We need to keep “bad dudes” out of America

I saw Trump administration official Stephen Miller on a CBS interview, explaining that the recent travel ban was aimed at keeping out people with bigotry towards any sexual orientation, race, or class of people.  So what kind of bigoted person does Stephen Miller have in mind?  Steven Bannon? Or maybe this guy:

Miller went on to complain, in a column titled “Political Correctness Out of Control,” about the availability of condoms on the Santa Monica High School campus. He took issue with the administration’s acceptance of gays and lesbians, later writing that “just in case your son or daughter decides at their tender age that they are gay, we have a club … that will gladly help foster their homosexuality.” He griped that his fellow students weren’t being required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, or to learn how heroic their predecessors were. Maybe American soldiers shouldn’t have killed Indians? Miller asked, sarcastically.

And just who is Stephen Miller?

According to Richard Spencer, the white nationalist alt-right founder, he and Miller met each other and clicked as members the Duke Conservative Union (DCU). In October, Spencer told Mother Jones that “Miller helped him with fundraising and promotion for an on-campus debate on immigration policy that Spencer organized in 2007 featuring influential white nationalist Peter Brimelow.” Another former member of the DCU confirmed to Mother Jones that Miller and Spencer worked together on the event. At meetings of the Conservative Union, Miller “denounced multiculturalism and expressed concerns that immigrants from non-European countries were not assimilating,” a former DCU president told the magazine.

“It’s funny no one’s picked up on the Stephen Miller connection,” Spencer said. “I knew him very well when I was at Duke. But I am kind of glad no one’s talked about this because I don’t want to harm Trump.”

But don’t worry, it’s not as if this 31-year old alt-right scum has any influence in the Trump administration:

Now that Bannon and Miller are ensconced in the West Wing — Trump lovingly refers to them as “my two Steves” — their influence seems limitless. For instance, Bannon and Miller not only devised Trump’s controversial travel ban; Miller in particular spent Saturday directing how it would be implemented, overruling Homeland Security officials and insisting, according to reports, that green card holders would also be barred from entering the country unless granted waivers on a case-by-case basis. On the same day, Miller “effectively ran the National Security Council principals meeting” — an unprecedented move. In terms of policy, Miller — who knows his way around Capitol Hill and remains close to Sessions, Trump’s attorney general nominee — is probably even better positioned than Bannon to steer Trump in his desired direction, even though he’s a less familiar boogeyman among liberals.

Miller running NSC meetings?  Heh, what could go wrong?

Regarding the travel ban, do I even need to point out any longer that the lies keep coming:

“If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the ‘bad’ would rush into our country during that week,”  Trump said in a follow-up tweet. “A lot of bad ‘dudes’ out there!” That’s also inaccurate: the refugee screening process can take up to two years, and new visas can already take weeks. The only individuals who could have immediately “rushed” back to the United States are permanent residents, whom the administration now says should not be affected by the executive order.

For some comic relief, here’s Trump’s “trade expert” discussing how the Germans enjoy debasing their currency:

Germany is using a “grossly undervalued” euro to “exploit” the US and its EU partners, Donald Trump’s top trade adviser has said in comments that are likely to trigger alarm in Europe’s largest economy.

Peter Navarro, the head of Mr Trump’s new National Trade Council, told the Financial Times the euro was like an “implicit Deutsche Mark” whose low valuation gave Germany an advantage over its main trading partners. His views suggest the new administration is focusing on currency as part of its hard-charging approach on trade ties.

In a departure from past US policy, Mr Navarro also called Germany one of the main hurdles to an American trade deal with the EU and declared talks with the bloc over a US-EU agreement, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, dead.

I’ll give Navarro credit on one point.  He recognizes that the eurozone’s current account surplus is bigger than China’s (not to mention that Mexico runs a large current account deficit.)  So he’s not one of those Pat Buchanan-types who blames all our trade problems on non-white countries.

Update:  Lars Christensen has a much more complete takedown.

Gideon Rachman explains how the Trump Presidency has completely messed up Britain’s Brexit strategy:

The reality is that the UK is now faced with a US president who is fundamentally at odds with the British view of the world. For all the forced smiles in the Oval Office last week, the May government certainly knows this. For political reasons, Boris Johnson, the British foreign minister, is having to talk up the prospects of a trade deal with Mr Trump.

Yet only a few months ago, Mr Johnson was saying that Mr Trump was “clearly out of his mind” and betrayed a “stupefying ignorance” of the world.

Were it not for Brexit — a cause that Mr Johnson enthusiastically championed — the UK government would be able to take an appropriately wary approach to Mr Trump. If Britain had voted to stay inside the EU, the obvious response to the arrival of a pro-Russia protectionist in the Oval Office would be to draw closer to its European allies.

Britain could defend free-trade far more effectively with the EU’s bulk behind it — and could also start to explore the possibilities for more EU defence co-operation. As it is, Britain has been thrown into the arms of an American president that the UK’s foreign secretary has called a madman.

In the declining years of the British empire, some of its politicians flattered themselves that they could be “Greeks to their Romans” — providing wise and experienced counsel to the new American imperium.

But the Emperor Nero has now taken power in Washington — and the British are having to smile and clap as he sets fires and reaches for his fiddle.

And finally, Paul Krugman:

Everyone, from small nations who thought they were protected against Russian aggression, to Mexican entrepreneurs who thought they had guaranteed access to our markets, to Iraqi interpreters who thought their service with the U.S. meant an assurance of sanctuary, now has to wonder whether they’ll be treated like stiffed contractors at a Trump hotel.

If you are someone (like me) who values rules over discretion, the Trump years will not be good.

Need some more comic relief?



30 Responses to “We need to keep “bad dudes” out of America”

  1. Gravatar of bill bill
    31. January 2017 at 10:15

    Now I know why the plane tickets I bought (prior to the announcement of the ban) to Europe for this summer were so cheap. Market saw the ban coming.

  2. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    31. January 2017 at 10:31

    I also value rules over discretion. I’m also a fan of replacing bad rules with good ones.

    “Everyone, from small nations who thought they were protected against Russian aggression, to Mexican entrepreneurs who thought they had guaranteed access to our markets, to Iraqi interpreters who thought their service with the U.S. meant an assurance of sanctuary,” thankfully thought wrong.

    Miller’s a great guy.

  3. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    31. January 2017 at 10:56

    For me, two takeaways from Sumner’s post are:

    (1) Duke University –eponymous with David Duke but probably named after some tobacco kin–is racist (no surprise, they are south of the Mason-Dixon line) for affiliating with such a sordid club (https://lists.duke.edu/sympa/info/dukeconservativeunion) and,

    (2) if Germany is targeted by Trump for some bogus reason like currency manipulation, it might goad the Germans to consider debt relief for Greece (since they are being portrayed as the ‘bad guys’, as a PR sop they might soften their hardline stance on debt relief). I need debt relief since I am slowly ‘laundering’ money out of Greece, 420 Euro a week times numerous ATM cards, and I need the euro intact in Greece at least for a couple of years until I get all my money out (actually it’s my senile uncle’s money, long story, but I am safekeeping it)

  4. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    31. January 2017 at 11:03

    @E. Harding – “Miller’s a great guy” change to “Miller’s a great GAY”. You are aware of the very strong nexus between fascism and homosexuality? The American Nazi leader in the 1970s was a homo and was killed by his (Greek) lover in Arlington county I recall, let’s not mention Rohm and the Brownshirts, numerous homos in the Nazi party, and Google the hard right, anti-gay, Republican congressman Robert E. Bauman, who now runs the Sovereign Society libertarian website. Not that it matters.

  5. Gravatar of morgan warstler morgan warstler
    31. January 2017 at 11:43

    As an accomplished college debate guy, who then did work with Luntz (when Kellyanne ran his office) while he did Contract with America and then did junk mail and infomercials and then, and then, and then… Scott you are being COMPLETELY BEATEN LIKE A DOG.

    Let me jump you to the 3rd act of this tiny play: Trump remakes immigration.


    So forget this first act nothing and in 90 days here’s the third act:


    1. Net worth – don’t need welfare

    2. Just your wife and kids – no extended family

    3. I LIKE BIKINIS: “I the undersigned LOVE AMERICA and recognize that women are equal in both politics and econ, that gays are awesome, and I stated FOR THE RECORD IN FRONT OF GOD HIMSELF, My religion should not be used to run the govt.”


    Now look Scott, that CBS video killed you bc Miller walked in and beat those amateurs to death.

    And it so freaked you out, you didn’t LISTEN TO WHAT HE SAID…

    Go listen again, he SIGNPOSTS the 3rd act I just described…

    now then kiddo, I am giving you 90 days to prepare your rebuttal and you still wont find a decent one..

    We’re going to make immigrants have high skills and pledge allegiance to gays and women!

    We are totally f*cking with you it’s performance art that’s how rhetorically genius it is…

    Which of the lefties are going to walk out and tell everyone we need to let in the guys who want to kill gays? Who don’t believe in requiring work? Who think beating women is ok?



  6. Gravatar of Matthew Waters Matthew Waters
    31. January 2017 at 12:03

    You have to be really dense to explain Germany’s account surplus with a “devalued” Euro rather than Germany’s desire for saving/investment.

  7. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    31. January 2017 at 13:17

    Matthew, Yup.

  8. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    31. January 2017 at 14:32

    This reminds me of the weirdo right wingers (of which there were few) who dissected everything Obama did as anti-American. There are so many things to write about Trump it is impossible to keep up with it.

    So I will stick with the Magnificent 7. Yes, bad rollout—but that is just icing. If Obama did this, I would have thought nothing of it. It seems so reasonable.

    No matter what Trump does, there will be a full out attack (I happen to think he is turning a 30-0 game in his favor into a potential loss). The criticisms are so off the wall, all he needs to do is not act like a crazy person.

    If one were to think like Saul Alinsky, you would say that Trump is creating this extreme overreaction purposely—then he will stop with the blowhard nonsense—but it will be too late for the left to stop their screaming. They will then look like the crazy ones to most.

    But maybe we all live in a Matrix and Trump is one of the black-suited guys.

    The Senate Dems have pre-committed to blocking everything Trump will try to do. Isn’t that just as strange?

  9. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    31. January 2017 at 14:41

    Michael, You said:

    “all he needs to do is not act like a crazy person.”

    Sometimes I can’t tell if people are being sarcastic.

    You said:

    “The Senate Dems have pre-committed to blocking everything Trump will try to do. Isn’t that just as strange?”

    Yes, I’ve never heard of a party trying to block everything the opposing president does from day one. Very strange.

  10. Gravatar of Lawrence D’Anna Lawrence D'Anna
    31. January 2017 at 14:55

    It’s not just dudes though. There are also bad hombres and nasty women to worry about.

  11. Gravatar of Jerry Brown Jerry Brown
    31. January 2017 at 15:04

    Lawrence, don’t forget about the little kids. They are the worst of the bad peoples.

  12. Gravatar of Potato Potato
    31. January 2017 at 15:28


    Would like to hear your opinion on the leaked EO that would limit green cards to people who will not need government assistance. You’re a soft L libertarian, and above all a utilitarian.

    What’s the $ limit on government assistance we should apply to immigrants? Is there one? Utilitarianism would suggest we let almost everyone in, as increased taxes would not harm current citizens more than others would be helped (marginal utlilty).

    Would love to hear your thoughts, as the only reactions i see thus far are “omegehrd racism” and ” ‘we’re ‘muricans! They took er durr”

  13. Gravatar of Postkey Postkey
    31. January 2017 at 15:35

    ‘ TIME just published “The Party of No,” an article adapted from my new book, The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era. It reveals some of my reporting on the Republican plot to obstruct President Obama before he even took office, including secret meetings led by House GOP whip Eric Cantor (in December 2008) and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (in early January 2009) in which they laid out their daring (though cynical and political) no-honeymoon strategy of all-out resistance to a popular President-elect during an economic emergency. “If he was for it,” former Ohio Senator George Voinovich explained, “we had to be against it.” ‘


  14. Gravatar of Potato Potato
    31. January 2017 at 15:52


    Apologies for the spam, I just read your response to my question about rights of secession. Sorry to pick your brain, but I think hearing your thoughts on when a polity has the right/does not have the right to secede would be illuminating.

    Does California have the right to secede if Trump passes anti-abortion restrictions? If not, what about a tax on remittances to Mexico? If not that, what about a dhimmi tax on those who refuse to support the principles of the constitution ?

    We live in absurd times. Absurd times call for absurd questions.

    Happy Chinese New Year, as someone who is also the father in a half Chinese family, happy 春節! Great show this year, the water show especially. Also, apparently Jackie chan is a great singer ?

  15. Gravatar of Jg Jg
    31. January 2017 at 17:44

    Scott says that he rejects objective truth, but he points out a lie above? This seems like a contradiction to me. On the hand, if he gets his news from vanity fair, he really does reject truth.

  16. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    31. January 2017 at 17:45

    This is an important issue, and it is hypocritical considering the topic of the post to be posting patently false assertions such as…

    “The only individuals who could have immediately “rushed” back to the United States are permanent residents, whom the administration now says should not be affected by the executive order.”

    I’m a rule of law fanatic also. With respect to immigration and travel to the U.S., the State Department and CBP have had less respect for the rule of law than any other branch of government. To suggest this is something new with Trump is flat wrong.

    I’m totally opposed to the travel ban on existing visa holders (and suspension of applications already in process.) Hyping and misrepresenting the other aspects of the executive order is counter-productive to addressing the real problems with the executive order.

  17. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    31. January 2017 at 19:11

    The U.S. should be a nation of laws, not men.

    So…should the 11 to 20 million illegal immigrants inside the U.S. be deported, albeit in the most humane way possible?


    Let me rephrase the sentiment.

    “The U.S. should be a nation of laws, not men (except when not economically advantageous to the policy-makers).”

  18. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    31. January 2017 at 19:37

    Interesting movie.

    So, Trump plays Hitler, a true revolutionary out to destroy the old world order and to make his country great again.

    Bannon stars as Goebbels, chief propagandist, defender of the master race while clearly not the best looking specimen himself.

    Miller … probably Roehm then.

    Mattis … stand-in for the Wehrmacht Generals. Competent officers all, dutifully advancing towards Stalingrad.

    Tillerson … von Ribbentrop, engineering a pact with Russia to divide up the whole of Europe this time

    Wonder who’ll play the role of Carl Schmitt to gut the rule of law.

    The whole UK plays Italy… a solid, if a little incompetent ally with quite different values, but sadly caught up in the spirit of the times. They try to control their big wild ally but eventually get engulfed in the bonfire too.

    Big question: who plays the US? The economic and military giant lurking far, far away, and whose massive, worldwide power our revolutionaries are underestimating? Can China handle the role? It doesn’t look like it… yet. But it’s ramping up fast… Stay tuned.

    The original movie lasted 12 years, I wonder how long the remake is going to be.

  19. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    31. January 2017 at 20:35

    OT- a book that knocks a hole in Sumner’s last book – read the below with this thought in mind (whether you believe it or not): money is neutral. The Great Depression ‘just happened’ and FDR did not ‘cure it’ nor did the US devaluing the dollar from gold in 1933/34 (Argentina devalued in 1929 and it didn’t help; others same). The Great Depression ended just by chance. And Herbert Hoover was no worse than FDR. – RL

    Herbert Hoover in the White House: The Ordeal of the Presidency,” by Charles Rappleye, Simon & Schuster, 576 pages. To be published: May 23, 2017 (WaPo review: “We all “know” that Hoover’s ineptness and indifference deepened the Great Depression. But what if what we know isn’t true? It isn’t, argues Rappleye, a popular historian who understands (and demystifies) economics and also writes well. This is no whitewash. Rappleye says that, in public, Hoover was dour and distant. With poor political skills, he alienated many in Congress. He was often falsely optimistic. But there was another Hoover who fought the Depression by shoring up wages, sponsoring public works and supporting a collapsing banking system. That these measures failed was not for lack of trying. It was a true tragedy. “)

  20. Gravatar of Student Student
    31. January 2017 at 20:45


    You make some good points quite a bit but for such a great debater I wonder why your comments often read like someone that needs to lay off the coke for a while.

    Saudi Arabia isn’t on the list… go gay rights and bikinis and anti-theocracy. Country club in caps… I win.

  21. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    31. January 2017 at 21:41

    One more thing. Which event will take the role of the burning down of the Reichstag?

  22. Gravatar of JMCSF JMCSF
    1. February 2017 at 03:07

    We need to keep the “Bad Guys” out of politics.

    Maybe political parties should have stronger vetting processes, such as disclosing tax returns before allowed to run. Would that really be so bad?

    PS – sorry you have so many trolls. I guess that happens when you support building bridges rather than walls.

  23. Gravatar of JP Koning JP Koning
    1. February 2017 at 08:45

    Scott, I don’t comment much these days but I’ve got to say that I’m impressed by your ability to keep up on all of Trump’s shenanigans as well as continue writing about monetary policy. Keep up the good fight. – JP

  24. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    1. February 2017 at 09:39


    You said “Yes, I’ve never heard of a party trying to block everything the opposing president does from day one. Very strange.”

    You also said “Sometimes I can’t tell if people are being sarcastic.”

    I agree

  25. Gravatar of d d
    1. February 2017 at 10:11

    so if the need is to keep out the ‘bad dudes’ why arent we keeping out those who actually did bad things in the US as opposed to those they picked? and how does one deal with those who self radicalized after they were here for decades or were born here?

  26. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. February 2017 at 15:47

    Jg, You said:

    “Scott says that he rejects objective truth, but he points out a lie above? This seems like a contradiction to me.”

    I’d avoid epistemology if I were you. I said I don’t find objective truth to be a useful concept. I certainly find truth to be useful.

    Potato, I generally don’t think that regions have a right to secede. However, I think that it’s often wise for central governments to allow regions to secede, even if they don’t have legal obligation to do so.

    I think it would be better for both Americans and immigrants if we did not provide public assistance to immigrants. That’s because without public assistance we could accept many more immigrants, and the net total benefit would be higher in that case, even for the immigrants themselves.

    I’m afraid that I’m not a fan of Chinese New Year celebrations.

    dtoh, Over the years I’ve repeatedly bashed the US government border patrol people (INS, TSA. etc.) Not sure where my “hypocrisy” lies.

    Ray, You said:

    “But there was another Hoover who fought the Depression by shoring up wages”

    I feel so lucky to have you as a commenter. What have I done to deserve this? That’s just priceless. You must have read my book.

    Thanks JP.

  27. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    1. February 2017 at 16:38


    “The only individuals who could have immediately “rushed” back to the United States are permanent residents, whom the administration now says should not be affected by the executive order.”

    This assertion which you posted as EVIDENCE of “the lies keep coming” is manifestly FALSE. Anyone holding any visa (not just permanent residents) could rush back.”

    This is why the MSM has zero credibility. And… it hurts your credibility to republish this garbage.

    This and other issues are important and we need credible, objective critics (hopefully like you.) Don’t throw yourself into the bonfire of self-immolation like the left wing kooks are doing.

  28. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    2. February 2017 at 15:04

    dtoh, The point was that people who didn’t have visas could not just suddenly get them. The application process takes weeks. I thought that was obvious.

  29. Gravatar of Dtoh Dtoh
    2. February 2017 at 19:53

    No. It was a blatantly false statement to prove the assertion that Trump was lying when he said the immediate implementation of the ban would prevent existing visa holders from rushing back. In fact the liar was the Vanity Fair writer who was lying by making the statement that ONLY LPRs would be prevented from rushing back. There is no parsing this any other way.

    BTW – I’m totally opposed to any ban on existing visa holders or the suspension of visa applications already in process.

    There are real people whose lives have been seriously disrupted and the partisan and dishonest debate does nothing to help them.

  30. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    5. February 2017 at 11:36

    Dtoh, Just because lives are seriously disrupted doesn’t mean it’s a bad policy.

    (I do think it’s a bad policy, but even good policies disrupt lives.)

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