Archive

December 1st

Carrier just showed corporations how to beat Donald Trump

    On Thursday, about 1,000 Carrier workers and their families should be rejoicing. But the rest of our nation's workers should be very nervous.

    President-elect Donald Trump will reportedly announce a deal with United Technologies, the corporation that owns Carrier, that keeps less than 1,000 of the 2100 jobs in America that were previously scheduled to be transferred to Mexico. Let's be clear: It is not good enough to save some of these jobs. Trump made a promise that he would save all of these jobs, and we cannot rest until an ironclad contract is signed to ensure that all of these workers are able to continue working in Indiana without having their pay or benefits slashed.

    In exchange for allowing United Technologies to continue to offshore more than 1,000 jobs, Trump will reportedly give the company tax and regulatory favors that the corporation has sought. Just a short few months ago, Trump was pledging to force United Technologies to "pay a damn tax." He was insisting on very steep tariffs for companies like Carrier that left the United States and wanted to sell their foreign-made products back in the United States.

For these immigrants, there's no other 'home' to go back to

    The real goal behind President-elect Donald Trump's proposed draconian measures against the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States is not forceful expulsion, but mass self-deportation: to make life so wretched and untenable that immigrants have no choice but to uproot, returning to their countries of origin, unwelcoming as they might be.

    And they will be unwelcoming. In the past eight years, many immigrants who have been deported during the Obama administration's record-setting removal of 2.5 million people have struggled with re-assimilation once they're sent out of the United States. Some have tried to begin life anew in cities they no longer recognize and that offer no opportunities or respite. Others haven't been as lucky.

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Emperor Trump's Inauspicious Debut

    "The Emperor (of Lilliput) holds a stick in his hands, both ends parallel to the horizon, while the candidates, advancing one by one, sometimes leap over the stick, sometimes creep under it backwards and forwards several times ... whoever performs his part with most agility, and holds out longest in leaping and creeping, is rewarded with the blue-colored silk ... and you see very few persons about this court who are not adorned with one of these girdles."

    -- Jonathan Swift, "Gulliver's Travels," 1726

 

    Never mind that president-elect Trump and his keenest supporters have gone from boasting to whining in a short two weeks. "Mommy, they're making fun of me on TV. It's not fair!" Nor that the world's rudest man purports to give etiquette lessons to the cast of a Broadway play. Nor even that Trump appears on pace to set a new American record for the most campaign promises broken in the shortest time.

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Donald Trump could kill the American union

    As Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin -- states that once were the stronghold of the nation's industrial union movement -- dropped into Donald Trump's column on election night, one longtime union staff member told me that Trump's victory was "an extinction-level event for American labor."

    He may be right.

    A half-century ago, more than a third of those Rust Belt workers were unionized, and their unions had the clout to win them a decent wage, benefits and pensions. Their unions also had the power to turn out the vote. They did -- for Democrats. White workers who belonged to unions voted Democratic at a rate 20 percent higher than their non-union counterparts, and there were enough such workers to make a difference on Election Day.

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Don't normalize Donald Trump; 'abnormalize' him

    Much has been said about how we Americans, particularly we Americans in the mainstream media, should not "normalize" Donald Trump. I think it's way too late for that.

    Look around. Most Republicans already have normalized Trump. So have the independent swing voters and even disgruntled Democrats who helped to get him elected. Either he was normal enough for those voters or those voters didn't want "normal." They wanted change. They wanted what President Barack Obama offered as a candidate in 2008: hope and change.

    It's hard to change people's minds about someone they have normalized. Yet some things need to be abnormalized.

    For some of us, Trump's attempts to win votes by any means necessary are jeopardizing our ability to get along across racial and ethnic lines. We must not normalize his racial dog-whistle rhetoric that appears to have fed a spike of more than 700 incidents of hateful harassment and attacks since Election Day, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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Carving Donald Trump

    On Thanksgiving, Americans sat down to dinner, looked at the big turkey and thought about Donald Trump.

    OK, that was totally the wrong attitude. We’re supposed to be having a reset. The president-elect has been going out of his way to build bridges. He came to The Times this week for a long conversation, during which he was extremely amiable. He blasted the alt-right twits who celebrated his victory with Nazi salutes. (“Of course I condemn. I disavow and condemn.”) He had nothing but praise for Barack Obama (“I really liked him a lot.”) He has no desire to see Hillary Clinton prosecuted. (“She went through a lot. And suffered greatly in many different ways.”)

    Policywise, he was still the guy who’s not all that into position papers. In discussing climate change alone, Trump use the phrase “open mind” seven times. This is one thing you can count on. We haven’t had a mind so open in the White House since Warren Harding.

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Ben Sasse's conservative cause needs Brooklyn

    With Donald Trump poised to assume power over the federal government, individual Republicans must decide whether they are on Team Trump, Team Conservative or Team America. The overwhelming majority will choose the first, and most expedient, category. They will use Trump, and be used by him, to advance their own ambition, trampling underfoot whatever conflicting principles they previously claimed to hold.

    There will, however, be a few notables who align themselves either with conservative principles, or with the broader, less ideological cause of supporting democratic norms, pluralistic political culture and American cohesion. This small band, aided by Democratic allies, will determine how much damage Trump inflicts while making America great again.

    Arizona Sen. John McCain, for example, has already raised concerns about Trump's crush on Vladimir Putin and about Trump's position on torturing suspected enemies. There's nothing uniquely conservative about either concern. Similarly, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is not enthusiastic about Trump's plan to deport young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. It's a humane position, but not an especially conservative one.

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At Lunch, Trump Gives Critics Hope

    Well,  that was interesting ... Donald Trump came to lunch at The New York Times. You can find all the highlights on the news pages, but since I had the opportunity to be included, let me offer a few impressions of my first close encounter with Trump since he declared for the presidency.

    The most important was that on several key issues — like climate change and torture — where he adopted extreme positions during his campaign to galvanize his base, he went out of his way to make clear he was rethinking them. How far? I don’t know. But stay tuned, especially on climate.

    There are many decisions that President-elect Trump can and will make during the next four years. Many of them could be reversible by his successor. But there is one decision he can make that could have truly irreversible implications, and that is to abandon America’s commitment to phasing out coal, phasing in more clean energy systems and leading the world to curb carbon-dioxide emissions before they reach a level that produces a cycle of wildly unpredictable climate disruptions.

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America's working class has its own culture and will fight to keep it

    America is a patchwork of regional and local identities, stitched together by a shared history and the values and political structures enshrined in the Constitution. Despite the immortalization of cultural assimilation in the 1907 play "The Melting Pot," Americans have preferred the richness of regional and local flavors to a bland, everyman America.

    More like PBS' " A Chef's Life ," with its focus on the food and traditions of eastern North Carolina, many Americans remain rooted in the folk culture of their region, whether it's the way of life found in the Mississippi Delta, Appalachia, or the Great Lakes of the Upper Midwest.

    The vast majority of those who inhabit the regional folk cultures of America's fruited plains belong to what historian Christopher Lasch called the "petty bourgeoisie." By this, Lasch meant the confluence of the working class and the lower middle class - small proprietors, artisans, tradesmen and farmers. They at one time unionized against the forces of industrialization and now have voted against globalization, and they share the same set of values and thus a common perspective.

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A Trump infrastructure bank would create many risks

    Politicians have fretted over, debated and vowed to fix America's crumbling infrastructure. For four decades.

    Donald Trump, in his election-night victory speech, is the latest to pledge to give the nation a facelift, using American-made steel and employing American workers. "We're going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals," he said. Construction stocks zoomed on the news.

    Where will he get $1 trillion for such an ambitious plan? Trump's chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, isn't worried. The controversial chairman of Breitbart News Network said in a Nov. 15 interview that he's the biggest proponent in Trump-land of borrowing for these public-works projects because negative interest rates are "the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything." He enthused:

    "Shipyards, ironworks, get them all jacked up. We're just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution."

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