Could Donald Trump Actually Make A Good President?

Could Donald Trump Actually Make A Good President?

Donald Trump appears to have wrapped up the Republican US presidential nomination in stunning fashion. Could he go on to defeat an unpopular Hilary Clinton in the US presidential election and if he suceeded, could he actually make a good US president?

 

  1. Trump believes in American exceptionalism.
  2. Trump is tough, unafraid to flex America’s muscles, and has the backbone America needs to take on the evil growing around the world.
  3. Trump is an experienced and tough dealmaker.
  4. Trump is not politically correct; he’s not afraid to say what he believes and has ignited an honest debate.
  5. Trump demands high performance and will fire anyone that doesn’t meet his high standards.
    Scott Borse, Breitbart

Donald Trump does clearly have talent. It is no mean feat to go from rank outsider, to taking on almost all the mainstream media and the Republican party establishment and coming out as the victor. Whether you like it or not his views attract a huge following.

However, just as Barack Obama has struggled to get through his reforms in office, this task could potentially be far greater for Trump, given how divides opinion so much.

For all his rhetoric, a President Trump would, like all other occupants of the Oval Office, find himself constrained by the Constitution, judiciary and Congress. Even if the Republicans do retain control of the House and Senate, many members of Congress are already voicing their opposition. And if a Trump presidency proves as contentious as many expect, it could easily deliver the Democrats control of Congress in 2018.- Peter Apps, Reuters

But restraint on Trump could be a positive. He certainly appeals to blue collar workers, but there is considerable doubt whether his policies would actually benefit them.

An estimated 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies have been started by immigrants or their children. Among the most notable business leaders was Apple AAPL -1.16%’s co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs, who was the son of a Syrian immigrant. Unlike Trump, Robert Herjavec, better known for his role as investor on “Shark Tank” experienced first-hand what it was like to go from “rags to riches.” Herjavec, who now has a net worth of $200 million – thanks to entrepreneurial investments and leadership – immigrated from Croatia. – Rohit Arora, Forbes

Certainly a badly managed immigration policy would do great harm to American businesses. This has invited satirical responses from some news outlets who think Trump’s policies are too short-sighted and gimmicky.

Good news laborers! You’re getting back your jobs! (Hopefully.)
This depends on who is reading this.
If you’re a laborer who used to work at motor factories, you would be rolling on the floor with joy. On the other hand, if you’re the manager or the CEO of the company, you’d be throwing your phone across the room by the time you finish reading this.
Companies want to make the same products for a low price. But to do that, companies have to have their factories where they can employ low-wage workers. And American wages are too high for them to afford. – Kaou Washino, Huffington Post

Although I have to admire Trump for what he has achieved, (winning the Republican nomination given the forces assembled aginst him is an incredible feat) I do not believe he would make a good president. Although I feel no enthusiam for Hillary Clinton, I feel she would be less of a loose cannon than Donald Trump. Hilary Clinton would be the lesser of two evils as President.


 

 

Image Credit: Gage Skidmore

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Are Labour MPs Plotting Against Jeremy Corbyn?

Are Labour MPs Plotting Against Jeremy Corbyn?

It has been a turbulent week for the Labour party and in particular Jeremy Corbyn. The British press have been running headlines the last few days decrying anti-Semitism within the Labour party, many of which hold Corbyn partially culpable. However are these allegations being blown out of proportion? Ken Livingstone certainly feels the flames are being fanned by balirites who want to oust Jeremy Corbyn in a coup.

“If you look at what this is all about, it’s not about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party… What this is all about is actually the struggle of the embittered old Blairite MPs to try to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn.” – Ken Livingstone

The allegations made by Mr Livingstone are far from baseless. Some suspect Labour MP Dan Jarvis could challenge Corbyn for the leadership. In notable recent speeches he was set out his vision for the Labour party and some have interpreted this as a criticism of the current Labour leader.

“Let’s be frank, New Labour’s approach wasn’t enough. It didn’t get at the root causes,” he will say. “New Labour didn’t see with sufficient clarity the downsides of globalisation. They knew it meant cheap consumer goods. But, they didn’t recognise that too often, it meant cheap labour too.” – Dan Jarvis

However how likely is it that Dan Jarvis could beat Corbyn in a leadership contest, given Corbyn’s support amongst grassroot members? Columnist George Eaton believes its unikely Jarvis could triumph, given the devotion many of these new supporters seem to feel towards Corbyn.

Although it feels much longer to some Labour MPs, it is just seven months since he was elected leader by a landslide. Almost all of those who voted for him did so in the hope and expectation that he would fight the next general election. Few are likely to change their view on 5 May, however the party fares. Their loyalty to Corbyn is unconditional. Were the Labour leader challenged, he would likely win an equal or larger share of the vote than he did last year. – George Eaton, The New Statesman

I think it is pretty clear that the more centrist faction within the Labour party are plotting to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. Dan Jarvis could challenge Corbyn for the leadership but I agree with the last comment that he would be likely to succeed. Whether you like it or not Jeremy Corbyn has a huge mandate from Labour members and I don’t it is possible for the blairites to oust him without starting civil war within the Labour party.

What Will Bernie Sanders’ Legacy Be?

What Will Bernie Sanders’ Legacy Be?

Hillary Clinton is all but certain to win the democratic nomination. Bernie Sanders has refused to step down just yet, but since his campaign is laying off hundreds of workers he is starting to concede that the game is up. Despite of all this however, he certainly has had a massive effect on US politics and he has reshaped the political spectrum particularly for young people. So what exactly is Bernie’s legacy?

Hillary Clinton’s campaign — and, frankly, many DC journalists — has been repeatedly taken by surprise by the potency of some of Sanders’s attacks, because they apply to such a broad swath of the party. But this is precisely the point. Sanders and his youthful supporters want the Democrats to be a different kind of party: a more ideological, more left-wing one.

Matthew Yglesias, Vox

I agree with this comment, Sanders immense popularity with the youth means that we could be more likely to see more radical candidates vying for the nomination in future years. Despite Sanders’s more enthusiastic following, Mrs Clinton still triumphed but future progressive candidates can learn from Sanders mistakes, such as his initial unwillingness to attack Mrs Clinton for some of her pro-capitalist stances early on.

The Democratic Party, for better or worse, is likely to move further towards progressive purity in Sanders’s wake. This may backfire, and encourage a nominating process that pushes otherwise moderate and widely attractive candidates to adopt increasingly extreme policies that make them nearly unelectable, as has happened with the Republican Party.

Charles.M Blow, The New York Times

The democrat grassroots have certainly found a spiritual leader in Bernie Sanders. It is likely that the Democratic party will continue with its trajectory leftwards, but this could be dangerous if an extreme faction forms within the party (equivalent to the Republican’s ‘tea-party’) which could harm their chances of electability. What is also very intersting to note is how a ‘socialist’ has managed to get so far in American politics. What once was a dirty word clearly is no more.

 

Bernie Sanders is not going to be president. But in defeat he has accomplished something extraordinary, probably something more important than anything he could have achieved in four or eight frustrating years in the White House. For the first time since the end of the Cold War — and perhaps since the beginning of the Cold War — large numbers of Americans have begun to ask questions about capitalism. Questions about whether it works, and how, and for whose benefit. Questions about whether capitalism is really the indispensable companion of democracy, as we have confidently been told for the last century or so, and about how those two things interact in the real world.

Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

However many are still sketical of how progressives like Bernie Sanders would achieve his utopian socialist vision for America. He is more of an idealist than a pragmatist as Daniel Henninger notes below, he would surely need to stimulate private entrepisie in order to pay for his socialism.

Sen. Sanders said he was leading a political revolution. But he won’t be its vessel, nor will Mrs. Clinton. It will take someone who can recognize that social change isn’t going to happen until you disaggregate these public blobs. And in the private sector, let young companies have enough capital to breathe.

Anyone inside Bernie Sanders’s neo-socialist orbit suggesting that less blob and more capital might work better runs the risk of being called a “conservative.”

Daniel Henninger, The Wall Street Journal

Bernie Sanders will have a positive legacy in bringing socialist policies such as a public healthcare system into mainstream political discourse. I believe he has probably shifted the Democrat grassroots to a more radical position than before and that centerist candidates like Mrs Clinton will have a much harder time in the future.

Is Jeremy Corbyn’s Leadership Fueling Anti-Semitism?

Is Jeremy Corbyn’s Leadership Fueling Anti-Semitism?

Earlier today, Labour MP Naz Shah was suspended from the Labour party, for comments advocating relocating Israel to the United States that she made in the past. Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is now under pressure to deal with accusations of rising anti-semitism in his party. A journalist from the Telegraph newspaper has printed the controversial comments, that he claims are creating divisions in the Labour party:

A split has opened at the top of the Labour party after the Labour leader failed to suspend one of his MPs Naz Shah over her anti-Semitic comments

“America has plenty of land to accommodate Israel as its 51st states. Israel can have a real safe Jewish state surrounded by friendly states. America will no longer have to spend $3 billion tax payer money per year for Israel’s defense.” “The transportation costs will be less than 3 years of defence spending. Palestinians will get their land and life back. Middle East will again be peaceful without foreign interference. Oil prices will go down, inflation will go down, whole world will be happy.” – Naz Shah

Christopher Hope, The Telegraph

Naz Shah’s comments on the relocation of Israel are clearly wrong and insensitive, but she has made several public apologies on the matter which do come across as sincere. Is Corbyn right to keep her on? Some worry he has an ‘instinct’ to overlook nastiness about Jews that is attracting anti-semites to the party.

No one accuses him of being an antisemite. But many Jews do worry that his past instinct, when faced with potential allies whom he deemed sound on Palestine, was to overlook whatever nastiness they might have uttered about Jews…

Thanks to Corbyn, the Labour party is expanding, attracting many leftists who would previously have rejected it or been rejected by it. Among those are people with hostile views of Jews. Two of them have been kicked out, but only after they had first been readmitted and once their cases attracted unwelcome external scrutiny.

Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian

 

There is strong evidence that anti-semitism is growing in the Labour party, as people with these views feel increasingly welcome under Corbyn’s leadership. Jeremy Corbyn is clearly not anti-semitic, but according to some, it is not his views that are the problem rather his decisions to align himself with anyone against British imperialism, regardless of their other opinions.

It’s hard to imagine a worse person to sort all this out than Jeremy Corbyn, who in 2012 said to the Palestinian radical Islamist Raed Saleh: “I look forward to giving you tea on the terrace because you deserve it!” Many people pointed out that Salah incites violent anti-Semitism and has been convicted of spreading the blood libel (the myth that Jews killed gentile babies and used their blood to make bread). But the problem is not that Corbyn agrees with what these people say. It is that he agrees with who they are: the resistance to empire. The apologies and the contortions begin there

Alan Johnson, Prospect

However according to some the anti-semitism attacks on Jeremy Corbyn are dishonest; rather it is the establishment media who have a overwhelmingly pro-Jewish slant and they are conspiring together to smear him.

As the right-wing of the Labour Party, exemplified by Tony Blair, comes to terms with the reality that they may have lost control of the party, the attacks against Corbyn have become ever more shrill.

Establishment media have piled on. The right-wing Telegraph and the liberal Guardian have been relentless in campaigning against Corbyn in negative editorials and attack pieces.

Some accusers are trying to paint Corbyn as anti-Semitic. These dishonest attacks are not driven by any legitimate concern for rooting out anti-Jewish bigotry, but are due to Corbyn’s strong record of Palestine solidarity work.

Asa Winstanley, The Electronic Infitada

.Jeremy Corbyn is not an anti-semite, however his leadership is fueling a rise in anti-semitism in the Labour party. In my opinion he needs to choose his political bed fellows more carefully; it is not right for the leader of the opposition to be giving credibility and a platform to extremists who spead lies and hatred about Jews.

Should Bulgaria Allow Vigilantes To Catch Migrants?

Should Bulgaria Allow Vigilantes To Catch Migrants?

Bulgaria has announced investigations into several ‘migrant hunter’ organisations after being accused of turning a blind eye to vigilantes targeting refugees travelling to Europe from Turkey. Dinko Valev, a semi-professional wrestler and ‘migrant hunter’ who boasted earlier this year of detaining migrants, has been summoned for questioning by the Bulgarian government after an international outcry over the events. So are the Bulgarian ‘migrant hunters’ patriots who are performing a service to their country, or dangerous xenophobics who need to be prosecuted by the Bulgarian government?

In February Dinko Valev, a 29-year old from the small town of Yambol, was praised in Bulgarian media as a “superhero” for catching a group of Syrian refugees “with his bare hands”. He boasted on national television of patrolling the Turkish border on a quad bike to “hunt” migrants, and has since recruited a group of his own.

Last week another vigilante group from Burgas posted a video on Facebook in which a man ties the hands of three Afghan men behind their backs and forces them to lie on the ground, while shouting “No Bulgaria. Go back to Turkey.” That video prompted outrage both in Bulgaria and abroad; even OPBC condemned the use of force. Petar Nizamov, the man who posted the video, was detained by police and placed under house arrest. The migrants told police they had been threatened with a gun and knives, and searched for money and valuables.

The Economist

The Economist’s take on the actions of the migrant hunters is not particularly sympathetic. The author of the piece does not appear to concur with the description in the Bulgarian media of one of these vigilantes as a ‘superhero’. Also the accusation that migrants were effectively robbed by the vigilantes casts doubt on their intentions.

An opinion poll by the Bulgarian National television BNT showed yesterday that 84% of the viewers supported the idea that vigilantes should be recognised and supported by the government. 16% said they were against.

On Facebook, the general opinion appears to be that vigilantes acting against refugees should be praised and supported. A minority claims that their actions are an offense to humanity and shame the country.

EurActiv

 

There is apparently much public sympathy back in Bulgaria for the vigilante groups. To hazard a guess, I would assume Bulgarian citizens are unsatisfied with having an unregulated flow of migrants illegally crossing through their country. However the ‘migrant hunters’ have come under attack from left-wing groups. Writing in Green Left, Jock Palfreeman calls such people ‘xenophobes’ and ‘rascists’. He also views their tactics to thwart migrants as both inept and immoral.

The arbitrary treatment of all the asylum seekers in the most xenophobic and racist fashion is simply pushing the educated and professional layer of asylum seekers to seek asylum elsewhere, while the non-educated and essentially poor asylum seekers get stuck in Bulgaria, not being able to either return from whence they came or continue west.

If the right wing, neo-Nazis, xenophobes and racists do not want asylum seekers in Bulgaria, the best thing they could do would be to help them pass through Bulgaria and continue west as they had planned.

Green Left

However not all foreign commentators are opposed to the migrant hunters. Patriot Update has run a piece in support of the vigilantes, highlighting that the migrants don’t appear to be subjected to abuse by their captors (although robbery could come under this category if these allegations are true).

More bull crap from the ultra-socialists. There wouldn’t have been a ‘citizens arrest’ if these guys weren’t BREAKING THE LAW in the first place. And what exactly is wrong here? Were they beaten? Were they tortured? Raped? They were tied up and berated. ILLEGALS who tried to sneak across the border where stopped by citizens, because well, the governments have failed to protect their own people with their tolerant, self-hating polices. These people can only take so much abuse by the government that is supposed to have THEIR best interests at heart.

Patriot Update

 

I find it difficult to criticise the ‘migrant hunters’ for they appear to be causing no harm to the migrants they catch, who are clearly violating Bulgarian law. It is also difficult to blame the Bulgarian government for not policing the border carefully enough, since they have attempted to introduce border control measures and it is not realistic to expect them to be able to cope with the scale of this migration crisis. I do not believe the Bulgarian government should not be pressurised to prosecute these vigilantes. The real architect of this disastrous situation is Angela Merkel; her decision to throw open Europe’s borders have made the migrant crisis far worse.

Should Junior Doctors Be Striking?

Should Junior Doctors Be Striking?

Hospitals across the United Kingdom are finalising plans to help them cope with 48 hours of unprecedented disruption after a last-ditch attempt by MPs to avoid this week’s all-out strikes by NHS junior doctors failed to break the deadlock between them and the health secretary. Writing in the Shropshire Star one junior doctor explains why she feels she has no option but to strike over the proposed contract.

I never thought I would be in a position where, as a doctor, I would even contemplate striking. None of us do this willingly. But the alternative is to accept a contract that will put my patients and the health service at risk.The justification given by the Department of Health is that this contract is part of developing a ‘Seven Day NHS’…

What the Government wants from a seven day NHS is unclear. It is an uncosted and unmodelled concept ie. there is no plan, just a catchphrase. The oral evidence presented to the Public Accounts Committee on managing the supply of NHS clinical staff in England makes this clear and it can viewed online, but I warn you it makes uncomfortable reading.

Shropshire Star

I completely sympathise with striking as a form of action against the introduction of an ‘unsafe’ contract in hospitals and it is the reason why I supported the junior doctors’ strike earlier this year. It is also true that the British government has bungled their vision of a ‘seven day NHS’, although the principle is undisputably a good idea. Another junior doctor adds further reasons for the strike in the quote from The Guardian below.
What is this over? The health secretary would have you believe it’s about Saturday pay. We’re getting a 13.5% pay rise, but a junior doctor has resigned live on TV. If you were getting a pay rise, would you proceed to the biggest industrial action in the history of the NHS for no reason? There’s something bigger going on here than pay.
The contract is discriminatory against females – those with disabilities, those who work part-time and those who are caregivers, particularly those whose partners are also doctors. It will also have a significant and detrimental impact on doctors’ training. Life will become unsustainable for many under this contract, driving even more to find work abroad.
Here is where I start to lose my understanding with the junior doctors. A 13.5% pay rise is far from insignificant, particularly given the dire state of salaries in other areas of the public sector and society as a whole. Additionally, is it really acceptable to be jeopardising patient treatment because the contract could lead to more junior doctors seeking work abroad? Writing in The Telegraph one doctor explains why they will not be participating in the strike.

I continued to support strike action until March 31 2016, when the first draft of the contract was released. I decided to do something radical, and actually read all 80 pages.It was something of a revelation. This contract gave a 13.5 per cent uprating in basic pay (compared with the 11 per cent that had been previously offered – pay clearly had mattered in the negotiations, despite the BMA’s claims to the contrary). It introduced an innovative way of monitoring hours, under dedicated guardians. It limited the total number of hours that could be worked in a week from 91 to 72…

Yes, the new contract is not perfect – women who take time out are penalised, as are single parents and those with long-term illnesses. But I firmly believe judicial review will iron out these issues… And a full walk-out before, and even after, judicial review is a step too far, which is why I will not be supporting my colleagues in striking tomorrow.

The Telegraph

This is a logical and eloquent article that I would recommend you reading fully. I think that the BMA are overplaying their hand with this new strike action.  The Financial Times argue in favour of Mr Hunt’s new contract:

Mr Hunt is right to press for a new doctors’ contract. He wants the NHS to be adequately staffed at weekends, a commitment the Conservatives made in their last election manifesto. There is evidence, albeit contested, that death rates for those admitted to hospital between Friday and Monday are higher compared with the rest of the week. Mr Hunt’s new contract is aimed at securing the necessary weekend staffing in a way the NHS can afford.

The Financial Times

British junior doctors were right to strike when Jeremy Hunt first introduced their contract, which many experts believed would endanger patient safety. However the new contract (although far from ideal) is significantly better and certainly does not justify strike action in my opinion.

Obama Sends More Troops To Syria: Is It The Right Move?

Obama Sends More Troops To Syria: Is It The Right Move?

Presdient Obama has recently announced that the United States military will be sending an extra 250 troops to Syria. According to Obama, they will be involved in special operations as well as in training and assisting Syrian opposition forces to fight IS. However Russian state media, have been quick to question the legality of Obama’s announcement:

The move, which was first reported by the media, will once again contradict Obama’s 2013 promise of not putting any “American boots on the ground in Syria.”… Moreover, it was revealed in September that one group of trainees had surrendered one quarter of their US-supplied weapons, ammunition, and vehicles in exchange for safe passage through territory held by another rebel group affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

This boost to American ground force also raises legal concerns for Obama. An expansion of the US role highlights that America is in war against IS, which under the Constitution requires congressional authorization, which Obama has never received.

Russia Today

A good point is made about the need for proper scrutiny concerning which rebel groups the US is providing training and arms to (given how they almost ended up funding IS in the initial offensive against President Assad). It is also interesting to note how Obama’s narrative has shifted over the years from his intial opposition to military intervention. A more sympathetic approach to Obama’s decision can be found in the British Guardian, who portray the President as having had his hand forced on intervention by international events.

The president said he did not believe that Islamic State could be defeated in his remaining time in office, saying that he would seek instead to “slowly shrink the environment in which they operate”. Obama pledged to wind down wars in the Middle East when he was first elected in 2008. But in the latter part of his presidency, he has found it necessary to keep or add troops to help with conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

The Guardian

Another possible reason for the intervention could be that the US feels they need to consolidate their presence in Syria, given Russia’s increasing military influence in the region. A piece in the Washington Post explains the impact that Russian special forces are having in the ground war which beggars the question: is Obama trying to use the same effective miltary tactic or is he acting out of anxiety that Russia is increasing its miltary influence in Syria?

Unlike the majority of U.S. special forces that are currently advising Iraqi and Syrian forces from behind the lines at the battalion and brigade levels, Russian special forces appear to be participating in combat alongside Syrian troops at the tactical level.

The presence of Russian special forces and advisers on the front line has, in turn, helped Syrian troops and President Bashar al-Assad’s allies consolidate gains and take ground across the country. According to Kofman, Russian military advisers on the ground, despite the hype surrounding the detachment of Russian aircraft in the country, are the glue that is helping the Syrians fight as a much more capable army.

The Washington Post

Obama’s announcement also drew swift condemnation from Iran, who are opposed to any miltary action which is not coordinated with the Assad regime. The state broadcaster Press TV explains their position:

“We have announced from the start of the Syria crisis that any foreign intervention in Syria without coordination with its government will further escalate the crisis,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry said on Monday…

“Any dispatch of military forces must be carried out in coordination with the Syrian government,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi-Ansari told reporters in Tehran during a weekly news briefing.

Press TV

Obama must be very careful of mission creep in Syria ,but I do agree with his argument that these extra troops will be required to defeat Islamic State. What also must be remembered in this conflict is that the hardest part is not defeating IS, but rebuilding Syria once the war is over. The country will require huge investment to restabilize society once the war eventually comes to a close, but in the meantime Obama has made the correct decision in sending more troops to Syria.