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"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up."

Arthur Koestler 

Entries in Politics (393)

Monday
Feb202017

Why Trump Will Lose: The Economy

As Trump himself said during the election, no matter who is elected, the next president will have to deal with an economic crisis. Trump used the adjective "massive." I think it will happen this year or early 2018. I predicted this in 2014. Of course I could be wrong and there are a number of things that might delay it. But unless the business cycle has suddenly been abolished, it will happen. The only question is when and how bad it will be. 

Trump's tax plan might delay it as massive tax cuts will be a strong, but temporary, stimulus. But the best outcome for Trump is for the slump to come sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, massive tax cuts and spending increases would delay the inevitable, and make it worse. Some are predicting that the recession will be delayed until 2019. 

My update on my 2014 prediction is that it will not be as bad as 2008, but there are plenty of things Trump could do to make it a lot worse. I know the perception is that I am pro-Trump, but in fact, it seems likely that Trump will screw this up badly. I do agree with his policy not to have a war with Russia, and stop mucking around in other countries, but beyond that I do not agree with him. 

Here is David Stockman, Reagan's director of OMB, Office of Management and Budget, on the coming crisis. I am not as pessimistic as he is, but I think he is right.

 

Sunday
Feb192017

Why Trump Will Lose: Wars and Rumors of Wars

One reason Trump was elected is that he indicated that he would not go to war with Russia. But he made no such promise in the Middle East. Trump did say that the US would stop interfering in other countries, but seemed to exempt Islamic terrorists from this. To a large decree this makes sense, but the execution of it is paved with difficulties.

The Intercept tells us

The New York Times yesterday reported that military officials had been planning and debating the raid for months under the Obama administration, but Obama officials decided to leave the choice to Trump. The new president personally authorized the attack last week. They claim that the “main target” of the raid “was computer materials inside the house that could contain clues about future terrorist plots.” The paper cited a Yemeni official saying that “at least eight women and seven children, ages 3 to 13, had been killed in the raid,” and that the attack also “severely damaged a school, a health facility and a mosque.” 

Trump has an opportunity to be a different kind of president. So far, we are not seeing that in the area of foreign policy in the Middle East. No one voted for Trump to continue Obama's foreign policy. (The whole article is worth reading if you are interested.) 

Of course the phrase "Why Trump Will lose" is subjective. The idea I have in mind for winning or losing in these posts is the idea of electoral success. Mucking around the Arab world might actually help Trump with most voters. 

I am not one of them. 

Friday
Feb172017

Podcast on the Trump Crisis with Russia

If you want a concise discussion of the current attempt to force Trump to "toe the line" dictated by the power structure, the Deep State, listen to this podcast. It is worth the investment of your time. 

Thursday
Feb162017

Why Trump Will Lose: Treason

When Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden released information that was classified, they committed treason. This is not in dispute. But a reasonable question is whether or not it was justified. Manning released videos of war crimes that were not being prosecuted. They still are not. Snowden released information that the government was spying in ways that it was denying. They still are denying, even under oath to Congress. What would I have done in these circumstances? I have no idea. 

In the same way the recent release of classified information that led to the resignation of General Flynn as National Security Advisor to Trump was also treason. One cannot just release whatever one wants if it is classified. Trump's private call to the Prime Minister of Australia was leaked, as was a private conversation with Israel on settlements, as was the private conversations with the President of Mexico. The purpose is obvious, to make Trump's independent foreign policy either not so independent, or make it devolve into chaos, which will be blamed on Trump's personality. I find it difficult to see how these leaks can be justified, especially as no transcripts of Flynn's phone calls has been released so we have no idea what was said. 

This attempt to lead the US into war with Russia is treason. Even though some are saying that Trump not going to war with Russia is treason. All possible effort is being made to sabotage the president's foreign policy. 

In the past it was seldom that I would agree with Dennis Kuchinch. This is one of those times. 

Why does this mean that Trump will lose? It is because the entire governmental structure is against Trump. I do not see how he can win. Already my FaceBook feed is filled with those actually advocating treason against the elected president of the United States. It will not end well. 

I will post a link to the next podcast of Steven Cohen and John Batchelor on the crisis. Cohen has been predicting that the intelligence community and the neo-cons would attempt to make peace with Russia impossible. The resignation of Flynn, a voice of reason in the Trump administration on Russia, is the first step. 

Wednesday
Feb152017

Why Trump Will Win: MeetUp

This may seem an odd contention but the general opposition to Trump in the media and social media, and especially those positions like immigration where the majority support him, will increase his popularity and his electabliity. 

Meetup, the app that lets people of similar interests meet, has gone crazy

"For almost 15 years, Meetup has served as an organizing platform for a wide range of political parties and movements, welcoming everyone from the Howard Deaniacs to the Tea Party. 'We’re vital plumbing for democracy,' we always said. Before today, our company had never taken a partisan stance. It’s not a decision we take lightly.”

...

So Heiferman and his team literally stopped Meetup in its tracks - paused operations - to gather for a hackathon. The effort resulted in 1,000 new Meetup Groups under the hashtag #Resist. It announced the new groups to their 30 million members. And it partnered with organizations including Planned Parenthood, the Anti-Defamation League, Amnesty International, the Human Rights Campaign, the Women’s March, and many others who are contributing to a library of ideas for making change.

While it is doubtful that Meetup's customer base is similar to the US population which voted 45% for Trump, there is enough overlap that this is a very poor business decision. Let's just piss off at least 25% of our customers! One has to really wonder about the business acumen of social media companies as this is not the only company who is acting stupidly. 

Firefox forced its CEO to resign because he was a Christian. They would deny this, but what they did is force him to resign because he was against same-sex marriage. What did he do? He started a new browser company called Brave

Reddit is banning conservatives, both explicitly by banning threads and subgroups, but also by shadow banning. Shadow banning is designed to keep "trolls" from posting nonsense. What it does is let the troll post, but no one but the troll sees the post. This is a fine tool from keeping out the jerks, but will it be used to keep conservative thought off Reddit? I would not be surprised. There is no alternative to Reddit right now, but one is in the works. 

FaceBook is already banning fake news. At this point, except in Germany where being anti-immigration is enough to be considered fake, FaceBook seems to have a light hand. A whistleblower inside FaceBook alleged that FaceBook was burying conservative stories in What's Trending through manual manipulation of data. There is no way for a customer of FaceBook to know what is being done behind the scenes. It can only get worse. There is no real alternative to FaceBook at this time. 

Wikipedia is an interesting product that is starting to go bad. I was an editor for a while before I was banned from editing a few years ago. I was not even editing anything controversial, and my editing was to make the entry more neutral in a few historical areas having to do with church history. You would think that they would want someone with a degree in history and work towards a masters degree with an emphasis on church history—but no. There is now an alternative to Wikipedia called Infogalactic. I am supporting this effort and may become an editor. 

Twitter is also using a form of shadow banning along with direct banning of conservatives. Here is how Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, describes what happened to him in a blog post called Freedom of Speech Is an Illusion

Here’s a fresh example (today) of how Twitter throttles back my free speech when it doesn’t fit their political views. This only happens for Trump-related content, as far as I can tell. I haven’t seen an exception yet. Notice the referenced tweet shows as “unavailable” but it actually is available when users click the link. Twitter does this trick so my followers will think the link is gone and they won’t bother to click. This Twitter censorship method is well-documented by others. 

The clever thing about Twitter’s approach is that they randomize it so everyone sees my content sometimes, but no one sees the good stuff all of the time. That creates the illusion that it might be a fluke, a temporary bug, or just a perceptual thing. Best of all, it makes people like me look like conspiracy nuts. This is brilliant technique for mind control. It took me about a year to see this as a real thing. I thought everyone that was yapping about it was in deep conspiracy theory mode too. Most of you reading this post will think the same about me.

There have been too many complaints about this for it not to have some validity. There is an alternative to Twitter called Gab. I am on Gab. Gab is having some growing pains and is not dealing with trolls strongly enough, maybe because of Gab's actual commitment to free speech. There may be a waiting line as they do not want to overwhelm their servers. 

So how does this help Trump? 

It will drive those who are not Trump supporters into his arms. I am not a Trump supporter. But yet over and over again, I am saying to myself: "That is not fair." "What a biased use of pejorative words." "I want a neutral ground on social media." I was watching CNN on a tv at a restaurant and I could not help almost constantly shaking my head in shock. 

The media and social media are going to drive away their own customers and new platforms will develop. This will drive opinion to the ends of the spectrum as it will make mass media and social media giant echo chambers of pre-established dogma. 

Are the thought leaders of media and social media really that dumb? 

Yes, they are.