Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Building up vs. Tearing Down: Trump and Charlottesville, guest blog

Building up vs. Tearing Down: Trump and Charlottesville
by Jane M. Orient, M.D.

The President’s remarks that provoked an unprecedented storm of hate and outrage were made at a press conference about—infrastructure. President Trump explained why our infrastructure is in such terrible shape. There’s the permitting process that delays projects for years or decades, and causes costs to double, triple, quintuple, or more.

This resonated with me. My dad was a modestly successful general contractor. He built small commercial buildings like grocery stores, and affordable housing. He could have built more. “Old age and smashed feet” didn’t stop him. The city’s inspection process finally did. It was always a problem. He might have to sit around for days waiting for an inspector to deign to show up. Then the inspector could red flag a project just because he was having a bad day or felt disrespected.

So a man who built sound, durable buildings—who could and sometimes did do everything from surveying the land to digging the foundation to finishing the roof—whose livelihood was at risk if he did a bad job—was at the mercy of a government employee who might not know how to hold a hammer or even know the rules he was enforcing. It got worse and worse. Only the big guys who could afford lawyers and accountants, and who had “connections,” could stay in business. Houses got more and more expensive. And they got worse, not better. Most are now thrown together with sticks and stucco.

Big projects are far worse. The U.S. will never regain dominance in nuclear energy without a massive overhaul of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. A plant that is built in 2 years in Taiwan can’t even get a permit in less than 10 years here. And that’s for a plant that is exactly the same as ones that have been functioning flawlessly for decades. If you have a really innovative design, one that would be even safer, it takes more than 3 years for bureaucrats to evaluate the proposal. Meanwhile, you can’t even build a prototype.

It’s like this for all industries here, including medicine. President Trump sent a signal that he was going to start cutting useless red tape. Would this be good for black people? Poor people? Industry? Taxpayers? Absolutely yes, yes, yes, and yes. It would be a start for making America great again.

But the signal set off panic among swamp dwellers: the 3 million bureaucrats who block productive work. The lobbyists who advocate for rules to crush little guys. CEOs of megacorporations who dread competition. And of course those who really don’t want America to be great, and politicians who keep their power by demagoguing on problems they themselves caused.

The hate-Trump, stop-Trump-at-all-costs media couldn’t allow people to learn about our infrastructure problems and what must be done to fix them. They needed a diversion. So they talked about a mob scene in Charlottesville, where part of the project to obliterate America’s history is happening.

A lot of good people object to tearing down monuments. But some bad folks you wouldn’t want to be associated with got a permit to hold a rally protesting the removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee. A few hundred people might have waved their signs, listened to speeches containing offensive ideas, and gone home. But another group crashed the party, without a permit, to fight the last war against “Nazis,” wearing masks and scary costumes, armed with baseball bats. The police apparently let them in.

To me (and apparently to the President) it looked like violent agitators type 1 versus violent agitators type 2. But reporters called them, respectively, “white supremacists” and “protesters.” Social justice warriors, including CEOs and congressmen, are engaged in frenzied virtue signaling. The President supposedly didn’t condemn the type 1 agitators fast enough or harshly enough and suggested there might be a moral equivalence. The type 2 agitators, in this view, had a pure motive for beating people up and throwing things, whereas type 1 agitators were pure Evil.

Some type 2s carried Black Lives Matter signs. Black lives are indeed threatened, but not by swastika-waving misfits. These are their real problems:
  • Crime. Thousands of blacks are killed by (mostly black) criminals, mostly in inner cities ruled by liberal Democrats for decades. Trump wants more effective law enforcement.
  • Drugs. While authorities blame doctors, international drug cartels thrive under the protection of sanctuary cities, pushing heroin, carfentanyl, and other things you can’t get at Walgreen’s. Thousands are dying. Trump wants to clean up sanctuary cities.
  • Abortion. More than 19 million black babies have been aborted since 1973; the rate is three times that of whites. Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was a rabid racist. Trump wants to decrease abortion.
  • Poor medical care. The past 8 years of ObamaCare have brought huge cost increases and deterioration in availability and quality. Trump wants to repeal it.
  • Disease and poverty. Over-regulation by environmental radicals, based on fraudulent science, has killed and keeps on killing millions of African Africans (from resurgent malaria since banning DDT), and the war on affordable energy will keep Africa mired in poverty. Americans are less affected—so far. Trump wants to restore reason and honesty to the EPA and other regulatory agencies.
The frenzy really is about the subject of that press conference and its message that Trump is serious about draining the swamp. Those who have enriched themselves at the expense of black people and other hard-working Americans are not worried about neo-Nazis, but about loss of their special privileges. They will fight Trump—and those who elected him—with every vile tactic they can muster.

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