September 14th, 2017

Trump, DACA, the wall, and the press

In the Trump era it’s gotten even more difficult to write about the news, for the simple reason that for the most part I distrust all prognostications and rumors, both of which have come to take up a larger and larger part of reporting ever since Trump was inaugurated.

Take these headlines at today’s page at memeorandum as an example. Here are the titles of the lead stories, in order:

Fox & Friends: Maybe Trump Wall Was ‘Symbolic’

Trump Caves on DACA, Wants ‘Quick’ Amnesty for 800K Illegal Aliens

Trump: “The wall will come later”

Trump’s diehard supporters are fuming after an apparent about-face on ‘dreamers’

Trump 2.0: They’re Sending Their Best!

Trump: If There’s Not a Wall, We’re Doing Nothing

White House: ‘There will be no amnesty’ under Trump

Trump, top Democrats agree to work on deal to save ‘dreamers’ from deportation

Now granted, much of the confusion (a wall or no wall? DACA deal or no DACA deal?) is due to Trump’s contradictory messages on the subject. But that’s par for the course. You know what I’d like to see—although I have no illusions that I will see it? Newspapers that report on what actually has happened once it has happened, rather than predicting what they think is happening or what is supposedly happening behind closed doors.

For example, how about a piece that says “Trump has been issuing contradictory and confusing statements on DACA, and we don’t really know what’s happening or what’s going to happen.” Yeah, I know; it wouldn’t make much of a story, would it?

To read every one of those articles and to try to sort out what really might be happening would take all day and then some. I’m not going to do it. But from what I’ve read, my impression is that some sort of compromise is being worked out that will preserve the DACA rights of some people while getting some sort of concession on the wall or the border.

Works for me—perhaps.

Till then, the best summary and the best guess I can find so far is by Paul Mirengoff at Powerline:

Late last night, in an update to a post about DACA, I noted that President Trump reportedly had just made a deal with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi regarding DACA-style legislation. The alleged deal would protect the roughly 690,000 people covered by the current DACA program (but not, I take it, other “dreamers”) and would include a package of border security measures, excluding the wall, that’s “acceptable to both sides.”…

The White House, though, is denying that it struck such a deal. Sort of.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted:

“While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to.”

Trump tweeted:

“No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote.”

Trump’s tweet has a non-denial denial quality to it. Obviously, the details of any deal would have to be worked out and the final deal would be subject to a vote. But this doesn’t mean Trump didn’t reach the framework for an agreement.

Note too that this statement doesn’t mention the wall — only “massive border security,” whatever that means.

Then today, Trump reiterated the importance of the wall itself:

“Very important is the wall. We have to be sure the wall isn’t obstructed because without the wall I wouldn’t do anything… It doesn’t have to be here but they can’t obstruct the wall if its in a budget or anything else.”…

“We’ll only do it if we get extreme security, not only surveillance but everything that goes with surveillance. If there’s not a wall, we’re doing nothing.”

Got that?

I will repeat something I’ve said many times before, something that should be obvious to anyone who’s been following Trump from the start of his candidacy two (count ’em, two!) long years ago: he goes back and forth on things. He sends out mixed signals, or at the very least ambiguous, hard-to-read signals.

His admirers say it’s because he’s cagey. His detractors say it’s because he’s an idiot and/or a liar. I say he’s no idiot, and he’s sometimes very cagey, sometimes flat-out lying, and sometimes changes his mind. On DACA he’s been very waffley from the start. On the wall not so waffley, although he always talked about that great big beautiful door, too.

We’ll see.

72 Responses to “Trump, DACA, the wall, and the press”

  1. steve walsh Says:

    I think the best way to evaluate Trump’s behavior is to do so in the context of who he was prior to becoming a candidate for, and then, POTUS.

    Trump is a business man who spent nearly the entirety of his professional career negotiating stuff. The cagey-ness, as you call it, is a tried and true tactic in negotiation. You do it to signal what you want, and to uncover what the other party wants. Trial balloons and whatnot.

    In that sense, I think your assessment that a larger framework for a deal was discussed and agreed to last night is correct: Schumer & Pelosi want to protect the Dreamers, Trump wants to enforce the border (build a wall or strengthen our immigration enforcement). They agreed to that trade last night. Lots of details need to be worked out. The parties are saying what they need to to reinforce the importance, to them, of what they traded for.

    He’s not a politician, clearly, they don’t behave this way. The professional politics watchers and analysts can’t make heads or tails of what he says. So they figuratively throw up their hands and make all sorts of speculative statements about what he is or is not doing.

  2. eeyore Says:

    I don’t understand how cities, states and other organizations can sue the Feds for removing DACA protections. When Arizona started to enforce immigration laws the Feds went to court and it was determined then that only the federal government gets to enforce immigration laws. How can they win when it was just recently shown the Feds are the ones responsible for these laws?

  3. Dave Says:

    Trump is more trustworthy than the media, period.

    Trump’s dishonesty is mostly limited to the adjective he used to describe his accomplishments.

    lying means stating a fact that can be proven to be false. When a person promised to do something but didn’t that is not lying. If I promised to help you move but stood you up that is not lying, if I promised to rescue you but failed that is not lying. The media has given the world lie a new meaning.

  4. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    Never confuse DJT with the image of a rough edged company owner with a real understanding of his business. His alleged deal making capability is much like his reported prowess with women, mostly the result of self promotion. His confab with Chuck and Nancy is a desperate need to get some favorable press. His big problem is that he refuses to do the hard work of management. Congress is at a loss because they are getting no guidance on where they should spend their political capitol. If you have to rely on the President’s pre-dawn tweets you must throw up your hands in despair.

    A true negotiator has to know what he wants and what he will give away to make things happen. In every issue there are conservative goals that the house freedom caucus would love to get that are not in the public eye. Similarly with the moderate Senators. The president has a full plate of issues to trade with but fails because he will not do the work or delegate someone who then has total authority.

    Trump is a fraud and a conman. No real business man is afraid to release his books unless he’s hiding the truth. A good example is that Mayor Bloomberg is worth about 4 times Trump’s claimed net worth and Trump still trashes him as a poor mogul. He really doesn’t know what he is doing

  5. Dave Says:

    how do you govern when you reward criminals? yeah while giving illegal immigrants citizenship why not reward each drug dealer 1 million dollars and rapist 1 million dollars too. Illegal immigrants are worse than racists because at least racists didn’t break no law. illegal immigrants are thefts, they don’t belong here, their ancestors had made no contribution to the country, and they bring no values to this country. If they have valuable skills they could have applied for legal immigration already. yeah, immigrants stole education from taxpayer why should we give them jobs that they obtained using the education they have stolen from the taxpayers

  6. groundhog Says:

    I just had an idea.

    Fox News should have never adopted “Fair and Balanced” as a slogan.

    It should have been “News not Entertainment”. That’s what people need, though not what they often want.

  7. Dave Says:

    we should confiscate all democrat voters net worth since they love socialism so much.

  8. Dave Says:

    still waiting for liberals to show us any proof that Trump is a conman. the burden is on you to prove he is a conman, Rachel Maddow has released his tax return from 200x and it was pretty legit.

  9. Dave Says:

    There is nothing more exonerating than having the past administration using everything they could to try to find dirt on you and still couldn’t. Trump has to be pretty innocent when you have the whole world, the best investigative journalists, the deep state, CIA, FBI on your tail trying bring you down and they best thing they can find is your son speaking with some russian lawyer or trying to bent your way to bring charges to a former campaign manager for a few months just so he can falsely accuse you of some bogus up wrong doings.

  10. KLSmith Says:

    Somehow, I don’t think he would have won the Republican primary by promising the to make deals with Chuck and Nancy.

  11. Dave Says:

    its not his fault that republicans didn’t win 60 seats

  12. Dave Says:

    I don’t understand how the republicans complained that the democrats passed obamacare without compromising with them and now want to shut out all democrats in all legislation, sounds pretty hypocritical to me.

  13. neo-neocon Says:


    But anyone following him should have known that was his style. And he indicated as much shortly after his inauguration.

    Maybe I’ll write a post about this (not today, though!)

  14. neo-neocon Says:


    It’s the idea of payback, and ruthlessness. Why cooperate when the Democrats didn’t, and won’t in the future?

    They don’t want to be saps and patsies.

  15. Dave Says:

    this country is done. The liberals and conservatives hate each other so much they are like Sampson and Gregory. Why remains a country, why not divide it up and live happily separately?

  16. Irv Says:

    Trump ran as a non-politician with a promise to do things differently from the past. That’s what the people elected him to do. He had to beat at least 4 major Republican and 2 major Democrat candidates to get there. Now most of the flak he gets is for not being a good politician, not being a good Republican and for doing things that aren’t the norm in Washington.

    The Trump supporters understand the above and have been pleased with his performance so far. They have been less pleased with everyone else in Washington.

    Trump supporters are the only ones that accept the results of the election. Almost everyone else is trying to reverse the results by either removing him from office or at a minimum neutering him.

  17. Oldflyer Says:

    I don’t feel good. How can anyone know what his actual policies are, or what, if anything, he stands for?

    The President of the United States must be more than a wheeler-dealer. There must be some credible consistency.

    The game he is playing with Schumer & Pelosi vs the GOP leadership is simply despicable in my opinion. He is evidently more comfortable with their brand of politics than with the leadership of his own party. They have to be deliriously happy–they are always delirious– to see the nominal Republican President spitting on the Republican Congress.

    Trump’s most ardent admirers like to pretend otherwise, but the fact is that he was elected by Republicans. Despite the rhetoric of the slash and burn fringe, tens of millions who voted for him did not do so to destroy the party.

  18. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Ultimately, it’s a waste of time to try to figure the man out. What he’s able to deliver will ultimately determine history’s verdict. Given the people with which he’s surrounded himself and the MSM and Leftist opposition, I’m not hopeful.

  19. Oldflyer Says:

    Irv, you obviously believe what you just wrote; and you are wrong.

    Trump got tens of millions of votes from Republicans, despite justified concerns, and we hope that he succeeds because the alternative is unthinkable.

    I will attach one caveat. I do not hope that he will succeed in “doing deals” with despicable politicians from the opposing party that help to advance their agenda. And their agenda is first and foremost to undercut the GOP and regain power. Could Trump think they will deal with him when they have a majority in Congress?

  20. The Other Chuck Says:

    For once I’ll try to be optimistic. On the positive side, Trump gave us Gorsuch, lower court conservative judges, some excellent cabinet appointments, executive repeal of needless regulations, support of the 2nd Amendment, and the promise of tax reform. I believe him when he says he wants to help the middle class with jobs and the way to do that is by bringing them back from overseas and through corporate tax reform.

    On the negative side, well I’ve said most of that before. No need to repeat. But if he thinks this latest gambit of compromise with liberal Democrats will achieve ANY of his goals, he’s more than a fool. He’s a G…D……d Fool.

  21. Ann Says:

    Love Drudge’s headline right now — photos of Pelosi and Trump, with the tag “Dream Team”.

  22. M J R Says:

    Oldflyer, 5:31 pm — “Despite the rhetoric of the slash and burn fringe, tens of millions who voted for [Trump] did not do so to destroy the party.”

    But it is arguable, sez M J R, that the people who put him over the top in key states were disaffected types who do not habitually vote Republican and who have no special feelings for the Republican party — particularly given the party’s track record since January 20th. That even includes the party’s accomplishment of appointing Neil Gorsuch, because while Gorsuch is significant for Republicans and conservatives, his ascendancy is much, much less so for disaffected types.

  23. parker Says:

    We’ii see.

  24. Irv Says:

    If you think that Trump, who wrote “The Art of the Deal” will be outdealt by the likes of Schumer and Pelosi then you have no knowledge of his career. The number of deals he’s done all over the world and the fact that he became a billionaire doing them should give you a little confidence in him. Even if it doesn’t give you confidence he will succeed, at a minimum, you should adopt a wait-ant-see attitude before condemning him.

    Underestimating Trump is dangerous; just ask Hillary, 16 top Republicans, the mainstream media, the Democrats, the unions, the education establishment and ALL the pollsters.

  25. AesopFan Says:

    eeyore Says:
    September 14th, 2017 at 3:20 pm
    I don’t understand how cities, states and other organizations can sue the Feds for removing DACA protections. When Arizona started to enforce immigration laws the Feds went to court and it was determined then that only the federal government gets to enforce immigration laws. How can they win when it was just recently shown the Feds are the ones responsible for these laws?
    * * *
    They win because they own the judges, up to a point.
    With Trump’s appointments, that point is moving back down the line to sanity.
    (There is still the possibility of another renegade “it’s not a tax until we want it to be a tax” decision, but let’s hope for the best.)

  26. Artfldgr Says:

    he’s sometimes very cagey, sometimes flat-out lying, and sometimes changes his mind

    and who isnt that plays in agressive spaces?

    the issue with DACA is not the issue. IF it stands, it means presidents can make law on whim, and the progressive democracy validates it.

    Democracy can be thought of in several ways. One is that it is a method of peacefully choosing and replacing those who hold government power. But that view of democracy has been replaced by a broader one. People view democracy as a type of government that carries out the will of the people, as determined by the outcomes of democratic elections.

    This view of democracy, widely accepted today, legitimizes anything the government does, because a democratic government is just implementing the policies chosen by the voters.

    Progressivism is an ideology that views the role of government as not only protecting individual rights but also looking out for people’s economic well-being. Often, this means imposing costs on some for the benefit of others.

    so you gin up the people to WANT what it is you want to do, they ligitimize it, and voila.

    but this train has no brakes..

    It makes all the rules null and void, and the constitution confetti… why? cause the people want it and the ones who didnt, didnt get born so we imported people who think they will gain from these things like women against men, or poc againt white, or hetero against gay… but all this is doing is making a pallete where the leaders can act like kings and make law by just pointing to the group that then legitimizes them.

    whatever is talked about in the academic area, is our lives 10 or 20 years later…

    if you pay attention to what trump keeps saying he keeps wanting this to go to the powers of congress not the power of the EO pen in a presidents hands as the action of that can potentially have no limits in the peoples name.

    Think about this and Maduro solving the food problem with rabbits… [the kind of people that elect those kinds of leaders escaped to here that could]

  27. Cap'n Rusty Says:

    President Trump is showing the Republicans that while they think they are powerful because they were elected and have the majority, they don’t have any power at all unless they use it. They’re afraid to pass the legislation to accomplish the things that Trump promised, which got him elected. They still hate him because he ridiculed them and their boring pansy candidates throughout the campaign. Enough voters ate it up because they were tired of the same old same old, and put Trump in the White House.

    So now the Republicans are stuck. They won’t do a deal with Trump, so Trump will do a deal with the Democrats, and those Republican Congressmen will wring their hands and say that Trump should have done it their way . . . except they haven’t done anything!

    It’s time for them to fish or cut bait. If they had any leaders, they’d kill the filibuster, repeal Obamacare and Build the Wall . . . tomorrow.

  28. AesopFan Says:

    Cap’n Rusty Says:
    September 14th, 2017 at 10:28 pm
    President Trump is showing the Republicans that while they think they are powerful because they were elected and have the majority, they don’t have any power at all unless they use it.
    * * *

  29. AesopFan Says:

    Dave Says:
    September 14th, 2017 at 3:34 pm
    we should confiscate all democrat voters net worth since they love socialism so much.
    * * *
    Works for me.
    The ballot boxes can be directly connected to the IRS.

  30. Oldflyer Says:

    Irv, so Trump wrote a book about dealing. I don’t doubt that he can deal. My problem with him at the moment is the question of what he is dealing for. Is it simply to make a deal without regard for the long term consequences? What are the horizons of a “deal maker”, and how do they compare to the legitimate horizons of a President?

    When you set out to deal with the likes of Schumer and Pelosi you have waded into the slime. It is impossible to come out clean.

    That is the concern.

  31. Dave Says:

    Dont really mind housing more refugees if all the costs get automatically deducted from George Clooney’s bank account. All refugee camps and section 8 should all be built in heart of rich liberal communities. The biggest fault of democracy is that there is no penalty for voting for more entitlements. Rich liberals can still enjoy the tax cuts we voted for while we have to suffer higher premiums because of the stupid socialist healthcare they voted for.

  32. Dave Says:

    I have an idea for a better tax system, why don’t we have a whatever tax rate you want tax system. The minimum tax you pay is 10%, and you can choose to pay more if you desire, but everyone’s tax rate and the amount they choose to pay is open to public to find out. That is the only way we can find out if public liberals are as generous as they claim to be.

  33. Bill Says:

    Politicians often get some of traction out of books they’ve written (most recently Obama with “Dreams from my Father” and “The Audacity of Hope”) but has anyone gotten more traction than DJT for “writing” The Art of the Deal?

    He didn’t write it. It was ghost-written for him by Tony Schwartz.

    What’s absolutely fascinating right now is how Trump is turning the people shouting the loudest about “RINOs” into the people the most loudly praising “deals” he’s making with leading Democrats.

    The Republican party is now just the Trump party. Trumpist, not Conservative. It’s only “conservative” when Trump does conservative things, which I think will be less and less frequent going forward (but I’ve been wrong before). “Wins” are defined solely on the ratings for his latest action. Deal with Pelosi and Schumer getting a lot of buzz? Win! He sticks his thumb in Paul Ryan’s eye? Win!

    Buckle up, if you haven’t already.

  34. neo-neocon Says:


    The Republican Party has never really been conservative, certainly not in my lifetime. Portions of it have, and those portions have waxed and waned, but I don’t think conservatives are in the majority in the party at this point, even prior to Trump. So the lack of conservatism in the party isn’t due to Trump.

    Has it gotten less conservative since Trump was elected? I think the jury is still out on that.

  35. blert Says:

    Good Grief…

    It’s Negotiating 101.

    You lose when you’re tied to one position.

    It really is THAT simple.

    By being impossible to nail down, Trump has got EVERY other player up in the air.

    This chaos is the mark of a Master Negotiator.

    I’m reminded of the chaos during the final months of the Polaris missile project.

    Congress was so concerned that they convened hearings.

    Dude after dude testified that the whole project was a fiasco.

    120 days later, Polaris was finished.

    This was the FIRST major project that followed critical path management.

    Which, BTW, is now the ONLY way that major projects are undertaken.

    Polaris raced ahead three times as fast as previously expected.

    Trump’s previous real estate dealings are very much in the style of critical path thinking… so typical in Big Real Estate Projects, these days.

    You’ll note the same crazed corn fusion WRT North Korea.

    Which, BTW, is buckling under the pressure from Beijing.

    Xi is reaching into Kim’s wallet.

    A dictator needs cash for his crew — as well as atomics.

    What’s a maniac to do ?

  36. Tesh Says:

    I don’t much like Trump for a number of reasons, but this is one of his bigger “screw around with the MSM” moments, and I love it. He has them so flustered and confused that they don’t know what to say. Maybe he’s a genius, maybe he’s a moron, at the moment, I don’t much care. Journalists are getting whipped around like rubber chickens in a hyperactive caffeinated terrier’s mouth, and I can only hope for more.

    As for what he’s *actually* doing behind the smokescreen? I’m curious, of course, but there’s no way to tell. It will be interesting to see what settles out.

  37. Cap'n Rusty Says:

    “whipped around like rubber chickens in a hyperactive caffeinated terrier’s mouth”

    Perfect imagery! I’m going to use that.

  38. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    Bill Says:
    September 15th, 2017 at 12:35 am
    “The Republican party is now just the Trump party.”
    Not really. If they were, they might heed him and acquiesce.
    A third party might form around him, but if a third party forms, it should be around a platform, not a personality.

  39. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    Dave Says:
    September 14th, 2017 at 4:24 pm
    “its not his fault that republicans didn’t win 60 seats”
    Nor that the repubs can even deliver 51.

  40. Tatterdemalian Says:

    The Republican Party is only really conservative where defending liberty can only be done in conservative ways. They are still the libertarian party that does whatever it takes to make liberty work, while the Democrats are still the authoritarian party that does whatever it takes to increase its political power.

    Both are needed, as having nobody to serve as a bad example results in innocent children growing up to believe there are no bad examples, much like growing up without wild animal attacks leads to the belief that all animals are domesticated pets, even as the bears eat you.

  41. Bill Says:

    Regarding the MSM being “whipped around”…

    The MSM may personally hate Trump. But THEY LOVE THE RATINGS HE BRINGS.

    This idea that Trump somehow is sticking it to the MSM is nonsense on stilts. They are getting clicks and subscriptions and are doing just fine. This is fun season for them. A nice long impeachment drama will just be the cherry on the top.

    I hate propaganda. The “liberal heads explode” version is particularly tiring. Trump definitely has people shook up. But liberal heads are less explosive this week than a week ago because, if you haven’t noticed, he’s beginning to “deal” with Democratic leaders. Seen Chuck Schumer’s smile recently?

    Regarding the Republican party not being conservative before Trump. Um. OK. Let me phrase it a different way. Trump is more and more getting people who call themselves conservatives and who claim to hate “RINOS” to embrace some non conservative ideas (such as huge infrastructure spending “deals”, anti-free-trade, etc). Its hilarious, as someone like me who supports DACA, to see Trump followers, who purportedly hate illegal immigration, supporting his obvious flip-flop on that as part of his “master” “4 dimensional chess” “negotiating” “strategy”. He’ll have you supporting single payer before his first term is out. And you’ll still be in high dude on about RINOS.

    I’ve never understood the power this man has to delude people. Never worked on me, but it’s working on a whole lot of people.

  42. Bill Says:

    “high dude on” = high dudgeon. Maybe I’m the high dude #cantType

  43. huxley Says:

    This chaos is the mark of a Master Negotiator.

    blert: This is a 3D chess claim.

    I’ll wait until we get to the end of the DACA and Nork stories before I assign Trump any glory as a Master Negotiator.

    Chaos is a risky strategy, assuming it’s a strategy and not a character deficit.

    Quite a number of Trump’s enterprises failed. No biggie. Trump could walk away.

    If the US becomes a failed Trump enterprise, most Americans won’t be able to walk away.

  44. Tatterdemalian Says:

    “I’ve never understood the power this man has to delude people. Never worked on me, but it’s working on a whole lot of people.”

    It’s because we don’t have psychic superpowers. Neither do you, as you’re demonstrating clearly that it has, in fact, worked on you (thinking Trump was ever appealing to racists is proof of this). Psychic superpowers are the only way to ensure nobody can lie to you without being caught immediately, and propagandists are masters of spinning the things you believe you know, but don’t, into political power.

  45. Bill Says:


    I don’t buy into a theory of human reasoning that says we’re all a conman’s marks unless we have “psychic powers”

    That’s the Scott Adam’s “master persuader” versus “meat puppet” nihilism. I don’t buy into that.

    Let’s all be smart and independent thinkers as much as is possible. (I realize we are all swayed by advertising and propaganda to some degree. Let’s limit the damage)

    For example – yes, Trump has had a successful business career and has proved he can “get things done”.

    This is no reason to vote for someone (although I fear we’re in a new era where billionaire and celebritirs will be our political leaders. Mark Zuckerberg 2020 anyone?)

  46. Bill Says:

    It’s not that he gets things done. The better question is what things does he want to get done?

    And that’s often not the same thing as what he has told you he wants to get done

    Especially for a salesman like Trump who’s made a career out of BSery

  47. Tatterdemalian Says:

    “That’s the Scott Adam’s “master persuader” versus “meat puppet” nihilism. I don’t buy into that.”

    It really doesn’t matter what you buy in to. Reality will reach you even if mere reason can’t.

  48. Oldflyer Says:

    blert, I think you are off in a Trump induced fantasy world.

    Chaos may be the mark of the master negotiator, as you assert. I would not know. In my profession chaos was a prelude to disaster, as in “smoking hole”.

    I think that chaos in a Presidency is the mark of–chaos; and a certain lack of discipline. It is an invitation to the political equivalent of a smoking hole.

    I think that if you want people to follow you, then you have to demonstrate some consistency. Most people will not willingly walk into chaos. It may be strategically, or tactically sound to keep your adversaries off balance; it is not sound to keep your allies off balance. Moreover, it is absolute foolishness to create doubt as to your loyalty in the minds of allies–or people that you may need as allies.

    This is common sense 101.

  49. Tatterdemalian Says:

    Chaos, in this case, is 10% Trump making mistakes, and 90% the media blowing those mistakes out of proportion, as well as inventing make-believe mistakes and attributing them to Trump, to hide his actial accomplishments and convince everyone not only that Trump is incompetant, but that the entire Republican Party is so incompetant that we must hold a special election RIGHT NOW to coronate Madame President.

  50. Dave Says:

    maybe there will not be a 2020 election. have a feeling the world will end soon, all it takes is a missile from NK to Tokyo or California. Have anyone ever thought of a possibility that Kim has a terminal illness and wants to bring the whole world with him?

  51. om Says:


    After a while crying about the “media” when President Trump continues his “unforced errors” or “own goals” falls flat. It seems a bit odd when castigating Bill about facing the “reality” of the situation. Reality and reason may at some point visit you, will you recognize it? You seem to assume that President Trump has a plan. I know MAGA is the plan, but didn’t know Chuckie and Nancy were going to be big players in MAGA. Reality bites.

  52. groundhog Says:

    Bill says:But liberal heads are less explosive this week than a week ago because, if you haven’t noticed, he’s beginning to “deal” with Democratic leaders. Seen Chuck Schumer’s smile recently?

    People on both sides are getting worked up about one thing in one week.

    Nothing signed, no deals clarified.

    It’s the equivalent of air guitar. Not real.

  53. Tatterdemalian Says:

    “Reality and reason may at some point visit you, will you recognize it?”

    If I don’t, it will kill me, as surely as it will kill Bill. Or you, for that matter.

  54. Bill Says:


    I’m not sure I get your point. If *reality* is that we are all “meat puppets”, what are we even talking about?

    If I don’t buy that Scott (freaking) Adams has it all figured out, I’m deluded? Who made him the expert?

    Propaganda can be resisted. At least my modus operendi is to resist it. That means doing a few things

    a) don’t listen to just news sources that I agree with

    b) Engage people you disagree with in respectful conversation (I try to do this as well – although I often fail to be as respectful as I should be)

    c) Have a wholesome and realistic view of human nature. Engage the “only I can fix it” self-appointed messiahs with extreme skepticism.

    d) avoid at all costs becoming a member of a cult of personality.

    e) Follow the money and the motives. There are reasons people like Sean Hannity are the Leni Riefenstahl’s of the Trump era.

    f) Avoid most conspiracy theories (because most of them are completely unrealistic when you break them down).

    g) Understand that character is destiny. Liars, con-men, narcissists and abusers are actually sometimes capable of getting things done. They sometimes even do good things, but that doesn’t mean they stopped being liars, con-men, narcissists and abusers.

    That’s enough for now.

  55. Bill Says:


    “It’s the equivalent of air guitar. Not real.”

    It’s somewhere between “nothing” and “something”, but it’s definitely not nothing.

    For example, if you voted for Trump because you thought he would deport Dreamers and build a wall (financed by Mexico), he’s actively moving away from both of those things. In particular the Dreamers – he’s expressed heartfelt support for them staying here in just the past few days.

    Maybe it’s all part of a grand strategy. “We’ll see”

  56. chuck Says:

    > Trump is more trustworthy than the media, period.

    I think so too, and that in itself if bizarre. I mean, here is the guy who tweeted about Cruz’s father being involved in the Kennedy assassination, and yet, I generally find that once the facts come out, he is usually more correct than the media. Strange times.

  57. neo-neocon Says:


    You write:

    …if you voted for Trump because you thought he would deport Dreamers and build a wall (financed by Mexico), he’s actively moving away from both of those things.

    I would amend that to read this way:

    …if you voted for Trump because you thought he would deport Dreamers and build a wall (financed by Mexico), he’s reported to be actively moving away from both of those things. But in fact, if you thought he said that about the Dreamers in the first place, you were projecting your own wishes for what he was saying onto what he actually was saying. He never said he would deport Dreamers. As far as the wall goes, he did say that he would build a wall financed by Mexico. Despite reports that he’s moving away from the idea of building a wall, he denies that he’s moving away from it and the jury is still out on what will happen. As far as the detail about Mexico financing it goes, a great many Trump supporters seem to have felt that was just hot air on Trump’s part. If you believed him when he said it, however, and voted for him for that reason, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell to you. On the other hand, it’s not completely and utterly outside the realm of possibility that it could happen (Mexico paying for the wall, that is, not the bridge I want to sell you). But it is highly highly unlikely.”

  58. Bill Says:

    “If you believed him when he said it, however, and voted for him for that reason, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell to you”

    Well, I certainly agree with that.

    I’m just curious at the selective outrage, vis a vis this kind of thing: “We’re going to build a wall and Mexico is going to pay for it!!!” vs. “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”

    First one: [shrug] All politicians lie.
    Second one: [torches and pitchforks]

    I realize it’s not an apples/apples comparison. But that darn Wall was a huge part of the selling point of Trump, and the deliciousness of getting those awful southwardly brown people to pay for it was just the icing on the cake.

    Why do people get mad when we call him a con man?

  59. Irv Says:

    Neo – Highly, highly unlikely but probably not quite as unlikely as Trump getting elected.

    I voted for Trump because I thought he might at least stop things from getting worse, if not make them better. All the other alternatives, in my opinion, either could not have beaten Hillary or if they had, would have been just as bad as Hillary, but in different ways.

    I don’t expect him to do all the specifics he said he would do on the campaign trail, but I do expect him to work on and improve the problems associated with those campaign promises.

    He has a good start with Gorsuch, competent advisors and agency heads for the most part, Presidential directives and other court appointments. Also illegal immigration is not nearly as urgent with the precipitous drop in illegal border crossings.

    Giving in to Chuck and Nancy on extending the national debt spending limit gave him the freedom to do disaster relief and had the added benefit of taking away a big excuse for inaction from the Republicans trying to do tax reform. Sometimes you have to take an occasional tactical loss to reposition for strategic gains.

    Tweets and occasional outrageous statements give the media and the Democrats something of little import to distract them; much like giving a yarn ball to a cat to play with while waiting to get fixed at the vet’s office. I hold great hope that that’s an appropriate analogy.

  60. neo-neocon Says:


    One was a campaign promise—which are often known and acknowledged to be unicorn dust—and the other a solemn vow to pass a bill and meanwhile was pulling the wool over the eyes of the American people.

    IMHO, something about Trump’s aspect screams “showman” and “BSer” and “somewhat tongue in cheek.” I think a lot of Trump’s supporters understood that comment to be hyperbole and almost a sort of funny joke, a gauntlet thrown down to indicate intensity of feeling and outrageousness of braggadocio. It was a sort of thumbing his nose at the pious PC crowd.

    Obama was doing something else entirely. He was seriously promising something about a particular bill he was sponsoring, and he sounded very sincere. He wasn’t. He was lying through his teeth.

    Even I—not a Trump supporter, as you know—can see the difference.

  61. Tatterdemalian Says:

    “’m not sure I get your point. If *reality* is that we are all “meat puppets”, what are we even talking about?”

    You’re now intentionally avoiding my point, by trying to put words like “meat puppets” in my mouth.

    Again, there is no reasoning with you. We’ll just have to see which of us endures the return of The Gods of the Copybook Headings.

  62. Bill Says:


    The meat puppets reference was to Scott Adam’s which I thought (incorrectly, it turns out) was in the context of what we were talking about.

    I misunderstood you, but not intentionally.

    I’m game to take another run at the conversation. Accept my apologies. I’m actually interested in your standpoint (though I don’t *think* I agree) because propaganda and our susceptibility to it is of great interest to me.

    Understand if you don’t want to re-engage, but please do if you’re willing. Reason with me.

  63. Bill Says:


    It’s a good point, and falls into the “seriously, not literally” reality that seems in many ways to separate Trump followers from the rest of us. I see your point.

    A more applicable example is “read my lips, no new taxes” which basically cost Bush 1 a second term.

  64. blert Says:


    FDR operated exactly as Trump does today. He was chaos personified.

    It didn’t stop him from being effective.

    With Trump it’s tweats.

    With FDR it was fireside chats.

    FDR had folks wondering if he was going Left or Right all the time.

    As for Bill Clinton, that man flip-flopped FOUR times in a single afternoon… and rather famously, too.

    If your professional career dealt with objectives and objects ( construction or science, say ) then the political circus is both alien and alienating.

    Pelosi is at her wits end — as in her brain is in decline — with evidence pouring forth every passing day.

    Trump wants McConnell to dump the Filibuster — and GET THINGS PASSED.

    Trump’s zig-zagging is his way of bringing McConnell down to Earth.

    Mitch’s only way of getting back in the saddle: dump the Filibuster.

    Failure to do so will Totally Destroy the GOP.

    2016 will be THE high water mark for the GOP UNLESS Trump’s agenda is marched through Congress.

    1) End chain migration
    2) Stop Red China’s economic harvest of America.
    3) Tune down overseas military operations.

    ( Like McMaster’s notion of sending 150,000 into Syria. The only fella to shot him down was Donald J. Trump. The rest of the NSC crew was all for it. ) (!!!)

  65. neo-neocon Says:


    I disagree about the FDR comparison. I grew up among people who were adults during the FDR years, and who loved him and talked about him a lot. Never have I heard his administration described as chaotic, from people who lived through those times. His Fireside Chats were brilliant, well-orchestrated, fully-planned PR moves. And no one was wondering if he was careening left or right. He was quite consistently left in the economic sense—or what was left back then. Many many people hated him because of what was perceived as his leftism. The exact details of exactly where he was going to go may not have been so predictable, but he wasn’t going to the right.

  66. blert Says:


    There are multiple histories that establish that FDR had — as standard policy — factions tasked with diametrically opposed policy agendas — from 1933 onwards.

    He routinely betrayed friends — countless times, in fact — ALWAYS to the stupefaction of those betrayed.

    Stalin was fully aware of FDR’s personal style of politics — making his paranoia WRT FDR well founded.

    As for chaos: his economic policy suite was nothing BUT chaos… as countless historians aver.

    The ‘smooth running’ administration is pure PR spin.

    Politics is inherently chaotic.

    I slam FDR for his policy suites — but not for his personal style of manipulation — for that’s what he was.

    Trump is ANOTHER master manipulator. It’s what the position calls for.

    Certainly Barry Soetoro was — and remains — a master manipulator.

    W, while well meaning, was NOT a master manipulator. Hell, he wouldn’t even defend his policies — even when they were correct and well thought out.


    Many on the Right are upset about Trump and Afghanistan. But note, he’s actually kicked the matter over to Mattis and the Pentagon. He’s de-Presidentialed it. That’s the FIRST and essential step towards the exit.

    Now, in the ebb and flow of events, Trump can just kick Afghanistan queries over to Mattis. The MSM would rather crawl on broken glass than toss words with Mattis.


    Trump is going to make Mexico City pay for the wall — INDIRECTLY. This kind of charge-back happens all-the-time in the construction industry. It’s what he knows.

    Trump will keep shutting down Mexican economic development until Mexico City is screaming Uncle.

    The offset will be disguised as something else, of course.


    Trump is pulling the same stunt with Kim Jong-un. He’s got Xi so furious with Kim that his kim chee is cooked.

    Trump has spelled it out: either bring Kim around or watch Japan and South Korea go nuclear — AND — watch America put the vise on Red Chinese economic exploitations — globally.

    Their rocket ride to the top did not occur ‘naturally.’

    Since Beijing does not recognize intellectual property rights — especially to include its own — she is TOTALLY dependent upon intellectual property theft to grow her economy.

    This is seen most strikingly in military goods. Virtually EVERY military good is a clone of Russian// Soviet// American// European designs.

    At least India has the gumption to buy, outright, the real thing.

  67. Bill Says:


    Trump doesn’t get to “de-Presidential” a shooting war that he now owns.

    And he also doesn’t rule the world. This isn’t the 1950s anymore where America’s economy is the last one standing. He can, as you state, work his master manipulator chaos with China and Mexico. These actions have serious implications to the US economy.

    The NK situation is an interesting one. I don’t know what the North Korean are actually capable of. I hope the screws Trump is trying to set on them work. But thus far they have ignored his fire and fury bluster (which was off the cuff and empty) and continue to fire missiles.

    I mean, keep hope alive. He may accomplish your hopes. But from my point of view Trump followers are a mirror image of Obama partisans, writing on the blank canvas whatever they want to see.

  68. om Says:


    Regarding FDR and chaos and your comparisons to President Trump. Consider that FDR’s chaos and experimentation with economic matters (mostly from his leftist brain trust) is thought by many historians to have greatly extended the duration and severity of the Great Depression in the USA. So much for the archetype “Master Manipulator.” &&&

  69. neo-neocon Says:

    blert; om:

    Oh, I’m well aware that current thought on the right is that FDR made the Depression worse by his policies, a point of view I find fairly persuasive.

    I’m not talking about the lack of an effective approach. No one at the time really knew what to do. Nor am I talking about ex post facto evaluations by historians. I’m talking about public perception of whether he was to the left or to the right; how ordinary people perceived him. You wrote “FDR had folks wondering if he was going Left or Right all the time.” And “folks” usually means the general public, not the presidential advisors.

    And the fact that he and his aides made up their economic reactions as they went along, and that their reforms actually didn’t work all that well, has nothing to do with whether he was perceived as veering left or right. Plus, the Fireside Chats had very little in common with Trump’s tweets.

    Trump is perceived by most people (except the true believers) as chaotic, whether he is or isn’t. His tweets are perceived as being impulsive and out-of-control, whether they are or aren’t. Very different from the perception of FDR’s Fireside Chats.

  70. om Says:


    Agree. Another point, both looking back and to our present situations; the “Master Manipulator” (MM) FDR didn’t do to well manipulating Stalin. I have my doubts regarding President Trump’s “MM” skills in our present circumstances domestically and in foreign affairs. We’ll see.

  71. Bill Says:

    Also, skill sets to be a successful real estate developer and reality star /= skill set to be a good president. But they are often trotted out as being proof of his skills.

    He’s skillful at promoting himself and obviously deserves a lot of respect for getting himself elected. But part of his appeal was that he’s not a politician. We often underestimate how good at politics those who have risen to the very top (people like Schumer, Pelosi, McConnell and Ryan) are. From my perspective it looks like Trump might be getting rolled by people a lot better at this game than he is. But….. (wait for it) “we’ll see”.

  72. Ymar Sakar Says:

    The Alt Right elected Trum for the most part. Otherwise Wicked Witch of the West’s voter fraud would have won instead.

    Trum’s skills are a match for the executive, but that assumes he would be able to control anything in DC without getting himself killed like the way he obsesses over how JFK got assassinated.

    The people that are good at politics aren’t good people, due to the amount of blackmail used to control those in DC. The blackmail is mostly from the Deep State. It is why they, the Alt Right progenitors of the term, call it the Deep State even.

    Those that have eyes to see, but see no evil. Those that have ears to hear, but hear no evil.

    If Mexico indirectly pays for the wall, that just means the US indirectly paid for the wall, as 50% of the income made by Mexican migrant workers gets sent back to Mexico as a form of tax.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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