/construction-spending-in-nov-2016-ism-manufacturing-in-dec.html

    “U.S. construction spending rose more than expected in November, reaching its highest level in 10-1/2 years, which could provide a lift to fourth-quarter economic growth.

    The Commerce Department said on Tuesday that construction spending increased 0.9 percent to $1.18 trillion, the highest level since April 2006. It was boosted by gains in both private and public sector investment

    Construction spending in October was revised up to show a 0.6 percent rise instead of the previously reported 0.5 percent increase. Construction spending was up 4.1 percent from a year ago in November.”

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  3. And here’s another.

    Ryan and R’s in Congress were about to weaken ethics rules. But Trump questioned why they would do so, and now they’re not. Trump prevented the gang who can’t/won’t shoot straight from shooting themselves in the foot. Again.

    What was Ryan thinking?

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/gop-drops-weakening-of-ethics-office-challenged-by-trump/ar-BBxQ3Np?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=U452DHP

    “House Republicans reversed themselves Tuesday under pressure from President-elect Donald Trump, and dropped plans to swiftly gut an independent congressional ethics board.

    The dizzying about-face came as lawmakers convened for the first day of the 115th Congress, an occasion normally reserved for pomp and ceremony under the Capitol Dome. Instead, House Republicans found themselves under attack not only from Democrats, but from their new president, over their secretive move Monday to immediately neuter the independent Office of Congressional Ethics and place it under lawmakers’ control.

    GOP leaders scrambled to contain the damage, and within hours of Trump registering his criticism over the timing on Twitter, they called an emergency meeting of House Republicans where lawmakers voted to undo the change.”

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  4. Now some may have legit concerns over the Office, and how it is run. By all means it should have oversight, but an independent office is necessary for obvious reasons. Otherwise the party in charge easily determines who gets investigated, and for what reasons.

    I don’t get Ryan’s endgame here. They were going to use a hammer to fix something that just needs a few screws tightened. Overkill.

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  5. Obama sure left a nice economy for Trump.

    The end game is to remove independent oversight as quickly as possible. This eliminates scandals without changing behaviour.

    Note Trump didnt disown the idea he just questioned priorities.

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  6. Um, nice economy? Yeah, it’s been humming along in stagnation pretty consistently.

    It’s frankly debatable how much presidents have to do with economies, but they like to take credit and point blame when it suits their purpose.

    From above link on Kelly’s change of venue / a star was born, apparently:

    Megyn Kelly announced today that she is leaving her longtime perch at Fox News for a new role at NBC News, and in a post on Facebook, she says she’ll miss her colleagues at Fox and is “deeply grateful” to her soon-to-be-former bosses, but she’s “delighted” to be joining NBC and taking on a new challenge.

    Her complete Facebook post follows:

    “Over a dozen years ago I started at Fox News in a job that would change my life. Now, I have decided to end my time at FNC, incredibly enriched for the experiences I’ve had. I have agreed to join NBC News, where I will be launching a new daytime show Monday through Friday, along with a Sunday evening news magazine program. I will also participate in NBC’s breaking news coverage and its political and special events coverage.

    “While I will greatly miss my colleagues at Fox, I am delighted to be joining the NBC News family and taking on a new challenge. I remain deeply grateful to Fox News, to Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch, and especially to all of the FNC viewers, who have taught me so much about what really matters. More to come soon.

    “Happy New Year, and God bless.”

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  7. Here’s Michael Horton’s take on Trump’s association with Paula White, national heretic. I’m assuming the headline wasn’t written/suggested by Horton. I doubt Trump could really be attempting to advance anything in particular, theologically; I suspect he just thinks all Christian stuff is the same. Parenthetically, recall Paula White’s tryst with Benny Hinn a few short years ago. Benny Hinn… Ick!

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/01/03/evangelicals-should-be-deeply-troubled-by-donald-trumps-attempt-to-mainstream-heresy/?utm_term=.b621957cf817

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  8. To be fair to HRW (and Obama) it interesting to compare the January 2017 economy with the January 2009 economy. We know Obama did many things wrong. The Rs kept him from doing other things wrong. What did he do right? Answer: Free Trade.

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  9. The comparison between 2009 and 2017 is pretty enlightening. And does point to Obama’s success. How much is due to Obama and how much is due to cyclic nature of capitalistic economies is hard tell. Politicians like to take credit — Trump is already taking credit. It is however interesting how the general economic trends have favoured Clinton/Obama rather then the two Bushes.

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  10. There is a delayed effect on economic policies. Reagan’s tax cuts, tax reforms and regulatory reforms paid dividends for years. Clinton’s free trade policies paid dividends for years. The imbecilic government program of requiring lenders to make bad loans and then allowing others to profit from selling worthless mortgage backed securities was in place for years before it all came crashing down on Little Bush and then Obama. I give Little Bush and Obama good marks for the way they handled that debacle.

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  11. Yeah, because Dems run up the tab, and then the adults are stuck dealing with the fallout. Who invented the tech and housing bubbles? Democrats. Clinton on the first, and Dems like Frank and Pelosi, who refused Bush’s efforts to do something about it, on the second.

    And Obama’s “economy saving” stimulus was a failure that only aided his friends and contributors, just like his greatest failure, ObamaCare, the greatest failure of his failed legacy. And whose gonna have to fix that disaster? Again, the R’s.

    His domestic agenda is a failure, his foreign policy is even worse. But again, R’s are stuck holding the bag, and the checks he ducked out on.

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  12. [Legal-Courts] President Barack Obama’s legacy of running up the tab for taxpayers during his family’s exorbitant and frequent vacations is projected to reach an excess of $100 million before the close of his two terms as president – putting a strain on the economy, military and Secret Service.

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  13. I agree with AJ @ 3:08. However, Little Bush spent like a Democrat for eight years and Trump’s one trillion dollar “infrastructure plan” threatens to make Little Bush and Obama look like Calvin Coolidge.

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  14. SolarP, I agree that Trump should not be expected to know that Paula White is a heretic. Huckabee or Dobson or Falwell or Carson or Jeffress or Pence should have told him.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Telling people who don’t have jobs or are in debt up to their eyeballs or just lost their business or can’t get their kids out of the basement that the economy is good is what lost the Democrats the election.

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  16. 1. Who watches “daytime” TV anymore?
    2. As a Realtor (trademarked) it is almost heresy for these words to come from my fingertips, but Clinton made it easier for people to buy homes. He put pressure on mortgage companies to loosen the guidelines on getting a mortgage. Some people should not own a home. Homes need repairs, homes need maintenance and upkeep, homes need many thing that some people for whatever reason are not capable of doing. There was a time in my life I rented because while I could afford the negotiated rent, if anything had gone wrong I could not have afforded the repairs. (Like the new refrigerator and hot water heater I got in one house and the Air Condition replacement in another)

    In my county we have quite a few lower income homeowners who need home repairs in order to remain in their homes but cannot afford them. There is a group of business and professional mean who hold BBQ’s to raise money and do the repairs.

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  17. The delayed effect is real. Clinton is as much to blame for the mortgage defaults and banking crisis as Bush and the Republicans. The banking deregulation occurred on his watch along with a Republican Congress.

    Bubbles in the economy are not the fault of the gov’t. Bubbles are an intrinsic part of capitalism and even have positive qualities — large capital investments that may yield long term community benefits (i.e. housing stock, tech advancements). However, the bubble itself is part of human nature and capitalism — trying to make easy money and following the herd. This can be seen in early capitalist societies — the Tulip bubble and the South Sea bubble.

    Politicians can be blamed for the lack of brakes on a runaway bubble. Clinton actually removed the brakes and Bush sat idly by. The left has never really forgiven Clinton for his deregulation and cooperation with the Republican Congress to accomplish it. This also explains the lukewarm response Hilary Clinton was given.

    As for Obamacare — it was an idea first raised in a conservative think tank, floated by Bob Dole, and then implemented by Romney in Massachusetts. The truth is the Republicans have nothing to replace it with because it was their idea and they only campaigned against it because they didn’t want to agree or support him. I can’t see the current Republicans trying to repeal Obamacare en masse — they may tinker with it but they will keep the body. Besides repealing the ACA will upset their insurance company sponsors and reignite the left who would love to have a chance to put something else in its place.

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  18. kbells — you are right. After 30-40 years of neoliberal capitalist policies there is something very rotten about the structure of the western economies. However, the way we measure economies — growth, production, etc — indicates the economy is good and solid. What is missing from economic analysts is an understanding that other measurements are equally important – inequality, mobility, etc and in these types of measurements, the last 30-40 years has been nothing short of a disaster.

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  19. We drove past the former Solyndra plant the other day–it’s now owned by another high tech company, but the amount of money wasted in that project boggles the mind. I remember that idiocy every time I drive to Silicon Valley because it sits beside the freeway.

    Cash for Clunkers? Another total boondoggle for the wrong people with repercussions that were not foreseen for the poor (the market for used cars disappeared since there were few to purchase. All the people I know who used Cash for Clunkers turned in the cars their children drove and bought the kids new ones).

    The refusal to stem illegal immigration caused the closure of a number of emergency rooms in southern California–they had to take anyone, but no one paid so the ERs closed down. (Obviously, users were not all illegal immigrants, but they played a large role).

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  20. The U.S. economy only bears a slight, superficial appearance of real capitalism. Large capital investment–or any number of other bubble-related phenomena–occur only after navigating or bouncing through a myriad of government gates and obstacles.

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  21. Given our form of gov’t ( and the inescapable fact of our humanity) there will never be a ” pure ” capitalism or any other ideology. So the imperfect form must work or be good enough.

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  22. I guess I’m not up to speed on Trump’s religiosity or lack thereof….In what way was it Pence’s and Huckabee’s duty to instruct the pres-elect in his faith? And do we know that they have not given their opinion? Have there been public statements? I’m just asking if anyone has kept up with this aspect of these relationships, because I confess I have not.

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  23. For those who might think who is president doesn’t matter on economic choices by companies…..

    http://dailycaller.com/2017/01/03/breaking-ford-ceo-cancels-plan-for-mexico-plant-creates-700-jobs-in-america-video/

    ““President-elect Trump has attacked Ford many, many times in his rallies and on Twitter,” Harlow first noted. “Are you canceling plans to build this huge plant in Mexico because of the President-elect?”

    “Well, when we make decisions like this as a company, we look at — first we do what’s right for our business,” Fields answered. “This makes sense for our business, and we look at all factors, including what we view as a more positive U.S. business-manufacturing environment under President-elect Trump.”

    “It’s literally a vote of confidence around some of the pro-growth policies he’s been outlining, and that’s why we’ve made the decision to invest here in the U.S. and in Michigan.”
    Fields told Harlow that though he spoke to the president-elect and vice president-elect this morning, the decision was made “independently.””

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Adherents of one ideology or another always proclaim upon its failure or errors that its ideology wasn’t implemented properly. Communist were quick to disown the USSR and today libertarian capitalist are quick to disown the western economies. Truth is, today’s economy with its booms and busts, inequality, etc bears a much closer resemblance to the classical liberalism of the 19th century then any tie since the post war era began. In the 50’s and 60’s, there were no booms and busts, instead there was a stable economy with a stable middle class. When gov’t regulations were slowly stripped away and capital was free to move (e.g. the end of the Bretton Woods agreement) the boom and bust cycle returned, inequality grew and the middle class is slowly disappearing. This is capitalism as near as humanly possible. m

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  25. Debra, Trump has said he never felt the need to be forgiven. He is completely theologically illiterate. This is not his fault.

    I do blame Trump’s Christian advisers for not telling him that Paula White is a heretic and a charlatan. I am sure that Trump thinks she is a great Christian leader and an appropriate person to pray at the Inauguration.

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  26. When Little Falwell, Jeffress, Dobson and others agreed to serve on Trump’s “Christian Committee” with Paula White they are implicitly telling Trump they think she is a Christian.

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  27. As I understand it, this is Trump’s advisory board, correct? Either you want a seat at that table, or you don’t. If White is his choice of faith advisor, I don’t think that reflects at all on anyone else who chooses to sit at the table.

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  28. SolarP and Debra, Points well taken, but Dobson used Paula White as his “source” that Trump had been converted. That is ridiculous! Does Dobson not know who and what White is?

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  29. This article is stunning.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.americanbazaaronline.com/2015/05/01/indian-americans-are-the-richest-community-in-the-us-with-median-income-of-100547/amp/?client=safari

    Why do Indian immigrants make double the income of average Americans? Why do Filipino immigrants make 50% more than the average Americans? They are in the same “bad” economy. Whose fault is this? Americans really need to start looking in the mirror more.

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  30. Ricky, I may be optimistic about Trump, but I’m not completely naive. I know that he may (probably will) disappoint. How can he not; he’s just a man, and our problems are much much bigger than any man or group of men (or women) can solve. But my expectations are not grand. I have learned to be satisfied with small steps. If Trump succeeds in leading the country in a better direction at all, I’ll endeavor to be reasonably satisfied with his performance. So far, so good.

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  31. I’m not convinced that Trump is a Christian — but I also know that “bad theology” (and there’s a lot of it out there) doesn’t mean a new convert isn’t truly saved.

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  32. Ricky, for the last four years my husband and I have gone to the same hotel for our anniversary. We go after they have a super-busy tourist week, but the week we go there are only a handful of people in the hotel, and we always get a chance or two to chat with the owner, who remembers us each year. (My husband is memorable. He is tall and he wears a fedora.)

    Well, one year she got chatting about how Indians buy their hotels. It seems that when one wants to get into the business, a family member (in her case an uncle) gives them the cash, as an interest-free loan. That is a gigantic advantage in starting off in business, and one can only assume that culturally they also have the responsibility needed to pay it back, as well as the knowledge to determine whether a specific property is a good investment. And if you start out with a business with no interest debt, you can turn cash profits pretty quickly, and pass on the loan to someone else. Besides, of course, in seeing America as a land of opportunity, it is probably more entrepreneurially minded Indians who come in the first place. Indians with the family name of Patel (a higher caste group) have a pretty big lock on the hotel business in America, and it isn’t reasonably possible that every Smith can have the same sort of opportunity.

    In my family, virtually nobody works a nine-to-five company job. Some are freelancers, some investors, some in ministry, some work a part-time job but have their own business on the side. But some are really good at it and some are not. And it isn’t skill or intelligence or education or diligence or anything definable that says whether or not a given individual is going to make a go of his first or second business or is going to have business after business for 40 years, barely staying out of poverty (if he does so) all those years.

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  33. Reminds me of something a friend mentioned to me last year after she’d wrapped up a cross country car trip — she remarked on how many of the hotels and motels were Indian-owned and operated.

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  34. DJ, Do we think a charlatan and a heretic is likely to present the actual Gospel to a potential new convert? If we answer “yes”, do we not think the new convert might be aware of a need to be forgiven?

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  35. I’m not sure I had a grasp of the gospel in any fine-tuned way when I was a very new believer, but something profound had happened that drew me irresistibly. As I searched and read and pursued more, the gospel came into more precise focus.

    I do think an understanding of our need for forgiveness is basic, however, which is why I harbor doubts that Trump is a “misinformed” but genuine believer.

    But none of us really knows, of course; prayer for the individual is never out of order in those cases.

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  36. Cheryl, Do we really think these interest free loans are the main reasons that Indians make double the income of average Americans?

    If so, are the South Africans and the Filipinos also giving each other interest free loans? If so, why don’t all Americans do this and become rich?

    Do we really think that the average Filipino immigrant named Martinez has Greater opportunities in the US than all those native born Smiths? Many of the South Africans I know came to America with virtually nothing, having left South Africa when that nation turned into a lawless wasteland.

    To use a “Trumpism”, I would agree with you that we are getting some of the”best” of India, The Phillipines, South Africa and elsewhere. But why? Don’t they know that NAFTA and globalism and Obama make it impossible to be successful here? Why doesn’t someone tell them how bad the economy is so they will stop making double the income of native-born Americans?

    Actually, skill, intelligence, diligence and education have a great deal to do with being economically successful. When I look in the big mirror, here are differences I see between our native born middle class and immigrants.

    1. The immigrants are thrifty. The natives are constantly taking expensive cruises, eating out, buying giant trucks or SUVs or buying more house than they can afford. This is why the immigrants often own businesses and the natives are living paycheck to paycheck. Wherever I have lived, my neighbors have been immigrants living below their means and native born who “bought all the house they could qualify for”.

    2. The immigrants are extremely focused on education. Valedictorians are often named Patel or similar names. The natives often take “regular” courses, spending thousands on sports or cheerleading. At age 18 the immigrant kids are ready to go to college to study engineering, science or finance. The natives have no skills and have to take remedial courses to start junior college.

    3. The immigrants are entrepreneurial, and not just the Indians. Hispanics and Iraqis are opening car repair shops. Koreans have their donut shops. Some fail, but most succeed. The immigrants generally work harder than the natives, but a bigger factor is that the immigrants live on a tighter budget, so they don’t have to net as much each month to start saving.

    In short, the immigrants live more like the older generation that went through the Depression. Our native born too often act like the country owes them a living. They are spoiled, often lazy and are not driven to succeed. When they don’t succeed, they will blame “Whitey” or racism or immigrants or NAFTA or Little Bush or Obama.

    The immigrants won’t tell you this, but they see the same thing I do. They see life in America as being Alabama playing North Texas every day. They live below their means in middle class areas. With hard work, their kids can destroy the native born in school and finish at the top. The kids can then become doctors, engineers and scientists while the natives struggle. Alternatively, they can open and build successful businesses, but they know not to hire the native born as employees. Think about that. When was the last time you saw a native born employee in a business owned by immigrants?

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  37. One more thing. Divorce is a luxury. A Trump can afford to trade in for a new wife every few years, particularly when they all signed prenuptial agreements. However, divorce is a financial catastrophe for the middle class as well as being a human tragedy for all involved. Immigrants tend to stay married and have kids who live with both parents. Our natives too often are getting divorced or are having illegitimate kids.

    Liked by 1 person

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