Friday, November 25, 2016

Trump Speaks

Much of it is almost unintelligible rambling.  This is consistent with my view of the type of leader that Trump is: in his mind, he is quite clear.  He has a vision of several steps ahead – often beyond what most people can see – but he gets lost in the telling.  To describe his vision requires many parentheticals, hyphens, and semi-colons.  All very clear in his head, but not easy for such a personality to put into succinct words.

Which makes him completely unsuitable for politics where sound bites and simple concepts win the day.  Where long-term planning is an unknown concept.  Where problems demand complex and unpopular solutions but re-election requires simplistic sound-bites and putting the hard choices off for “later.”

So I understand his rambling – not that I fully understand what he is saying, but I understand where it is coming from.

Another significant portion of the interview is anathema to anyone favoring smaller government – to say nothing of libertarian thinking.  But this is already well-known.

Instead, I will focus on the few things where he spoke clearly and that could be seen as favorable for those who applaud any movement by government away from force and coercion.  All emphasis added is mine.

Climate Change

I’m looking at it very closely, Tom. I’ll tell you what. I have an open mind to it. We’re going to look very carefully. It’s one issue that’s interesting because there are few things where there’s more division than climate change. You don’t tend to hear this, but there are people on the other side of that issue

He went to the emails – something that I don’t recall any significant political figure ever addressing:

I know we have, they say they have science on one side but then they also have those horrible emails that were sent between the scientists. Where was that, in Geneva or wherever five years ago? Terrible. Where they got caught, you know, so you see that and you say, what’s this all about.

Conspiracy theory stated as conspiracy fact by the President-elect of the United States!

Finally, this topic cannot be discussed without addressing economic competitiveness.  I think this not so important, but given the importance Trump has placed on manufacturing jobs, etc., it may actually influence his thinking:

It also depends on how much it’s going to cost our companies. You have to understand, our companies are noncompetitive right now.

Trump is not a fan of wind farms:

First of all, we don’t make the windmills in the United States. They’re made in Germany and Japan. They’re made out of massive amounts of steel, which goes into the atmosphere, whether it’s in our country or not, it goes into the atmosphere. The windmills kill birds and the windmills need massive subsidies. In other words, we’re subsidizing wind mills all over this country. I mean, for the most part they don’t work. I don’t think they work at all without subsidy, and that bothers me, and they kill all the birds.

Trump states the obvious – so-called green energy is not as green as advertised.

I wouldn’t want to subsidize it.

I hope he concludes this regarding Tesla.

Foreign Policy

I don’t think we should be a nation builder.

I think Bush the younger said the same thing.  This view didn’t last long.

I think going into Iraq was one of the great mistakes in the history of our country.

Other than Ron Paul, no republican candidate for president has said such a thing (maybe Rand, I don’t know).

He mocked Lindsey Graham – an absolute good no matter the context:

I had to listen to [Senator] Lindsey Graham, who, give me a break. I had to listen to Lindsey Graham talk about, you know, attacking Syria and attacking, you know, and it’s like you’re now attacking Russia, you’re attacking Iran, you’re attacking. And what are we getting?

Trump actually acknowledges some empathy for the people murdered by US aggression:

To look at the deaths, and I’m not just talking deaths on our side, which are horrible, but the deaths — I mean you look at these cities, Arthur, where they’re totally, they’re rubble, massive areas, and they say two people were injured. No, thousands of people have died. O.K. And I think it’s a shame.

I would love to be able to get along with Russia and I think they’d like to be able to get along with us. It’s in our mutual interest.

Trump was asked a more detailed question about what he would do about Syria.  For this, they went off the record, so we do not have his response recorded.


So, I met with General Mattis…. He is being seriously, seriously considered for secretary of defense…. I met with him at length and I asked him that question. I said, what do you think of waterboarding? He said — I was surprised — he said, ‘I’ve never found it to be useful.’ He said, ‘I’ve always found, give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I do better with that than I do with torture.’ And I was very impressed by that answer.

That’s it.  That’s the extent of the good stuff.

Prosecuting Hillary

Finally, one topic of many where Trump was wishy-washy athough reports have come out that he was unequivocal.  The very first question asked by a reporter during the interview was regarding the prosecution of Hillary Clinton.  It is worthy of note that this was the first question asked when the floor was opened to reporters. 

On the morning of the interview, Kellyanne Conway announced that Trump would not pursue prosecution.  Despite the reports from the press that Trump was unequivocal about this view, I do not read it in his statement.

Let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth:

TRUMP: Well, there was a report that somebody said that I’m not enthused about it. Look, I want to move forward, I don’t want to move back. And I don’t want to hurt the Clintons. I really don’t.

MATTHEW PURDY, deputy managing editor: So you’re definitively taking that off the table? The investigation?

TRUMP: No, but the question was asked.

PURDY: About the emails and the foundation?

TRUMP: No, no, but it’s just not something that I feel very strongly about.

He isn’t taking it off the table; he just doesn’t feel strongly about it.  Followed by an even looser statement:

…you know we’ll have people that do things but my inclination would be, for whatever power I have on the matter, is to say let’s go forward [not looking back at the Clinton’s transgressions].

For a man who ran on his ability to Make America Great Again, there is something not quite right in stating “for whatever power I have on the matter.”

It is obvious why press reports claim that he has taken prosecution off of the table; this way, if the case proceeds they can label him a liar. 

I don’t think such a prosecution will happen.  But I don’t read in Trump’s words that he has excluded the possibility.


Of course, words, words, words – little here is different than what has been offered by Trump’s predecessors before they entered office (although his comments on the climate-gate emails were refreshing), so time will tell.

Even if Trump is sincere on some of these points, there will be many forces working against him, many forces that will create events to force his hand in ways that Trump might not otherwise choose. 

Look, I never promised you a rose garden.


  1. Sorry Mr. Trump is partially wrong in his statement that "First of all, we don’t make the windmills in the United States." Granted the individual components may not be made here in the US (they come from China, Japan and Germany, even the screws, bolts, washers, and nuts), but we here in Pensacola, Fl at the GE Renewables plant, take those components and make the final Windmill products. Now I do agree with his statement about the subsidies, they gotta go, and the windmills killing the birds, but he needs to do a lot more research before making a statement such as he did to the NYT. Hell he came to P'Cola twice during the campaign, and he doesn't know about this factory!!! Oh well, guess I better start job hunting and polishing up my resume.
    AJ Ramos, Landrum Staffing Sub Contractor GE Renewables P'Cola Fl

    1. This point about the sourcing of the individual components was clarified later in the interview. As it was irrelevant to my point, I did not introduce it.

    2. I've read several accounts of health issues in humans living nearby to the windmills. Not sure what's up with that, but there seems to be a connection.

    3. As a system planner for a big investor owned electric utility in CA (whose views on the issue are theirs as these are mine, disagree as they may, etc.), I've been to the GE plant in Schenectady and stood inside the nacelle of one of the big 2 MW jobs. Pretty impressive piece of machinery, I must admit, and definitely built here in the USA as we all know by now. Too bad it won't run without a lot of grease in the form of subsidies. And too bad these technologies (including solar, biomass conversion, energy efficiency...) can't find a solid footing based on market forces and a widespread desire for individual (not collective) energy independence instead of phony extinction-level catastrophe hype. There really is a lot of good work to be done there, just not where, when, and how the central planners, heavily invested as they are in this cockamamie scheme, would have you believe.

      But I find it oddly amusing, all this talk of bird whacking by the damned if you do, damned if you don't, greenies. They want renewable energy integration at any cost except the actual cost that has to be paid when these plans go through. When they were building the Coloseum (sic) plant, a massive solar thermal monstrosity just west of Laughlin, NV, they were paying $10k a head to "relocate" desert tortoises, I shit you not. And the damned thing is now in the cross hairs because birds fly through the reflected and highly concentrated sunlight aimed at the collector tower and land feathered and roasted to perfection.

      What're ya gonna do?

      - Cal

    4. Damn, almost forgot why I started rambling here. The energy produced by an induction machine rotating at nonsynchrous speed is coupled to a 60 Hz electric grid by way of power electronics-based converters, which have high levels of harmonics associated with them. These harmonics are claimed by some to be the source of a host of health issues, for which there seems to be a lot of theoretical support. The same type of complaints plagued and continue to plague the forced deployment of "smart meters."

      - Cal (again)

  2. "He mocked Lindsey Graham – an absolute good no matter the context"

    As a resident of South Carolina, there's not enough mocking of the milindustrial complex's most ardent lapdog in the state.