Western Series Responses

Author: David R. Kotok, Post Date: August 1, 2018

We thank many readers for their responses to our three-part Western trip series.

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For those who missed them, we will list the three links here:

Western Trip-Part 1: www.cumber.com/western-trip-part-1/

Western Trip-Part 2 – Breastfeeding & The WHO: www.cumber.com/western-trip-part-2-breastfeeding-the-who/

Western Trip-Part 3 – A Simple Call for Action: www.cumber.com/western-trip-part-3-a-simple-call-for-action/

“Western Trip-Part 1” reported anecdotes and evidence of the Trump-Navarro Trade war damages. In responses, nearly all agreed with us, and many added personal evidence. No one supported Navarro. The subsequent Wall Street Journal weekend lead editorial excoriated Navarro, and rightfully so in our view. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-trade-casualties-mount-1532127901).

Trade drama, of course, continues. As reported in Politico, Trump announced his decision to begin talks with the European Union “on reducing industrial tariffs to zero” and to defer any tariffs on automobiles while those talks are underway.

His decision evoked this response from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker: “‘The major progress today is that our American friends agreed not to increase tariffs on cars and other products during the negotiation, which is a major concession by the Americans I have to say,’ Juncker told reporters after a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.” (https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/25/trump-juncker-trade-concession-tariffs-1661543).

Politico warned in their “Morning Money” email that Juncker’s choice of words seems “almost tailor-made to anger Trump.”

“Western Trip-Part 2 – Breastfeeding & the WHO” drilled down into distortions of media and the true fakery of news flow distributed by social media. Western-2 also described the insidious application of money-influenced health policy and how the Trump administration tried to maneuver policy to the detriment of breastfeeding and for the benefit of a handful of businesses that produce and sell infant formula. We received many emails thanking us for the carefully cited research. A handful said we were just being politically anti-Trump. For those detractors we must note that Trump himself created the Twitter storm and that the charge of fake news leveled at the NYTimes was patently false, as was his defense of his policy. Responsibility lies with Trump’s delegates to WHO and Trump’s HHS cabinet and Trump’s political alliances that received political money. For those critics who attacked me, I note that not one offered evidence to contradict our reporting on breastfeeding. They have no facts to offer. To them and to Trump, we suggest that when it comes to a charge of fakery, truth is an absolute defense against which there is no rebuttal.

“Western Trip-Part 3. A Simple Call for Action” was a personal appeal. The idea originated from many discussions in Western states with mostly men who are involved in their churches (varied religions) and who are disappointed with the direction of Trump policy. The two principles listed are a succinct summary of those views. Nearly all women agreed with these principles. Men were divided, with about 85% opposed to Trump’s immigration policy. Remember that many of these men employ undocumented workers because they cannot otherwise find labor. My four-state sample is about 200 businesses, mostly in construction, hospitality, and services.
Western-2, about health and breastfeeding, triggered responses in the hundreds. That includes email and social media. Western-3 had lots of affirmations and also a number of thoughtful and articulate replies. We welcome them. Most replied with civility. A handful were nasty, and a couple were downright ugly.

Below is an assortment of the replies we received. Let’s call them, the good, the civil, and the ugly.

Responses to “Western Trip-Part 1” (http://www.cumber.com/western-trip-part-1/) and my follow-up piece “Trade War Worsens”(http://www.cumber.com/trade-war-worsens/):
“Yup. But Trump doesn’t care about the country. Although I have no proof, I am 98 percent sure that Trump is in Putin’s pocket because he and his friends have lent Trump also of his borrowings for the last 20 years – no one else would, and they have bought his condos all over the world – thus no tax return disclosures. It may take another 20 years to come out, but I believe it likely that Trump will be declared a traitor.” – Jack
“The only way to solve this craziness is to vote them out of office. I believe in small government and lower taxes, but this administration is just nuts.” – Jay

“An excellent job. You may enjoy my piece written after the steel and aluminum announcement (https://www.econforecaster.com/single-post/2018/03/04/Trumps-New-Tariffs-Are-Insane). You should circulate the famous chart from Kindleberger at the end.”
– Jim Smith [Name used with permission.]

[The chart Jim suggested follows.]

Responses to Western Trip-Part 2 – Breastfeeding & The WHO (http://www.cumber.com/western-trip-part-2-breastfeeding-the-who/):
“I am honored to count you among honest, able, and deep feeling friends and cheer you for your good work on the issue.” – Frank

“I commend you on your integrity. Mother Nature does not take kindly to those who claim they know better, especially if they use misleading info to make a buck.” – Robert

“I knew of this story and it was disgusting. But I am a total and complete cynic. Given a choice between tax cuts and breastfeeding, the businesspeople you met with will take their tax cuts. Sorry, but I don’t think much of their being appalled unless they actually made phone calls, pulled out (or pulled) their check books, spoke out or did something. They probably shook their heads and then smiled at their bank accounts. Did anyone say they would do something, and actually do it?

“Let’s face it, the business community may be appalled by Trump’s actions and sayings about many things, but they will vote their pocketbooks and as long as he fills those up, they will not change their behavior – or support. If I am wrong, tell me how.” – Joel

“Here is my response to those who want to punish you for being you:”


– Joel

Responses to Western Trip-Part 3. A Simple Call for Action

“Spot on. In order to maintain a free, global market we need to rationalize our national and international immigration policies.

“Financial leaders like yourself can and will make a significant political/diplomatic difference. I hope other leaders will pick up the just cause.” – Patrick Shea [Full name used with permission.]

“Your principles resonate emphatically with me. The severity of the crime separating children from parents is incalculable.

“These children are forever traumatized. The term alien is also abhorrent. I am watching the ethics and morality of this country being destroyed as we become an ugly, mean nation.” – Miriam

“I’m so impressed with your values that I needed to send this email.

“I suspect I’m more to the left and you’re more to the right but there are issues that are so obvious that all of us can agree on such as keeping families together and the value of breastfeeding.

“Since I read the NYT I was aware of the breastfeeding issue and was shocked at what we tried to do at the WHO meeting and understand that Russia eventually sponsored the resolution. I did mention it to some conservative friends and they had not been aware of the issue.

“The other day I was playing golf with someone who has been politically independent and he expressed to me how he can’t understand how we’ve changed and is frankly embarrassed by our policies. He doesn’t believe we are representing America’s long held values.

“Unfortunately, our country is now so divided that many people(rightfully so) feel the same way and your call to action probably will fall on deaf ears from the evangelical right, Trump’s base.
“Again, thanks for expressing ideas that can make us great again.” –Steve
“I respectfully urge you to focus on your area of expertise, investing and finance; and leave the left wing talking points to MSNBC etc. I have to believe you are aware that this separating of families was going on during the previous administration ( the photos of the children behind bars in aluminum foil blankets the media is splashing all over now were from 2014) but Obama’s sycophants in the media chose not to cover it. Now that we have a Republican in the White House it is big news.
“An unfortunate situation, but easily remedied: don’t attempt to gain access to our country illegally.” – Dan

“Thank you, David, for speaking out on this issue.” Julie

“2 has been addressed. As for 1, justice needs to be prompt.” – Skip

“Excellent, David. Excellent!” – Tim
“Seriously, put on your pink hat and play with your coloring book. To write such drival and garbage about politics is not in your wheelhouse. Your the typical leftist with Trump Derangment Syndrome. Do you have the remotest grasp of any facts?? My own children were taken by the Canadians when we crossed over the border. They were questioned and given back I wasn’t offended. A couple of points you fail to grasp: these children may not even be related to the adult illegally crossing over and some are even abducted for this purpose. A little fact those with TDS fail to grasp. What is worse dragging a child through lawless countries risking life and limb or being separated for verification by US border officials to verify their status. You also fail to mention that your KING OBAMA is who instituted this policy. Your credibility as an investment commentator is dimities by your idiotic politicking.” – Harold K.

“I could not agree more. Many times I find myself in the crosshairs of the righteous right when I stand up against the behavior of President Trump with regard to his actions toward immigrants. Living in NM and growing up in a very diverse ethnic community, I believe or at least I hope I have a keen awareness/insight to the interplay of immigration within the US. When I retire later this year, I hope to spend a lot of my retirement efforts in educational outreach, more on the macro aspect.”

“Just for the record, I’m registered as an independent and typically lean toward Republican candidates; I did vote for Trump but not enthusiastically.” – Lindsey

“Thank you! You are a voice with public recognition. Thank you for using it to call out for true facts & encourage a call to action. Our focus this week at Chautauqua is on ethics of dissent. It should be interesting as it will be about how we speak out against something that is blatantly wrong.” – Liz

“Your arguments reverberate with progressive (flaming liberal) ideas as to politically correct speech. Since they can’t win the argument, they shift attention to the semantics. You need to focus on the problem. There actually are aliens that are here legally and those that are here illegally. If we don’t have a border, we don’t have a country. We have immigration laws that control who can and who cannot enter our country. Until just a few years ago Democrats also supported and defended those laws. If you don’t like the laws, change them with a majority vote of Congress. And no, not all or even most are entering illegally to escape torture. Those that are escaping are supposed to be sheltered in the nearest safe country (Geneva Convention). Note “sheltered” rather than given citizenship. Democrats changed their tune because they see a voter base that could change this country and put them in charge forever… and they are right.” – Jim

“I agree. Solution: build the wall!” – Simon

“You old Liberal, you!” – Robert

“Excellent, David. Excellent!” – Tim
“BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO DAVID! I agree completely. During the war, they kept as many Jews out as they could. In Vineland, many of the immigrant chicken farmers, including my own German Jewish relatives, had to stay in San Domingo or other parts of Latin American for a time, due to the quota system.” – Elaine

“While I sincerely appreciate your insights on economic and financial issues (whether via your email updates, conference settings, or Bloomberg interviews) I do beg to differ with you regarding your recent email pertaining to the issue of “illegal” (or undocumented) immigrants or your statement that our government is “yanking” children from their parents as they cross the border.

“I have some minimal experience with similar circumstances. My father used to own houses in Indiana, one of which was for years occupied by “illegal” (or undocumented) Mexicans. Neither I (nor he) had any real basis for knowing that, but, the father of the family ultimately informed him (us) of that. However, “he” knew that he was in the USA illegally – and, he intended to do something about it. With my father’s help on rent, he left his wife and children in Indiana and returned to Mexico for nearly a year in order to “properly and legally” re-enter our country. He knew that he had been living in the wrong and righted it.

“People who do not enter our country legally are, in fact, “illegal” immigrants. Honestly, how can that be denied? Switzerland would not tolerate such situation. Those bringing children to our borders for the purposes of dumping them in this country are the perpetrators of wrong – not our government (nor our president for that matter). When will we get it through our heads that it is the perpetrators of illegal activity that are at fault and not the victims (in this case the U.S. Government)? Is it not wrong to rob someone then claim that the ‘victim’ somehow enticed me to do evil? Likewise, it is a baseless argument for those entering our country “illegally” to turn around and claim that they are the victim.

“Those who wish to take advantage of children, use them as shields, or otherwise do harm to others or, at a minimum, skirt the “legal” process of immigration are the culprits here. The answer is reform of our immigration system to a “merit-based” system.” – Dan

“Gee Dave, thanks for the call to arms. Why don’t you stick to what I guess you think you do best, financial economic and market analysis. Why don’t you lead by example. Instead of your elitist fishing confab in Maine how about gathering the “boys” down at the border and directly aiding the asylum seekers. You libs are all talk and no action.” – Kerry

– Paul
“Thank you for taking an ethical stand on the issue of immigration. Every American needs to do some soul-searching on this issue.

“In any given situation, there are several questions to be answered:

1. What are the circumstances?

2. In these circumstances what kind of nation do we choose to be? What deeply held values/ethics/principles should guide our decisions and actions?

3. What course of action should flow out of these answers?

“If our reactions to circumstances violate the founding principles and ethics we, as a nation, have long held dear, we ourselves chip away all that made this bold and historic national experiment worth the trouble. We squander the sacrifices our armed forces have made in defense of human rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. (It wasn’t, after all, just home and apple pie we were defending. It was also those self-evident truths our founding fathers chose to enshrine, though we have ever been somewhere on the path to realizing them in full—we haven’t yet arrived.)

“When an immigrant child, torn from her parents, lies traumatized in a cold warehouse, untouched and uncomforted, wrapped only in a Mylar blanket, we have utterly lost our way. We absolutely do have the ability to both uphold our borders and to treat those who cross them uninvited, often out of need, with human dignity.

“We are the America we choose to get up every morning and be. There is no resting on the laurels of generations before us who acted out of principle and courage and faith. We must do the same, or we become a generation that will leave our children and grandchildren only a legacy laid waste, haunting guilt, and diminished dreams—tendrils of acrid smoke from liberty’s extinguished torch.

“We must choose. We cannot let an angry, impulsive man who rants about “shithole countries” choose for us. So that all that matters most will not be lost, we must remember who we are and what we stand for and act accordingly.” – Lisa

“Yup, so the rules are unclear, say anyone born here is citizen, but not the birth parents. There is a great industry on the border getting pregnant women into the US, and into a US emergency room – lots of cost to hospitals, lots of payoffs to those arranging. And so it goes. Set the rules, enforce, let all know.” – William
“Unitarian Universalists are on the case! And have been since at least 1963. Not that it’s made any difference…” – Linda


“I am in complete agreement with you on immigration and value your concise, clear statement on the subject. Thank you. I will share this.” – Carolyn

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