Trump: no idea or no ideologue?

By Andrew L. Urban.

His critics throughout the US Presidential election campaign accused Donald Trump as being politically inept, as having no idea, while what Trump was showing the world was – and is – that he is no ideologue. Big difference.

You don’t have to agree with all of Trump’s policies, say, on guns or abortion (which I don’t) but much of his economic policy direction seems to be driven by a well informed grasp of economic reality and common sense. And his call for America to abandon identity politics.

The Hillary Clinton campaign swore that on the international stage, Trump would be a bull in a china shop – and that’s what it looked like when he took that congratulatory call from Taiwan’s President. But neither the Clinton clan nor the old world media had allowed for the fact that Trump knew exactly what he was doing.

The New York Times December 3, 2016 headline put it like this: “Trump Speaks With Taiwan’s Leader, an Affront to China.” – a cowering, finger wagging comment, not a news headline. So is The Guardian’s: “Trump’s phone call with Taiwan president risks China’s wrath”

Here in a nutshell is the display of subtly biased framing of news that so undermined readers’ confidence in some of the media.

The Wall Street Journal was far more matter of fact and put it like this: “Trump’s Phone Call With Taiwan President Sparks China Complaint”

The mainstream media’s malaise has continued, making it clear that the NYT is still suffering post election stress disorder, and (not withstanding its post election apology to readers for its bias) continues to underestimate and misunderstand Trump in its hysterical rejection of the new world order.

Indeed, some of the headlines and story frames have become quite childish: December 15, 2016: NYT Opinion: He won’t actually take away my insurance, will he?

This is the same NYT which is ignorant about ‘carbon pollution’ but pursues the politics of the climate debate with utter alarmist rubbish like this Op-Ed, on December 16, 2016, which claims that carbon dioxide = carbon pollution = lung disease. It’s sad to see.

NYT Op-Ed:
“Carbon pollution — the main source of global warming — doesn’t cause only long-term damage. It also affects life today.

Carbon emissions cause lung diseases that kill thousands of people a year. The emissions also reduce worker productivity. And the storms and droughts associated with climate change destroy houses, offices, roads and farmland.
Add up all of these effects, which scientists and economists have done, and each ton of carbon dioxide costs society about $36. If anything, this number is conservative, because it was calculated before recent evidence of the accelerated effects of climate change.

Whatever its imperfections, an estimate like this is important, because it can help government officials decide which environmental regulations make sense — and which would do more harm than good. The number allows for cost-benefit analysis, a staple of serious economic thinking. Conservatives, in fact, have generally been fans of cost-benefit analysis because they see it as a way to ground naive liberal thinking in reality.

Which is why the attitudes that some Trump transition officials have toward cost-benefit analysis is so disturbing.

Two leaked documents from the transition suggest that a Trump administration — presumably acting on behalf of energy companies— may scrap cost-benefit analysis of pollution and simply act as if pollution were harmless.

“If that happens,” Michael Greenstone and Cass Sunstein write in an Op-Ed today, “it will defy law, science and economics.” Greenstone, of the University of Chicago, and Sunstein, of Harvard, helped design the government’s current approach to cost-benefit analysis.

Economists like to say that there is no such thing as a free lunch: Nearly every choice brings downsides, trade-offs and costs, even if those costs are obscured.

There is certainly no such thing as free pollution, no matter what polluters may try to claim.

David Leonhardt
Op-Ed Columnist”

The hysteria continued on December 19, when The NYT’s Charles M. Blow, writing in his last column for the year (sob) ‘’Donald Trump: This Is Not Normal!” said (among other things): “The nation is soon to be under the aegis of an unstable, unqualified, undignified demagogue…”

And later: “Furthermore, to have a president surround himself with a rogue’s gallery of white supremacy sympathizers, anti-Muslim extremists, devout conspiracy theorists, anti-science doctrinaires and climate-change deniers is not normal.”

Later still: “To have a president who nurses petty vengeances against the press and uses the overwhelming power of the presidency to attack any reporting of fact not colored by flattery and adoration is not normal.”

Charles M. Blow may not realise it but he has defined why the anti-Trump forces are weeping and gnashing their teeth: Donald Trump is smashing expectations built on what was to be the future under a Hillary Clinton Presidency. He doesn’t intend to be ‘normal’ – political business as usual is exactly what he said he would upend.

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