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Monthly Archives: February 2017

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Chasing the Canadian dream:

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Chasing the Canadian dream:

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98 Avondale Road in Nova Scotia.

 A 7,000 square foot home for under $500,000?

No wonder everybody is clicking on the listing

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The mayor of Caledon, a town of about 60,000 northwest of Toronto, says government can try all it wants, but the dream of owning a home will persevere.

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Allan Thompson should know. His town, like many others that ring around Ontario’s capital, has become a launching site for new communities as people priced out of the core look to the suburbs (or what was once rural) for slightly cheaper housing.

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An average new single-family detached home in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was $1,264,604 in 2016, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association. But housing prices range from an average of $666,220 for a semi-detached home in Durham, northeast of Toronto, to $1.8 million for a detached home just north of the city.

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“I remember I had this neighbour who was Portuguese,” said Thompson, who was a Caledon councillor for 11 years before becoming mayor two years ago. “He said to me, ‘For 20 generations back in Portugal, we all lived and rented houses in town. We had our sheep and our goats and our cattle.’ He said to me, ‘I was the first one ever to have a home.’”

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That dream of home ownership is central to the escalating prices in Canada’s housing market, especially in larger cities such as Toronto where immigrants tend to settle.

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Even though worries about so-called foreign buyers inflating prices dominate some discussions about runaway housing prices, the housing boom is more likely being driven by new immigrants looking to get a piece of that Canadian dream. It’s a mentality that says home ownership is a sign you have made it.

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How much foreign buyers — often really just speculators — have entered the Canadian market is a hot topic

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Canada has a home ownership rate of about 70 per cent, one of the highest in the world, and immigrants are buying in. A report from real estate consulting firm Altus Group Ltd. in January found that immigrants — defined as someone whose country of origin is not Canada — are purchasing one out of every two new homes in the GTA.

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Matthew Boukall, senior director, Residential Products, Data Solutions, at Altus Group, said demand could get even stronger as the federal Liberals boost immigration totals from the annual base target of 260,000 that existed from 2011 to 2016.

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“The Liberal government has announced their immigration targets will increase to 300,000 per year. The fact that half of our new home market is going to new immigrants and we are going to get (more) immigrants to Canada bodes well for the new housing market,” said Boukall, noting Toronto gets about 30 per cent of those immigrants every year.

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Sales of existing Canadian homes continue to be hot and set another record in 2016. Numbers released Wednesday from the Canadian Real Estate Association show that sales activity in January 2017 was 1.9 per cent better than a year earlier.

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Economist says it’s 1980s all over again in the Toronto market. Remember how that ended?

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Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter says Toronto is the midst of a housing bubble, comparing the market to “frothy” levels not seen since the 1980s. Read on

The key problem in some markets is that there is simply not enough homes hitting the market to satisfy demand. This past week, Douglas Porter, chief economist at Bank of Montreal, said Toronto was in a housing bubble driven by foreign wealth, coupled with record-high demand and a shortage of detached properties.

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In its take, U.S.-based FitchRatings said current price gains in Canada are not sustainable and predicted an increased likelihood of a correction, noting household debt had exceeded the size of the Canadian economy.

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Others say the bubble is less likely to pop anytime soon.

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“The shortage of homes available for sale has become more severe in some cities, particularly in and around Toronto and in parts of BC,” said Gregory Klump, chief economist at the Canadian Real Estate Association. “Unless sales activity drops dramatically, the outlook for home prices remains strong in places that face a continuing supply shortage.”

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Royal Bank of Canada economist Robert Hogue said immigration has been a driving force in the Canadian housing market for some time in the major markets where immigration has been the strongest.

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“Those markets tend to get the major share of recent immigrants,” he said.

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Hogue points to a Statistics Canada study released in December that showed how the earning power of immigrants begins to rise over time and, while it didn’t address housing, it’s easy to see how increased income could translate into home ownership.

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The median employment income of immigrant tax filers who landed in 2004 was estimated at $16,800 in 2005 (one year after landing). The same cohort’s median income increased to $26,000 in 2009 and $33,000 in 2014.

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“It takes time for immigrants for earn the same income as those born in Canada,” Hogue said. “I suspect immigrants buying today are not as much those that came in the last year, but those who got established financially.”

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Hogue said it’s unclear to him whether immigrants arriving to Canada today have more wealth and are entering the market more quickly. But the Altus survey found that 19 per cent of people buying new homes in the GTA do not take on a mortgage.

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“Lucky them,” Boukall said with a laugh. “Are they foreign investors? If you’re asking me that, we don’t collect that information.”

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How much foreign buyers — often really just speculators — have entered the Canadian market is a hot topic for both prospective homebuyers and governments.

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The B.C. government clearly believes that foreign buyers are having an impact on the Vancouver market and slapped a 15-per-cent additional property transfer tax on them in August 2016. Prices there have since slightly declined while sales, already in decline, are off about 40 per cent from a year earlier.

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The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) surveyed its members in December about foreign transactions and concluded only 4.9 per cent of the market came from that segment.

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All of which raises the question of whether foreign buyers are being confused with immigrant buyers.

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“People are having the conversation in Toronto and it’s been much more intense in Vancouver,” Hogue said. “Don’t confuse the two. I’d like to comment on Toronto statistics, but other than the survey done by TREB, we don’t have much (data). In B.C., we’ve had data since June and I would say the percentage of buyers from out of the country has not been trivial.”

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But Dianne Usher, senior vice-president of Royal LePage’s high-end division Johnson & Daniel, said the real growth in the market has come from immigrants she calls “end users,” those who come to the country and plan to live in their homes.

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The single family home is almost becoming an extinct animal in the marketplace

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“I’d say it’s happening in Toronto and Vancouver and then I would say Montreal,” she said, adding more immigrants are coming in with money, or are trying to get it out of their country of origin for good. “Canada as a whole is a safe haven because of the stable government, the education system, the health-care system. We’re a destination and it’s going to continue.”

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She adds immigrant buyers will continue to purchase properties in and around large cities partly because of work and educational opportunities, but also because large urban centres are what many are accustomed to.

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The biggest problem might be meeting all the demand, especially if immigration quotas are increased.

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Tim Hudak, chief executive of the Ontario Real Estate Association, said it’s a good problem to have.

“We just have so many more people chasing fewer houses that prices are going to go up,” he said, adding the solution is increased supply. “Government policies have created artificial barriers.”

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He thinks policy needs to focus on what he calls the “missing middle,” or townhouses, stacked homes and semi-detached housing. These are the kind of starter homes that can get people into the housing market.

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“The single family home is almost becoming an extinct animal in the marketplace,” Hudak said.

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Brian Johnston, chief operating officer of Mattamy Homes, which has development projects in Caledon and throughout the GTA, agrees the supply side continues to drive prices. He figures he’s selling more than 50 per cent of his homes to immigrants.

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With immigration only increasing, he said the only solution is for government to create more low-rise housing to accommodate what is a growing segment of the population.

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“Coming to Canada, part of the process is buying housing,” Johnston said. “You’ve got people coming from countries like China where they may own the house, but not the land. Owning a house is very powerful thing for some people.”

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In Caledon, the mayor doesn’t think the push into his city is going to ebb any time soon.

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“From here on in, as we know it, our population is just going to keep compounding,” Thompson said. “A lot of people are coming here from other parts of the world to live, quite of few of them don’t have mortgages. It tells you people are coming here by choice.”

 

 

 

 

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Those who master the art of client centric professional ‘sales’ do not sell.

They engage.

Engagement is an act of professional leadership in any form of direct one on one sales.

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It is a rare attribute in the field of ‘sales’.

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It is a common attribute among the best of those in the medical and other professional disciplines.

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Here is an example of an iconic and historic leader in the financial services industry –

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Ben Feldman

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Feldman_(insurance_salesman)

Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Thinkstock, Library of Congress.170203_pol_white-nationalism_jpg_crop_promo-xlarge2

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Government by White Nationalism Is Upon Us

It’s not just rhetoric anymore. It’s a political program that could set American democracy back 150 years.

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Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is Slate’s chief political correspondent

Before the election, when Donald Trump was still just an unlikely presidential nominee, a conservative under the pseudonym “Publius Decius Mus,” wrote a remarkable essay in support of Trump. The pseudonym alone gave a glimpse into the writer’s thinking. The real-life Decius was a Roman consul who sacrificed himself to the gods for the sake of his embattled army. And in the same way, our internet Decius called on conservatives to embrace Trump—to back the vulgarian who mocked their ideals—for the sake of saving the country as they knew it. “The ceaseless importation of Third World foreigners with no tradition of, taste for, or experience in liberty means that the electorate grows more left, more Democratic, less Republican, less republican, and less traditionally American with every cycle,” he wrote, hailing the real estate mogul as the only figure who understood the stakes, who would beat back these “foreigners” and preserve America’s democratic tradition as Decius saw it. Not a tradition of pluralism, but one of exclusion, in which white Americans stand as the only legitimate players in political life. A dictatorship of the herrenvolk.

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“Decius”—since revealed as Michael Anton, a former George W. Bush administration speechwriter—now works for President Trump. And he isn’t the only figure in the Trump circle who holds these views. Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, his former aide Stephen Miller, and right-wing media mogul Stephen Bannon occupy prominent positions in the present administration. Like Anton, they hold deep antagonism to immigrants and immigration, opposition to their equality within American society, and nostalgia for a time when prosperity was the province of the native-born and a select few “assimilated” immigrants. But these aren’t just ideologues with jobs in a friendly administration. They are the architects of Trump’s policy, the executors of a frighteningly coherent political ideology.

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What is that ideology? Most Americans think of “racism” in individualized terms. To call someone a “racist,” then, is to pass judgment on his or her character—a declaration that this person doesn’t belong in polite society. It’s why, when faced with the accusation, Americans often rush to deny any prejudice. I don’t have a racist bone in my body, goes the cliché. But individualized prejudice is just one way to think of racism. There’s also institutional bias or systemic outcomes—the things that lead critics to deem the criminal justice system as “racist.” And beyond the material, there’s racism as ideology—a structured worldview defined by support for race hierarchy and racial caste.

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Racist ideology ebbs and flows through our history, changing with the shape of American society and the contours of American life. When the South was a vast archipelago of human bondage and labor camps, racist ideology took the form of a widespread belief in black inferiority and underlay the forceful defenses of slavery. When segregation was law and legislators defended lynching on the Senate floor—even though anti-racism had claimed a small foothold in the national consciousness—racist ideology was a virulent and violent “white supremacy.” America still has white supremacists, and they still terrorize nonwhites with harassment and violence. But now that most Americans share a nominal commitment to racial equality—such that the country celebrated at the election of its first black president, more than eight years ago—explicitly racist ideology has cloaked itself in a kind of “nationalism,” outside the mainstream, but not far from its borders.

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This nationalism, white nationalism, was the ideology of Anton’s essay, driven by contempt for immigrants and foreigners of all stripes. A century ago, in the preface to Madison Grant’s The Passing of the Great Race, a then-popular work of scientific racism, American eugenicist Henry Fairfield Osborn ably summed up this worldview, which now holds the White House.

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Thus conservation of that race which has given us the true spirit of Americanism is not a matter either of racial pride or of racial prejudice; it is a matter of love of country, of a true sentiment which is based upon knowledge and the lessons of history rather than upon the sentimentalism which is fostered by ignorance. If I were asked: What is the greatest danger which threatens the American republic to-day? I would certainly reply: The gradual dying out among our people of those hereditary traits through which the principles of our religious, political and social foundations were laid down and their insidious replacement by traits of less noble character.

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This is Decius’ view. It was essentially the ideology behind Trump’s campaign, defined by its hostility toward Muslims, marked by its reliance on racist stereotypes of Hispanic immigrants, and not so subtly contemptuous of black Americans. Now, it all but drives Trump’s administration, voiced by key figures and expressed through policy.

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The ideological leader of the Trump movement is Sessions, hailed by Bannon for “developing populist nation-state policies” from his somewhat isolated perch in the Senate. Bannon, who avoids the spotlight, gives away the game in his praise of Sessions. “In America and Europe, working people are reasserting their right to control their own destinies,” he wrote in a recent statement to the Washington Post, blasting the “cosmopolitan elites in the media that live in a handful of our larger cities.” Given the demographics of Trump’s support—given the demographics of Europe—this definition of “working people” can mean only one thing: white people. And “cosmopolitan elites” has a long history as a euphemism for Jews and other minorities.

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Sessions at least does us the service of being clear about his ideas and priorities. “In seven years we’ll have the highest percentage of Americans, non-native born, since the founding of the republic,” he said in a 2015 interview with Bannon. He continued:

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Some people think we’ve always had these numbers, and it’s not so; it’s very unusual; it’s a radical change. When the numbers reached about this high in 1924, the president and Congress changed the policy, and it slowed down immigration significantly. We then assimilated through 1965 and created really the solid middle class of America, with assimilated immigrants, and it was good for America.

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In 1924, Congress passed the Johnson–Reed Act, which placed strict limits on immigration. But these weren’t neutral limits, broadly applicable to migrants from all parts of the globe. They were national limits—racial limits. The stakes, for proponents of the law, were nothing less than the survival of an Anglo-Saxon America. In Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism, 1860-1925, the late historian John Higham notes how lawmakers and legislators conceived of the project of immigration restriction. “Its champions now largely ignored the economic arguments they had advanced in behalf of the first quota law three years before,” he writes. “Instead, they talked about preserving a ‘distinct American type,’ about keeping America for Americans, or about saving the Nordic race from being swamped.”

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To that end, the Johnson–Reed Act placed tight quotas on Southern and Eastern Europeans, particularly Italians and Jews, Africans, and Middle Easterners. It barred Asian immigration entirely. “Without offense, but with regard to the salvation of our own, let us shut the door and assimilate what we have, and let us breed pure American citizens and develop our own American resources,” declared South Carolina Sen. Ellison DuRant Smith during debates over the law. This, for Sessions, is the right approach. Or, as White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said to the Post, “Sen. Sessions laid a bit of groundwork … on matters like trade and illegal immigration. It was candidate Trump then who was able to elevate those twin pillars in a way that cast it through the lens of what’s good for the American worker.”

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White nationalism ties the refugee ban to efforts to deny government benefits to legal residents and to Trump’s promise to protect entitlements for those who receive them.

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That Sessions brings herrenvolk ideology to American politics is even more apparent from his history beyond the Senate. As the NAACP Legal Defense Fund details in its report on the Alabama lawmaker, “An unrelenting hostility toward civil rights and racial justice has been the defining feature of Jeff Sessions’ professional life.” As a federal prosecutor, Sessions went after black activists for voting rights; as a lawmaker, he praised the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County, which opened the door to laws that disproportionately disadvantage and discourage black voters. This mix of restrictive voting and restrictions on immigration is almost tailor-made to enhance the voting power of one group: white Americans.

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As for Bannon, he’s not just an informal spokesperson for President Trump; he is the president’s chief ideologist, and along with Sessions and Stephen Miller, has had a huge hand in crafting the administration’s agenda. To lawmakers, observers, and ordinary Americans, the first two weeks of the Trump era were a blitzkrieg. In short order, and working entirely through executive authority, Trump has launched an ambitious plan to transform American policy toward immigrants, refugees, and the Islamic world, all shaped by someone who once called legal immigration “the beating heart” of the problem in the United States. Thus far, Trump has directed Customs and Border Patrol to “secure the southern border of the United States through the immediate construction of a physical wall”; he has directed the hiring of 5,000 more border officers, and cut off federal funding to sanctuary cities.

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Trump has used his discretion over immigration enforcement to give those officers almost unlimited discretion in instituting deportation proceedings, to include any noncitizen who is deemed a “risk to public safety or national security,” whether they’ve committed a crime or not. And most infamously, he’s declared a ban on refugee admission to the United States and a moratorium on entry from seven majority-Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. And in the days since that move, thousands of people—students, professionals, medical patients, and entire families—have been barred from the United States, held in administrative limbo, or sent back to their countries of origin, even if they have valid visas or legal permanent residence in the country.

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These weren’t the only executive orders from the first weeks of Trump’s presidency, but they were the most visible—the most controversial. They fulfill key promises of the Trump campaign: a wall, a Muslim ban, and a general crackdown on immigrants and immigration. In keeping with the white-nationalist ideas of that campaign and of the president’s brain trust, they target the stated threats to white hegemony. And they advance the white-nationalist narrative: that America will be made “great again” by preserving the integrity of white America.

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If this seems unfair, consider Bannon’s views of Islam. “Islam is not a religion of peace—Islam is a religion of submission,” he said on his Breitbart radio show. “To be brutally frank, Christianity is dying in Europe and Islam is on the rise.” Likewise, in a 2014 speech to a meeting at the Vatican, he declared that the “Judeo-Christian West” was in the midst of a civilizational war with the Muslim world. “There is a major war brewing, a war that’s already global,” he said. “Every day that we refuse to look at this as what it is, and the scale of it, and really the viciousness of it, will be a day where you will rue that we didn’t act.” Despite the facts of history, which show a complicated and often symbiotic relationship between Islam and the West, Bannon sees nothing but conflict, defined in racial and religious terms.

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He’s echoed in more virulent and racist terms by figures outside the White House with strong ties to the administration. Frank Gaffney Jr. is an anti-Muslim activist who, notes the New York Times, worked with Conway when she was a pollster for his organization, sat with Bannon as a frequent guest on his show, and appeared in public addresses by Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser. In an interview with the Times, Gaffney gave his view of Muslims. “They essentially, like termites, hollow out the structure of the civil society and other institutions,” he said, in starkly dehumanizing terms, “for the purpose of creating conditions under which the jihad will succeed.”

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Beyond these views is the simple fact that Bannon was once CEO of Breitbart, a media consortium that openly caters to anti-Semites, white nationalists, and various elements of the extreme right wing. The website once featured a “black crime” section and openly praises white supremacists. The website’s most visible contributor, Milo Yiannopoulos, is a racist and misogynist provocateur who delights in Nazi iconography and other fascist kitsch.

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Stephen Miller has a lower profile than either Sessions or Bannon, but he’s made his mark as a staffer for the former. “You could not get where we are today with this movement if it didn’t have a center of gravity that was intellectually coherent,” said Bannon of Miller in an interview with Politico Magazine. “And I think a ton of that was done by Sen. Sessions’ staff, and Stephen Miller was at the cutting edge of that.” As a student at Duke University, the now–30-year-old Miller worked closely with Richard Spencer, then a graduate student who would leave the academy and become an intellectual leader for the “alt-right,” an online movement of white nationalists. And as a columnist for the campus paper, Miller worried that “immigrants from non-European countries were not assimilating.”

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Last year, as a key member of Trump’s presidential team, Miller had a strong hand in guiding the Republican nominee’s rhetoric on Muslim immigration. My colleague Ben Mathis-Lilley notes that Miller likely wrote the Trump speech that “complained darkly that Muslim communities within the United States were sheltering terrorists.” “[I]mmigration is probably the most, in Stephen’s view, one of the most existential issues facing us right now,” says a former colleague of Miller in an interview with the Atlantic. He is just as instrumental to the direction of the Trump White House as Sessions and Bannon, just as committed to an ideology of exclusion and white hegemony.

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We can’t know for certain how many Americans voted for these ideas and this approach. What we can say is that tens of millions experienced Donald Trump’s campaign, heard his racist appeals, and set them aside to take a chance on an “outsider.” Now we’re faced with the extraordinary: A White House whose chief thinkers and architects are white nationalists, keepers of a dangerous tradition in our history, with an unprecedented opportunity to pull the United States back a century to an era of unvarnished nativism and prejudice. The past three weeks are likely just the beginning; we are sure to see even more action against immigrants and Muslims, even more tolerance for the worst forces in American life.

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In this usage, white nationalist isn’t a pejorative; it’s the best term we have for the ideology of the Trump administration, one that gives coherence to its actions and approach. White nationalist helps us see how the expansive refugee ban is tied to the efforts to deny government benefits to legal residents and is tied to the promise by Trump to protect entitlements for those who receive them. It helps us see how his “populism” excludes tens of millions of Americans, and why he seems more interested in narrow enthusiasm versus broad popularity. And it gives a sense of what might follow in a Trump administration: not just demonization of disfavored minorities but possible attempts to expand the welfare state for the “deserving,” defined by race—a kind of welfare chauvinism. As he did during the campaign, Trump may adopt slogans and ideas from the left and right, not because he’s really a conservative or really a liberal, but because white nationalism exists outside the familiar divide. It confounds the left-right spectrum as we understand it in the United States. Trumpish policy won’t fall neatly into our old categories of liberal and conservative. Instead, it will turn on the question of what strengthens this basic notion that ours is a white nation.

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Democrats, liberals, leftists, and dissident conservatives can dissent and resist, but the only party with the power to challenge Trump and win is the Republican Party, which controls Congress and may soon (again) have a majority on the Supreme Court. But the GOP is too complacent and complicit in the rise of Trump, too willing in its past and present to tolerate or even encourage appeals to white racial tribalism and ethno-nationalism. Indeed, in some regards, Trump is the logical conclusion of a process that began when Barry Goldwater opened his arms to Southern segregationists in his crusade for “liberty.” Besides, Republican leaders like Paul Ryan have embraced Trump as a vehicle for their conservative ideological agenda, content to back the president’s agenda for racial exclusion as long as he cuts health care, cuts taxes, and delivers the federal judiciary.

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Defenders of pluralism have a tremendous struggle ahead of them. But as they mobilize and defend, they must understand the stakes. This is a fight to protect our multiracial democracy. It’s the latest in an old fight, one that goes back to our Reconstruction, when freedmen, freemen, and their white allies tried to build true democracy in the former Confederacy. They lost that battle, beat back by reaction, by “redeemers.” A century later, with the civil rights movement, we thought we had won the war. Not quite.

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“There is beauty in art, in literature, in science, and in every triumph of intelligence, all of which I covet for my country,” said Charles Sumner in his appeal for a national civil rights bill in the fall of 1871. “But there is a higher beauty still—in relieving the poor, in elevating the downtrodden, and being a succor to the oppressed. There is true grandeur in an example of justice, making the rights of all the same as our own, and beating down prejudice, like Satan, under our feet.” He continued: “Humbly do I pray that the republic may not lose this great prize, or postpone its enjoyment.”

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We seem to have entered a time where, by choice, we have postponed the enjoyment of that higher beauty. Let us pray, like Sumner, that we do not lose the prize altogether.

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‘What We Do’

http://beyondrisk.weebly.com/

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Daniel H. Zwicker 
B.Sc. (Hons.) P.Eng. CFP CLU CH.F.C. CFSB

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Professional Engineers Ontario
Certified Financial Planner
Chartered Life Underwriter
Chartered Financial Consultant
Chartered Financial Services Broker

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First Financial Consulting Group

4261 Highway Seven

Suite 238 
Markham , Ontario

L3R 9W6

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BLOGS:

Daniel H. Zwicker, CFP Blog: http://www.dzwicker.blogspot.com
FFCG Blog: 
http://www.dan-zwicker.blogspot.com
Beyond Risk Blog: 
http://www.beyondrisk.blogspot.com                            

Bus: 416-726-2427

Email: danzwicker@rogers.com

 


 

 

 

 

 

lg2

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Dan  Zwicker

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‘What We Do’

‘Raising the Bar’……Slightly out of Reach

http://beyondrisk.weebly.com

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Capital Risk Management

Lifetime Sustainable Income

Strategic Wealth Management

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Specialists in Advanced Life Insurance Applications

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Lifetime Sustainable Retirement Planning Solutions

 

 

 

 

 

 

trump-bannon

6 Things Steve Bannon Has Declared War On

The man behind the curtain is the one who’s running the show.

ByKali Holloway / AlterNet

 February 4, 2017

Forget about optics: It was really Steve Bannon who was inaugurated two weeks ago as the 45th president of the United States. The architect of Trump’s campaign, Bannon once called his candidate a “blunt instrument for us,” which is exactly how you might describe a “tool.” When he says Trump is being put to use in service of “us,” Bannon likely refers to a collective led by billionaire GOP megadonors the Mercers, who installed him at the head of the campaign.

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“I don’t know whether [Trump] really gets it or not,” Bannon told Vanity Fair soon after he took over, in a fully transparent statement about who’s running this political show.

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Andrew Breitbart, the late right-wing crusader for whom the notorious website is named, once reportedly referred to Steve Bannon as the “Leni Riefenstahl of the Tea Party movement.” It’s a statement that only qualifies as high praise if you look favorably upon the work of Hitler’s favored propagandist, which Breitbart and Bannon apparently did. As the head of Breitbart, Bannon honed the site’s racist, anti-Semitic, misogynist and Islamophobic voice so it became a hub for neo-Nazis, white supremacists and garden-variety racists, or in Bannon’s words, the “platform for the alt-right.” Imagine Triumph of the Will reconfigured as a full-color website, with better branding, fewer boring speeches and more ad space.

As chief White House strategist, Bannon—who has been accused of sexual harassment, domestic violence, running Breitbart like a “dictator,” and not wanting his kids to attend school with Jews —has developed a reputation for drafting executive orders without counsel from any of the seasoned experts in the federal agencies they actually affect. Along with Stephen Miller, who is Jewish and described as a good buddy from college by white nationalist Richard Spencer, Bannon is crafting rules that seem to intentionally provoke disorder while also pushing anti-Muslim and non-white immigration policies to the ultra-hard right. A longtime fan of UKIP, the whole Le Pen French racism industry, and other extremist movements across Europe, Bannon is finally getting to put in place the policies he used to pretend were Trump’s ideas.

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Most recently, Trump appointed Bannon to the National Security Council’s principals committee, effectively demoting career military and intelligence people who actually know what they’re doing. That’s bad news for many, many reasons. Bannon has been director of a biodome study of climate change (the phenomenon Breitbart says only cucks believe in). He produced and directed films including 1992’s Indian Runner, featuring noted bleeding heart Sean Penn, as well as documentary odes to the Tea Party, Sarah Palin and the loudest of the bearded racists on “Duck Dynasty.” (Weirdly, he also made a killing on “Seinfeld,” because why should the “Cosby Show” be the only sitcom that’s been ruined?) He has never held a job that would offer a reason for him to weigh in on military strategy, and his political role in the White House means he will probably bring a partisan approach to matters of national security. In fact, Bannon and Jared Kushner were reportedly with Trump when he signed off on the disastrous Yemen raid that left a Navy SEAL and several civilian adults and children dead. Actual lives are imperiled by this team’s deadly combination of arrogance and ineptitude.

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Add to that, according to multiple sources, Bannon is obsessed with war. His ex-writing partner of 20 years says he “tended to focus on military battles; his bible was The Art of War.” An ex-Breitbart staffer reportedly told the Daily Beast that Bannon “always spoke in terms of aggression. It was always on-the-attack, double down…macho stuff. Steve has an obsession with testosterone.” A recent Time magazine profile paints Bannon as “obsessed” with the book The Fourth Turning: What Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny, whose authors posit that American history works in 80 to century-long cycles of utter destruction and enlightened rebirth. Bannon thinks we’re due to start a new cycle, which can only begin after a period of war and social upheaval.

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Hard not to think he’s hastening things along. Here are six things Bannon has declared war on.

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Everything

 

In a piece for the Daily Beast, Marxist-turned conservative-Ronald Radosh recounts attending a party at Bannon’s D.C. townhouse in 2013, where the two struck up a conversation about politics. Asked by Radosh to expound on his description of himself as a “Leninist,” Bannon claimed his mission was to see America razed and reconfigured by a right-wing, Tea Party-led version of the Bolshevik Revolution.

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“Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too,” Bannon reportedly said. “I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

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Radosh claims Bannon went on to describe conservative outlets National Review and the Weekly Standard as “left-wing magazines” that he also wants to destroy. The aim is to create chaos that destroys the old order, giving rise to a new order that fits Bannon’s ultra-right global vision. As Radosh points out, the Trump administration’s contemptuous relationship with the truth is a strategy gleaned from Lenin himself, who said, “The art of any propagandist and agitator consists in his ability to find the best means of influencing any given audience, by presenting a definite truth, in such a way as to make it most convincing, most easy to digest, most graphic, and most strongly impressive.”

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Islam.

 

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USA Today sifted through dozens of hours of audio from Bannon’s radio program and found that many of the discussions centered on Islam, which he labels the “most radical” religion in the world. In one recording, Bannon declares that the West is “fighting a ‘global existential war’ with Islam.” He also hints that there’s “a fifth column in this country in the government, in the media.”

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“We’ve been warned. They attacked us. We had our own Pearl Harbor, and we looked the other way….Want to know why guys like Donald Trump and Nigel Farage are on the rise? Because the elites in this country are too gutless, they’re too gutless to face the enemy that’s trying to destroy us.”

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China.

 

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On multiple occasions on his Breitbart radio show, Bannon has gone after China, which he has apparently been gunning for going back years. Trump’s obsession with the country finds its source in Bannon, who’s been putting the anti-China words right in Trump’s mouth.

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“We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years,” Bannon said in a March 2016 interview with the Heritage Foundation’s Lee Edwards. “There’s no doubt about that. They’re taking their sandbars and making basically stationary aircraft carriers and putting missiles on those. They come here to the United States in front of our face – and you understand how important face is – and say it’s an ancient territorial sea. That’s a throwdown, is it not?”

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A few months earlier, Bannon took aim at China—along with Islam, his favorite target—while suggesting the U.S. and Europe aren’t being aggressive enough toward either. “You have an expansionist Islam and you have an expansionist China. Right? They are motivated. They’re arrogant. They’re on the march. And they think the Judeo-Christian west is on the retreat.”

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With Bannon running the show, it’s clear this saber-rattling toward China is part of a calculated plan that the right-wing propagandist started hatching long before he became Trump’s puppeteer.

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And more Islam.

 

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During a conference held at the Vatican in 2014, Bannon seemed to suggest it’s time to start a brand-new version of the Crusades, telling the audience, “We’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict.”

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“[W]e are in an outright war against jihadist Islamic fascism. And this war is, I think, metastasizing far quicker than governments can handle it,” Bannon reportedly told the crowd. “[W]e have to face a very unpleasant fact. And that unpleasant fact is that there is a major war brewing, a war that’s already global. It’s going global in scale, and today’s technology, today’s media, today’s access to weapons of mass destruction, it’s going to lead to a global conflict that I believe has to be confronted today. Every day that we refuse to look at this as what it is, and the scale of it, and really the viciousness of it, will be a day where you will rue that we didn’t act.”

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The free press.

 

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Bannon, who turned Breitbart Media into the preferred rag of white nationalists the world over, knows from firsthand experience that people—especially authoritarian conservatives—crave an enemy to hate and fear. In the absence of a real U.S. political adversary, the media fills that role perfectly for Trump’s base. It’s a textbook move of dictators and tyrants to make the press a primary target, sowing doubt and confusion around facts and truth so they can own the narrative for their own manipulative ends.

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And it’s working, at least where the intended audience is concerned. Bannon, a former investment banker, Hollywood movie producer, ex-environmentalist and Harvard graduate who made millions from one of the Jewiest shows in history, has somehow convinced gullible hordes that he is fighting against the (generally less well-paid or educated) “elites” who work in media. As one of the most successful media propagandists of this young century, no one knows better than Bannon that the medium is the message, and the message must be aggressively, relentlessly hammered home. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Bannon played his role to the hilt, even issuing quasi-threats.

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“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while,” Bannon reported told the outlet. “I want you to quote this. The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”

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The Middle East (which he uses as a stand-in for ‘Islam’).

 

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In a radio show recording from November 2015, Bannon again returned to his pet project: a war pitting the Christian West against the Muslim Middle East. Claiming that Islamophobes’ worst tendencies have been unfairly “suppressed for 15 years,” Bannon blamed politicians for not going far enough to malign the religion of 1.6 billion people.

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“George Bush walked out after 9/11 in front of a mosque, said it’s a religion of peace and go shopping,” Bannon mocks. “We haven’t had an adult conversation. And by the way, some of these conversations may get a little unpleasant. But you know what, we’re in a war. We’re clearly going into, I think, a major shooting war in the Middle East again.”

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The episode focused on an incident in Irving, Texas where a group of anti-Muslim gun nuts terrorized mosque worshippers with weapons and signs bearing messages like, “Stop the Islamization of America.” Other highlights of the recording include Bannon comparing Nigel Farage to Winston Churchill; a right-wing guest complaining that cops are too easy on black people with guns, but “you bring a bunch of white men to a mosque carrying arms and everybody gets all upset”; and a caller who states that “Christianity is solely a religion but Judaism and Islam” have a “whole government set up.”

Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.

 

 

 

 

DONALD TRUMP’S VALUESlg2

DONALD TRUMP’S VALUES

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-situation-lab/201603/donald-trumps-values

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Ryne A. Sherman, Ph.D., is an associate professor psychology at

Florida Atlantic University

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In September of 2015, I wrote this post concerning Donald Trump’s personality. The analysis considered both Mr. Trump’s bright side characteristics (how he typically behaves when he’s at his best) and his dark side characteristics (how he behaves when he’s under stress or when he lets his guard down). Because his personality is equated with his reputation, or how he has been observed to behave, we can pretty accurately judge his personality simply by watching his behavior. Since September, Mr. Trump’s popularity has continued to soar. As such, I thought it may be constructive to venture a deeper look inside Mr. Trump – his values.

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Values, as opposed to personality, present a more interesting challenge. Values concerns our interests, the way we view the world, and the way we think people ought to behave. Values guide our decision making. As such, values ultimately drive our behavior. Unfortunately, people are often unaware of their own core values (let alone the values of others). Thus, outside of proper assessments, values must be inferred from attitudinal statements and behavior with reference to the context within which it occurs.

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In what follows, I will provide a scientific description of Mr. Trump’s values based on the attitudes he has expressed over the past several years. Although the total number of human values is quite large, I will limit the discussion here to 10 core values found in most human cultures. To wrap up the discussion, I will interpret Mr. Trump’s entire values and personality profiles with a special emphasis on how he will behave as a leader.

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The 10 core values are defined below and can be organized into four clusters:

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Cluster I: Status Values

  • Recognition – Wanting to stand out and be noticed; dreaming of fame and success

  • Power – Wanting to be successful, make an impact, and create a legacy

  • Hedonism – Wanting to have fun and enjoy the fruits of one’s success

  • .

Cluster II: Social Values

  • Altruism – Wanting to help the needy and powerless to improve society

  • Affiliation – Wanting to be part of a group and seeking social stimulation

  • Tradition – Believing in family values and endorsing conventionally approved behavior

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Cluster III: Financial Values

  • Security – Wanting occupation and financial safety and avoiding risk

  • Commerce – Wanting financial success and seeking business opportunities

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Cluster IV: Decision Making Style

  • Aesthetics – Wanting to be stylish and fashionable and being concerned with appearances

  • Science – Wanting to solve problems and make decision based on data

  • .

Mr. Trump’s Status Values

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It is hardly a secret to anyone that Mr. Trump highly values status. In fact, he scores highly on all three Status dimensions: Recognition, Power, and Hedonism. He has a strong desire to be seen, noticed, and visible. He seeks the spotlight and prestige and wants other people to notice how accomplished he is. All are clear markers of someone high in Recognition. Mr. Trump likewise has a strong desire for Power. He wants to be in charge, to win, to gain powerful positions (e.g., President of the United States). Although Hedonism is more difficult to judge, Mr. Trump is also highly Hedonistic. He lives a lavish lifestyle, wants to have fun, and to enjoys the finer things in life

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Mr. Trump’s Social Values

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Mr. Trump’s desire for status is quite obvious. We know he wants to get ahead, but what about his social desires? How does Mr. Trump like to get along with other people? Based on his attitudes and behavior, it seems quite clear that Mr. Trump is low in Altruism (for an argument that this is a general trend in the US, see here). This does not necessarily mean that Mr. Trump dislikes those who are in need, but may reflect a strong belief in self-reliance (i.e., people should learn to take care of themselves). Regardless, of the underlying reason, Mr. Trump’s standing on Altruism is in stark contrast to someone like Bernie Sanders who appears to selflessly extend help to others. Regarding Affiliation, Mr. Trump appears to have a strong desire to build social networks and to collaborate with others (i.e., “I’m a deal-maker”), particularly those who like him. Finally, like most people of conservative political persuasion, Mr. Trump strongly endorses a number of traditional values. He holds structure, rules, and authority in high esteem. He believes strongly in the America of the past (i.e., “Let’s Make America Great Again”).

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Mr. Trump’s Financial Values

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Like his status values, Mr. Trump’s financial values are usually on full display. His business track record indicates that he is Low on Security and High on Commerce. Mr. Trump is very tolerant of risk and does not mind taking a gamble if the expected payoff is large. His comfort with uncertainty makes him more willing to take risks than most people. Mr. Trump is also very interested in money—especially how to make it—and happy to discuss money matters (including his own financial successes).

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Mr. Trump’s Decision Making Style

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How does Mr. Trump like to make decisions? Based on what we have seen from Mr. Trump over his years in the public spotlight, we can conclude that he highly values Aesthetics. He is driven by creativity, style, innovation, and especially appearances. Additionally, Mr. Trump also appears to make decisions based on his experience and intuition. While other people may prefer a slow and deliberate decision making process based on scientific and data-based approaches, Mr. Trump’s style is quicker and more emotion-based.

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Values Profile Summary

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When considering Mr. Trump’s values profile in summary, we see a clear driver for status. He wants to win, be in charge, be famous, and create a legacy for himself. Combined with his penchant for making money, Mr. Trump has all the markings of an Enterprising (or Entrepreneurial) individual. Enterprising people are interested in leading others and making decisions. They are not afraid to take risks and are often quite persuasive (for better or worse). Typical enterprising careers include lawyers, administrators, business executives, and salespeople. Mr. Trump’s Aesthetic and (low) Science values indicate that Mr. Trump prefers art to science. People typified by Artistic and Enterprising interests find careers in radio / television (hosting and/or producing), design, modeling, or even televangelism. In other words, people like Mr. Trump really enjoy performing in public for an audience. And Mr. Trump appears to be no exception here. Finally, when we combine this with Mr. Trump’s low Altruism and high Tradition, the result is an individual who is—quite frankly—interested in dominance. Mr. Trump likes to be in charge of others, wants everyone to know he is charge, has little sympathy for those who are unsuccessful, and prefers to maintain the current social hierarchy. As someone in charge, Mr. Trump places a heavy emphasis on look and feel and will tend to make decisions based on gut reactions, with very little interest in what science and/or data may suggest.

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We use our values to guide our decisions about our relationships (i.e., who to be friends with, who to marry) and careers (i.e., who to work for and with). In other words, we like people who share our values and are drawn towards them. As such, it should be no surprise that many of Mr. Trump’s supporters will also share the values listed above. Indeed, the attribute most common (link is external) to Trump’s supporters is authoritarianism, which is a form of social dominance (link is external).

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A Complete (but brief) Personality Makeup for Mr. Trump

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Taking into account our previous discussion of Mr. Trump’s bright side and dark side characteristics in conjunction with his values discussed here, we can make the following set of predictions of Mr. Trump:

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As a leader, Mr. Trump will continue to be a showman (high Recognition; high Colorful). He will focus on his appearances (high Aesthetics) to the American public with an emphasis on demonstrating his strength and power (high Power; high Ambition; high Bold). Such behavior will likely earn him a popular reputation among his supporters in the US. However, it may also offend and irritate both allies and enemies of the US abroad who feel disrespected. Indeed, the U.K. parliament has even debated banning Donald Trump from the country (link is external). In general, this combination of characteristics could be potentially damaging to international relations for the US.

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Mr. Trump will have little tolerance for insubordination and criticism. As a result, he will surround himself with “yes men” either intentionally or unintentionally by alienating and firing anyone who does not support him or his ideas (high Tradition; low Interpersonal Sensitivity; high Mischievous). When we only hear the opinions of those who agree with us, we are bound to miss opportunities and to make poorer decisions (see Groupthink (link is external)).

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Mr. Trump will also come up with bold and daring ideas quickly (high Inquisitiveness; high Bold; high Mischievous) and act on them immediately (low Science; low Prudence). How theses decisions work out will depend on both his intuitive decision making ability and luck. Ultimately, we can expect a President Trump to be brash, daring, pragmatic, and ruthless, just as he has been as a businessperson.

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BULLISH

ON

TORONTO

A CITY STATE?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City-state

NOT QUITE

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“Whether you’re interested in a quick snapshot of the market or in obtaining

a greater understanding of some of the policy issues that impact housing

affordability (along with possible solutions), I am confident that this

report will provide you with valuable

information and insight.”

John DiMichele, CEO, Toronto Real Estate Board

2017-marketyearinreview