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Found 5 results

  1. Searching the site, I see that MSK and others have been following Scott Adams's tweets for several years. Also, MSK and others know this book. However, no review has been put up here. Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter by Scott Adams (Penguin, 2017) is a tribute to Donald Trump. It is also a tribute to Scott Adams. The author of Dilbert has been popular online for decades; and he had tens of thousands of readers when, back on August 13, 2015, he began predicting Donald Trump’s victory. Throughout the book, Adams gives himself a lot of credit for that. Adams calls Trump a Master Persuader (in capitals). Trump won because facts do not matter. People make up their minds based on emotion and then cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias provide them with “reasons” to justify their choices. Adams says that Trump could have run on any platform, even Bernie Sanders’. One of Trump’s most successful tactics as a Master Persuader is intentional wrongness. He makes a grandiose claim, such as building a wall along the border. People point out the errors. He might modify his position – he does that often – but it remains that he has framed the discussion, defined the terms, tilted the debate in his favor. Everyone talks about what he wants them to talk about. The border wall, banning Muslims, global warming, Syria, North Korea, whatever the issue of the moment, Trump made huge statements that grabbed headlines, then slowly shifted away from the hardline stance, often to no specific proposals at all. All the while, everyone talked about what Donald Trump told them to talk about. Another way that Trump achieves that control and neutralizes his opponents is by flooding the news. He issues so many statements in so many media and so often provocative that news agencies can only report them all and yet be unable to actually focus on any one or a few of them. He did this in the campaign and it made him the most newsworthy candidate in the race. Among the many failed strategies of the Democrats was their campaign called “imagine President Trump.” It was supposed to turn people against him, of course. People who consumed news were supposed to be shocked and disgusted by the picture and thereby vote for Hillary Clinton. In fact, all the Democrats achieved was to plant the vision of President Trump in millions of people. The Democrats did Trump’s selling for him. “Love Trumps hate” was another failed campaign slogan. All it said was “Love Trump…” And apparently, very many people do.
  2. The first thing to consider is that the United States of America is a creature of its written Constitution as amended, U.S. Code enacted by Congress, the Code of Federal Regulations (administrative agency law) and Supreme Court edicts that define from time to time who we are as a flock of luckless obedient sheep to be sheared by glib Ivy League lawyers. On the other hand, the U.S. began and continues today as a common law society that Mark Levin likes to call "the civil society" in which every person is legally equal before the law and competent to sue or be sued, the foundation of private property and trade. For about 100 years of U.S. history, English common law and its adjunct Equity were a lens of understanding that inspired Congress and U.S. Supreme Court doctrine. Common law defined and upheld slavery. Equity required that escaped slaves be returned to their master. That's why the 14th Amendment is the sole operative constitutional paradigm in contemporary legal thinking. Common law and equity were redefined by Civil War. We also authorized the United States to print paper money and to compel acceptance in payment of public and private debt. Gold clause contracts were voided, gold lenders punished. It's more difficult nowadays for the United States to do anything about money. It flies too fast across electronic exchanges. Financial institutions worldwide are dependent upon the U.S. Treasury for its debt, rather than our $100 bills. Cash is a mere spit in the bucket compared to our $20 trillion in Federal promises to pay in the future, which is known as "good collateral" -- highest rated security you can pledge to a lender who will pledge it to someone else. That's not what happens in detail, but the main idea is that U.S. debt is sought after, desirable and vital to banking and investments of all kinds everywhere on earth. Debt issued by other governments stink in comparison to U.S. Treasury "good collateral." The United States is the most powerful national government on earth -- an opinion held by pension funds and foreign dictators who want to save for a rainy day. Obligations of the U.S. government are a safe bet. No matter what happens, the United States is likely to survive best. So, for us, and for the rest of the world, it's good that the U.S. is a national government. Part of our national success can be attributed to our founding documents and transformation as victor of the Civil War. Personally, I believe self-inflicted destruction in 1860-65 discredited the claim of government to be a wealth creator. Government was made smaller by Gilded Age graft. Our government did nothing at all as we entered the 20th Century, prosperous and strong as individuals and corporations controlled by "rags to riches" tycoons. Railroad bonds were an easy sell. In the 21st Century, we reversed that social arrangement, with government payola determining which Politically Correct entrepreneurs were made tycoons. Elon Musk's Tesla and SpaceX are typical of 21st Century national tit-suckers, maintained by government loans, rules, subsidies, guarantees, agency contracts, and consumer tax incentives, although not uniquely so among our national defense exporters, software consultants, ethanol farmers, etc. The United States remains slightly freer and fairer than most other nations. Unlike our traditional "melting pot," nationalism means different things around the world. Belgium is divided in thirds: French, Walloon and Arabic. England's nationalism is fractured by Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland (internally divided by religion) and Gilbrator, the little rump of a British empire that once circled the globe. Afghanistan, Rwanda, Somolia, Georgia and many other nominal "nations" are playthings of warring tribes. Some psuedo-nations are ruled by kings, emirs, juntas, and doltish bus drivers. The United States is a land of reason and justice comparatively speaking, if you ignore our idiotic meddling as "world cop" since WWII. Sixty years of blowing shit up around the world and planting our military bases in 150 countries around the world was imperialism, supported by an orbital armada in space and the world's best Navy and Air Forces. It's easy to scramble a B-52 or B-2 squadron strike anywhere on earth in a matter of hours. Our cruise missiles and nukes can be launched instantly from combat platforms already in theater everywhere except Antarctica. How much sense this makes in terms of U.S. national security, I don't know. Being a world superpower is something different than being a nation. Since we undertook Vietnam and lost, U.S. strategy became tentative and defensive until 9/11 caught us with our national pants down. Whatever we thought we were doing to defend our shores, it was obviously wrong. Islamic warriors funded by Saudi zealots and wealthy clerics baffled the FBI and waltzed past airport metal detectors in Boston. Their visas were in order, provided by the Saudi government, an extended kleptocracy headed by a flea-brained elderly king, our ally. When you add George W. Bush and his $2 trillion invasion of Iraq, all one can do is laugh or get mad. Government failed us (again) and the national mood changed. We voted for change and elected a charismatic affirmative action actor who brought the troops home and salted the Federal judiciary with clansmen and clanswomen and transgendered clanspersons. What Donald Trump offers, Dick Morris said on the radio, is nationalism. More war, stronger national defense and local law enforcement, a halt to Islamic immigratation. It's happening in Europe, too. The United Kingdom of Remaining Parts voted to leave the EU, although some of the Parts are talking about rejoining the EU independently. I don't think Trump is in favor of splitting up the United States, but I'd vote for peaceful separation from Chicago, Detroit, Philadephia, Baltimore, Washington DC and most of New Jersey -- Democrat strongholds created by Federal cash. It would be prudent to eject California from the Union, too. Whether or not to offer statehood to Israel could be a decisive binary question in the next decade. Middle East peace is emphatically *not* a United States national security problem, unless Israel becomes our 51st state (which won't happen). Islamic NATO ally Turkey aided creation and abetted cashflow of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant ("ISIL," as Obama likes to call it). I'd rather not discuss the incident in Benghazi, except to note that Hillary's diplomats were buying weapons and shipping them to insurgent Sunni proxies in Syria to attack the Assad government at the behest of Saudi Arabia. It's stunning that ISIL's initial triumphs were the capture of U.S. tanks and Bradleys in Iraq, assets Obama bestowed on a klutzy kleptocracy backed by Russia's ally, Iran. Not to be upstaged by Putin, Obama lifted sanctions on Iran and turned a blind eye to that nation's nuclear missile program. Talking about nationalism always entails national security. Why else have a nation? unless to provide for national security, mentioned first among our Constitutional purposes ahead of general welfare and due process. Americans will tolerate a great deal of pain to obtain better security -- airport screening by TSA being an incredibly painful example, in view of the fact that stupified, poorly paid TSA screeners miss 93% of guns, knives and bombs that inspectors routinely sneak through departure screening. Annoying millions of passengers to find Islamic warriors doesn't make any sense, but the courts and Congress are indisposed to address it, considering our national romance with 14th Amendment affirmative colorblindness, one nation no longer under a particular God. “The sweetest sound I know is the Muslim call to prayer” – Barack Hussein Obama, Cairo speech, 2008 Our melting pot is cooling into balkanization of the U.S., not much different than Britain or Germany or France, nations with huge Islamic ghettos and some Islamic towns. In the United States, we divided long ago into Black and White. Blacks run cities and blacks hold 40% of all Federal civil service jobs. Whites don't stand a chance of advancement unless they work for a defense contactor, hospital, or regulated utilities like transportation and power generation, where competence still matters. The rest of us make do with cushy entitlement pillows. A vote for Donald Trump is a vote for nationalism, but it remains affirmatively colorblind to competence and common sense. I'd like to hope we could return to common law and equity, but it seems unlikely. Trump is a dealmaker. Social contract deals got us into this mess and bedevil every effort to wake the fuck up and do something about crime and incredibly dumb mandatory public day care and higher ed taught by millions of females, gays and negroes. Our nation means nothing unless it is defined by something better than government workers and entitlement beneficiaries negotiating a slightly better deal every four years. Our debt is viewed as good collateral, but that's merely "the cleanest dirty shirt" in a world that's falling to pieces for lack of cashflow. We trained the world to expect much from our slap-happy wheeler dealers in Congress, the White House, Federal agencies, Federal courts, 50 states, and 84,000 local tax authorities in bed with shovel-ready affirmative action contractors. The thing I like best about Trump is his willingness to say "You're fired!"
  3. No particular topic to start this off. I want to open a space where doubt is okay -- to have disquieting anticipation, to have issues and questions and even fierce criticism. OK to roll. I will also act as a moderator. The rules that are in place are the same general OL rules, but I intend to be a tight-ass. Please do not overdo 'personalizing' discussion. Do not attack the character of discussants or otherwise be a conversational oaf. There is only one level of appeal. So ... anybody got a nice safe space topic? I have thought about it for a while now, and all I can come up with is a vague theme ... UNITY UNIFY
  4. I think that's how it's going to end up, too. Except it will be just the beginning of the end... REB What are you guys going to do if it turns out to be a landslide for Drumpf as president against Hillary? Rend your garments? Mend your evil ways? Do the unthinkable and say, "I was wrong?" [Edited to add a clanger from 2008] Robert Bidinotto's penultimate posting at OL: From today (April 24) -- RC and MSK get closer to the nub of disagreement: