Today’s round Up – 31st January 2017

1. No, Donald Trump is not a businessman
I am going to expand on this at length in another posting, but one of the great sleights of hand that Donald Trump managed to play during his successful campaign to be POTUS was that he was a successful businessman.
Donald Trump is not a businessman in any conventional sustainable sense of the word. He is an entrepreneurial deal-maker and reality TV show host who mostly sells his name as a brand to other businesses, many of which are not even owned by him or his corporations. He has no real strategy, operating in perpetual scattershot mode, trying anything that he thinks will generate a profit. His whole business career screams “man with lots of ideas but no patience”.
Successful businessmen, as a rule, do not undergo multiple bankruptcies; neither do they routinely and persistently stiff their creditors. If you look at other people in the USA that might be regarded as successful businessmen (the two examples that I like to use are Warren Buffett and Roger Penske), they also keep a low public profile, do their business mostly in private, and consistently deliver performance and value for their stockholders. Donald Trump does not even begin to accumulate a positive score on any of those criteria. the performance of his businesses is all over the map, and most of them have no sustainable business performance, which led some analysts to conclude that Donald Trump would be wealthier today if he had retired from business decades ago and invested his money in the stock market instead.

2. Theresa May, Prime Minister, this is your mess

The UK Prime Minister is now caught in a classic “rock, meet hard place” dilemna. Impaled by the decision of the UK electorate last June to leave the EU (although the UK Supreme Court has ruled that the referendum was advisory, not binding), she did bag the first audience by a foreign leader with President Trump. She probably feels that she needed that, since if the UK leaves the EU, and the USA crashes NATO, the UK will be very short of friends in the West. However, it seems that her decision to offer Trump a State Visit (an honour that is not handed out very often to visiting leaders) has pissed off the Queen. Trump is clearly terrified of having to talk about climate change with Prince Charles, but the protocol of a State Visit is that the monarch is in charge of the arrangements, and the visiting leader is supposed to regard it as an honour that Her Majesty has invited him, so Trump may have to sip his tea and listen politely to Prince Charles’ prattlings. That is, if the visit even goes ahead. There could be all sorts of future events that would require a “postponement”.
In the meantime, the rock-hard place fun continues, with a vote imminent on whether the UK should trigger Article 50 and formally ask to withdraw from the UK. If this was a free vote (a vote where party leaders do not instruct their MPs on how to vote) i suspect the vote would be No. However, it is likely that the Conservative Party will order its MPs to vote Yes, which would result in a result of Yes. At that point, I expect that Scotland will demand another referendum on independence, and the power-sharing agreement in Northern Ireland will formally collapse.
In other words, the UK will start to break up. Ms. May really does not have many good choices.

3. if you voted for Donald Trump, you cannot be surprised if he does what he said he would do

This family of immigrants, several of whom voted for Donald Trump, is now surprised, shocked and puzzled that their relatives were caught up in the immigration EO fiasco.
while I emphathize with what has happened to their family members, I have limited sympathy. They knew when they voted for Donald Trump that he was promising to introduce immigration restrictions. The idea that because they were Christians that they would somehow be exempt is a plausible one, but horribly naive. This is a measure aimed at curbing immigration, period. This family is now learning the hard way that when you vote for a capricious authoritarian, his authoritarian actions will eventually hurt them. Or, to put it another way; actions have consequences.

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