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Gordo

Dysfunctional US Politics

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Sthira,

 

...stand now to stop Trump and the Big Oil-controlled Congress from launching an all-out assault on the planet.

 

Poor Sthira. Nobody has told you yet? There is really no question now - our planet it toast. Don't you remember, climate change is a Chinese plot to undermine the American economy. But the really serious repercussions of our undermining the world's efforts to prevent climate change are still probably several decades in the future. We've got much more pressing things to worry about. I'm afraid, it's time to cut our losses on that one now. Funding for life extension research? Likely a pipe dream now too. Between cutting taxes to the rich, building the wall, hunting down illegal aliens, and funding the military to "turn the desert to glass" in the Middle East, along with torturing suspected terrorists and murdering their families, we won't have much money in the federal budget to fund things like basic healthcare funding, to say nothing of longevity research and human trials.

 

Sorry Sthira, our bright future has just been put on hold for at least four years and quite possibly forever.

 

--Dean

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Hello Dean I am so sorry for you in USA but also for us here. In Italy we had Berlusconi for many years and Trump appear to me very similar.

The incomprehensible thing for me is that Trump comes after 8 years of Obama. I have listened to Obama'speech about transition: <<.... “Sometimes you lose an argument, sometimes you lose an election,” he said. “But the path this country has taken has never been a straight line. We zig and zag.”...>>  

He  is really a great man and we all on the world will miss him.

But I have to say that also Trump at the end will finish, just like Berlusconi.... Even If many people will suffer more at the end and for example also my job as  teacher will be more difficult, to educate students to the value of democracy and science when people like Trump governs the most important country.

I think you know the "Heart Sutra" of Buddism. Once time in the past when Berlusconi won the election I did find very supporting reciting its verses...

 

<<Shariputra, form is no other than emptiness, 

emptiness no other than form; 
form is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly form; 
sensation, perception, mental reaction, consciousness are also like this. 
Shariputra, all things are essentially empty ...>> 

Edited by Cloud

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Thanks Cloud,

 

I'm not too familiar with Berlusconi, other than he too was a rather unsavory character. I hope you're right, but forgive me if I say that an ignorant tyrant in Italy has at least an order of magnitude less impact on the future of our world than an ignorant tyrant as President of the US has the potential to do.

 

I too hope this will all "blow over", but I'm not very optimistic. We in the US, and likely the rest of the world, are in for a rough time during the tenure of our new "Bull in a China Shop" President-elect.

 

--Dean

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"suggesting Trumps abhorrent behavior and toxic character flaws were on-par with Clintons"

 

Every election comes down to a choice between two evils.  Half the country thought he was the lesser of two evils, and half didn't.  Personally I put corruption on a much higher level of seriousness than saying stupid things and acting like a knucklehead.

 

"Gordo, the "racist nut-jobs" may have always existed, but now they are emboldened by the fact that they've now got a US President who agrees with them and is egging them on,"

 

Or maybe that's just the narrative a jaded mainstream media and disgruntled Hillary supporters have been promoting to make themselves feel better?  I view the whole "race card" smear campaign frankly as an embarrassment to the unbearably smug media.  Trump wasn’t elected by white racistsIts typical and even expected that the presidency will flip back and forth between 'coke' and 'pepsi'.  Your candidate will probably win the next one.  What's that saying about religion and politics in social settings?  :)    I'd much rather focus on what we have in common, I'm usually known as a peacemaker actually.  Hope we can get back to normal soon.  I'd like to move on...  the end of the world is not nigh, and we aren't going to become Nazi Germany.  

 

 

I agree with you on this however!

"BTW - does anyone else find the discussions going on elsewhere in this communal "house" we share absurd and surreal now? Tweaking macronutrients? Al's posts about air pollution causing heart disease, and his plea for Michael to defend the benefits of CR? Seriously?"

 

For the moment anyway, I'm kind of bored with, and tired of, discussing the minutia of "healthy living" that may or may not make a difference of 1 or 2 years on an average lifespan.  All the real things of interest to me in this field are now technology driven, next gen, SENS like emerging research and discovery... people should know by now based on published research, how to optimize their health, how long can you beat a dead horse?

Edited by Gordo

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The market rallied, because Trump promised to repeal regulations and it's looting time again for Wall Street, plus that promise of privatising soc security and tons of rubes will be swindled again - nice rally there, with prime movers stocks of weapons manufacturers as defense budgets will explode again, aided by a few wars (they hope). We'll just have to re-learn the lessons of the Great Depression, when the glories of an unregulated market also resulted in "rallies". The aftermath of those rallies was less entertaining and that's how we got regulations, the Glass-Steagall act etc. - but then, the very fact that those regulations resulted in a calm and prosperous market lulled people into saying "see, how peaceful and stable - we don't need regulations!" - Glass-Steagall was abolished, regulations weakened, and within a few years we had a massive banking crisis. Btw., the Democrats and Clinton were the ones who are guilty there (Glass-Steagall removal), having fallen for the incessant baying of the Republican screams "less regulation!". And such were the results. Obama cleaned it up by instating a few basic regulations, and the market recovered and then some. So - time for another looting! It's really how the Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg described it with regard to the Voting Rights Act. Roberts provided the majority vote and argument for gutting the VRA - "we don't need it anymore, there has been much less voting suppression in the South". Ginsburg's reply: "that's like sitting under an umbrella while it's raining and arguing that since you are dry it clearly proves that you don't need the umbrella". Sure enough, the day after the VRA was gutted tons of legislatures in the South immediately passed laws that resulted in massive obstructions of minority/democrat votes. Oh well. 

 

Racists have been here before Trump - yes. And so were anti-Semites in Germany before Hitler. The point is that by appealing to them explicitly, Trump is empowering them and unleashing forces that will result in bad times for the victims. Hitler didn't invent anti-Semitism, but he sure empowered it. The point isn't that only racists elected him - although tons of them voted for him. The point is that the people who voted for him were NOT STOPPED by his racism. They didn't care and voted for him despite his racism. But the result is still that now that he's appealed to racism, the racists will be empowered.

 

Anyhow, no use arguing. It's done. The voters have spoken. Per Mencken, now it's time for the voters to get their wishes good and hard. Unfortunately, it also means that there will be so many victims of this who did not vote for it, but such is democracy (which we still have, at least for now).

 

Let the chips fall where they may. I saw this with GWB - I screamed about it to anyone who would listen. I then screamed some more about the disastrous trumped up war GWB was pushing us to in the Middle East. And yet it happened. Our economy was severely damaged by that, not to mention the Middle East itself, the consequences of which are still unfolding today. But the voters decided to re-elect GWB after this record of failure. What can you do? Take care of yourself, and avoid the debris.

 

Same here. Trump will be a disaster. There is nothing we can do. Take care of yourself and yours, and try to dodge the bullets. Some of these bullets may not be possible to avoid (climate change), but we'll all be dead by the time that bill comes up for payment. I'm glad I don't have any kids - and feel bad for those who do. I fought the good fight, but I lost. Just as I fought the good fight against GWB, and I lost. There is nothing more I can do, which is why I disagree with Dean wrt. to his previous post "does anyone else find the discussions going on elsewhere in this communal "house" we share absurd and surreal now?" No, I don't. I fought, I lost, and I can do nothing about it - so the last thing I can do is focus on local action, family and friends, and exactly the kinds of interests we speak of on these boards. I put my life on hold while the contest for the future of this country played itself out. Now that it's over, and I lost, I'm looking closer to home. I'm resuming my projects, I'm ignoring the spectacle out there, because not being able to do anything about it just means frustration and pointless gnashing of teeth.

 

Finally - the future is not perfectly knowable... this election should have told us that - nobody, not even Trump himself (according to all reports) anticipated this result. But the fact is, that it was within the margin of error. Even Nate Silver gave Hillary 73% chance of winning - but people don't understand statistics, they think that as long as it's 51% chance it's equal to a guarantee. That's not so. A 73% chance of winning also means a 27% chance of losing. It means that you flip a coin and you can get a less likely streak too. Sometimes it goes against you. There's maybe only a 3% chance that IF you get cancer, it'll be a pancreatic cancer. Seemingly tiny odds. But it happens. And when it happens to you, you feel "BUT HOW IS IT POSSIBLE!!!". Well, it is. And that's my point - we don't know what will happen. If you laugh and dismiss Trump as Hitler comparison, remember, they laughed at Hitler too. Only those who prepared for the grim possibilities, those who took him seriously, survived. The laughing ones died. The odds that Trump will do anything even remotely close to a Hitler are very, very low - but so are the odds of getting pancreatic cancer... or Trump winning over Hillary in the first place. We just don't know. Trump has no coherent ideology. He's unpredictable. I wouldn't worry if it was just up to him. I do worry, because it looks like he'll take the easy way out, just grandstand and enjoy the ceremony, and leave the governing to the Republicans who now control all branches of government, and from the list of his contemplated appointments, it looks very, very bad. They'll come up with horror legislation, and he'll just sign. He's too lazy to actually work at governing, but they'll do it for him. We'll see.

Edited by TomBAvoider

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Gordo,

 

[Dean wrote:] "Gordo, the "racist nut-jobs" may have always existed, but now they are emboldened by the fact that they've now got a US President who agrees with them and is egging them on,"

 

This is the lie that the jaded mainstream media and disgruntled Hillary supporters tell themselves to make themselves feel better.  Trump wasn’t elected by white racists.

 

I'm very surprised Gordo. Do you even notice the complete disconnect between my statement and your rebuttal? Nowhere have I said it was "white racists" (let alone white racist nutjobs) who were responsible for Trump's victory. Sure, they did their part helping him win. But I have plenty of apathetic white friends who aren't "racist nut-jobs" and who voted for Trump (or a third party, or skipped the president line on the ballot, or stayed home) because they didn't like Hillary due to the smear campaign against her that made her seem "crooked", and even more unbelievable, that she would be as bad for the country as Trump is likely to be.

 

I don't think these non-racist white folks should feel better at all. In fact, I think they should feel like sh*t, and I've trying to bring that home to them. For example, I literally told my wife she should "tear your friend [Anonymous] a new a**hole" for (likely) voting for Trump because she's catholic and couldn't tolerate a candidate who supports reproductive rights and abortion." I even told my wife before the election she should send her Catholic friend the Pope's message that basically reads like an endorsement of Hillary without saying her name. My wife didn't send it because she didn't want to "rock the boat". That's what they did in the run-up to Hitler's rise to power.

 

Needless to say I had sharp words for both my wife for not rocking the boat, and for her friend afterwards (although only venting to my wife about her friend, not to her friend directly), when it became clear that Clinton lost our important state (PA) by 68K votes, less than the number of people who threw away their votes in protest by checking the box for Jill Stein (Green Party) or Darrell Castle (Constitution Party). Freakin' morons.

 

Her friend declined to share with my wife who she voted for ("too personal"), but she clearly didn't vote for Clinton. It really makes me sick and angry that a college educated woman would refuse to vote for Clinton out of a combination of opposition to abortion, the desire to avoid taxes, and suspicion of Clinton being "crooked" based on Braitbart lies about the content and significance of her emails, and her Foundation, despite clearly being revolted by things Trump has directly said and done, by his own words and admission. It's obviously her choice, but I just don't understand it. I guess they didn't understand how Hitler was able to gain power either at the time it was happening.

 

In short, I readily acknowledge there is plenty of culpability to go around, especially among white folks, including people like many of my wife's nearly-all-white friends who aren't (overtly) racist, but were clearly big Trump supporters based on their Facebook shares and likes.

 

But here is my point - just because overt racists weren't entirely (or even majority) responsible for electing Trump, that doesn't mean they haven't been emboldened by Trump's victory, which is what I said in the quote above, if you bother to read it carefully. They clearly have been emboldened by Trump's win, as documented by the racist, xenophobic acts of hate, intimidation and violence happening around the country in just the two days since the election, as my earlier post documented, and with many more example documented here. Even my affluent, non-white friends say they are now afraid to stop at gas stations or restaurant bars for fear of being accosted. 

 

Gordo - you and everyone had the constitutional right to vote for Trump or whoever you wished. No question about that. I'm just shocked and appalled you'd think seriously about voting for Trump (whether you did or not), especially given your specific motivation to make sure minorities/immigrants are treated fairly.

 

But what shocks and disappoints me even more is that I, along with virtually every left-leaning American, was absolutely fooled and mislead by the media into being virtually certain that Hillary was going to win. Clearly there is a huge amount of mis/disinformation on both sides - some of it intentional, and some of it (like the polls, presumably) were just a result of bad methodology & shoddy journalism - which we saps were all too happy to lap up since it confirmed our biases on both sides of the political spectrum. And Facebook / Google were more than happy to keep showing it to us, 24/7, as long as we kept clicking, they'd keep showing us stories with partial truths and outright lies - since every view, click and Like made money for them and the 3rd-party so-called "news" outlets they were pointing people at. Call me naive, but I had no idea that the hatred of Hillary was as widespread and deeply-held as it clearly was as a result of the Google/Facebook induced media bubble I was living in.

 

And honestly, I had no idea that the number of racists hate-mongers still existed in our country, even nearby you and me in our PA communities. Speaking of abuse in PA, this just came (literally, 2min ago) across the intertubes about what happened at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia today (more details):

 

tzj88s3.png

 

So in addition to my racist and non-racist white folks, I blame the media (as you seem to as well Gordo, but perhaps for different reasons. Hence my caustic criticism of Google and Facebook for perpetuating the media bubbles both the left and right were operating in prior to the election. 

 

Anyway, only time will tell just how horrendous a President Donald J Trump will turn out to be. We can only hope and pray he was lying all along and doesn't plan to deliver on his hateful and dangerous promises, or that his advisers can rein him in and prevent him from doing what he said he was going to do. But if he comes up short on his promises, we're probably f*cked as well, since his "Trump Army" is expecting him to deliver, and will get quite angry if he doesn't. And we've seen what happens when they get angry...

 

So it seems we're pretty much screwed if he does, and screwed if he doesn't. Fun, fun, fun future to for us and our kids to look forward to.

 

--Dean

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All,

 

I still think we're f*cked, and I hate to start normalizing this, so deeply disagree with you Tom when you say:

 

I fought, I lost, and I can do nothing about it - so the last thing I can do is focus on local action, family and friends, and exactly the kinds of interests we speak of on these boards [mostly diet and health minutia... - DP]. I put my life on hold while the contest for the future of this country played itself out. Now that it's over, and I lost, I'm looking closer to home. I'm resuming my projects, I'm ignoring the spectacle out there, because not being able to do anything about it just means frustration and pointless gnashing of teeth.

 

In fact here was my latest tweet:

 

udLQEeu.png

 

In short Tom, I think taking an attitude of "resuming my projects" and focusing on local action, friends, and family is exactly what happened in post WWI Germany, and we saw how that turned out:

 

ZQcZlcb.png

 

By normalizing this and getting back to "business as usual", we're like frogs who (probably apocryphally) allow themselves to be boiled without jumping out of the pot if you start the water cool and then slowly turn up the heat. The poor frogs don't even notice they are being boiled alive until it's too late.

 

But see my next post for how I'm trying to come to grips with what I believe is a complete travesty, not to mention an existential threat to the (relatively) civil society we've been enjoying and the moral progress we've been making for quite some time.

 

--Dean

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As I just said above, I still think we're f*cked and I'm not ready to come to terms with this travesty. Nor to I think it will serve humanity in the long-run if we simply normalize this and go back to "business as usual". But in the interest of trying to at least figure out how it happened and what it might mean, I found something that helped me.

 

After reading the answer below to the Quora question How did Donald Trump win the 2016 US Presidential Election? at least I feel I can understand and empathize with the "silent majority" of decent but hurting Americans who were really responsible for electing him. Maybe it will help others come to grips with the seemingly crazy (to liberals) and (and tragic, IMO) turn of events. 

 

Here is Victor Liu's terrific (I thought) answer to the question of how Donald Trump got elected, and what it means. The weird thing is I went back to try to find Victor's post on Quora so I could link directly to it, and now I can't find it. I hope he wasn't forced to delete it for some reason, because I thought he really hit the nail on the head (my emphasis):

main-thumb-56297599-50-exiddqleibtahsykq

 

If you don’t understand how Trump could win before Nov. 8th, I totally understand you.

 

If you still don’t understand how Trump won now, you have a serious arrogance and ignorance problem.

 

I would assume you, the reader to this answer, live in a urban area in either Northeast or the West Coast, college educated, a typical left-wing supporter and advocate for your entire life.

 

That’s nice. You work in the office with HVAC on 24/7/365. You go to gym after work, watching news from CNN or NBC on the treadmill. Then you eat your dinner out somewhere with a friend, probably not cooking at home. Sometimes you fly between NYC/Boston and LA/SFO for business. When you look down from the plane window and see those endless farmlands and mountains in the midwest, you are thinking “I can’t imagine living a life down there.”

 

When you saw Trump won, you were shocked. Holy shit! There’s not a single person around me who supports Trump, how could he win?

 

That’s where the problem is. You are living in a completely different world than those Trump supporters.

 

When you refuel your car, have you ever wondered where the gas comes from, if not imported? Who drilled the oil for you?

 

When you charge your phone, have you ever wondered where the electricity comes from? Who dig the coal to power the plant?

 

When you shop in the supermarket, have you ever wondered where the fresh vegetables and fruits come from? Who drove the truck all the way from California to New York to deliver those goods?

 

Those are the people who support Donald Trump. Have you ever talked to anyone of them?

 

Without you, they can still feed themselves, but without them, you will be starved to death.

 

So now how could you despise them as “uneducated redneck racists”?

 

When they watch the news, even when watching Fox News, the camera is always on the big cities far away from them. They are ignored, as if they don’t exist in this country. No one pays attention to them, and no one speaks for them, until Donald Trump.

 

They could drive a truck for $8k a month 20 years ago working 60 hours a week, but now the illegal immigrants are willing to do it at $3k. They lost their jobs.

 

They could work in a factory for $4k a month 20 years ago, but now the job goes to China and Mexico. They lost their jobs.

 

You can’t urge a 40-year-old man having a family to raise to go to college again and learn programming. They can’t and they can’t afford.

 

You also can’t say in 10 years robots are doing the job for them and they should just vanish because they can’t follow the era.

 

They are human beings. They are lovely nice people. They don’t hate you. They work hard so you can live a comfortable life. Why do you hate them? Why do you label them as racists, xenophobia, bigots without even knowing how hard their lives are?

 

When they are losing jobs and falling into poverty, they stay at home and turn on the TV, see Obama and Hillary speaking on ABC News: “The biggest problem we are now facing is climate change.”

 

And they sigh, they switch to Fox News and see Donald Trump speaking on his rally in Detroit MI: “We need to rebuild our inner cities, we need to bring jobs back.”

 

When they saw Obama visiting NYC after hurricane Sandy in 2012, but was playing golf when the devastating flood in Louisiana destroyed thousands of homes this summer, they knew they were forgotten.

 

When they saw Trump visiting Louisiana after the flood, a state that he didn’t need to campaign at all, they knew someone actually cared for them.

 

If you are them, who will you vote for?

 

They are the silent majorities. They live in your flyover states. They don’t care about LGBT or BLM. They are not racists or homophobia. They just want jobs to feed their families.

 

Please throw away your arrogance and start to care about those people. They are Americans too. They are more American than you are, since some of your clients and costumers are foreign.

 

They have no methods to let you hear them. They only have their ballots. They vote to knock you out of your utopia. That’s the power of democracy. That’s why democracy is great. It never ignores anyone.

 

If you believe your value is progressive and right, you need to help them getting out of their trouble first. You can’t blame and mock them. It will only push them away from you even more.

 

Trump has been a democrat longer than republican in his life, but he could still defeat 16 republican candidates and won more votes in the primaries than anyone else in the history. This has already proven that the silent majorities are much more tolerant now on social issues. They just want someone to fix the economy for them.

 

Now it’s your chance to work with them, help them under the 4 years of Trump’s presidency. Stop protesting and introspect yourself. Isn’t your arrogance and ignorance that brought Trump to the White House?

 

xKlrqSj.png

 

<End of Quora Answer>

 

It's too late now, but if only the political establishment on the Right or the Left had listened to this silent, forgotten, hurting majority, they might have put forth a candidate who appealed to them with concrete ideas to address their pain and without the toxic and potentially lethal character flaws that our new President-elect possesses. 

 

And don't try to tell me Bernie would have been such a candidate. From what little I know of this silent majority, they would have viewed Bernie as too close to a socialist (≈ communist, to these good folks), and they aren't ready to give up on the American dream - as evidenced by the fact that they believed and cheered Trump's "rags-to-riches" lie.

 

Sadly, nobody, but especially not Trump, is going to be able to deliver on the promises of improving the lot of the downtrodden silent majority in this country. Sadly, in this global economy, that ship has sailed. And no, isolationist trade policies will not bring lots of good manufacturing jobs back to American workers. Maybe American robots, but not American workers. Coal mining jobs? Good luck with that. And restricting trade with China is just as likely to raises prices at Walmart as it is to bring back manufacturing jobs, hurting the silent majority more than anyone else. I really think Obama gave it a shot and was sincerely trying to help everyone. We saw how effective he was...

 

Perhaps in the short run the economy will appear to perk up and least as far as markets are concerned. A few more jobs might even be created, e.g. fixing our crumbling infrastructure and his stupid wall if he actually tries to build it. But it seems to me that an inward-focused attitude of protectionism, anti-elitism and anti-intellectualism, which seems central to the worldview of this segment of America, will be bad for everyone in the long-run. The bi-coastal elites and the "silent majority" in the middle of the country need to start talking to each other, and more importantly, start working together, to make progress. If/when that actually happens, we might actually turn "stronger together" from empty rhetoric to reality. 

 

What might such cooperation look like? Maybe a Universal Basic Income (UBI) once robots come for all the jobs. But that's a distant potential utopia that is going to be very tough to get to, for too many reasons to count. I hate to say it, but it seems to me given people's preference for capitalism and resistance to welfare & socialism, I think a much more promising avenue to the nearest-to-utopia we're going to get would be through mandatory profit sharing and/or employee ownership of businesses. Of course that too smacks of socialism (dirty word), and doesn't address the problem that the most successful businesses these days (Google, Facebook, perhaps eventually, Uber too), don't require many employees, and the few they do employ are very highly educated and hence very difficult for an average joe on the street to emulate. Nationalization of large corporations? A 75% federal corporate tax rate to fund a "national profit sharing plan" (i.e. basic income)? Those ain't gonna happen, not without an armed rebellion on the part of the silent majority, which now seems like less remote a possibility that I considered it just a few days ago. But it would also require a 180-degree shift in attitude from seeing big government as the problem, and wanting it to "stay out of my life" to one in which government is seen as a defender of the rights of the little guy.

 

For now the silent majority have pinned their hopes on one man, Donald J Trump, in hopes he is the "one person who can fix this". It will be interesting to see how long the awkward and fragile alliance between the downtrodden white middle class (and their representative Donald Trump) and the rich, conservative, business interests will last, now that they appear to be about to share the reins of government. Trump promised to be all things to everyone, and that he alone could fix it. Now he's on the hook to at least try to deliver on his many, mutually-contradictory promises, and I expect he is pretty scared right about now - unless he's too arrogant and ignorant to imagine (a distinct possibility, I admit...). But I now see poor, ignorant Donald Trump like a deer caught in the headlights, or the referee whose brought two boxers together at the center of the ring, but who remains stuck in the middle between them when both start punching each other. He didn't realize what he was getting himself into by telling the silent majority what they wanted to hear and stirring things up with his rhetoric. Eventually it could get quite ugly, if not bloody.

 

In the meantime, it seems like the silent majority has gotten their way, and will at least be under the impression they've made an interception and are now carrying the football (scarily, quite literally with Donald Trump carrying the Nuclear Football). Unfortunately, I don't think either Donald Trump or the Republican congressional majority who will now be calling the shots really have the interests of the silent majority at heart. If Trump has the spine to actually try to push his populist, isolationist agenda, I suspect there will be plenty of congress people on both sides of the aisle anxious to oppose him, and the interests of big business will win-out over the silent majority. And needless to say, from his long history of screwing his contractors, employees and business partners, Trump is quite willing to abandon or even abuse those who've helped him, stabbing them in the back if necessary to further his own fame and wealth. And one only need look to Trump University to see just how committed our new President is to helping struggling people pull themselves up by their bootstraps...

 

So needless to say, I don't think the silent majority is likely to score the "touchdown" they think they are headed for. So what happens when the silent majority realizes that their election of Donald Trump won't have reduced the overriding influence of the real power brokers in DC by one iota, or improved their own situation? Hopefully our country will be able to survive their eventual, seemingly inevitable, disappointment. I'm uncertain that it will, at least in anything like its current form.

 

Here is a scenario I'd like to get out there, just to plant it in people's mind, in case it might become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Imagine we consider US Presidential politics as water sloshing back and forth in a bathtub. Obama was a slosh to the left side of the tub as a result of the abuses of the Bush administration. Trump is a slosh back to the right, as a result of what the silent majority saw as "identity politics", big business sending jobs overseas, and Washington ignoring the plight of the little guy. Might middle America be fed up with bumbling (at best) Trump enough by 2020 (assuming we survive that long...) to slosh back to the left, big time, and elect Bernie Sanders (or someone like him), on a far-left populist agenda? Might Bernie (perhaps rightfully) be recognized in 2020 as someone who could shake up DC, and really have the interests of the little guy at heart, unlike Trump who only pretended to? He'd have to shake off that "socialist" stigma - perhaps by calling his plan "profit sharing for America". An alliance between middle America looking to Bernie for jobs, progressive millennials looking to him for social justice, and UBI-promoting tech business elites looking to him to assuage their conscience for ever-increasing wealth disparity, could be an unstoppable combination. Stranger things have happened. Just look at who we just elected...

 

But what do I know? I've come to realize the answer to that rhetorical question is "not very much".

 

--Dean

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As I just said above, I still think we're f*cked and I'm not ready to come to terms with this travesty. Nor to I think it will serve humanity in the long-run if we simply normalize this and go back to "business as usual".

Then get off your ass and organize. Your brothers and sisters over there in Pittsburgh are working it. You have leadership skills we need: use them now. Your time to revolt is precisely now.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Art-Protest-Culture-Activism-Movement/dp/0816637717

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Sthira,

 

Your time to revolt is precisely now.

 

I resonate with your passion and your outrage. But as we're seeing, even peaceful protests (to say nothing of 'revolts') can quickly turn into violent riots, which I can't condone. And the rational person in me sees little value in adding one more to the headcount of a peaceful protest with no concrete agenda then to show solidarity with my 'tribe'. Here is CNN's description of five Trump protestor goals, none of which seem very productive or practical, despite showing solidarity.

 

 

I've made a generous donation to the ACLU, and have been quite vocal on my twitter feed (and here), both of which I consider time and money better spent then peacefully marching. Beyond that I'm at a loss for what else I can do. 

 

Apparently, some people are trying to get their state's electoral college representatives to change their votes, but that would only enrage Trump's more extreme racist followers (note: far from all of his supporters fall into this category) who are already planning a KKK to celebrate in North Carolina, and likely be futile anyway given the gap between Hillary and Trump in # of electoral votes.

 

Besides participating in a revolt, do you have any other helpful suggestions Sthira about what we can do?

 

--Dean

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Dean I think you are right, the back and forth "slosh" will continue, I don't expect Trump to solve many problems and the rise of machines will likely lead to a far-left populist shift at some point, but 2020 may be too soon, perhaps 8 years? Depends largely on driverless vehicle adoption rates which means a lot of your friends and colleagues will directly shape the timeline and destiny. 

 

Trump may surprise again and turn out to be Reagan 2.0

15036234_1390153974329491_11081286123976

 

1. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/.../syrian-president...
2. http://www.reuters.com/.../usa-election-russia-putin...
3. http://foreignpolicy.com/.../trudeau-tells-trump-hes.../
4. http://www.wsj.com/.../obama-administration-gives-up-on...
5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37934203

 

This 36 year history of the man actually puts things in perspective a lot better than I'd seen before:

https://youtu.be/OCabT_O0YSM

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Gordo,

 

I appreciate your optimism, but you do realize that that among Trump's first official moves have been to call for the deportation of 2-3M so-called "criminal elements" (aka "bad hobres") without US-citizenship, which is to put in perspective, is between a 1100% to 1700% increase over the the number of convicted criminals who were deported in 2015 (178K), and twice the total US prison population. 

 

Speaking of locking people up, after Democratic leader Harry Reid spoke out against Trump saying:

 

“If this is going to be a time of healing, we must first put the responsibility for healing where it belongs: at the feet of Donald Trump, a sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate.”

 

his spokesperson Kellyanne Conway said Reid "should be very careful about characterizing somebody in a legal sense."

 

If that's not a thinly-veiled threat about suppressing free speech I don't know what is, especially since Trump used much worse on the Campaign trail, and since Reid's statement is entirely supported by Trumps own words both before and during the campaign. Not a good sign. He also said the protesters around the country are "professionals", trying to undermine and belittle, to say nothing of heal, the real pain and fear many people are feeling around the country. He's off to a great start.

 

But that's just the beginning of the wonderful decisions Trump has made in his first couple days.

 

He promised the world to submarine efforts at climate change, dooming ourselves but especially your and my kids to a planet that will be much less livable, and much less stable due to political instability due to climate refugees, food and water shortages etc.

 

He promised to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act, perhaps in a special session on his first day in office, leaving 20 million people (including many children) without the healthcare they've had for the last several years. He promised to simultaneously replace it with "something better" - better care and lower prices. Yes, and he also has a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you if you buy that lie. Even if he wanted to, what does he or his team know about drafting healthcare legislation? Especially since he'll be busy between now and the election defending himself in the case of the obviously fraudulent Trump University that bilked thousands of people who couldn't afford it out of their retirement savings, and especially since Republicans and the lobbyists he's already hired will really be calling the shot when it comes to coming up with anything close to serious legislation. Apparently Trump will also be busy inciting his followers, since he hopes continue having "big rallies" with his people moving forward. That will sure be helpful for the coutnry.

 

But perhaps most disturbing of all, Trump appointed as his "chief strategist" a man (Steve Bannon) whose is a misogynist, anti-semite, racist, hate-monger. His so-called 'alt-right' website (breitbart . com) features such forward thinking, open-minded headlines like (more documented here): 

 

BILL KRISTOL: REPUBLICAN SPOILER, RENEGADE JEW

 

WORLD HEALTH REPORT: TRANNIES 49 TIMES HIGHER HIV RATE

 

SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVILS: THE PLOT AGAINST ROGER AILES - AND AMERICA [Ailes is sex abuser fired from Fox News]

 

THERE'S NO HIRING BIAS AGAINST WOMEN IN TECH, THEY JUST SUCK AT INTERVIEWS

 

GABBY GIFFORDS: THE GUN CONTROL MOVEMENT'S HUMAN SHIELD [recall Gifford was congressperson short in the head in Arizona by nutjob w/ gun - what kind of Sicko is Bannon?]

 

PLANNED PARENTHOOD'S BODY COUNT UNDER CECILE RICHARDS IS UP TO HALF A HOLOCAUST

 

BIRTH CONTROL MAKES WOMEN UNATTRACTIVE AND CRAZY

 

HUMA ABEDIN 'MOST LIKELY A SAUDI SPY' WITH 'DEEP, INARGUABLE CONNECTIONS' TO 'GLOBAL TERRORIST ENTITY [Abedin is Hillary advisor]

 

HOW DONALD TRUMP MADE IT COOL TO BE GAY AGAIN [with image of man wearing t-shirt showing a rainbow-striped Uzi (gun) with lettering "We Shoot Back", just after Orlando nightclub shooting]

 

THE SOLUTION TO ONLINE 'HARASSMENT' IS SIMPLE: WOMEN SHOULD LOG OFF [accompanied by picture of crying toddler]

 

HILLARY CLINTON'S MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD PROBLEM

 

DATA: YOUNG MUSLIMS IN THE WEST ARE A TICKING TIME BOMB, INCREASINGLY SYMPATHIZING WITH RADICALS, TERROR

 

RACIST, PRO-NAZI ROOTS OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD REVEALED [with picture of matronly women with Hitler mustache painted on her face]

 

Does the man behind those headlines seem like the kinda guy you want as #1 advisor to the president of the United States, and keeper of the nuclear codes? 

 

Gordo, I sure hope you don't support Bannon, Breitbart, or the alt-right, or buy/support any of those terrible ideas above, but unfortunately a lot of Trump supporters do. They mainstream media may indeed be biased as you claim, but at least they aren't hateful and inflammatory.

 

Here are just a small sample of the most popular of 17,000 comments on Bannon's Breitbart website in response to yesterday afternoon's headline: "TRUMP NAMES STEVE BANNON AS WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST AND REICE PRIEBUS AS CHIEF OF STAFF". Get that 17,000 comments overnight on this one story. Imagine if one thread on these forums suddenly got enough visitors to generate 17K comments overnight. [speaking of attention from enthusiastic Trump followers, did anyone else cringe when Trump bragged on 60 Minutes last night that he has 28M Twitter followers, and got 100K more just on the day after the election? This man holds the most powerful position in the world, and still he needs to stroke is own ego bragging about his popularity on Twitter.]

 

But back to Breitbart comments, in response to Trump's controversial choice (from perspective of core Trump supporters) of Washington insider Priebus, Trump supports said things like the following:

 

Even after Alicia Michacha the Porn St@r, Ho ,Gold Digger, Get away Car driver came out accusing Trump of calling her FAT. Reince stuck with him like glue while many fled.

 

Did Reince ever come out of the closet ? He should if he hasn't to get the support of the Log Cabin Republicans. Here's to logs in his cabin!!

 

But I will admit, between all the spiteful comments and hate-speech, a few of the commenters could see exactly what is going on - Trump is out for himself and will dump the "proudly deplorable" Breitbart-reading segment of his constituency as soon as and whenever it furthers his own agenda, which we can only pray is not the agenda of the people who are thrilled by headlines like those above. Some of them see the writing on the wall, and wrote:

 

Trump is a wildcard. He has a history of dumping people once he feels he no longer needs them. I hope that is not the case. 


That's the positive of Bannon in my opinion. Trump will have to fire him before Bannon agreed to Trump moving Left with Rinos and Dems on issues.

 

I thought it would take an act of God for Trump to win. Maybe it did. I'm concerned about the Priebus pick but Trump will fire the guy the moment he's betrayed by him. Hopefully I'm as wrong about Priebus as I was about Trump.

 

Reince was happy to use Trump to empower himself and take away rights/power of grassroots at the convention. He's a snake in the grass and will sell us out and push Trump to Left. Worse choice possible. Let's not lie to ourselves.

 

Prebius is a rhino hack .These fools think he's with us.He's made no effort for most Tea Party people running for congress.Changes the rules against us and we should embrace him? Prebius is a Chamber of No Commerce hack.

 

Notice I left off their userids above, which are often completely vile. One guy who tweeted me a couple times yesterday had the handle "Jouford T. Shitlord" - I finally had to mute him on my twitter feed after he continued vile comments in an exchange with someone from the left, with both of them CC'ing me - it's already getting ugly out there). 

 

Someone on Breitbart with the username "Trigger_warning" [nice] hit the nail on the head:

 

He [Trump] had a very fine line to walk. He did well.

 

Well put. Trump is walking a very fine line, as I said in my post above, trying to satisfy two constituencies with extremely different and quite contradictory agendas - big business interests and DC insiders/lobbyists represented by his new White House Chief of Staff, RNC chairman Reice Priebus on the one hand, and the "shake up DC" folks represented by alt-right leader Steve Bannon. Fans of Bannon think Trump will side with Bannon and fire Priebus if necessary in order to further their alt-right agenda. Trump would never sell them up the river to do whatever is in Trump's best interest. No, he is one of them at heart, ignore that gold-plated penthouse and his near-infinite arrogance. Further, he is such an honorable man he'd never do anything like that, despite his history of screwing anyone (including poor older couples via Trump University scam) if he thinks it will help him line his pocket or get more famous.

 

I predict domestically Trump will try as long as he can to string both sides along, until one of them cracks, and tries to crush the other, and Trump along with them. I'm betting Priebus and the Washington insiders will win in the short run. Trump has already packed his transition team with Washington insiders and big business lobbyists, as he admitted last night on 60 Minutes ("they're the only one's who know how Washington works" was his excuse). Here is how  Meredith McGehee, who heads policy and strategy for Issue One, a bipartisan group that aims to reduce the influence of wealthy interests on politics, said there is "tremendous dissonance" between Trump's rhetoric and early actions:

 

"Much of what he said was, 'I'm going to change the game,' " she said. "Of all of his messages, that one I think clearly resonated the strongest. That's going to be incredibly difficult when the people you bring in are the experts at making the game work for them." 

 

So much for Trump promising to "drain the swamps". Gordo, do you really wonder why the stock market hit a record high after Trump won and congress went decisively to the Republicans? Because the market knows Trump will be like a "deer caught in the headlights" when he gets to Washington, and the Republican Congress, big business lobbyists and special interests will steamroll over him in short order. In fact, it looks like Bannon is the one token representative that Trump has on his team who really believes in the "shake things up" alt-right agenda so beloved by his most fervent constituency. Instead, virtually everyone on both sides of the aisle in DC hates him, and disrespects and vehemently opposes his very weakly-held, populist agenda. Trump is likely to roll over in short order, since he has never had a strong conviction in his life, except to achieve fame and wealth for himself. His only leverage will be to threaten the Republicans that he will incite his populist followers. Fasten you seatbelts folks, class wars and race wars here we come...

 

In short, Trump has created a powderkeg by trying to cobble together two constituencies who really hate each other - DC insiders and fat cats vs. angry middle-class, middle-America whites. When Trump shows his true colors (if he has any) and sides with big business, things could get very ugly, very fast.

 

And that's just one of the threats on the domestic front. In addition to the impending healthcare debacle what will upset lots of people, Trump rearticulated his immigration plan last night on 60 Minutes. He said he plans to deport undocumented immigrants who are "criminals, gang members, drug dealers" which he estimates to be between 2-3 million people. That number is wildly inflated. The entire US prison population is only ½ that number. And if you think the left (and the undocumented immigrants themselves) are going to sit idly by if/when Trump does try to deport 2-3 millions undocumented immigrants (and their kids), you're really not thinking carefully. Not the mention the economic impact of throwing out 25-33% of our migrant worker population, who play an important role in our economy, and pick most of our precious fruits and vegetables.

 

Furthermore, 2-3 million people is about 3-5 times the number of refugees that countries outside the middle east have tried to absorb over the last few years. They are already experiencing political turmoil as a result, and are struggling to absorb the largely "upstanding" ones they've committed to giving asylum. Do you think the world is going to be excited to welcome another 2-3 million more "criminal elements" that Trump says he'll kick out of our country? Think that might lead to a little international tension? Plus, Trump's nightmarish promises of pulling out of the Paris Accord on climate change, start a trade war with China, tear up trade agreements with partner countries, overturn our longstanding commitment to NATO, and cozy up with Russia, provides ample opportunity for additional "sh*t hits the fan" moments in the coming couple years. 

 

We can certainly hope he will be a "Reagan 2.0" president, whatever that means. But we better pray he's not a "Hitler 2.0". Fortunately I don't think he's smart enough for that - although that may be small comfort. Instead, I think he's likely to be "Bumbling Idiot President 1.0", 1.0 because his idiocy (coupled with his power) are likely to be on a scale we've never before seen in this country. And that scares the crap out of me... I hope our republic can survive long enough to vote him out of office in a "slosh to the left" in 2020, and perhaps rein in the Republicans in 2018 mid-term elections.

 

Regarding your comment:

but 2020 may be too soon [for leftward 'slosh'], perhaps 8 years? Depends largely on driverless vehicle adoption rates which means a lot of your friends and colleagues will directly shape the timeline and destiny. 

 

You've again (thankfully) underestimated the timeline for deployment of driverless cars and especially trucks.

 

They would (or eventually likely will) be quite disruptive, but it won't be for at least 15 years before any sort of serious deployment occurs. Even if the technology was anywhere near ready (which it isn't), over-the-road commercial trucks are a big capital expense and turn over very slowly (12 years on average). And if/when they do arrive, if there isn't a social safety net to replace the lost jobs, driverless trucks will be easily defeated by guerrilla-style tactics by enraged out-of-work truck drivers throwing bricks or paint-filled balloons that the truck's sensors from the side of the road or overpasses - which they would have very little compunction against doing if there really was nobody on-board (they'll quickly see through you suggested manniquin ploy, or just not care). Not to mention the drivers or anyone easily hijacking them to steal their valuable content. If/when driverless trucks are eventually deployed, it could turn "Mad Max" out on our nation's highways. Fortunately people will eventually realize this, and pushing off deployment for at least 15-20 years. Maybe by then we'll have healed from the disastrous results I foresee from a Trump presidency, but I'm not counting on even surviving the next 4 years, let along the next 20...

 

Sure, it could all turn out ok. But I want to remind everyone that it took less of 10 years for Germany to go from the peak of world science and culture to the depth of depravity once a leader with many of same narcissistic aspirations, hypnotic skills and stated "put ourselves first" attitude & policies unexpectedly swept into power under a populist mandate. We're f*cking playing with a lit stick of dynamite here. 

 

I'll leave you and everyone to think about that, and watch John Oliver's monolog on Trump last night. If we can't laugh between bouts of crying and rage, that we're really hosed. I'd suggest stopping watching around 24min, when it gets really depressing.

 

--Dean

 

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Wow!!! Incredible post! Thanks Dean. I am so shocked and just amazed that this insanity actually is occuring. My only hope at this point is that all his bravado talk was just that and now that he got his prize he will calm down and not be as damaging as he seemed during the campaign.

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Mike,

 

Nice to hear from you. I agree - we can only hope he'll become more rational now that he's got his prize. I'm not very optimistic given what's happening though ☹.

 

 BTW, if you or anyone misses me posting more here, sorry about that. I'm focusing more on twitter where I can reach a larger audience, and not have to be bogged down with long-form posts like the one above that took several hours to write. I'm trying to keep up with the torrent of election news and make short comments on what I consider to be the most important developments in this nightmare on my tweeter feed.

 

Keep up with me there if you like.

 

--Dean

 

 

--Dean

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There were at least two positives from this election. The third party vote was very high (3x - 5x that of recent elections) but what may be more important and what I have not yet seen quantified, is the blank vote:

 

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/george-bush-left-presidential-ballot-blank-hillary-clinton-donald-trump

 

You see, the blank vote is very important because it represents a demographic that showed up to vote (possibly in other contested elections or ballot measures) yet they eschewed the unpalatable choices placed before them.

 

The blank vote isn't fooled by some left-right paradigm*. The blank vote doesn't vote strictly along party lines. The blank vote is what the 2020 candidates will fight for. The ones that voted "R" or "D" in 2016 are likely - in sufficiently large numbers - to vote "R" and "D" again.

 

[Yes, I'm generalizing as W is a horribly tainted R example to pick from but at least he made the effort.]

 

The blank vote showed up without prodding to have their blank vote cast. They won't need to be prodded in 2020 to submit a ballot again.

 

The blank vote will not be taken for granted these next four years.

 

The blank vote won't have to riot or protest to have it's voice(s) heard. It's the vote the 2020 contenders will scramble to win.

 

Blank and third party votes are in play. The rest of them ... not so much. There were two big jokers in this deck and - sadly - it's likely that 99% of the "R" and "D" electoral college voters this cycle will be "R" and "D" electoral college voters next cycle regardless of the choices before them.

 

 

* I will say this about the posts and posters that preceded me. The serious use of labels like "left", "right", "extreme", "liberal" is an extremely disappointing*** waste of bandwidth. Why not communicate what you think about the war on drugs? That issue impacts economically marginalized minorities - both rural and urban of all colors - and health care costs much more so than any L-R/L-C/R-D** choice before you.

 

Am I to assume - by voting "R" or "D" for president - that you're OK with the US having "the United States represents about 4.4 percent of the world's population, it houses around 22 percent of the world's prisoners.":

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_incarceration_rate

 

** It doesn't matter what those mean as the terms are sufficiently meaningless.

 

 

*** Words cannot express how disappointing these posts have been. It is fine to self-identify yourself as some "L", "l", "l", "c", "r", "R", "d", "i", "G", "D", "C", "C", "C", "c", "a" or whatever else. You can disambiguate the label if required. However, attaching it to other people avoids the disambiguation step.

 

 

Here is your basic political map:

 

grid_dem_rep_lib.png

 

Note that there are two labels that have ZERO mapping to principles. These labels are "Left" and "Right". They are as meaningful to political discourse as a navigator telling you to "make a purple turn at the next stoplight" is to driving. Two of the words on that image might map to principles but I would advise not getting caught up in those labels either (at least one of which is a largish, generally bickering, tent - I can't speak for the others ... which is why I'd prefer they speak for themselves, coherently so, stating the governing principles to which they adhere not the warring factions).

 

 

*******************

 

One last note, if you were surprised**** by the outcome last Tuesday, then you weren't paying attention to simulation inputs. This is one of the more entertaining pieces on that:

 

 

 

**** For the record, I considered it a toss up, voted third party, and generally believe a good defense is preferable to a weak offense.

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Hi ALL!

 

I'm pleased to say that, I remained a loyal Republican -- and, together with my wife, happily voted for Trump.  (I knew he wouldn't take NY State, but I simply voted straight Republican.)

 

My favorite personal election detail:

 

My wife and I visited Kripalu the week before the election.  As always, I took part in the Kripalu Yoga dance (12-1PM) every day.  I'm always one of the most vigorous dancers (usually the most vigorous -- and one of the few men at the dance).  The leader of the group told us, at the end of the dance, to "be do our duty and vote for Hillary".

 

This was too good an opening.  I immediately said, in a commanding voice "Make America Great Again!".

 

Kripalu is one of the most liberal places in the most liberal state.  Nevertheless, everyone at the Kripalu Yoga Dance enjoyed it.

 

Come on people, loosen up!  A better economy, lower taxes, bringing back companies that left America (because of our absurdly high corporate tax rates -- highest in the developed world).

 

There are lots of benefits to Trump over Democrats -- and I wager that he'll keep his promise of improving the inner city neighborhoods -- it's not surprising to me that Trump did better than his last two Republican Presidential candidate predecessors in minority communities.

 

And the Republican victory was a sweep -- governorships, state legislatures and both houses of Congress.

 

Who knows -- maybe eventually there might even be more money for the NIA -- which has been steadily defunded by Democrats.

 

Anyway, loosen up!  However dogmatically liberal you might be, there are certainly good things to come!

 

:)xyz

 

  --  Saul

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Tim - Sorry, but your cryptic codes were sufficiently obfuscated that I stopped reading about ½ way through. If your gist was "I think everyone should stop identifying with political parties, labelling others, and instead focus on the important issues" then I agree 100%. Otherwise, whatever. I don't have time to spend decoding messages written in secret code, either because you're trying to be clever or paranoid about privacy.

 

Saul, you wrote:

I'm pleased to say that, I remained a loyal Republican -- and, together with my wife, happily voted for Trump.  (I knew he wouldn't take NY State, but I simply voted straight Republican.)

[More Trump stroking snipped...]

 

Holy sh*t Saul, I really didn't think even you could be that naive and Pollyanne-ish. 

 

Sadly, I get it Saul when you say:

[Trump promises →] A better economy, lower taxes, bringing back companies that left America (because of our absurdly high corporate tax rates -- highest in the developed world).

 

I've got many affluent friends who voted exactly the same way - straight Republican, largely because they are wealthy thought Trump's promises would be good for their pocketbooks.

 

But you do realize Saul that most of what he says (including almost all of his promises) are completely vacuous and impossible to deliver on (e.g. bringing big companies like Apple & its  iPhone manufacturing back, and restoring coal mining to it's former 'glory'). You realize his promises were delivered extemporaneously, bubbling out of Trump's mouth to stoke/stroke whoever he happened to be talking to at the moment, without any thinking to back them up? And you realize that he is completely comfortable contradicting what he has previously said whenever it suited a new audience, or, charitably, when he forgets what he'd said before?

 

You're right about one thing though.

 

I actually believe that with a congressional majority, President Trump and the Republicans are likely to line there own pockets and those of their rich constituents pretty effectively, unless/until Trump and/or his more "enthusiastic" supporters go off the rails, do something crazy stupid, and panics or pisses off the world. Then all hell will break lose and the economy will tank.

 

Heck France is already (cleverly and appropriately, IMO) suggesting the world adopt a carbon tax on US goods if Trump pulls out of the Paris Accord, and France is our freakin' ally! Do you really think the world is going to sit by and cheer for us on if/when Trump starts trashing the planet and trying to export/deport 6x the number of people that the world has already had to absorb from Syria. Do you really think big businesses will flock back to the US when Trump is so unpredictable and the world is threatening new tariffs on us exports?

 

You do realize Saul that our biggest, most prosperous tech companies have tanked since Trump was elected - right? Here is a graph of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon stock since the election:

 

14ZGh3j.png

 

If you think a 6.4% drop in the value of our 5 most important tech companies is a good sign Saul, I don't know what to say.

 

You are right though, stocks in general have done surprisingly well since the election, at least compared with tech. Largely because the market knows politicians in Washington (and now Trump, with all the big business lobbyists he's hired) are in the pocket of big business. Now that the Republican's control congress and congress, the floodgates of pro-business legislation and deregulation are likely to be flung wide open.

 

As you can see, the stock market is up 1.5%, compared with Google's drop of ~6%:

 

 iZ57Uel.png

 

But you know who has really benefited Saul? Bank stocks - and why not. Trump has promised to deregulate them. As we saw, that worked out well for rich bankers and hedge funds back in 2008, and particularly for Mr. Trump who bragged about buying up cheap real-estate after the financial crash. But it didn't work out so well for middle America, now did it? Here is the graph of Goldman Sachs (GS) since the election, against Google (GOOG) and the S&P500:

 

JPoYqA2.png

 

A 15% profit in 4 days. Not bad for the rich elites on Wall Street. I wonder how many rural Trump supporters have money invested in Goldman Sachs stock...

 

But you know the  sector that really benefited from Trump's election? Private prison stocks. Those popped big time the day after Trump's victory. Here's the graph of one of them, Corrections Corporation of America (CXW), plotted as the green line against the others:

 

Zpaunar.png

 

Yes, prison stocks popped nearly 50% immediately upon news of Trump's win. Jesus Saul, are you, comfortable with that? Are you also comfortably with Trump appointing as his chief strategic advisor a man who is pretty clearly a hate-monger and alleged (by his former wife) an anti-semite? How about - are you comfortable with Trump "enthusiasts" being emboldened to now brazenly display both Nazi and Confederate symbolism to express their political views? And it's not just talk. Are you comfortable with the fact that incidents of hate crimes around the country in the last 5 days are more than to those reported in the previous 6 months combined?

 

In short Saul, I can't believe how naive you appear to be about the potential "downside" of Trump's normalizing of terrible attitudes, behavior and scapegoating. You do recall where that led during the middle of the 20th century in Germany right?

 

Pea, you wrote:

From The New York Times:

 
Google Will Ban Websites That Host Fake News From Using Its Ad Service
 
The search giant said the policy change was not a reaction to a growing debate about whether false news had influenced the presidential election.

 

I broke that news within minutes of Google's announcement yesterday and cheered about it on my Twitter feed. In fact, I've probably been been the biggest and most vocal basher of Facebook and it's terrible policy on fake news, and how it has handled the problem since the election. I've urged my friend Yann LeCun, who heads Facebook's machine learning / neural network group, to clean up facebook fake news using machine learning to separate the real from the fake news repeatedly over the last few days, even sending him suggestions for how to accomplish it. Here is a chronicle of all my Twitter posts on the topic calling for my friend and his colleagues to #CleanUpFacebook.

 

BTW, sorry for the lack of links and references to my statements above. Follow me on Twitter if you want links to the supporting evidence for all of the above. I've not got the time to dig up all the links from my twitter feed.

 

--Dean

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You see, the blank vote is very important because it represents a demographic that showed up to vote (possibly in other contested elections or ballot measures) yet they eschewed the unpalatable choices placed before them.

 

The blank vote isn't fooled by some left-right paradigm*. The blank vote doesn't vote strictly along party lines. The blank vote is what the 2020 candidates will fight for. The ones that voted "R" or "D" in 2016 are likely - in sufficiently large numbers - to vote "R" and "D" again.

 

[Yes, I'm generalizing as W is a horribly tainted R example to pick from but at least he made the effort.]

 

The blank vote showed up without prodding to have their blank vote cast. They won't need to be prodded in 2020 to submit a ballot again.

Are you saying your blank vote (you voted for no one) somehow relieves you of responsibility of the election's outcome? All of us (with brains functioning) who chose one of these two deeply flawed candidates realized that we had to choose between the lesser of two Baby Boomer evils. Since you chose no one, you left your vote blank, tell us again why your blank vote was helpful to society?

 

The blank vote will not be taken for granted these next four years.

 

The blank vote won't have to riot or protest to have it's voice(s) heard. It's the vote the 2020 contenders will scramble to win.

You were an undecided voter. So now you think you won't have to "riot or protest" or in any way do anything that's uncomfortable or inconvenient to you? You're immune since you failed to vote? This is your message? Others around you who voted for the lesser of these two people, and voters chose the wrong one, and we now must now stand up without you against what is wrong? And future politicians shall scramble to court your blank vote? Lol...

 

* I will say this about the posts and posters that preceded me. The serious use of labels like "left", "right", "extreme", "liberal" is an extremely disappointing*** waste of bandwidth.

Right. Thanks for setting us straight. By attempting to wrap our heads around this mess, we're wasting bandwidth; but you're not wasting bandwidth because you cast a blank vote.

 

"Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors." Hemingway

 

*** Words cannot express how disappointing these posts have been. It is fine to self-identify yourself as some "L", "l", "l", "c", "r", "R", "d", "i", "G", "D", "C", "C", "C", "c", "a" or whatever else. You can disambiguate the label if required. However, attaching it to other people avoids the disambiguation step.

 

Here is your basic political map:

 

grid_dem_rep_lib.png

Yeah, neither can words express how meaningful your scientism graph is and how much I've learned from it here. What does it mean again? Something about your superiority?

 

One last note, if you were surprised**** by the outcome last Tuesday, then you weren't paying attention to simulation inputs. This is one of the more entertaining pieces on that:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKeYbEOSqYc

 

**** For the record, I considered it a toss up, voted third party, and generally believe a good defense is preferable to a weak offense.

Yeah, haha, and "for the record" I'm so impressed with how after the election you tell us how unsurprised you are at the tragic election result -- which shocked the rest of the world. But you, blank voter, you knew the shit outcome all along, you were paying attention and we weren't. Haha...

 

Hi ALL!

 

I'm pleased to say that, I remained a loyal Republican -- and, together with my wife, happily voted for Trump. (I knew he wouldn't take NY State, but I simply voted straight Republican.)

Wait let me guess, you're another entitled, white Baby Boomer who got his big suburban house and cush pension and awesome healthcare and imagined immunity from the rest of us, so screw us. You voted proudly republican to give yourself more at the expense of everyone else, wow, big surprise, stunning shock. White baby boomers: not content with giving us your stupid wars, our crippled veterans, our crappy service jobs, our impossible student loan debts, your astronomical medical expenses -- medicine which you get for nearly free while millions go bankrupt after a cancer diagnosis -- your stupid politicians with their hyper partisanship, lets-shut-down-government, geniuses, your Wall Street financial collapses, yeah, thanks boomers for the worst economy since the Great Depression, for the crushing federal debt, for your unaffordable housing, your endless selfish fucking greed, depletion of fossil fuels, your failure to support alternative energy, your success at fouling the oceans and rivers, your denial that you have anything at all to do with global climate change, or infrastructure collapse, or unprecedented species' extinctions, or the deterioration life for all -- all except you and selfish Kripalu Healing Retreats -- hey we'll keep washing your dishes and growing your kale and wiping your toilets and you keep killing our science and driving us into poverty....so big surprise now you give us Donald Trump. Baby boomers voted this monster into office -- Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your organic turkey.

 

Keep expanding your entitlement programs to enrich yourselves, rob the generations behind you, leave us worse off than you were, and then when you're about to die of aging, scream about how aging research isn't going fast enough for you and bankrupt the country and give us a president that'll send us into civil war.

 

Anyway, loosen up! However dogmatically liberal you might be, there are certainly good things to come!

 

:)xyz

 

-- Saul

Me Generation baby boomers: decade after decade of selfishness, and now it's time for us to loosen up. Loosen up, you tell us, things'll magically get better with Trump in charge. You and your generation couldn't possibly do worse the rest of America, and so we're about to loosen up, alright.

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Sthira,

 

I agree 100% with your assessment of TimC's 20/20 hindsight, and your sense of resentment about his seeming smug, "not my problem" tone. Thanks for sharing this quote - I've never heard it before:

 

"Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors." Hemingway

 

Regarding Saul. I've observed Saul making so many health-related choices that go against his own best interest out of ignorance and naive trust that I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt in this area (politics) too. That doesn't excuse his ignorance. He's a freakin' math professor, so in neither health nor politics should he be so apparently woefully lacking in the cognitive skills needed to make good decisions.

 

I like Saul, but I long ago gave up trying to understand Saul. In fact, I've learned that being a "Saul contrarian" is almost always the right choice - do, say and think exactly the opposite of what Saul does and you're pretty much guaranteed to be right. Obviously that tried-and-true rule has obvious scary implications in this particular instance.

 

Pea, you wrote:

Way to go Dean!

 
from WSJ.com:
 
Google, Facebook take aim at fake-news sites 

 

I briefly celebrated on twitter too when I saw that headline earlier this morning, although I'm far from certain I had even a smidgen to do with it. But then I read the fine print in the story and realize they announcement was only a small step that wouldn't address the real problem. So I followed up with this tweet to my friend Yann LeCun head of Facebook NN research:

 

Hold on - fix doesn't apply to Facebook itself, just FB ads on OTHER sites. Still need to #CleanUpFacebook @ylecun.

 

Here is the picture from the first (celebratory) and second (disappointed) tweet to clarify what Facebook is and isn't doing:

 

CxTltScXUAEzUU8.jpg

 

======================================

 

CxTpA4PUUAAuQmw.jpg

 

=======================================

 

As you can see Pea, both Facebook's and Google's announcements are steps in the right direction, but in both cases they aren't yet able to prevent fake news from polluting their own websites - they just won't be placing their ads on 3rd-party websites known to show fake or misleading information. So there is more work to be done, and as you can see from my plea (in blue in the image above), I'm keeping the pressure up on Yann and his Facebook colleagues.

 

Obviously I'm not the only ones criticizing Facebook (and Google). Here is my last tweet on the topic from last night about this article critical of Facebook and allegedly showing some evidence of concern inside the company itself:

 

Heating up fast @ Facebook w/ employees challenging Zuck & working to #CleanUpFacebook fake news. Among 'em @ylecun? 

 

Here is the image accompanying that tweet, with an excerpt from the article:

 

CxQ2V_YXAAA1Idd.jpg

Needless to say, it looks like people at Facebook, if not Mark Zuckerberg himself, are finally taking the fake news problem seriously. But there is still a long way to go, and as we've discussed here previously, it is especially critical now to prevent lies from propagating like viruses on social media, which ~50% of Americans say is their primary source of news.

 

Check out this video about fake news on Facebook associated with this CNN story. It talks about how even Eric Trump (Trumps son) and Kellyanne Conway (Trump communication director) were tricked into sharing a totally fake story that they saw on their social media. Here is the story:

 

 

WlxNSud.png

 

 

Notice the URL has a ".co" at the end (Columbia). It's a totally bogus website masquerading as the official ABC News website. Not only his underlings - Trump himself is especially prone to get fooled. In fact, he has literally used "I saw it on the internet" when asked why he retweeted a faked graphic with totally fabricated numbers showing relative crrime rates between different races (Black vs. White, etc.). Here is the story about it (yes - on the reputable site FactCheck.org).

 

It's getting tougher and tougher to know what to believe, and it is extremely important that our on-line media providers, and especially the big gateways to news (Facebook & Google) do the best job possible to vet the content they are serving to their users.

 

Ironically, separating fake news from real news is an AI-complete problem - if a system could do it really well (like an intelligent human), it would likely be able to pass the Turing Test and represent AGI, since it would have to understand and reason about so much of the "real" world to separate truth from lies in news. 

 

Ironically, maybe AGI (and then ASI) will emerge through an effort to clean up fake news on the internet. It would be ironic because it would likely only come about through exactly the kind of cross-company collaborative "AI Manhattan Project" I've been calling for (here on twitter and in the footnote of this post) - exactly to avoid or prevent the kind of potentially catastrophic event that occurred exactly one week ago, and which (doubly ironically) fake news had a significant hand in bringing about.

 

In short, fake news appears to have potentially sown the seeds of our country's unravelling, and/or the triumph of developing AGI/ASI. Hopefully it's not too late already to find our way to a positive outcome of all this...

 

--Dean

 

Edit: After writing the above - I decided to put it out there. Here are two tweets to the research leaders at Facebook and OpenMind/Google suggesting a collaborative "AI Manhattan Project" to solve the fake news problem:

 

rJFDSWK.png

 

X0xBK16.png

 

and then this one about this story:

 

Fake news fools even Pres-elect Trump sometimes. How can Zuck deny it's a problem? Time to #CleanUpFacebook @ylecun

VeukPfX.png

 

 

If any (human or ASI) historians are reading this years hence, don't say Dean Pomerleau didn't give it his best shot...

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Are you saying your blank vote (you voted for no one) ...

Read my post. I opened with the good news of 3rd parties doing better and closed with an admission of voting 3rd party myself.

 

... somehow relieves you of responsibility of the election's outcome?

I never made that point and disagree with it. As a taxpaying citizen, I'm responsible for the government (however minor my role). Like many, I voted for one of the losers. That happens and I accept it.

 

All of us (with brains functioning) ...

The bridge is on fire, you can apologize here and we can continue the conversation. Or not. Your choice.

 

I agree 100% with your assessment of TimC's 20/20 hindsight, and your sense of resentment about his seeming smug, "not my problem" tone.

Likewise for you Dean. This is unjustified dishonesty. "Toss up" does not equate to "20/20 hindsight". In sports, 40:60 odds or 30:70, 25:70 or even 10:90 is no guarantee of victory (it's the 'upset' range, not a 'shock'). There were many things that took me by surprise, including my surprise at people's surprise. . But ... maybe I am smug? The rapid descent to ad hominem attacks is unfortunate. Where did I say "not my problem"? Or because you attack my "tone", is it OK to say whatever you want?

 

I'm not happy with the ultimate outcome. Not the primaries (note the use of PLURAL there). Not the general (with the caveat of being pleased about 3rd party vote totals - I have not yet seen a tally of 'blank' votes - no vote in the presidential/votes in other races or at least a submitted ballot).

 

Regarding Saul ...

 

Wait let me guess, you're another ...

You have missed the mark again. This time with unjustified and uncivil discourse.

 

Saul's retreat response was admirable. I would not be as kind or as easy going. Wish I was but ... am not.

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Tim,

 

Sorry if you considered my response and ad hominem. It wasn't meant to be. I just couldn't understand (literally and figuratively) your *seemingly* smug and *seemingly* casual outlook / tone. I now see you too are concerned about current developments, so we're on the same page about that. Time will tell how much of a mistake it may have been to leave the ballot blank or vote for a 3rd party candidate rather than the "lesser of two evils".

 

Let's not focus on each other or 'Monday morning quarterbacking'. Instead, it seems we should focus on understanding what's happening now, and what (if anything) can be done to increase the chance of things turning out ok.

 

--Dean

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Hi Saul,

 

I knew you would respond with a smiley face.

 

Let me suggest rather than smiling you donate to the Southern Poverty Law Center to help people much less fortunate than you whose civil rights are being violated as we speak.

 

 :-(

 

--Dean

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