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Dysfunctional US Politics

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Sthira, I am a long-time lurker/reader and have never posted but I have to give you a virtual standing ovation for this which you write so beautifully. Thank you, thank you. I don't live in the US but this could be easily directed at my fellow countrymen, the me-me greed that has filled me with despair for the future of our kids and mankind.

 

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.

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First I'll start by saying that this is indeed a topic with great importance.
I would not join the debate here, but I think I share mostly Gordo's views on the topic. Meaning, both parties will have to re-think and reorder themselves as most of people understand the current way of doing things isn't going good.  This will lead to better options in the future. 



Dean - You are indeed doing an important task with your connections at Facebook/Google, I wonder If you can elaborate on the response you get from your colleagues?

 

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An interesting thing for me is that I've always been a hard core free market libertarian personally, the system that brought unprecedented prosperity to the world, but my ancestors who came to the US from Germany in 1817 were communists -- now I can clearly see things coming full circle, possibly in my lifetime.  It wasn't a bad thing for my ancestors (it helped them survive), and I don't think it will be a bad thing in the future (it will help everyone survive)!  Interestingly, many free market economists love Hayek, who is always contrasted with Keynes:

https://youtu.be/d0nERTFo-Sk

but many do not realize that while Hayek generally viewed redistribution of wealth by governments as a violoation of freedom, at the same time he wrote in his seminal work:

“There is no reason why in a society which has reached the general level of wealth which ours has attained [Hayek was writing not in prosperous post-war America, but in war-torn, austerity-ridden Britain in 1943] the first kind of security should not be guaranteed to all without endangering general freedom. .... [T]here can be no doubt that some minimum of food, shelter, and clothing, sufficient to preserve health and the capacity to work, can be assured to everybody. ... Nor is there any reason why the state should not assist the individual in providing for those common hazards of life against which, because of their uncertainty, few individuals can make adequate provision. 
    "Where, as in the case of sickness and accident, neither the desire to avoid such calamities nor the efforts to overcome their consequences are as a rule weakened by the provision of assistance – where, in short, we deal with genuinely insurable risks – the case for the state’s helping to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance is very strong. There are many points of detail where those wishing to preserve the competitive system and those wishing to super-cede it by something different will disagree on the details of such schemes; and it is possible under the name of social insurance to introduce measures which tend to make competition more or less ineffective. But there is no incompatability in principle between the state’s providing greater security in this way and the preservation of individual freedom. 
    "To the same category belongs also the increase of security through the state’s rendering assistance to the victims of such ‘acts of God’ as earthquakes and floods. Wherever communal action can mitigate disasters against which the individual can neither attempt to guard himself nor make provision for the consequences, such communal action should undoubtedly be taken.

            “There is, finally, the supremely important problem of combating general fluctuations of economic activity and the recurrent waves of large-scale unemployment which accompany them.  This is, of course, one of the gravest and most pressing problems of our time.  But, though its solution will require much planning in the good sense, it does not — or at least need not — require that special kind of planning which according to its advocates is to replace the market.  

    "Many economists hope, indeed, that the ultimate remedy may be found in the field of monetary policy, which would involve nothing incompatible even with nineteenth-century liberalism.  Others, it is true, believe that real success can be expected only from the skillful timing of public works undertaken on a very large scale.  This might lead to much more serious restrictions of the competitive sphere, and, in experimenting in this direction, we shall have to carefully watch our step if we are to avoid making all economic activity progressively more dependent on the direction and volume of government expenditure.  But this is neither the only nor, in my opinion, the most promising way of meeting the gravest threat to economic security.  

    "In any case, the very necessary effort to secure protection against these fluctuations do not lead to the kind of planning which constitutes such a threat to our freedom.

 

The Godfather of free market libertarianism thought the government should provide everyone with food, housing, clothes, medical care, and disaster relief!  I absolutely agree with this idea, and welcome it.  This is already well under way in the US and things will continue down this path as the machines rise to prominence (and become our free doctors, and start building us free houses, and gardens, making us clothing, and generally making our world even more awesome than it already is!). The latest available data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows that a record number 23 million households in the United States are now on food stamps, that's nearly 20% of US households (47,692,896 Americans on food stamps, that's more people than the entire population of Spain).  One hundred ten million Americans now live in households that receive some form of means-tested welfare benefit from the federal government. According to a report from the Census Bureau, that’s the highest absolute number in American history, and it represents 35.4 percent of the American population. Think about it — more than one out of every three Americans live in households that are now on welfare. Looked at another way, America’s welfare state now has nearly three times the population of the largest actual state.

 
Ray converts a sceptic (?)
 
Regarding Trump specifically, I continue to be intrigued by all the hysteria.  Hillary supporters took Trump literally but not seriously while Trump supporters took him seriously but not literally (he has already backed away from nearly all of his extreme positions by the way, some would say Trump supporters "got played" but this is actually what was expected by most).  It's the ignorant ones that believe the president in the US has alarmingly great power, haha, he is just a glorified cheerleader who can do almost nothing but make requests to congress.  

Gallup: Confidence in Trump grows after election

 

Clearly the machines saw this coming:

Trump-Win-Artificial-Intelligence.png

Edited by Gordo

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Well this is really getting interesting:

 

The mastermind behind the fake news is squealing to the Washington Post, and implicating Facebook & Google. REALLY interesting reading. They guy thinks he's an artist or poet or something. But he's really worried he swayed the election. Here is a juicy excerpt:

 

Cxd64_LUQAUNcuV.jpg

 

He may be write that he did make a difference. Here is a graph by Craig Silverman from a Buzzfeed article, comparing real and fake news engagements during the final months of the election:

 

sub-buzz-441-1479332078-1.png

 

Ouch. Worse (for Facebook and Google) is that our POTUS is getting into the act, and isn't happy at my colleagues at Google or Facebook, as this quote from this article shows:

 

Cxfa7BGXUAAiBgL.jpg

 

The commentary at the bottom of the image is mine - poking my friend and head of Facebook Yann LeCun about it. I'm sure he's not appreciating my continual pestering, and is feeling a lot of pressure now, not just from me (obviously). Touch cookies, I say...

 

Quite interesting developments.

 

--Dean

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Victory on Facebook Fake News Problem!

 

Hey folks. Here is an update on my quest to clean up the fake news problem on Facebook. On Friday, my friend Yann LeCun (Director of AI Research at Facebook), gave a Seminar at CMU here in Pittsburgh, which I attended. He talked about unsupervised learning as the "Next Frontier" in AI. Here is the video of his talk:

 

 

It was hugely attended (as you might expect) with over 500 people packing CMU's largest lecture theater - standing room only. Skip ahead to 18:16, where Yann hat-tips the "pioneering" self-driving car research I did. I was sitting in the front row, and you can see in the video he looks over at me and says "Hey Dean" (see - I told you I really know Yann and I'm not making this stuff up...).

 

But the real fun part starts at 52:20, when I jumped up to ask Yann the first question in the Q&A session. I asked Yann about the twin "elephants in the room" - the problems of echo chambers and fake news on Facebook. You can listen to me pose the question, and his response starting at 52:20, or read this summary I tweeted about his answer, and my conversation with him after his talk about it:
 

MpCZvjY.png

 

 

As you can see, Yann was pretty cagey in his discussion of the two problems, especially during the public Q&A, but he did share some interesting tidbits while he and a group of us acolytes chatted after his talk.

 

Interestingly enough, within 12h of my hammering Yann during his talk, major events on the #CleanUpFacebook campaign I've been spearheading began to unfold. I like to think I may have had a part in forcing Facebook to address the problem, but I acknowledge that compared to the heat President Obama applied on Facebook about these issues (see post above), my impact was almost certainly tiny by comparison...

 

But whatever the driving factor, on Saturday Mark Zuckerberg finally came clean and acknowledge there is a problem with fake news on Facebook, and that Facebook is now working hard to figure out how to clean it up, just like Yann alluded to in his answer to my question the day before. Zuck even shared some of the specifics about how they are taking care of it, detailed best in this TechCrunch article. Shortly before that, well-known tech pundit and journalism school professor Jeff Jarvis published a more comprehensive 15-point plan for how to deal with both the fake news and echo chamber problems on Facebook & other social media sites.

 

Clearly this isn't the end.

 

Facebook still needs implement, test and deploy these fixes to see if they will actually help solves the problems. Plus, to some extent the damage has already done, since I and many others think these two problems with social media (esp Facebook) played a significant role in the outcome of the presidential election.

 

But no use crying now over spilled milk. I'm about ready to declare (somewhat pyrrhic) victory in my crusade to #CleanUpFacebook. 

 

It's been a fun and I hope useful distraction from the dystopian nightmare unfolding in DC, which I'll post an update about shortly.

 

--Dean

 

For completeness (and a place to point people), below are summaries I put together of the technical aspects of Yann's talk, as well as some Q&A he engaged in on Facebook ethics and privacy issues.

 

First a brief technical summary of his talk. As you can see, in 10 years Yann thinks we'll have really good conversational agents, i.e. more like Samantha in Her than Siri or Google Now today. But he's very hesitant to predict further ahead than 10 years. He says "who knows" where we'll be in 20 years. After solving the current major hurdle (how to get systems to engage in unsupervised learning effectively, like the way baby's learn most of what they learn), we may discover there are either "50 more mountains" of similar challenge between where we are today and AGI. Or there may be "no more mountains". He's not sure. Here is the summary:

 

wXfcUhq.png

 

And below - the ethics & privacy discussion. Look at those numbers. On Facebook alone (not including Snapchat or Instagram), users upload over 1,000,000,000 (1 billion) photos per day. Within 2 seconds of upload, each and every one of them is passed through three convolutional neural nets, to detect objects, recognize faces (US only), and filter for content (e.g. flag pornography). Freakin' amazing...

 

Jew3q8y.png

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Update from Dystopia:  Our Current Reality = Trump TV

 

All,

 

As promised, here is an update on my current understanding of the political mess we're in. With the help of the smartest Trump-supporter friend I have (sorry Gordo, no offense), and several recent events, I've come up with a theory that I'd like to get down in a public forum, both so I can point people to it, and so I can get people's feedback on it. I'll summarize it first, and then share details in the form of my side of a discussion about it I had w/ my Trump-supporter friend. 

 

As the title above implies, the idea is that, whether or not they know it, Trump and his right-hand man Steve Bannon are treating the current political situation, the same way they treated the campaign, as a massive Reality TV show.  What good does embracing this perspective do? It helps explain many of the seemingly strange and downright seemingly counterproductive "missteps" that Trump has made since the election. The key insight is that all this is like the Reality TV show Big BrotherWhile that title itself is scary, I'm not referring to the lack of privacy that that name implies, and which was a big part of the TV show. Instead, the key is the show's setup:

 

The idea is that a bunch of diverse people are forced to live together in a big house, and are pitted against each other, forming alliances etc, while the producers try to "shake things up" and perform "creative editing" to make the interactions between the "house guests" entertaining for the audience.

 

My premise is that Trump (and Bannon) see their situation as exactly analogous to the producers of Big Brother. They are (and have been, since Bannon was brought onto the campaign) working to manipulate the "contestants" or "house guests", the list of which includes:

 

"Heartland America", "White Supremacists", "Coastal Elites", "Illegal Immigrants", "Minorities", "Mainstream Media", "Beltway Insiders", "Global Industrialists", "Hawkish Republicans", "Social Conservatives", "Russia", "Iran", "ISIS", "European Socialist", "Job-stealing China", etc.

 

It is Trump's goal (I'm leaving off Bannon from now on, but he may in fact be the mastermind...) to manipulate this cast of characters - pit them against each other, encourage alliances between some, conflicts between others, with the implicit (or perhaps explicit) belief that the more entertaining the interactions, the better the outcome (for themselves). In particular, by promoting strife and temporary alliances within and between this cast of characters, they can play cast members off against each other, steal stuff from their rooms while they are out in the hall squabbling, and swoop in later to play the hero. Get it?

 

You might now be asking "OK Dean, interesting theory. But what good does it do in helping to understand actual events?"

 

This is where my discussion with my Trump-supporter friend (TSF below) comes in. Consider the crazy events over the last two days swirling around VP-elect Pence's trip to the theater to see the play Hamilton. I presume everyone with the interest to read this is already familiar with the facts, if not see here. I won't rehash details, except in summary and a few details to illustrate how to use this "Trump TV" model to explain things.

 

Hamilton Summary:

 

While attending the play Hamilton, VP-elect Mike Pence was booed by audience (w/ a few cheers), and at the end of the show, the lead actor read a short statement directed at Pence, which was somewhat condescending but generally respectful, calling for Pence and Trump to protect the rights of all American's with the emphasis on all, pointing out the diversity of the cast in terms of gender, ethnicity, orientation,etc.  Pence listened and took it in stride, without comment.

 

The next morning, Trump sent out two tweets critical of the cast (note - not the booing audience) saying Pence was "harassed", cast was "rude" and "should not happen!" and "should immediately apologize" to Pence. Much later (12h later, a full 24h after the incident happened, and when the furor over first two tweeks had died down), Trump tweeted twice more about Hamilton, and once about Saturday Night Live - again being critical of the cast in several different petty statements.

 

Later, Pence came out with statement saying he wasn't offended, and "That's what freedom sounds like".

 

My TSF blew off the incident as simply "Trump being Trump" saying:

 

​​Trump overreacted, because that's what Trump does​ ​​when h​e​
feels he's being disrespected.  We all know that Trump can be
thin skinned and boorish, and I don't know if that will change as he

grows into the job.  I can live with that.​ ​​

 

Obviously my TSF doesn't pretend Trump is a perfect person. Instead, he recognizes Trump's serious character flaws - but voted for him anyway considering him "chemotherapy" for the cancer that has infected Washington and Wall Street.

 

But here is where my "Trump TV" theory comes in. Here is what I told my friend in response to his dismissal of Trump's tweetstorm as "Trump being Trump".

 

Actually, I find myself disagreeing with you, but probably not for the reason you'd think. Trump always appears thin-skinned and boorish, but I'm now becoming convinced it is an act, at least sometimes. 
 
What tipped me off was his third tweet (which you may not have seen) about Hamilton, which Trump sent yesterday evening (24h after the Hamilton incident, and 12h after his first two tweets on the topic). I captured it here, along with my reaction at 7:30pm last night:
 
zejXYB6.png
 
Sending out another tweet about Hamilton, after backlash about his first two tweets was starting to die down, suggests to me what I allude to in my reply tweet above - namely that it was probably no accident Pence went to Hamilton, but even if it was, Trump's reactions to it was quite intentional and calculating, rather than a childish lashing out like you [TSF] seem to be suggesting.
 
He (or Bannon who's handling his strategy) wanted to raise a stink about something, to get the "left elites" riled up about political correctness. He knew criticizing actors would endear him to his "middle America" base. Plus, if as a result of these Hamilton tweets, the Left starts calling for Trump to stop off-the-cuff tweeting so regularly to the American people, he can then claim the moral high ground, as a strong advocate for free speech, and for the value of connecting with every citizen through social media.
 
So it's a win-win-win for Trump - he gets to throw red meat to his followers in the heartland by criticizing actors, distract the Left elites from his terrible cabinet picks (military hawks, beltway bandits, and his own crony friends) by focusing them on their hot-button issue of "identity politics", and finally, enable Trump to claim he's on the side of free speech and open communication if people criticize his Twitter addiction.
 
In short, his tweetstorm about Hamilton was a master stroke of strategy, rather than just "Trump being Trump" and overreacting.
 
See how this idea of "pitting cast members against each other" in the "Reality TV show" of our current political situation helps explain what's going on?
 
My TSF wrote:
 
​And yes, there are a few Trump supporters who took offense and are​ 
​calling for a boycott of the play [Hamilton], but who cares what they think​.​ 
 
Who cares? Trump and Bannon do - see above. 
 
I'm beginning to understand now the big picture now. Entertain the following perspective for a moment:
 
Trump and Bannon are treating what's going on as one big Reality TV show - and the more "drama" and internal squabbling among the "cast" the better for them. Cast members include:
 
"Heartland America", "White Supremacists", "Coastal Elites", "Illegal Immigrants", "Minorities", "Mainstream Media", "Beltway Insiders", "Global Industrialists", "Hawkish Republicans", "Social Conservatives", "Russia", "Iran", "ISIS", "European Socialist", "Job-stealing China", etc.
 
By promoting strife and temporary alliances within and between this cast of characters, they can play cast members off against each other, steal stuff from their rooms while they are out in the hall squabbling, and swoop in later to play the hero. Get it?
 
Trump continued with his petty tweeting, later in the day, with yet another one about Hamilton ("Heard show not even very good") and Saturday Night Live, where the skits were directed his way ("SNL skits not funny. How about equal time?"), prompting me to tweet several things under hashtag #RealityTV101, including:
 
Trump/Bannon playing on emotions of Left & Middle America like a cheap guitar. ↑ conflict → ↑ ratings
 
We're playing into Trump/Bannon's hands if we harp on Trump's big mouth. Smacks of censorship & only angers his base
 
Trump's Twitter rants are bait for Left. So he can paint them as whiner/censors & excite his base.
 
Better response to Trump's twitter antics: Rise above & insist he fulfill promise to heal divisions & move our country forward.
 
When Trump tweeted yet again (SNL comment), I tweeted:
 
This's getting comical. Does he really think such childishness will continue to bait opponents or excite supporters? 
 
@realDonaldTrump settled TrumpU case 'cause he was too busy. Is such childish tweeting best use of his time now? 
 
Tweeting may BE the best use of his time, if his goal is to distract opponents & entertain supporters. 
 
And finally, my favorite (including the picture):
 
Keeping events in perspective promotes healthy dialogs & civil interactions. Sadly, it's rare now since it doesn't make for good Reality TV.
 
85fWWlU.png
 

Some of the media, like this Daily Beast article criticizes Trump only for wasting time with his tweeting, rather than focusing on his crafty strategic objectives for engaging in it, per my Reality TV explanation.

 

Fortunately, I'm not the only one who doesn't buy the "Trump being Trump" explanation for his boorish tweets or even the "Trump wasting his time" criticism of his behavior. One journalist partially saw through it,  tweeted a short video of Trump doing a celebratory dance, with the caption:

 

When you settle a fraud lawsuit for 25 million dollars but everyone's talking about Hamilton.

 

All his silly tweets are designed to be a distraction for the Left, but not just a distraction, as is evident when viewed in light of the Reality TV show explanation of Trump's (and Bannon's) entire strategy. They are part of their plan to pit contestants against each other in order to divide, distract and conquer.

 

This Reality TV show model of Trump's strategy also explains several other interesting post-election developments. The first frustrates my TSF to no end:

 
 I'm still hoping he puts her ​[Hillary] ​in prison.
 
​to which I responded - Harsh. Sorry to break it to you [TSF], but you do realize now that further persecuting / prosecuting of Hillary isn't going to happen - right? That was yet-another misdirection. 
 
He played the "Middle America" cast against the "Globalist / Coastal Elites / Beltway Insider" cast (all rolled up into one character - HRC), in order to appear as the hero and get on the good side of "Middle America". Trump knows Hillary is much less crooked than he is, and he doesn't even really care about her past so-called "crimes". He said and did to Hillary what he needed to in order to get elected. Now that she's been voted off the island, there is no need for him to worry about her anymore. 
 
But apparently he had even you fooled into thinking he really thought Hillary was a bad person, and deserved to be punished. Trump is nothing if not a good Reality TV show actor and master manipulator (perhaps following Bannon's direction, and/or going off his own intuition).
 
Get it now? It's so clear.
 
My TSF wrote:
 
​​Some people on the right are saying that Trump is the greatest political
orator since William Jennings Bryan.  I don't see it.  The guy cannot
complete a single coherent sentence; he's constantly interrupting
himself and going off on tangents.  It's painful to listen to.  Hillary
is a much more disciplined speaker; the problem is that everything that
comes out of her mouth is a carefully rehearsed lie or evasion.​
 
To which I responded: ​I agree he's a terrible speaker, and doesn't rehearse anything. But he doesn't need to be articulate to be a great persuader. I'm not sure if you remember, but there was a bumbling TV detective, Columbo, who reminds me a lot of Trump. He comes across as incompetent, but gets the job done.  Trump has done that big-time, surviving the republican primary and coming out on top in the general election, despite spending almost an order of magnitude less on his campaign, and being "saddled" with more scandals and bad behavior then anyone can count. He has, quite literally, been bulletproof throughout the campaign, as even he wa quite willing to acknowledge in his "I could shoot someone on 5th avenue and not lose any votes" quip on the campaign trail. 
 
In short, I think you underestimate his craftiness and his intuition for how to effectively sway people. He did it with Middle America by coming across (in their presence) as "just one of them", despite living in a gilded NYC penthouse in a building he owns. He appealed to your hatred of the Clinton dynasty and the Global Moneyed Elites - and your naive expectation that he plans to be "chemotherapy" for the cancer infecting DC & Wall-street. 
 
TSF wrote:
 
​​Don't fall victim to the left's fear mongering.  Trump is not trying to
start a race war, put gays back in the closet, or murder the Jews. 
 

Again, Trump (and Bannon's) alleged anti-semitism, misogyny, racism, anti-gay, etc attitude is easier to understand in light of the Reality TV explanation. I told TSF:

 

Here we agree 100%. On the rare occasion when he failed to denounce the KKK fast enough, he either did it intuitively or in a calculating way to quietly signal to yet another set of cast members of this Reality TV show (the "white supremacists") that he's got their back too. But once again, Trump doesn't give a rat's ass about ​white supremacists or their cause. They are just one more group he ​(and probably Bannon) ​exploited to get him to the White House.​ Plus, ​as an added bonus, flirting with the David Duke crowd baited the "coastal elites" into over-reacting, further pushing the "Middle Americans" to Trump's side. ​

 
But now we come to the $64B question, which I don't know the answer to:
 
Now that Trump and Bannon have gotten to the top of the heap, and feel absolutely no sense of loyalty or obligation (Trump at least), and have no overarching ideological agenda (again, Trump at least), what are they going to do?  
 
What is the real agenda behind all this political strategizing? Is it simply to line Trump's pockets and those of his friends? Perhaps best-case-scenario (for Trump) - install a oppressive Kleptocracy with Trump the top dog, like Putin has done in Russia? 
 
Or does Bannon really have the power to pull off the kind of nationalist transformation where every(white)body wins - by blowing up the power structure in DC as he seems to advocate at times? Bannon seems to have some sort of national purity / populist agenda, if this new interview and this one from 2014 where Bannon praises the Crusades as an effort to promote Judeo-Christian beliefs, in which Bannon said [my emphasis]:
 
"[W]e’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict, of which if the people in this room, the people in the church, do not bind together and really form what I feel is an aspect of the church militant, to really be able to not just stand with our beliefs, but to fight for our beliefs against this new barbarity that’s starting, that will completely eradicate everything that we’ve been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years.
 
Now, what I mean by that specifically: I think that you’re seeing three kinds of converging tendencies: One is a form of capitalism that is taken away from the underlying spiritual and moral foundations of Christianity and, really, Judeo-Christian belief..."
 
So unlike Trump, Bannon may have some sort of warped, Judeo-Christian populist agenda, in which he wants to blow things up and turn the current social order upside down. Frighteningly, this kind of Crusade bannon is alluding to is exactly the kind of "holy war" against the "Roman Empire" that ISIS appears to be trying to promote as well - to hasten armageddon. So we've got Trump+Bannon vs. ISIS to look forward too...
 
But then again, Bannon was talking to a Christian audience in that 2014 interview, so who knows whether he actually believes that crap. 
 
Whether Bannon is actually advocating for a holy crusade, and exactly who he himself identifies as the target, doesn't much matter to me. The fact that he's simply using this kind of "us vs. them" rhetoric, and we must "fight against this new barbarity", appeals to many people in our country who don't have what may be a more nuanced perspective, like those in the KKK who've endorsed both men (Trump & Bannon). Trump acts like a translator/amplifier of Bannon's socio-political philosophy for average Americans who are already angry, dumbing it down to the point where it becomes an excuse to abuse anyone who isn't a white American. That to me seems like a recipe for disaster, the manifestation of which we're only beginning to see in the hate speech and racial / ethnic intimidation and abuses we've seen increase dramatically since the election.
 
Don't get me wrong - I'm all for "shaking things up". I have Libertarian leanings myself. I was a Bernie supporter as well, and Ron Paul before that.
 
I just don't think:
  1. Mr. Trump is the kind of change agent people [including TSF] naively think he is, and
  2. Even if he and Bannon do have good intentions to become agents for positive change (to 'drain the swamps' in DC - which seems questionable given his appointments and hires so far...), I still don't think the kind of additional "swamp draining" (beyond DC) that a troubling large number of Trump supporters have in mind is morally right, or is good for our country.
Plus, there are some pretty powerful "alligators" in that DC swamp, many of which Trump is already feeding, by hiring lobbyists for his transition team etc. There are powerful people in DC and around the world, who won't take kindly to Trump's attempt to orchestrate their interactions and/or sweep them aside, like he did w/ Hillary.
 
Time will tell, and I don't know either Mr. Trump's or Mr Bannon's exact agendas (if they have any). but I personally am not very optimistic that either of them is the kind of person who has the best interest of the entire country (or world) at the top of their agendas. 
 
​I'm watching this Reality TV Show along with everyone else, but expect all hell to break loose (probably) within the first season, to the detriment of most of the actors, which includes all of us.
 
In general, regarding how best to prevent the very dystopian outcomes I'm worried about, I think the best strategy is not to get pulled in by his attempts to manipulate us (like overreacting to his rants over the Hamilton incident). Here are a couple insightful articles with suggestions how we should deal with Trump.
 
The first is a (long) article by Scott Alexander (@slatestarcodex) physicist and blogger. Like me, Alexander thinks Trump's unpredictability will likely make him a bad president, particularly if he surrounds himself with morons, beltway bandits and hawks. But the Left's strategy of focusing on the narrative of "Trump is a bad person" (i.e. not politically correct, mean-spirited, racist, misogynist etc), is ineffective, reinforces the negative stereotype Trump supporters harbor of "Lefty elites" and is simply a distraction, whether or not Trump is actually a very flawed human being.
 
Here is a quote from Scott's article:
 
49hTOQk.png
​This NY Time's OpEd says something similar, comparing Trump's charismatic personality to Berlusconi in Italy, and suggesting how to deal with him based on the lesson Italy learned from Berlusconi:
 
di8YA76.png
 
​I think the above is good advice - even if you strongly dislike Trump and expect him to be a bad President, give him a chance to make serious errors and then focus on those, rather than ad hominem attacks and silly #NotMyPresident protests that only energize is middle-American base and justify their resentment for the coastal elites.
 
I know, it isn't much to go on for the average person, who can't hope to influence Trump's manipulative "Reality TV producer" strategy. But I think people might find comfort in adopting this "Reality TV Show" perspective on Trump's strategy, helping them keep their "eye on the prize" (i.e. survive the next four years) and keep from getting too upset by the seemingly crazy sh*t Trump is bound to do over the next several years.
 
OK - that's the end of my theory for now, and my rant. As I said, I wanted to get it out in public, so others can think about, and hopefully either criticize, build upon, and/or use it to help them to understand better what's going on, and how best to cope with and resist it. 

 

--Dean

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...the idea is that, whether or not they know it, Trump and his right-hand man Steve Bannon are treating the current political situation, the same way they treated the campaign, as a massive Reality TV show..."

I view it this way, too, actually and reached a similar conclusion during the campaign. During the campaign, when friends expressed concern about Trump's presidential chances, I'd blithely shrug and mutter ah, don't worry, Trump is a reality show about to be cancelled. And when he loses, stay tuned for Trump TV, where he'll daily turn-n-twist everything about the Clinton presidency upside down, back and forth, over and over until lies become truth.

 

These were not original thoughts, obviously, I'd read that Trump is just a reality show somewhere, and it clicked easily into place: yes, that's it, Trump will soon be cancelled, bye bye, that's that. This has been my thinking; yet I failed to keep this creative narrative alive and updated in my head, um, Trump won and so we've all been so numbed, shocked, devastated, and now angered and amazed that the American people are just so goddamned fucking stupid. That feeling ain't ever passing away, I think, but you've helped me (and I'll pass it along) update my thinking. Soon it'll be another meme or whatever, until the idea passes, too.

 

So updated thinking -- way to frame it, Dean -- Trump isn't a reality tv star whose show was cancelled. Trump is a reality tv show star whose show has been extended. Extended right on top of the American people, all people, and indeed all life here on precious little blue earth. How long? What's the purpose? What are the manipulator's goals? Well, as long as the whole reality show shit house (earth, civilization, humanity...) keeps standing and doesn't explode, we'll all just Have To Stay Tuned To Watch TV Worth Watching, exclamation point.

 

 

 

My premise is that Trump (and Bannon) see their situation as exactly analogous to the producers of Big Brother. They are (and have been, since Bannon was brought onto the campaign) working to manipulate the "contestants" or "house guests", the list of which includes:

 

"Heartland America", "White Supremacists", "Coastal Elites", "Illegal Immigrants", "Minorities", "Mainstream Media", "Beltway Insiders", "Global Industrialists", "Hawkish Republicans", "Social Conservatives", "Russia", "Iran", "ISIS", "European Socialist", "Job-stealing China", etc."

 

This is a nice taxonomy of some of species involved in the drama, Dean (including my own species, of course). Here Dean outlines the beginnings of a handy-dandy user's guide to observing and recording the movements of Trump TV species-actors, and how they'll interact with one another during their unnatural history. We should create an easy app and update it together -- oh who am I kidding that's already being developed and soon we'll have 67 versions for $8.99 on iTunes.

 

This definitely has satanic wings, Dean, and you're right, formulating taxonomy of the actors and their traits is a healthier way of viewing this goddamned fucking mess than what I've been doing (gathering hopelessly in city parks with fellow dirty street hippies behind beating drums, marching, yelling stupid chants Whose Streets? Our Streets! yes, yes, over and over etcetera and etcetera, but I've given up hope, frankly, and now will just watch the reality show from the sidelines, donate my $25 to Sierra Club and The Nature Conservancy and ACLU, and await further instruction or the nuclear blast.

 

I know, it isn't much to go on for the average person, who can't hope to influence Trump's manipulative "Reality TV producer" strategy. But I think people might find comfort in adopting this "Reality TV Show" perspective on Trump's strategy, helping them keep their "eye on the prize" (i.e. survive the next four years) and keep from getting too upset by the seemingly crazy sh*t Trump is bound to do over the next several years.

 

Nope, you're right, it's not much to go on for the average person, and we're all average people, sadly. Maybe an afterlife exists, another exclamation point, or maybe I'm looking into Alcor, or maybe I'll just go back to focusing on scraping out what's left of my career, and do my best to make others happy, swirl around in circles in toes on stages: What else?

 

Hunger strikes!

 

No... we CR people already sorta are, and I've now fasted 74 days in 2016 (shittiest year ever, who even wants to eat?)

 

We can support this guy in Louisiana -- the democrat -- maybe he'll win so the republicans won't control as much power to overturned cherished beliefs of human civilization (oh, safe water, air, environmental regulations, climate change agreements with others, national treasure preservation, etc, etc...)

 

Or we can call this number:

 

(202) 225-5074

 

US House of Representatives Oversight Committee. "Direct calls from concerned public citizens carry more influence than emails and petitions," we're told.

 

Tell the nice lady who answers that we are requesting a bipartisan investigation into President-Elect Trump's personal and corporate tax returns.

 

If the number is busy, or a recording says voicemail is full, then try again. Try Again and even again and again and again! Look! A rat mashing a button! Eventually you get to talk to a very nice lady who is happy you called and glad you're a concerned American citizen.

 

Who knows, maybe that'll add a new bit of entertaining drama to Trump's earth reality show.

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Sthira,

 

Trump is a reality tv show star whose show has been extended. Extended right on top of the American people, all people, and indeed all life here on precious little blue earth. How long? What's the purpose? What are the manipulator's goals? Well, as long as the whole reality show shit house (earth, civilization, humanity...) keeps standing and doesn't explode, we'll all just Have To Stay Tuned To Watch TV Worth Watching, exclamation point.

 

Those are very good questions - particularly "what are their goals?" My Trump-supporter friend (TSF) doesn't know, nor do I. Here was the exchange with TSF on the topic (from an exchange this morning):

 

TSF wrote:

Dean wrote:

>    Now that Trump and Bannon gave gotten to the top of the heap, and

>    feel absolutely no sense of loyalty or obligation (Trump at least),
>    and have no overarching ideological agenda (again, Trump at least),
>    what are they going to do?  What is the real agenda behind all this
>    political strategizing?
 
I doubt anybody knows yet.  I don't understand what he wants to do on
trade.  Surely he understands that a huge part of the US economy comes
from exporting goods overseas, so a blanket throttling of trade with
other countries would be self-injurious. 

 

To which I responded: 

 

​Agreed - serious protectionism was just one more crazy ​idea Trump threw out there (along with renegotiating our national debt) to see what would stick. He may try it, just for the pageantry and shock value of it, but I agree it will come back to bite him, and all of us. However "middle america" would like to see it tried, so he might be crazy enough to do it, in opposition to the strong desires of the "global industrialists". Stay tuned for next week's episode...

 

Then TSF speculated about what might be Trump's / Bannon's foreign policy agenda, saying:

Trump wants to destroy ISIS but also wants to curtail our

involvement in overseas conflicts.  How do you reconcile those goals?
He wants to "make America great again" but how we get there isn't
obvious. 

 

I told TSF that this is classic Trump, and classic Reality TV - tell different people mutually exclusive things, and worry about the inevitable conflicts and fireworks later. If nothing else it's bound to generate good TV, no matter who gets hurt, or how badly. #RealityTV101.

 

Same goes for his statements on Obamacare ("repeal it", "replace it", or "maybe we should just keep the good parts"). What a crock. He has no friggin' idea what he's talking about. He'll say anything - damn the consequences. As long as it boosts drama, and boosts (his) ratings.

 

TSF pointed out the contradictory stories in the mainstream vs. right-leaning media (NY Times vs. Breitbart) on the Hamilton drama - e.g. Breitbart said Pence was booed repeatedly throughout show, NY Times, not so much. TSF said "who do we believe?" to which I responded:

 

​Agreed - we have no way of knowing what's true anymore, unless you observe something with your own eyes. It's become a "he said, she said" world, just like any good Reality TV show. Reality is now determined by however the producer decides to edit the scene - usually to maximize drama to keep the audience engaged and on the edge of their seats.

 

TSF acknowledge the NYT was probably more accurate on the "boo intensity" at Hamilton based on the videos he'd seen, but he also said the media on the Right did a better job covering the "horrifying stuff" in the Wikileak of the Podesta emails.

 

I replied: You're probably right. Different spin, more drama. Yippie! Let's all get excited - exactly like they want us to be.​ Just like plebs in the coliseum cheering the gladiators, while the oligarchy continues to hoard and squander all the wealth. Typical misdirection.

 

TSF said (regarding the Podesta Wikileak emails): "This is some of the cancer I want to see killed."

 

I replied: "​Good for you [TSF]. Keep on getting charged up about this type of thing. You're doing your part to help keep the ratings high."

 
In short, I don't think Trump has a goal - he certainly didn't have one when he began his campaign, besides promote the Trump "brand", just like when he used to call-in to the Howard Stern radio show to spout nonsense in order to draw attention to himself. And I certainly don't think he's been enlightened along the campaign trail to formulate a plan to move the country forward in any positive direction. He glommed onto "middle america" because he is a shrewd (intuitive) business/con-man. Trump knows a mark when he sees one - just ask the "teachers" and "students" at the former Trump University...
 
No, Trump has no goal. Instead he's operating exactly like a good Reality TV show producer. When you begin the season, you have no idea how things will unfold, or where the season finale will end up. Instead, at the beginning of the season, you identify a cast of characters with divergent backgrounds, skills, attitudes, and objectives, throw them together, pit one against the other to compete over limited resources in various zero-sum games, chose flattering or unflattering edits to paint the characters the way you want them painted, and hope the sh*t will hit the fan in interesting ways to keep the audience entertained.
 
Sthira wrote:

Dean wrote:

"Heartland America", "White Supremacists", "Coastal Elites", "Illegal Immigrants", "Minorities", "Mainstream Media", "Beltway Insiders", "Global Industrialists", "Hawkish Republicans", "Social Conservatives", "Russia", "Iran", "ISIS", "European Socialist", "Job-stealing China", etc."

 

This is a nice taxonomy of some of species involved in the drama...

 

Actually I left out three important cast members: Trump, Pence & Bannon. They are important enough to each deserve an individual, ongoing role, as opposed to all the group roles like "heartland america", and cameo appearances like "crooked Hillary" Clinton, and "Little Marco" Rubio, or the "bumbling doctor Ben" Carson (my nickname).

 

Sthira wrote:

Here Dean outlines the beginnings of a handy-dandy user's guide to observing and recording the movements of Trump TV species-actors, and how they'll interact with one another during their unnatural history. We should create an easy app and update it together -- oh who am I kidding that's already being developed and soon we'll have 67 versions for $8.99 on iTunes.

 

Funny, just yesterday I started trying to draw a 2D graph, with the Y access being "amount of power" and the other axis being "Nationalist ↔ Globalist") to see if I could populate that 2D space with the cast of characters. I worked ok, but like any good reality TV show, there is a much more intricate web of inter-relations and significant dimensions than just those two, so I gave up.
 
What we need is something like this, but for the actors I've listed above, and not just focused on the issue of Syria's future:
 
0nYWWhk.png
 
 
[Notice Russia isn't even included on this diagram. Nor is "Europe" to account for the impact of Syrian refugees on the stability of European governments, and the EU itself (i.e. Brexit).]
 
Obviously the full web we're envisioning would be massively more complicated, with many more players, many more relations between them, and many more issues on which they relate. Trump doesn't understand any of this - and he probably doesn't even care. He's going by the seat of his pants, as the SNL skit from Saturday humorously illustrates:
 
 
[A skit Trump called "not funny" and asked for "equal time" - just to stir the pot some more...]. 
 
Ah - stirring the pot. That reminds me of the good ol' days, when Michael and I used to spar (or more accurately, I used to jab Michael) about the likely efficacy of CR for human longevity, just to stir things up and for the entertainment value. Times were simpler then, when I actually thought we all (well, with the possible exceptions of Al & Saul...☺), had a good chance of living at least another 10 years, and a shot at much longer. Oh how I long for those simpler times again...
 
Relatedly, has anyone else found themselves less inclined to give to organizations like SENS, with long-range, relatively self-serving goals, in favor of ones that can help solve more immediate and pressing social problems, like Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, or the Southern Poverty Law Center? I know I sure have. Despite the good work I know SENS does, it just doesn't make much sense to me now - given the situation. I hope it will again, when/if we get through this.
 
Or alternative, Sthira wrote:

Or we can call this number:

 
(202) 225-5074
 
US House of Representatives Oversight Committee. "Direct calls from concerned public citizens carry more influence than emails and petitions," we're told.
 
Tell the nice lady who answers that we are requesting a bipartisan investigation into President-Elect Trump's personal and corporate tax returns.
 
If the number is busy, or a recording says voicemail is full, then try again. Try Again and even again and again and again! Look! A rat mashing a button! Eventually you get to talk to a very nice lady who is happy you called and glad you're a concerned American citizen.

 

I've been trying that number for days, and haven't got through once. I've left a few message though [Update: Tried again just now - nobody answered and got "mailbox full" ☹]. Like you, I'm not sure it will do any good whatsoever. Trump really needs to sell all his properties and put the proceeds into a truly blind trust (not run by his kids) in order to avoid blatant conflicts of interest. Of course, he won't, and that's one reason why my best guess is that we're headed for an autocratic kleptocracy, like Putin in Russia. Fun times ahead in Season 7...

 

I'm also trying to learn about the ideas of others, and share my own ideas on Twitter - what's going on, what to do, and how to cope. Not sure that will do any good either, but at least I can hear from and reach a wider audience that way.

 

--Dean

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Those are very good questions

 

 

How long?

 

The new show star is past 70, lookee, he's overweight, he appears breathless and confused, red, or orange with bad makeup (who hired his makeup artist?) so how far away can dementia or a stroke be, god knows how many pills a billionaire throats in daily, 'n-he just luvs him some of that junk food, cuz he quips (& so well), it's safe and I know what's in junk food.

 

Anyone put our bright star through the same impartial health condition results that other people fighting for this laced position have displayed?

 

What (202) telephone number do we do to request an impartial physical fitness test for the season's star?

 

So bad health is good health (in T.news).

 

Yet yikes look at Pence in office after Trump is gone (imagine with me the size and strength of Trump's burial plot and headstone -- is that a "headstone?"), and oh , look, who do we have here: the right wing is so great for science and tech funding, ain't it?

 

Three cheers for white male baby boomers! Good work!

 

 

How long?

 

What's the purpose? What are the manipulator's goals?

 

Duh to like make money, to like buy buildings and clog them with like golden elevators and diamond footstools and fawners and like duh the purpose is to stay noisy and wonderful and relevant and "young", simple like that.

 

But meanwhile: the right wing. Their long term purpose fans out with lovely nuance. Here we are again: let's open more federal lands and waters to oil and gas drilling, for example. Fight it until it's eclipsed by the alternative energy models already in motion. It just sucks we have to go backwards again for awhile.

 

But I'd encourage you to keep supporting SENS.

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Sthira,

 

It just sucks we have to go backwards again for awhile.

 

Agreed. Don't give up. My two latest tweets:

 

Go @GeorgeTakei. Star Trek's Federation seems like distant dream now more than ever. But let's keep the dream alive. https://medium.com/to-the-left/we-cant-go-back-41da17a1cd01#.f2jyec7np …


ckaAbG3.png

 

and:

 

I joined @GeorgeTakei & rededicated myself to the struggle. I donated to Democrats.org & they asked me about my job. https://my.democrats.org/page/signup/democrats

eNkTaS2.png

 

Join us on Twitter. We're having lots of fun, and where else can you pretend you're talking with George Takei and fighting for the future of humanity?

 

--Dean

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Everybody's got their theory, and that's part of the discourse. However, from what I see, there's a lot of hand-wringing and anger that is generating yet again, faulty diagnosis of what happened and therefore faulty remedies. I'll make it as brief as I can, and besides TLDR. For reasons of brevity I won't look for links, but my assertions about the numbers are all easily found a google away.

 

In brief: wrong diagnosis. The quora answer that Dean linked to a few posts back that comes down to the preposterous proposition that the D's lost because they forgot to respect and address the concerns of the blue collar worker. Complete 100% bollocks. The WHITE blue collar worker has been trending toward Republicans ever since the consequences of the 1964 Civil Rights Act started getting felt in the 70's. It just took time for them to completely switch to the Repubs. Who switched immediately? Southern racists and confederate nostalgists - right after 1964 they went from D to R because the R's assured them they'll keep the black/brown people at the bottom - that's how the R's Southern Strategy was born. I suppose if that quora idiot was around back then, he'd be telling us how it's because the D's didn't respect the hard thankless work the Southern racists were doing, so they switched virtually overnight to the R's. Yeah, right. Same thing with the WHITE blue collar worker. As the D's kept up the Civil Rights empowerment, those whites felt their privileged position was being lost, so they became Reagan Democrats - again, ZERO having to do with the D's not appreciating the thankless work the poor white supremacy supporters were doing. It took a bit longer to switch completely over to R's for those folks, just because the R's are such naked exploiters of these blue collar workers and so clearly don't give a damn while supporting all the super-rich CEOs - it was in fact the D's who worked to better the lot of the blue collar worker. But the blue collar worker would rather be oppressed by the R's as long as those "others" get oppressed worse... for that dynamic, see why people seem to vote against their own interests - a book "What's the matter with Kansas".

 

Right diagnosis: the country is becoming more polarized because the R's rightly gambled that race and "values" are more important to people than economics. That's how you end up with more and more whites (by percentage) voting for R's in the last several elections, a trend that will continue.

 

How Trump won: in some ways, it's the classic way in which you traditionally win elections - you cobble together a coalition that pushes you over the winning line. Racist and resentment vote + conservative "values" vote. Note, the racist vote is just one element of the coalition, although Trump brought out huge numbers of that faction in this election. Tons of others - who are not racists - don't care about - or don't believe in - Trump's appeal to racism: that's the point of what Gordo keeps quoting: "Trump's opponents took Trump "literally, but not seriously,” whereas Trump’s supporters took him “seriously, but not literally.” The other are the "values" voters - such as rabid abortion opponents etc.. Trump took the R's dogwhistle and put it out there through the megaphone. That brought out not just the race resentment vote, but also the evangelical vote - apparently Trump got spectacular numbers of white evangelicals (85%), but also got all the "values" voters (anti-abortion etc.) of color (such as huge numbers of Latino and even black conservative evangelical voters). He really managed to turn over every rock and get that vote that was festering under it. It was enough to win.

 

How Hillary lost: Hillary lost very simply - she was a terrible politician who ran a stupid campaign. She is personally completely unappealing on a charisma level - she comes across as fake, and cannot connect with the voters viscerally... Bill is great at this, and even Barack is good at that too. Hillary is terrible. 

Hillary's terrible campaign - she lost the traditional Democratic way, having learned nothing from Obama. She lost to Obama in 2008 in the exact same way. She made the Old Democratic Party mistake. The Democrats have still not woken up to what the Republicans have been doing for decades now: Total War.

 

The Democrats hew to the old idea that you govern for the good of the country by uniting the whole country behind you and reaching out to your opponents. The Republicans have completely given up that idea under Newt Gingrich back in the 90's - instead, the Republicans believe in a scorched earth, Total War, destroy your political opponents and if need be drive the country into a ditch as long as you destroy your opposition. To them there is no such concept as Loyal Opposition. It is instead: The Enemy. It's a quintessentially fascist idea. That's why they went after the Clintons with such viciousness of personal destruction and were willing to drive the country into a ditch and planned from day one to fight Obama even before he was inaugurated at all costs. All costs. Total War. In movie terms, they are like The Terminator and the Democrats still don't understand that, and think they can negotiate with them. Here is the relevant 20 second clip explaining things - love that clip! - puts it so well and so succinctly in a mere 20 seconds:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zu0rP2VWLWw

 

 

So what do you do with an opponent who treats you not as opposition, but as an enemy? Who is willing to go to any length, including defaulting on our debts, selling out to foreign intelligence services, destroying the economy, starting wars etc.? How do you counter scorched earth Total War? By waking up to that simple reality. The Democrats have not. And as long as they have not, they will keep losing. So what do you do with such an opponent Total War "want you dead"? Here is another brief clip 60 seconds or so - a lovely one from a different movie - explaining what you do in that situation:

 

https://youtu.be/esjt1eJA328

 

Love that clip! That's what the Democrats have to understand "I guess there is no use trying to get on your good side"! Indeed. You don't try to get on the good side of the Terminator. The only thing you can do is: fight fire with fire. Like the Russians fought the Nazis in Stalingrad - street by street, building by building, room by room, until you've annihilated every last one of them. Because they understood that the mustachioed gentleman in Berlin Absolutely. Will. Not. Ever. Stop, until you are dead.

 

In Plain Words: today, you win by appealing to your base. That’s it. Trump appealed to his base - he screamed it, he didn’t dress it up, or hide it, or dogwhistle. He screamed it from the rooftops. Trump successfully appealed to his base. He won.

 

Hillary did not appeal to her base. She kept trying to “reach out” to Republicans - lol. May as well reach out to the Terminator. It won’t work. It has not worked since the 90’s era of Bill Clinton. It’s a new Republican Party. It’s Tea Party time. You can’t reach them. You can only fight them.

 

Every time Hillary reached out to Republicans, she alienated a portion of her base. Note, Trump was 100% unapologetic, and did no reach out - unless it was to insult his targets. He won. She lost.

 

She lost by the numbers. She lost, because millions (between 5-6 million) of traditional Democratic coalition voters didn’t turn out for her. Millennials, people of color. She did NOT lose because she didn’t coddle the White Blue Collar Worker who feels unappreciated. 

 

She did not do for her base what Trump did for his, and so she didn’t turn out her base - while he did, and she lost. She lost exactly by those votes from her base she lacked. 

 

A huge part of her base is opposed to her hawkish foreign policies - which made her a big hit with the Republican establishment foreign policymakers and opinion makers. But it’s a huge turnoff to people of color who see folks just like them bombed with enthusiasm by the likes of Hillary. She is far more hawkish than Obama when it comes to foreign policy - and she would have been a disaster as president. Many people - and I don’t blame them - would rather take the unknown quantity of Trump when it comes to foreign policy over the known evil of Hillary. He may be worse, but he may also transpire to be better.  

 

Trump to his base looks like someone who is A FIGHTER. He will fight his enemies (which include Democrats) and fight for his team. His base loves that. Hillary instead of taking the fight to the enemies of her base, makes overtures to the Republicans and seems lukewarm as a fighter. So the base is less enthusiastic about her. Trump wins.

 

What the democrats need to do. Stop and look at REALITY. This is a new Republican Tea Flavored Party. There is no compromising and no appealing to them. The more you try to appeal to them, the more you infuriate and discourage your own base and your own people. It’s the equivalent to going to the black community and instead of affirming that Black Lives Matter, and that you will DEFEND them from the abuses of a vicious police force, you talk about how Blue Lives Matter Too. F’ that shit. When the victims of discrimination scream in pain, all you are talking about is “understanding” the white working class or the Trump voter. Newsflash: the people affected understand plenty - Trump and his supporters speak very plainly. It is time to fight!

 

How do you do it? Look at the numbers. I live in California. CA went from reliably Republican (gave us presidents Nixon and Reagan), to reliably Democratic. How did it happen? It tracked with the decline of white (Republican) voters and rise of Latino and Asian numbers. The same is true on a national scale. 

 

Look at the numbers - where do the voters come from? The more diverse, the more Democratic. The more urban the more D, the more rural the more R. Declining industry: R. Rising economy, new economy: D. More education: D. Less education: R.

 

Now you play by the numbers. APPEAL TO YOUR BASE. 

 

Democratic coalition: People of Color; Educated; Urban Dwellers.

 

Stop trying to appeal to those you will never win over: white blue collar, rural voters, value voters. When you do this you don’t win over those voters - BUT YOU START LOSING YOUR BASE.

 

Instead, you turn around and fight - as the Republicans have been doing. Show your base you are a fighter.

 

The Future

 

Demographic trends favor the D’s. That must be incorporated into D’s strategy. The more the R’s demonize immigrants, Latinos, Asians and non-value voters (gay, abortion rights etc.), the more the D’s must double down on those segments to solidify the coalition. 

 

That will be reflected in electoral votes. Florida - in time - just as California - will turn reliably blue. When it comes to tipping points, there is usually a bit back and forth: one election will go R, then D, then R again, but eventually D, D, D, D. Florida demographics are going D: more Latinos, younger generation of Cubans are more D, old people (trending more conservative) are dying, younger more D people are coming on line. Right now, these are fairly small numbers in favor of R: they only won by a couple hundred thousand - in a state of that size, this will go away in no time.

 

Same with North Carolina - soon it will be reliably D. Trump - pulling out all the stops, only won by a relative handful of votes.

 

Not too long from now, Arizona and Georgia are going to go D. Yes, at the tipping point the R’s and D’s will trade the winning position but eventually, they’ll go reliably D.

 

Meanwhile, the same is true for R’s. Some states will go reliably R. Ohio and Michigan are a good example. Dying industries. Fewer minorities. No new minorities are moving to states like these where the economy is dying. So those states will grow more white, and older - as young people move away to more dynamic states. This means, those states will become reliably R.

 

But the math tells us that eventually more electoral votes will go to Ds. Note, the D’s already keep winning the popular vote. Eventually, that’ll translate into electoral victories.

 

The R’s will eventually lose - as conservatives do traditionally - after all, what is the meaning of conservatism, trying to preserve the past, the future belongs to progress, and progressives. That's the way of history - unlikely that we'll go back to slavery, for example.

 

Of course, it is possible that like in those monster movies, as they are thrashing in their death throws, the monster may lash out and destroy everything. It’s possible they can damage things irreparably - after all, empires do die, and civilizations do get wiped out. Many by their own hand - they do themselves in.

 

So the question is: will the R’s manage to explode the boat and all of us will sink, or will the forces of progress continue unimpeded and move forward to a better future?

 

What the D’s must do for now is to appeal to their base and stop trying to reach the unreachable. Give up on Michigan and Ohio and Iowa and so on - that’s a tremendous waste of energy and resources and alienates the progressive base. Let those guys in those states lie in the bed they make themselves (as they’re doing in Kansas). Concentrate on your own coalition and putting together a winning electoral path through Florida, North Carolina and soon Arizona and Georgia.

 

What the D’s need is the equivalent of the R’s Tea Party. They need to take over the D establishment - the base needs to be in control. They need to yank the Overton window back. It’ll work. Don’t worry about the third party vote - it doesn’t hurt Republicans and won’t hurt Democrats - folks who have studied political science know that the electoral system heavily biases the U.S. toward a two party system. The way to get your “third party” vote heard, is through the PRIMARY (that’s how the R’s did it with the Tea Party). You want your green, peace, multicultural vote to count? Don’t waste it on the third party vote that will go absolutely nowhere, instead, get YOUR representative elected. Take over the Democratic Party. 

 

The new Republican party will be defeated only by a new Democratic party. Polarization. We don’t need less of it. We need more of it. So far, it’s been too one sided - R. D’s need to match. Go to war. Total War. Fire with fire. It’s the only way.

 

This is the light you need to see it in. Trying to fix fake news and such, is all a distraction. Nobody who believes that Obama was born in Kenya, that Hillary is the literal devil etc., is operating in the fact based world anyway - no amount of “real news” is going to convince a person like that. You can’t reason a person out of a belief they have not reasoned themselves into. It’s like arguing with a religious person about the existence of god. Waste of time and energy. 

 

Stop wasting time with distractions. Look at the numbers, and play to the base. You will win. Pleading, handwringing and handing out cookies is not going to work. Fight. 

Edited by TomBAvoider

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Nowhere but Twitter can one have the satisfaction of schooling the soon-to-be American President - literally:

 

Hedw5yo.png

 

and:

 

w94Bmqy.png

 

I know, a bit childish and likely to draw the ire of Trump supporters who'll accuse me of being one of them "elite lefty academics".

 

Guilty as charged on all counts. But it felt so good, I couldn't resist...

 

--Dean

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Tom,

 

[my emphasis]

I'll make it as brief as I can, and besides TLDR. For reasons of brevity I won't look for links

 

!!!! At least I don't pretend my posts are going to be short. Just pullin' your chain Tom.

 

But seriously, I don't agree that the Democrats should give up on rural (mostly white) voters, whether or not they will be effective at wooing them, and whether or not they'll lose their existing base if they try. Rural white voters, as well as disgruntled, not-so-rural white people in the rust belt, are large constituencies, with legitimate grievances. Their views should be reflected within a newly formulated progressive Democratic strategy. 

 

Plus, it's politically unwise to write them off, since it's almost certain the incoming Republican administration and Congress will fail to fulfill all (or even a good fraction) of the promises they've made to middle America. When that happens, there is likely to be a backlash, and the American heartland could come back into the Democratic fold.

 

Notice I said "come back" - the Dems used to be the party of the working man (before women worked much). So there is precedent, and a populist "I'll really drain the swamp" Bernie-type Democrat (but younger & not so far Left) might appeal to both millenials and middle-class white voters, particularly in the rust belt. Deep South would probably still be a stretch for almost any candidate, unless Trump really sh*ts the bed...

 

But Tom, once again you seem to be spending a lot of time on a topic that we've moved on from. Playing Monday morning quarterback about the mistakes the Dems made in the election isn't very helpful now. Snarkily, I'll point out that two Mondays have passed since the election. But more importantly the next election isn't for two years, and the next Presidential election is a seeming eternity of 4 years away.

 

It seems that people like me with progressive views have got bigger things to worry about now than who we're going to nominate for President in the next election.

 

--Dean

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The only thing you can do is: fight fire with fire. Like the Russians fought the Nazis in Stalingrad - street by street, building by building, room by room, until you've annihilated every last one of them. Because they understood that the mustachioed gentleman in Berlin Absolutely. Will. Not. Ever. Stop, until you are dead.

Whose resistance lives are you playing with here? Your own? Brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, grandparents, children?

 

I can't say I dis(agree) with you in in-the-clouds-theory and high remote principles -- the left can get just as violent as the right, and if that's what you're arguing, that violent resistance is the solution, then you leave me wondering. You leave me wondering where you be (you in particular n1: you) where will you be when the anarchists begin solidifying more tightly, and where will you be when they tear the shit down as you (I think appear) to advocate. You want civil war? It can go there now under a Trump far right. Will you on the far left put your own life down? Are you anticipating that others will put down their lives to protect you? Some may not have a choice -- fight and die in the streets, or emigrate.

 

Violence isn't the answer. But where is this generation's Gandhi and King? And then I'm wondering where the big violent word makers will hide. It's easy to speak big violent words behind anonymous fences -- now try big violent words in front of cops in riot gear, and decide quickly what it is you're willing lay down your life to accomplish. Hemingway has another apt quote here.

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Sthira,

 

I agree with you that violence isn't the answer, at least not yet. I sure hope it doesn't come to that. 

 

But where is this generation's Gandhi and King?

 

I think you've hit the nail on the head. There is lots of talk (too much talk, about trivial things, like Hamilton), but not enough coordinated leadership to oppose what Trump is doing in DC while he distracts us all (including the media on the Right and Left) with his antics. He & his friends are basically making plans to rob us blind, and blame the lack of progress on minorities and illegal immigrants (aka scapegoats). 

 

Sadly, Reid is retiring, Hillary has slinked off in defeat (nobody trusted her anyway and she's obviously not inspiring), and Bernie seems powerless and only spouting platitudes. Progressives need strong leadership in DC, and there doesn't seem to be any. I've been calling my congressional representatives daily, but don't expect much of them (most of them PA Republicans).

 

Yet another reason we're screwed...

 

--Dean

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Sthira,

 

I agree with you that violence isn't the answer, at least not yet. I sure hope it doesn't come to that.

 

But where is this generation's Gandhi and King?

I think you've hit the nail on the head. There is lots of talk (too much talk, about trivial things, like Hamilton), but not enough coordinated leadership to oppose what Trump is doing in DC while he distracts us all (including the media on the Right and Left) with his antics. He & his friends are basically making plans to rob us blind, and blame the lack of progress on minorities and illegal immigrants (aka scapegoats).

 

Sadly, Reid is retiring, Hillary has slinked off in defeat (nobody trusted her anyway and she's obviously not inspiring), and Bernie seems powerless and only spouting platitudes. Progressives need strong leadership in DC, and there doesn't seem to be any. I've been calling my congressional representatives daily, but don't expect much of them (most of them PA Republicans).

 

Yet another reason we're screwed...

 

--Dean

When the anarchists show up, I leave. If the left's upcoming new leadership comes from the anarchists, I won't join. Then will be the time to leave the US. But the trick is knowing when to leave, and how to separate the melodrama from the fact. I, too, like Dean, hope that we don't devolve into violence so quickly. But based upon my reading, who can stick their heads in the sand knowing the signals that this pre-administration appears to be sending, as you've (Dean, TomB) have begun to outline.

 

We're thinking perhaps Bolivia. Pack food, shelter into the panniers, get on our bikes and ride south for some time out of this shit. And that's not by any means my own original plan or thought.

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Sthira,

We're thinking perhaps Bolivia. 

 

The Costa Rica CR trip I've organized for June is looking better and better. Maybe my daughter and I will just stay, and convince my wife to join us...

 

I really hope it won't come to that, and I doubt it will be that bad in just 7 months. In fact, in the early days of a kleptocracy, things look pretty good. Business leaders get all excited, make investments, create some jobs, etc. Look at the stock market. Hitting record highs. My investments are doing great - yippie...

 

The capitalists are salivating to get their hands on our country's assets, doled out by emperor President Trump. He and Bannon's "trillion dollar infrastructure plan" are shaping up to be the biggest giveaway in US history, as Paul Krugman points out:

 

qmXnTRv.png

But when things don't improve for the Base who elected him, and they realize Trump has screwed 'em in favor of rich & powerful people in DC and Wall Street, out will come the scapegoats (minorities, etc.) who Trump will blame for the malaise. Or he may opt for popular foreign intervention, like pummelling ISIS or challenging the Chinese, or ... who the hell knows. But one thing is for sure, it will be exciting, and will get great ratings in the media, thereby distracting people while he and his cronies continue to rob the country blind.

 

Lots to look forward to - and this is just season #1 of "Trump Dynasty".

 

Fucking idiots who voted for him... "Sure, he's an asshole, but he'll shake things up." Idiots.

 

--Dean

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It looks like Trump is backing away from some of his more extreme positions. He told the Times he has an "open mind" toward climate change. Thats huge because its a major retreat from his campaign rhetoric and gives some hope. He has also decided, it seems, not to prosecute Hilary or torture prisoners. Another sigh of relief!

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Mike,

 

It looks like Trump is backing away from some of his more extreme positions. He told the Times he has an "open mind" toward climate change. Thats huge because its a major retreat from his campaign rhetoric and gives some hope. He has also decided, it seems, not to prosecute Hilary or torture prisoners. Another sigh of relief!

 

I agree those are good signs. I wonder how much of Trump's "open mind" on climate change was impacted by Sarkozy's "suggestion" that the world might consider imposing a carbon tax on all US goods if we pull out of the Paris Accord. Touche. Chalk one up for our French friend...

 

Regarding his promise to "lock her up", Trump's threat to prosecute / persecute Hillary was a stupid promise Trump made to his stupid base, who ate it up. She's already been drawn over the coals 7 times for her "email" scandal, and independent audits have shown the Clinton Foundation to be both much more legitimate, helpful and less corrupt than Trump's own trumped up, self-serving "Foundation". 

 

My interpretation of these moves - they were promises he never intended to keep in the first place, and "softening" on them encourages concerned citizens like you and me into a false sense of security / normalcy / relief - "maybe Trump won't be that bad after all...".

 

Meanwhile he ramps up plans to rob the country blind, and intimidate the media into looking the other way (see rumors from closed-door meeting with all media outlets, as well as transcript from NY Times meeting - clearly intimidation going on).

 

So don't let down the pressure, or your guard - on things like the ethics of him retaining his business holdings around the world while serving as President, or lining the pockets of rich industrialists, by slashing important regulations on banks, polluters, energy companies, etc, and insanely beneficial terms and kickbacks to businesses he taps to implement his massive infrastructure plan to "rebuild America".

 

But I did relish rubbing Trump's 180° turn regarding Clinton into my Trump-supporting friend [TSP]:

 

-----------------
Sorry [TSP],
 
You must be disappointed in your man now - right? In case you haven't seen it, Kellyanne says
 

No plan to pursue charges against Clinton

 
"I think when the President-elect, who's also the head of your party, tells you before he's even inaugurated that he doesn't wish to pursue these charges, it sends a very strong message, tone, and content" to fellow Republicans, Conway said in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
 
Of course, if my theory is correct, you might still get the chance to see your wish fulfilled. He may still bring back Hillary for a cameo later in the season, so he can throw her to the wolves. But it will only happen if the country really goes to sh*t and Trump needs fresh meat to throw to fans like you and distract the rest of us. So let's hope it doesn't come to that.
 
"Trump Dynasty" continues to surprise (you)...
 
--Dean
-----------------------

 

One more from this morning. Trump announced (via Twitter) he's "seriously considering" Ben Carson to head office of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). Here was my response (which you may have seen, since I see you're following me on Twitter - thanks!):

 

Great pick @realDonaldTrump. You & Dr. Ben can sell poor folks bundle of empty promises: @Mannatech & TrumpU diploma 

 

Here is the tweet, with a link and highlights from the story exposing Dr. Ben pitching the bogus Mannatech supplement:

 

 WzINRxA.png

 

I'll let everyone know if Mr. Trump replies ☺. 

 

--Dean

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So, Dean, you think I'm spending a lot of time on what already happened while everybody has moved on. Funny, as I think the exact opposite. Five stages of grief, seems like you are still on "anger" or a ways off from "acceptance". I've completely accepted this, pretty much the next day. And far from dealing with Monday morning quarterbacking, I think it crucial to diagnose what happened correctly, so that one may formulate strategies for the future. As is, I see you are still stuck in losing patterns - stuff that Democrats have been trying unsuccessfully for decades now, and that only leads them to losses. You keep trying to appeal to the rural and blue collar white vote. You think it "important". I think you - in my opinion - fundamentally don't understand the dynamic.

 

You need to grasp the fundamentals of political game theory. As a political party - you must stand for something, and you must also therefore have opponents. A political party without opponents is like a color without a shape. You need one to have the other. If you don't have enough of opponents, you invent them (that's what scapegoating is, that the R's frequently engage in). A political party that has a program will always have opponents that will be opposed to at least part of the program. And so do D's. Who are the *voters* whom D's oppose, and who will vote R instead? Not opponents like a couple of billionaires, or a thin layer of a few thousand 0.001 percenters - opponents, like in a substantial percentage of voters. Remember, never in our history have we ever had a party get more than 60%-70% of the vote - those were massive waves, and exceptional. More usual is a split along 51-55/49-46. That's a huge number of opponents. Who do you propose should be those opponents of the D's? Fortunately, we don't have to search for them, or invent scapegoats. Because they make themselves very, very apparent. Yes, Dean, in the early 21 century, it’s the rural and white blue collar workers who vote R from conviction.

 

And they are opponents, because they are opposed to everything the D’s stand for. It is not true that “they have legitimate grievances”. While some small grievances at the margins are legitimate, the bulk is emphatically not, and more importantly, the grievances that animate them most are not legitimate from the D point of view. When the Southern voters went over to the R’s following the 1964 Civil Rights Act, their “grievances” were not legitimate (from a D point of view). So too today - when rural voters want to stop immigration and oppose multiculturalism and diversity in favor of small town bigotry, provincialism and xenophobia, that’s not a legitimate grievance, when they want to take away the rights of gay people, when they want to remove abortion rights, when they want to impose “christian” religion on everyone - not legitimate (from D point of view). When blue collar workers want to stop progress, but instead want to keep polluting industries around and refuse re-training for green jobs (as happened when the miners of W. Virginia wanted the mines kept uneconomically open and *rejected* Hillary’s proposal to retrain them for green energy jobs) - not legitimate. Maintaining the spoils of white supremacy - not legitimate. And so on.

 

They are the natural opponents of Ds. You seem to think that somehow you’ll convince or “educate” them to your point of view. Not only will this fail - they’ll always be closer to the R’s on those “values” and the D’s can never abandon theirs - but you’ll undermine any progress that *could* be made. These are your opponents. Welcome them as such! Remember, they are not your enemies (that’s the R schtick), they are your opponents.

 

This means you treat them with respect. You respect their beliefs - by not belittling or otherwise trying to flim-flam them and tell them that somehow they’re confused when they don’t want a woman to have the right to an abortion. They understand perfectly well that the Democrats have the better FOR THEM economic and job answers - but they’d rather oppress the gays/foreigners/racial others etc. They are not stupid - they know what they believe. They just choose hate (sorry, “values”) over jobs. Again - read “What is the matter with Kansas”. You won’t win them over with a jobs program, because you can’t give them what repubs do, those deplorable “values”. 

 

You take them at their word. They don’t want green jobs? Don’t want health insurance? Don’t want welfare? Food stamps? Oblige them. Never do active harm - but let them experience the consequences of their votes and their values. The R’s do have a point about a few things - the founding fathers understood individual states to be laboratories of democracy. May each try their own way, and may the best solutions come out on top.

 

This means letting f.ex. Kansas sink into an economic hellhole under the Republicans - they were VOTED into power. Their choice - now they must live with the consequences. No more nonsense like Red states opposing all taxes, but then living off of taxes being sent to them by Blue states through re-distribution. That’s patronizing, and it removes the consequences of their own actions. Stop bailing them out. Institute progressive policies in blue states, and let the red states do as they wish. No health insurance, no welfare, no food stamps, no jobs, no prospects, no taxes? No problem - suit yourself.

 

Now, there is one point of agreement between us. And that is that when the Republicans inevitably overreach, and economic disaster results and a no-kidding-hunger looks into their eyes, suddenly, they find their “values” not so valuable after all. And they come to the D’s side. That’s exactly what happened during the Depression, following a disastrous Republican administration. It was one of those rare “waves”, that allowed the D’s FDR to institute far-reaching social programs like social security. But they must come to your side on YOUR terms - no coddling, and the price is policies will be implemented that will undermine their “deplorables” values. Don’t want it? Starve. No compromise. No reason to “reach out” to rural voters and such - they will come to you under the right circumstances. At that point they are welcome - but the terms stand.

 

But that can only happen if there is a massive disaster. So let it happen! Instead, the D’s always bail out the R’s - as Bill Clinton did after Reagan turning massive deficits into surpluses, and Obama did after GWB. Wrong. Because as soon as the D’s do that, the deplorables forget all about it, and “see, it wasn’t so bad after all!”, and back to the R’s they go. Instead, let them fail. Don’t bail them out. And when the banks asked for a bailout - Obama should have said: only under the condition that we break you up and make massive REAL reforms to the financial system and some folks go to jail. But the opposite happened and now we have Trump. Nobody learned any lessons. You can only learn the value of regulations when you experience their failure - as happened during the Depression and as a result we got financial reform and Glass-Steagall. But since Obama and the D’s bailed everyone out, we didn’t learn the bad side of lack of regulations - and now Trump won based (in part) on the preposterous deregulation platform. 

 

This is what happens when you don’t respect your opponent enough to let them experience the consequences of their votes. When you walk behind them cleaning up their messes, they never learn. 

 

Instead of trying to appeal to rural voters, white blue collar voters and so on - you do the electoral math and find a path to victory by playing UP your opposition.

 

You radicalize your voters by playing to the base (that’s what was the winning formula for R’s!). You yank things WAY over - the Overton window. Institute policies that are far more radical. You propose things that will sound crazy at first, but soon people (on your side) will accept. 

 

And there is plenty the D’s should be doing. Here for Sthira - no I emphatically do NOT advocate any violence. My military analogies were purely on the ideological plane - fight there, not literally with your fists and guns. 

 

How to radicalize your base. Propose those wild things - that are legitimate. Truth is, we don’t need a massive military that is bigger than the next 10 countries combined. Promise to cut down the defense budgets by 75%. There’ll still be plenty left over. We’ll keep the nukes. Nobody is going to mess with us. What we may lose is some offensive capability - BUT THAT’S ALL TO THE GOOD. That massive military is like a hammer to a man who then keeps searching for a nail to pound. It’s a temptation to see only military solutions, and to see the military as a solution to all international problems. It tempts us into interventions we have no business being involved in. It saps our resources, destroys and distorts our economy and puts us at a competitive disadvantage (that’s how the Roman empire fell - military overextension and destruction of the economy). We have plenty, PLENTY of other places to invest our money in. We can only prosper with this. Yes, our deplorables opponents will scream that we are no longer bombing brown people the world over, but that’s what happens when you lose elections - or should happen. Instead, the D’s are in collusion with the R’s in worshipping the military. 

 

D’s should cut the military - voting-wise it’s only a win. The military is overwhelmingly R voters - and quite conservative. They scream about taxes and welfare - while comically being 100% on the government funding they claim to hate. Cut them loose. Close bases - especially in red states - they serve no defense purpose and are only a form of acceptable welfare and “jobs” for those states. Yank away the fig leaf.

 

Cut back dramatically on the whole spying and intelligence complex - by 90%. Those secret budgets are already approaching the 100 billion figure just for the big three CIA, NSA, DIA. Historically, they’ve proven quite useless. All it does is get us into trouble abroad and undermines our civil rights at home. Cut them by 90% - voter wise same deal as with the military - overwhelmingly conservative nutjobs. We can use that money better elsewhere and save ourselves a bundle of trouble to boot. Keep a basic capability at 10% of the cost - we don’t need more, it only encourages meddling on other countries affairs and results in spectacular blowback and security issues. Our “deplorables” opponents will scream, but that’s good - it rallies our base.

 

Abolish the tax-free church deal. The deal was “churches don’t get taxed, and in return don’t promote political parties”. The churches have not kept their side of the bargain. Time to cut them loose. There is no need to subsidize irrational belief systems at a huge cost. If they want to hate on gays or whatnot, let them do it on their own dime. Our “deplorables” opponents will lose their minds, but that’s not a big loss, considering how little there was to lose to begin with :). Joking aside, it’ll free up a huge amount of money and make everyone pay for their own political speech without using religion as cover (for the left or for the right). We can use that money better elsewhere.

 

Hike up taxes DRAMATICALLY on those whose income is in the stratosphere - there is no economic benefit to giving someone who has 10 billion a free ride on taxes - but it might cut down on Koch brothers style shenanigans with the political system. No individual should be able to buy a political system. We can use the money better elsewhere. 

 

And so on. Radical positions. If the D’s establishment doesn’t go along, take over Tea-Party style.

 

This is what the progressives should be doing - radicalize your voters. The R’s did it - yanked them so far right, that it’s straight up fascism now. We must do the same in the opposite direction toward more balance, a la social democracy. Radicalize your voters. The present D establishment is out of ideas. Formulate radical policies as I outlined above - but all with good actual economic outcomes. 

 

Second, progressives need to identify and promote political operatives on all levels - school boards and congress and all the way up and down the whole system (that’s what the R’s did successfully). Dean complains about there being no D leaders. Instead of complaining what I advocated from day one is getting to work NOW - a deep bench will not materialize overnight.

 

 

All this is of infinitely greater value than twitter wars, snarks on social media and hopeless quests to break the “deplorables” out of their news bubbles. News flash: they buy fake news because they are not interested in the real news. They’ll NEVER accept your view of the world and reject facts and news and reality to do so. You can’t win that way. You win only as I outlined - identify your opponents and fight them with all you got. Do the coalition and electoral math, radicalize your side - and pedal to the metal. Fight!

Edited by TomBAvoider

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Wow Tom,

 

Institute progressive policies in blue states, and let the red states do as they wish. No health insurance, no welfare, no food stamps, no jobs, no prospects, no taxes? No problem - suit yourself.... no coddling, and the price is policies will be implemented that will undermine their “deplorables” values. Don’t want it? Starve. No compromise. No reason to “reach out” to rural voters and such - they will come to you under the right circumstances.

 

Harsh. I'll grant you it might work, whether or not it's the right way to treat people who have indeed been left out of whatever "progress" we've enjoyed in the last 40 years.

 

But one question - how do you propose Progressives institute such policies, when they are pretty much powerless right now, at least at a Federal level where it counts most for such sweeping policy changes?

 

It's easy to say things like "find a path to victory by playing UP your opposition" and "you radicalize your voters by playing to the base." But there:

  1. Aren't elections anytime soon, and
  2. Aren't any leaders with the charisma to pull this off, and
  3. Are terrible injustices on the horizon in the current socio-political environment.

I'm not saying you're wrong. I agree (or hope) there will be a time when your advice is spot-on - Progressive leadership should rise from the ashes, play to its base and hopefully regain political power. In fact, that was just the scenario I painted with the "bathtub sloshing" analogy at the end of this post.

 

I'm just saying it seems to me there are bigger things to worry about now - like how to shield the most vulnerable citizens (and non-citizens) in our society from egregious suffering and exploitation while giving the Trump kleptocracy time to inevitably crash-and-burn in the eyes of his base.

 

--Dean

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