More of Trump’s Political Correctness

The intelligence community has again said that President Trump is wrong:

On Tuesday, top intelligence officials described a different Iran than the president has, one that is not currently trying to make a nuclear bomb and appears to be complying with a 2015 nuclear agreement, even after Trump promised last year to withdraw from it.

On Syria, intelligence officials said the Islamic State would go on “to stoke violence” with thousands of fighters there and in Iraq, and with 12 networks around the world. They also said North Korea was not likely to permanently shed its nuclear weapons — contradicting a prediction Trump has made based on what he has called the “best” relationship the two nations have ever had.

Trump being Trump, he knows that this can’t be true:

In a series of posts the day after senior U.S. intelligence officials briefed Congress and directly contradicted some of Trump’s rosier estimations, the president reasserted his own conclusions and trumpeted his accomplishments on critical national security matters. He said the Islamic State’s control in parts of Iraq and Syria “will soon be destroyed” and there was a “decent chance of Denuclearization” in North Korea.

It’s a good time to remind everyone that when Trump says ‘fake news’ he means that he doesn’t like it, when he says something is wrong it’s probably right, and when his lips are moving or he’s sending out a tweet he’s lying. It’s all about his political correctness–it’s only right if it agrees with him.

An unsurprising result

I think most of us expected this:

In spring 2017, not long after President Trump took office, bullying rates among Virginia middle school students were 18 percent higher in places where voters had chosen Trump over Hillary Clinton, a study says.

There were no meaningful differences in bullying and teasing rates between Democratic and Republican localities before the 2016 election. But a statewide sample of more than 155,000 seventh- and eighth-grade students across Virginia’s 132 school districts suggested a correlation between voter preference and the rise in bullying after Trump was inaugurated.

They found that a 10-percentage-point increase in voters supporting Trump was associated with a 5 percent jump in middle school teasing because of race or ethnicity and an 8 percent increase in middle school bullying.

The paper is here. It includes this in their explanation for why they did the study:

Although rates of bullying have decreased since 2005 (Musu-Gillette et al., 2017), numerous media reports have claimed that racially and sexually related incidents are on the rise as a result of the 2016 presidential campaign (Bazelon, 2016). There have been more than 50 news reports of school bullying since the election in which students made statements linked to the newly elected president (Samaha, Hayes, & Ansari, 2017). The assumption of these reports is that the election of Donald Trump stimulated an increase in bullying behavior. The National Education Association (Blad, 2016), news analysts (Page, 2017), as well as experts on bullying (Juvonen, 2017) have characterized President Trump as engaging in bullying with his harsh and demeaning statements.

It is obviously difficult to demonstrate a causal link between statements by a public figure and schoolyard bullying. Nevertheless, there are incidents in which youth made threats and jeering statements that closely matched language used by President Trump (Thomsen, 2017). Such incidents are suggestive of the social learning model of aggression and classic studies showing how easily children model the aggressive behavior of adults (Bandura, 1971). However, skeptics have understandably questioned the evidential value of anecdotal observations (Kamenetz, 2016).

The President is a classic bully so it’s not surprising that some students might emulate him.

NY Times: Donald Trump is rich because his father gave him lots of money

It’s politically incorrect to say this but Donald Trump is not a self-made billionaire. From the New York Times:

But The Times’s investigation, based on a vast trove of confidential tax returns and financial records, reveals that Mr. Trump received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire, starting when he was a toddler and continuing to this day.

and he got much of this money the way the rich often get their money, he swindled it:

Much of this money came to Mr. Trump because he helped his parents dodge taxes. He and his siblings set up a sham corporation to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents, records and interviews show. Records indicate that Mr. Trump helped his father take improper tax deductions worth millions more. He also helped formulate a strategy to undervalue his parents’ real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns, sharply reducing the tax bill when those properties were transferred to him and his siblings.

These maneuvers met with little resistance from the Internal Revenue Service, The Times found. The president’s parents, Fred and Mary Trump, transferred well over $1 billion in wealth to their children, which could have produced a tax bill of at least $550 million under the 55 percent tax rate then imposed on gifts and inheritances.

The Trumps paid a total of $52.2 million, or about 5 percent, tax records show.

Fred Trump gave Donald money in multiple ways, all designed to minimize taxes,:

He made Donald not just his salaried employee but also his property manager, landlord, banker and consultant. He gave him loan after loan, many never repaid. He provided money for his car, money for his employees, money to buy stocks, money for his first Manhattan offices and money to renovate those offices. He gave him three trust funds. He gave him shares in multiple partnerships. He gave him $10,000 Christmas checks. He gave him laundry revenue from his buildings.

and if Fred Trump could get others to partially pay, all the better:

Each year Fred Trump spent millions of dollars maintaining and improving his properties. Some of the vendors who supplied his building superintendents and maintenance crews had been cashing Fred Trump’s checks for decades. Starting in August 1992, though, a different name began to appear on their checks — All County Building Supply & Maintenance.

Mr. Walter’s computer systems, meanwhile, churned out All County invoices that billed Fred Trump’s empire for those same services and supplies, with one difference: All County’s invoices were padded, marked up by 20 percent, or 50 percent, or even more, records show.

The Trump siblings split the markup, along with Mr. Walter.


The Trumps used the padded All County invoices to justify higher rent increases in Fred Trump’s rent-regulated buildings. Fred Trump, according to Mr. Walter, saw All County as a way to have his cake and eat it, too. If he used his “expert negotiating ability” to buy a $350 refrigerator for $200, he could raise the rent based only on that $200, not on the $350 sticker price “a normal person” would pay, Mr. Walter explained. All County was the way around this problem. “You have to understand the thinking that went behind this,” he said.

As Robert Trump acknowledged in his deposition, “The higher the markup would be, the higher the rent that might be charged.”

State records show that after All County’s creation, the Trumps got approval to raise rents on thousands of apartments by claiming more than $30 million in major capital improvements. Tenants repeatedly protested the increases, almost always to no avail, the records show.

Donald would have lost his money a couple times if this father hadn’t bailed him out, such as:

Donald Trump took on a mien of invincibility. The stock market crashed in 1987 and the economy cratered. But he doubled down thanks in part to Fred Trump’s banks, which eagerly extended credit to the young Trump princeling. He bought the Plaza Hotel in 1988 for $407.5 million. He bought the Eastern Airlines shuttle fleet in 1989 for $365 million and called it Trump Shuttle. His newest casino, the Trump Taj Mahal, would need at least $1 million a day just to cover its debt.

On Dec. 17, 1990, Fred Trump dispatched Howard Snyder, a trusted bookkeeper, to Atlantic City with a $3.35 million check. Mr. Snyder bought $3.35 million worth of casino chips and left without placing a bet. Apparently, even this infusion wasn’t sufficient, because that same day Fred Trump wrote a second check to Trump’s Castle, for $150,000, bank records show.

In December 1987, records show, Fred Trump bought a 7.5 percent stake in Trump Palace, a 55-story condominium building his son was erecting on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Most, if not all, of his investment, which totaled $15.5 million, was made by exchanging his son’s unpaid debts for Trump Palace shares, records show.
Four years later, in December 1991, Fred Trump sold his entire stake in Trump Palace for just $10,000, his tax returns and financial statements reveal. Those documents do not identify who bought his stake. But other records indicate that he sold it back to his son.

And now he’s President of the United States. It makes me proud.

Trump doesn’t care about the law

I posted a week ago that ICE and CBP don’t care too much about following the law. Donald Trump shows where this attitude comes from in a series of tweets:

We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order. Most children come without parents..

So he’s saying the US should stop following the law to uphold Law and Order? Interesting. A later tweet:

Hiring manythousands of judges, and going through a long and complicated legal process, is not the way to go – will always be disfunctional. People must simply be stopped at the Border and told they cannot come into the U.S. illegally.

He again suggests the US should do something illegal and throws in a lie–if people come to the border to ask for asylum they’re not illegal. This is part of his political correctness, anything he does is fine while anything he doesn’t like is illegal.

How Betsy Devos studies violence in schools

Well, this is just surreal:

“Will your commission look at the role of firearms as it relates to gun violence in the schools?” Leahy asked.

“That is not part of the commission’s charge, per se,” DeVos replied.

“I see. So you’re studying gun violence and not considering the role of guns,” Leahy said.

“We are actually studying school safety and how we can ensure the students are safe at school,” DeVos said.

And they’re not doing much studying of school safety either (bold added):

DeVos’s commission has never met, but she has hosted listening sessions at Education Department headquarters and last week visited a Maryland elementary school that employs a strategy that teaches students interpersonal skills and encourages them to connect with one another. Gun restrictions were not discussed during the session, which lasted nearly five hours.

The Education Department is set to host a forum Thursday, allowing members of the public to share their suggestions on reducing school violence with the commission. DeVos, who is traveling to Switzerland to learn about Swiss-style apprenticeships, will not be in attendance.

She’s one of the best, Trump hired only the best.

MA Family Institute wants discrimination back

Massachusetts added gender identity to the list of reasons people can’t be discriminated against in 2016. That’s very upsetting to some people so they’re trying to get it overturned by ballot:

A November ballot question asking voters whether to keep or repeal the state’s 2016 antidiscrimination law is expected to be the first statewide referendum on transgender rights, taking the national temperature on a fiery hot social issue.

Leading the repeal effort are conservative and religious activists and some of the same groups that tried unsuccessfully for years to prevent or stop same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. Their Keep MA Safe campaign — whose website features the bathroom video — suggests that the rights afforded by the state’s antidiscrimination law are infringing upon others’ privacy and potentially endangering women and children.

“A man can enter a woman’s space at any time, without any proof of any sort of medical or psychological condition, merely based on his internal sense of self if he says he identifies as a woman,” said Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute.

I have no problem with transgender people being in the same bathroom as me.  I’d be much more worried if Beckwith was in a stall next to me, he seems overly conscious of exactly who is in the bathroom with him.

More political correctness

For some reason, career employees in the federal government don’t much like President Trump:

Trump’s frequent attacks on the “deep state” have engendered deep distrust between career and political employees, pushing many long-time civil servants toward the exits and raising the possibility of a government-wide brain drain.

And while some workers, such as Border Patrol agents, are feeling newly empowered under Trump, morale at other agencies is so low that some employees said they were suffering from increased anxiety and depression that has complicated their personal relationships and even led to heavier drinking.

Several career employees said they were keeping their heads down and ignoring possible avenues for promotions because they have little interest in being subjected to the political infighting that has taken hold in many agencies.

And it all comes back to classic political correctness:

“From their point of view, they didn’t want to be surprised by finding out that we were looking at subject ‘X,’” he said. “When I pushed back and said we can’t do that, we don’t know what we’ll be publishing three years from now because we haven’t done the science yet, they’d say, ‘Well what are you hiding?’”

Last year, a team at the National Archives and Records Administration was told by senior NARA officials that it couldn’t put on a program that would have examined the historic context of immigration to the United States because it might attract “unwanted attention” to the Trump administration and put the agency’s funding in jeopardy, according to a NARA employee. “This was a year after we were able to host Black Panthers and a founder of Black Lives Matter,” the employee said. A NARA spokesperson did not comment.

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