Is Trump the Answer? It Depends Upon the Question

concrete brick wall morguefile

I am puzzled by the attraction of Donald Trump.

I understand that there is a huge population who thinks they have been abandoned by their country. The jobs they used to have are gone. Washington has been in paralysis for years. People believe our politicians seem focused entirely on re-election. “To hell with the country, I need to keep my job as (choose one) senator, member of Congress, governor etc.”

I think that view is harsh, at least regarding some elected officials. Governor John Kasich of Ohio is one who puts his country first. So does Senator Sherrod Brown, also of Ohio. There are a number of others, but as recent history has shown, we are also cursed with far too many politicians who put re-election and/or political dogma far ahead of the welfare of the nation. There is absolutely no excuse for Senator McConnell to block even the consideration of President Obama’s choice of the highly qualified Court of Appeal judge for elevation to the Supreme Court. Maybe he is not a good choice. Maybe he is a total disaster. We will never know because the Republican Majority in the Senate has blocked any consideration of his appointment ONLY because he was nominated by President Obama. So we are left with a Supreme Court that is, on many issues, paralyzed because McConnell and company will not consider ANYONE nominated by Obama. That is a lousy way to run a railroad.

We can agree there is a problem. But we still have to ask ourselves if Donald Trump is the answer. Is Trump likely to make it better? To do that, let’s look at some of the things about Mr. Trump that are simply not controversial.

The wall

Trump says he is going to build a wall on the boarder between the United States and Mexico and make Mexico pay for it. He has said nothing about how he would do any of that or when we could expect completion. That border is nearly exactly 2000 miles long. That is 600 miles longer than I-5 between Canada and Mexico. How long will it take to get the rights-of-way? We can’t just build it without rights of way unless we want to tear up our Constitution for a wall. I would bet the government owns some of the rights of way, but I have no idea how much. Donald doesn’t know either, and he doesn’t care.

What about engineering? Engineering for something like this is going to be a series of huge projects. You can’t compare this to going to the moon because that involved a single, very complex engineering project. This wall, to be effective, has to be tall enough to make it tough to get over with footings that go deep enough to discourage tunnels. It also has to withstand hurricanes, tornadoes and the like over all kinds of terrain and in all kinds of soil. That means thousands of engineering projects. If Trump were to serve two terms, there is no way his wall would be completed, or maybe even started, until decades after he left office. Trump is a strange guy, but he has to understand these things.

Concern for the middle and working classes

Trump claims he is the champion of the middle and working classes. There is no evidence to support that. (Please forgive a bias from my profession. I need evidence to accept statements of claimed fact). In fact, the evidence is to the contrary. Whatever Trump was selling, if he could get it made cheaper overseas, he jumped right on it. He would argue that is “just good business”. Doesn’t that sound a lot like those politicians who only care about re-election, not the country? “Just good politics” is not that different from “just good business”.

But the issue I find most troubling has to do with Trump’s treatment of a lot of small businesses, individual workers and anyone else he felt he could crush because of their disparity of economic resources. He just doesn’t pay them and hires lawyers to break them. He says it is simply good business because they did shoddy work, and one should not pay for shoddy work. That is how it should be, he claims.

I could agree with that if there was any evidence that he spent a dime getting the shoddy work repaired or replaced. Some of the people he stiffed provided services as waiters, janitors, even lawyers. It might be hard to show where they were inadequate. But many others were people who supplied materials or fixtures, and the fairness of his actions is easy to judge, using this simple thought:

Mr. Trump, if their work was so bad that you were justified in rejecting or reducing their bill, where is the bill from the people you hired to repair or replace what the people you are stiffing did? If you did not have to repair or replace their work, but are using it, how do you justify not paying as agreed? Their work belongs to them until you pay for it. If it can be used by you without repair, and you do use it without paying, aren’t you stealing their work? It is pretty simple, Mr. Trump: If it is good enough for you to use, it is good enough for you to pay for. If you are honest.

Dugan Barr
Dugan Barr has practiced law in Redding since 1967, primarily in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death. He has tried more than 200 civil jury cases to verdict. He is married and has five children. He can be reached at Barr & Mudford, 1824 Court St., Redding, 243-8008, or
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34 Responses

  1. Avatar CoachBob says:

    Still waiting for a headline that tells us about Hillary! How good she is, how trustworthy….

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Coach — As you’ve been told multiple times, knock yourself out—write up your thoughts on Hillary and submit it to Doni.  Stop expecting others to do it for you.  Your sense of entitlement—your belief that others should just provide to you what you desire—is breathtakingly vast.

      • Avatar CoachBob says:

        Entitlement? lololol Yeah that’s it! See, Steve, I don’t see ANY good in Clinton so I do rely on someone else to tell me what’s good about her. That’s simple. I’m not running her down as Dugan does Trump….I just want someone to tell me something good about her. I’m waiting….entitled?

        • Bob, Bob, Bob. You’ve been on this site long enough to know: No personal attacks or we’ll remove your comment. (In fact, I’m going to go remove your offending line in a second. )

          I will echo what I’ve said many times. You complain about not seeing the kinds of opinion pieces that express your views here on A News

          We welcome submissions of articles you’ve written that reflect your opinions – free of personal attacks – for consideration of publication.


        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          Coach — The sense of entitlement that I spoke to is your expectation that someone should write something about Clinton and submit it as an article, so as to save you from the heavy lifting.  Your dodge is that you want it to be an article about her positives, which means that you can’t do it.  Fancy footwork, coach—Tom Sawyeresque in its design to get others to whitewash the fence.  But, in the parlance of my youth: p**** move, dude.

          Regardless, I’ll oblige.

          Hillary is a dedicated mother and grandma.  Her staffers seem to like her.  In debate, she’s civil.  She’s not a loose cannon.  She’s not crazy.  Her proposals are backed by detailed plans that outline how they would work.  She has a demonstrated sense of fiscal responsibility.

          On the plus side (one would think) from the perspective of your politics:

          – Under her watch at the State Department, the CIA tracked down the criminal terrorist whose organization committed the largest terrorist attack on the United States in history and killed him—something Bush II had promised to do, but then later said wasn’t a priority.

          – Unlike Trump, the Clintons’ wealth is self-made.  They started poor, and possibly have more money at this point than Trump has.  (Trump has likely lost nearly as much money as he’s made, and it’s likely that his wealth is only a fraction of what he claims.)  You should admire her entrepreneurship, given your politics.

          – She’s being endorsed by a host of neocons—Robert Kagan, James Kirchick, Paul Wolfowitz, Brent Scowcroft, Henry Paulson Jr., and many others.  That’s excluding the numerous neocons who fall short of endorsing Clinton, but say they won’t vote for Trump because he’s unfit to be POTUS.

        • Avatar Breakfast Guy says:

          Coach – If you don’t see any good in Clinton, why the continuous whining here? Resources are plentiful on the www. After a fair amount of research maybe you can post your own objective take on Hillary here on ANC.  Lately, it seems you are only trolling for dirty laundry.

          Try reading this recent AP piece enlightened by Ryan Grim for instance. I find a few well written comments at the bottom of such articles are often helpful as well.

  2. From my position at the table it becomes very apparent that the position of Attorney Dugan may come from a very liberal point of view.  I recognize that we are continually bombarded by a one side poi9nt of view.  There is never a comparison of facts for we the people to make judgements.   I have difficulty addressing credibility to ones opinions if his professions the interpolation law.  I would advise my fellow citizen to review the fourteenth and thirteenth amendment crime.  The profession seems to use congress as a means of wealth and a financial retirement plan.  I do attempt to review any opinions, facts or proclamation made in the political arena.   The fact remains that the present political process is destroying the middle class.  Another four or eight years will finish the job. We will become a nation of haves vs have not’s

    I review the upcoming electuion from my position at the Captain’s Table


    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      “I have difficulty addressing credibility to ones opinions if his professions the interpolation law.”

      A guy could spend all day trying to figure out what this sentence is supposed to mean.

      • Avatar trek says:

        It so appears you do have all day.


      • Avatar K. Beck says:

        …being a poor typist myself, and a poor speller, I believe the writer meant “if his profession is the interpretation of the law.” Don’t mean to put words in the mouth of the writer, but that is how I “interpret” that sentence. Even though I disagree with what this person has written I try to figure out what he was trying to say.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          The sentence is an awkward attempt to say that Dugan’s opinions have no credibility owing to his profession.  That leap of questionable logic into an absolutist conclusion requires an explanation, or it’s merely a weaksauce ad hominem attack.  And if you’re going to insult people so, you invite the darts that will be throw back atcha.

          There’s a school of psycho-linguistics which posits that the inability to write or speak clearly and coherently reveals an inability to think clearly and coherently.  So that’s the dart I’m throwing back at Fred—that his writing reveals a certain cognitive fuzziness.

          Fred also says: “I would advise my fellow citizen to review the fourteenth and thirteenth amendment crime.”

          What?  What the heck?

          The 13th amendment freed the slaves.  The 14th amendment granted them citizenship.  What on earth is “…the fourteenth and thirteenth amendment crime” supposed to mean?  (Or maybe we don’t want to know.)


  3. Avatar Rod says:

    Mr. Barr, I’d like to respect your position on Trump, but I’m not able.  I can appreciate that you’re considered an insider.  One who knows what’s what. I wonder what  is Trump’s opinion of you?

    Trump is a successful businessman, not a professional liar/lawyer nor even a politician.  He creates stuff that makes money.  He actually earns his right to be considered for president.   His history is available for study in order to attempt to expunge ruinous government.

    More of the Clinton machine predictably will be criminal actions hidden from documentation.  Their combined political history is a trail of tears.  More of the same?

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Trump’s history is available for study?  The largest window on his claimed success as a businessman would entail examining his tax returns.  Unlike nearly all presidential candidates since the 1970s, he refuses to release them.

      What’s Trump hiding?

      During this election cycle Clinton released 8 years of her tax returns, revealing that most of her and Bills’ income has come from speaking fees and book royalties.  They have made all of their tax returns public every year dating back to 1977.  In 2015 the  Clintons paid a combined federal, state, and local effective tax rate of 43.2 percent. They donated 9.8 percent of their income to charity.  They paid $3.6 million in taxes on adjusted gross income of $10.6 million.

      One candidate is being transparent, and one is a three-card-monte street hustler.


    • Avatar K. Beck says:

      “Successful” businessmen do NOT file for bankruptcy 4 times!

      He “creates stuff” and then does not pay his workers.

      His history has been written. Read what has been written by others not by him. He has a bit of a problem telling the truth, too.

      I am not a fan of Clinton by a long shot. There is not a “good” candidate to be had in this election. I see it as the evils being almost equal this time out. But there is no way in the big H that I will be voting for Trump.

  4. Avatar name says:

    This election is clearly a choice of who is the least worst.  Both candidates obviously have serious flaws, and have made glaring mistakes (maybe on purpose?).  The main difference is that Hillary has done these things while serving as an elected official, or while her husband was.  Trump’s various faults arose while he was a private citizen.  I think that this is the main difference – people are sick of the status quo in Government, and are eager to see if an “outsider” can do any better (despite his obvious liabilities).

    • Avatar K. Beck says:

      Using a bit of logic here, consider this: if Trump thinks what he has done is OK as a private citizen, why would he think his manner of operating will be just fine if he is elected President? I am truly sorry if you think that knowing the law is a bad thing. We are a country of laws. The Constitution is THE law. If you are ignorant of the law you are at a total disadvantage. Have a look at Richard Nixon, for an example. Trump hires lawyers to bail him out of his failures. Who got him out of his 4 bankruptcies? While I agree people are eager to see if an “outsider” can do any better, how about finding an outsider who is qualified to be President. Trump is not.

  5. Avatar David M. Kerr says:

    I served as a poll worker for four elections.  I look at the Statement of Vote on the County website.  Voters are quite different from jurors or most people you meet.

    They will vote about as they always do.  Few go to the polls because of national or statewide issues or candidates.  Even though LaMalfa is an embarrassment, many people vote for him because he is not a democrat and they blame California’s one party state for the drugs, crime, poor educational attainment and the fact that Shasta county is such a bad place to invest, retire, practice a profession or raise children.  Well informed voters look at the competition in Nevada, Arizona and Oregon and see it doesn’t have to be this way.

    I blame the City of Redding leadership for botching measure D.  It should have been a quarter percent for jail expansion and nothing else.  I hope they bring it back in 2017 without the flaws in the current measure.

    Commercial pot growing, said to be a $100 million crop in Shasta County, is a big issue. It attracts drug users and petty criminals.  The claim that there is a firewall between commercial marijuana and methamphetamine is not credible.  It is the only reason I will be  sending in my vote by mail ballot this year.  I will vote against marijuana legalization to send a message to the supervisors to continue to outlaw commercial growing.   We cannot afford the costs of the wildfires, like the one started by Freddie Smoke which killed someone.  Or the expensive wildfire in Lake County, also started by a commercial marijuana operation.

  6. Avatar David M. Kerr says:

    I expect marijuana legalization will pass statewide and it will benefit Shasta County.  Many commercial pot growers follow the moonshiner model, growing in the hills where security is good.  Much is grown in “grow bags” of soil amendments, because the soil is so poor in the hills.  Freddie Smoke started that fire delivering soil amendments to his grow and parking his truck on dry grass.

    Water thirsty commercial pot growing should be done on prime ag land, like the places tomato is grown.  You should see the tomatoes at the farmers markets in New Jersey, Pennsylvania or really anyplace in the East or Midwest.

    I will be voting for Johnson.  Hope a humiliating defeat of Trump causes Rush Limbaugh and the clones to retire.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Trump probably won’t get hammered much worse than Romney and McCain got hammered—both of those elections were over early on election night.  Limbaugh et al. were still in business the next day.  The market for yell radio isn’t going to go away anytime soon.

      One peculiar thing I’ve noticed about the yell radio hosts who now befoul my AM 1670 setting since they changed it over from Fox Sports: Glenn Beck isn’t nearly angry, spiteful, insulting, and self-righteous enough for the genre.  Dude needs to get with the program.  Darken the mood.  Does he not realize that liberals are succeeding in their efforts to destroy America?

  7. Avatar Anne says:

    One of the funniest lines I’ve heard recently was in an interview with hispanic comedian George Lopez. When asked, “What do you think about The Wall?” He replied, “That’s OK, we know how to tunnel!”

  8. Dugan Barr Dugan Barr says:

    Those who support Trump ought to think carefully about the opinions of 50 National Security Advisors who served under GOP Presidents.  You can find the statement at

    I have not seen a single person involved in National Security who supports Trump.  Did I miss someone?


  9. Avatar Lazlo57 says:

    I don’t see Trump as the answer to anything. He flip flops so much I’m not sure what his stance is on any topic.

    That said, my confidence level for Hillary isn’t any better. And I’m not prepared to vote for the lesser  of the two evils.

    So here I sit on a fence waiting for someone to say something that makes sense and reasonable.

    • Dugan Barr Dugan Barr says:

      How about this for a reason.  Hillary is not likely to get us involved in a war out of ignorance or petulance.The point of the National Security Advisors is that they think Trump just might.

  10. Avatar Joanne Lobeski-Snyder says:

    Thank you for a great article Dugan Barr.  Some times it’s a good idea to take a real world view of a big idea like Trump’s wall.  I would add to your excellent description of the reality of creating this great wall that consideration will have to be taken for the effect on wildlife and migration patterns  along the hundreds of miles of land where only a person with a GPS would know in which country they were standing.  Rivers and streams will create another engineering challenge.

    I guess I’m a fan of logic and clear thinking.  Again, thank you for the article.  I enjoyed it, and the responses you received from readers.

  11. Frank Treadway Frank Treadway says:

    Wellll, here’s my 2 cents worth…HRC is no more a crook than any of you making comments.  Otherwise she’d be in a lovely federal prison somewhere in Keokuk, Iowa.  If the Republican Congress really has the goods on HRC, please bring it forth, or back off.  They’re simply playing ‘gotcha’ politics, hoping to confuse and anger the undecided voters.  Both parties play these tactics, but you better have something concrete to back it up and make folks buy it.  It’s OK Mr. & Ms. Republican, you can still vote for HRC, no one will know in the privacy of the booth, or your sealed Vote By Mail ballot.   Assuming the Russian hackers won’t tilt the final count.

  12. Avatar CD says:

    I’m fifty something.  Aside from Reagan, it has been the same old, same old from politicians for as long as I can remember.  How can someone claim to have the back of the under-privileged, and get paid $250,000 for a short speech from the over-privileged.   I am not going to vote for the same thing; that would be insanity to expect any progress from the political establishment.  It is simply time for a NEW DEAL  It is time to POINT FORWARD.     I was going to vote for Bernie; now that he is out, and Californians will undoubtedly vote for the establishment. I am going to vote for a 3rd or 4th party candidate.  BTW: Reagan said tear down this wall.

  13. Avatar Breakfast Guy says:

    Another Trump scam exposed – Trump’s failed Baja condo resort left buyers feeling …

    ://…/la-na-pol-trump-baja-snap-story.htmlDonald Trump and his children urged Californians to buy condos at a Baja resort they promised to build, then abandoned the project. Buyers lost more than $32 million …

    By the way CD, check it out: Much of the $$ HRC recieved for speaking was donated to charity. You also might take a look at Reagan & his cabinet track record. Not exactly the heros you seem to think they are.

    • Avatar CD says:

      It is time for something else; America is digressing, not progressing.  In school I read Animal Farm and was instructed that it was about the USSR; I have since come to realize that it is about the USA; we are created equal, just some more equal than others.  I am going to vote for something else, either Libertarian Gary Johnson or Green Party Jill Stein.

      • Avatar Chad says:

        I see many areas where America is progressing.  The ACA has added 11 million people who otherwise were dependent on tax payers paying for their medical care.  I’ll admit it is not a perfect system, but it is far better than the previous system.

        Even with all the issues with education, Shasta county schools  maintain their own, and have performed well with our public school students.

        Terrorism is a major problem but it is really nothing new to America.  Since 9-11-01 we have been able to foil major attempts.  It is not enough to accept “lone wolf” terrorists, but it is hard to make an argument that Americans are less safe today.

        In the past several years flag draped coffins coming home is not a daily occurrence.

        Immigration?  A net zero gain of illegal immigrants sure seems like a step in the right direction.

        Economy?  When was the last time we lost 800,000 job in a single month?

        I guess progress is in the eyes of the beholder.

  14. Avatar Mike says:


    Ok, so Trump wants to build a wall yet the Mexican Government has no problem dealing with outsiders unless they are not a burden to the government. Yes, the USA is the land of free, but it is definitely not free to live here, especially when those of us who pay taxes are paying for those who are not.

    It is my understanding that if you enter Mexico illegally, you are treated as an outsider, especially if you don’t have any income. It is not appreciated.

    So why all the big deal in the USA if we want to kick the illegals out of here. It boils down to the fact that some Americans, especially politicians, like the cheap labor force and are under pressure from Corporate America as well as thousands of other employers to accept them and take care of them at a huge cost to the American taxpayer.

    We don’t need a wall. We need to say no beginning at the White House.

    • Avatar Virginia says:

      We don’t need a wall?   That is saying you don’t need a front or back door………astounding!

      I had two men try to break into my house about a month ago.  Thank heavens I had locked doors and two dogs!

      All of us need to say, “Enough is enough.”