Wednesday 14th of April 2021 08:54:04 PM
Lindsey Graham is right. There are no good options in Afghanistan. If we go there could be a cost, if we stay there could be a cost. Donald Trump AND Joe Biden both came to the conclusion that leaving was the only sensible thing to do. Both sides of the isle have internal opposing views on the subject. It is not a Republican vs Democrat view (even though Fox is inferring that it is Joe Biden making a mistake and seeming to forget that Trump was all about getting out by May 1). There is a reality that I had to learn myself in backing an entertainment project for half a decade loosing money over and over again. The lesson was that if you try to win and loose, then try again and loose, then try again and loose, if you continue to do this the lesson will eventually become clear. How many times to you have to loose until you face the reality that winning is not going to happen? In Afghanistan it is true that US departure will likely help the Taliban once again take over the country. Once again women will loose their rights; all sorts of bad things can happen. But that will be the case next year, the year after and twenty years from now. How long is the US intending to be there? It is NOT like Germany, Korea, Japan and other countries where American troops are stationed. In those countries we are welcome guests by the vast majority of the people AND the government. In Afghanistan, at best, half of the country objects to the US being present there and actively work to undermine any advances made. The US is an occupier, pure and simple. Meanwhile keeping a few thousand troops there does nothing we cant do with the usual spys and secret operatives the US has always used. CIA do your job!. Why use the Army to do it for you? As far as the women go - one has to sympathize but then again in the US women had few rights until relatively recently. Afghani women need to stand up just as Saudi women are starting to do. It was a long process in the US and it will be a long process in Afghanistan and many other countries but the US cannot do the job women need to do for themselves. The Republicans have always argued for small government and few hand outs to the disadvantaged. They argue that making people depending on the Government is "socialism" and a disincentive for the individual to solve his or her own problems. Why is that thinking not applied to Afghanistan?. Another lesson I learned while I lived with my family in the Middle East. When the US Government funded improvements via foreign aid, USIA etc. what we Americans assumed would be welcomed were often not considered important by the local people. In one instance when an aid person saw that in one village women had to walk several miles to get fresh water and carried water back to their village with jars on their heads - the decision was make to put in pipes to bring the water to the village and save the women the need to do that long walk. After the pipes were installed and the aid people left, when they returned later to see the fruits of their contribution to the village, they were surprised to see that the pipes had been dug up and sold to give the villagers what they really wanted; a TV set. The explanation? "Why do we need pipes when we have women to go and get the water?" The point is that if you want to win in places like Afghanistan you need to do what we did in Japan and Germany. Obliterate the status quo of the past and start anew. We bombed Germany - totally destroyed the Nazi party, reeducated the people with "politically correct" views while we occupied the country AND then rebuilt it via the Marshall plan in an image we wanted. We destroyed the religion of the Nazis. In Afghanistan we never totally defeated the Taliban nor reeducated the population overall (especially in the provinces to think like we want them to think. We did it half ass, we are always going to do it half ass, so getting out is the least of the bad options. Meanwhile we have other fish to fry. Much bigger issues exist that need full attention. Afghanistan is a diversion we can do without. And we need to do without.
Iran vs Israel
Monday 12th of April 2021 10:22:40 PM
The hostility between Iran and Israel has always been more talk for domestic political goals than any real danger of war between the two. Iran sees Israel as a useful boogieman to be against that Iranians can get behind and Israel sees Iran's supposed nuclear threat as a useful scare tactic to win elections. Benjamin Netanyahu is very much like Trump in that he thinks more about staying in power by any means (lying or whatever it takes) and knows full well that even if Iran did have a nuclear weapon it would never be used against Israel. First the two countries are separated by several countries between them and second Israel has nuclear weapons and the USA is an ally so attacking Israel would be fool hardy to say the least. Besides, any nuclear explosion in Israel would kill many Muslims as well. On top of that, nuclear weapons have proved to be war preventers NOT war starters - AS LONG AS BOTH SIDES HAVE THEM. Israel's latest moves against Iran's nuclear program are an effort by Netanyahu to keep the scare alive and help him maintain support even from those Israelis who do not like him. It is also aimed at making things tougher for President Biden in his bid to rejoin the Iran nuclear agreement. Netanyahu NEEDS Iran as a scare tactic and a deal between Iran and the US hurts that need.
Monday 12th of April 2021 05:55:49 PM
For students of the media and how money making outlets that are in business to make profits look at how they frame the news, the battle between Fox News and the upstart Newsmax and One America News - all three going for the "right wing/ conspiracy theory/ Trumpian market" is interesting to watch. In trying to keep their once exclusive market, Fox has discovered that their audience is even more ignorant than they thought and the upstarts have actually drawn audiences away from them. The result is Fox seems to have further encouraged wilder notions as one can see with Tucker Carlson as a means to head off the loss of their audience. Tucker for instance has discovered the notions of "replacement" and "dilution". meaning his vote (and presumably the white vote) can be "diluted" by new citizens or immigrants (presumably coming across the Southern border and probably more likely to vote Democrat). It is true that an increase in the population means each individual's vote is diluted. So given that one must assume Tucker supports the Covid 19 deaths that has reduced the population by over half a million voters. Furthermore he would presumably support a woman's right to choose - the more abortions the fewer future voters. He might even go so far as to raise the voting age. That would also reduce the number of voters - hence increase the value of his individual vote.
Meanwhile we should look at US history. At the beginning of the Republic the common man could not vote. Only land owners could. Women couldn't until just over 100 years ago. Slaves couldn't vote and the black vote has been surprised even after rights were given. That means that for most of US history less than half the population was allowed to vote. Of those, voter turn out is usually half of that. So when the word "democracy" is thrown around lets remember the facts. Then lets consider the Electoral College. Trump and Bush did not win the popular vote yet were elected President. In that regard the US is a "limited Democracy". In Presidential elections the majority does NOT choose the President. Then consider the drawing up of the voting districts. Both sides of the isle try to choose the voters instead of the other way around. Its called jerrymandering. Worst of the all is the Senate. I live in California with a population of 40 million. The state gets two Senators. The state of North Dakota has a population of 762,000 and yet North Dakota gets two Senators just like California. Is that Democracy? my Senate vote in California is worth 1/20millionth whereas a North Dakotan is worth 1/ 381,000. Talk about dilution!!. Then there is South Dakota with a population of 884,660 and Wyoming with 574,000 (less than the city of Washington DC. who gets NO Senators. Add South and North Dakota and Wyoming and we have a population of some 2. 2 million voters who get to choose 6 Senators. California gets to choose 2. If there is dilution going on - which it is - it is California and New York that are most affected. Tucker: you want to talk "dilution" then talk the full facts not just a tiny fraction you harp about. If you are going to be pushed to be wilder by the Fox higherups then at least make it close to reality then the fringe tangent you are on now.
My memoire and China.
Wednesday 7th of April 2021 04:03:33 PM
With all the talk and concern about China - Republicans saying one thing, Dems another and both expressing concern it is interesting to note that I just learned that my memoire "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: My Life in the Music Business" has suffered Chinese ire. It seems the book was to be printed in China (still the cheapest and most reliable printing place these days in spite of all the talk, tariffs etc). However the Chinese censorship authorities flagged it and stopped the printing because, for one thing, I listed countries one of my artists performed in was Taiwan - oops not supposed to say Taiwan is a country apparently. Then I commented on Mao's bullshit communism. All fairly harmless but not to the Chinese censorship people EVEN FOR and export order of books. In the UK the printing has been switched to a company in the Czech Republic and I am still waiting to see what the US Publisher will do. Yesterday I finished the Audible version which apparently will not be affected. I guess it should be considered an honor to be banned by the Chinese.
Thursday 1st of April 2021 03:42:20 AM
Very interesting to see Republicans rediscovering concern over the Deficit - a concern they forgot about under Trumps record breaking deficit spending and tax give aways to the rich. AND of course their concern over raising "our taxes" which means the complainers are in the 1. 8 percent of the American people. In expensive and high tax states the $400,000 annual salary may not be considered rich but in most states it certainly is. As the new tax rate proposal is for money in excess of $400,000 it is not much of an increase anyway. Meanwhile the wealthy corporations have never paid the full tax rate, (no matter what it has been) nor will they now. The increase in tax is only an increase on profits not income so should not have much effect on employment as salaries to staff is tax deductible. Meanwhile the spending on the infrastructure bill will mean hiring tons of workers to build, repair and update infrastructure which has to happen anyway if the US is to stay competitive. China is building infrastructure at a fast pace. Is the US to sit by and become increasingly a third world country? If the Republicans are serious about "make America great again" then serious infrastructure spending is long overdue. Fox "news" states that the corporation tax rate in China is 25% forgetting of course the fact that the state, military etc own the major corporations. They cant claim China a socialist state on one hand and then pretend it is capitalist on another. But then again, Fox has always been blind to reality when it fits the Republican mantra no matter how ridiculous. There are other realities. First, no matter who was elected President, the Covid payments mean tax MUST increase. The Government can't give away money and pretend it doesn't have to come from somewhere. Second, we need infrastructure expenditure NOW or we suffer in the future. Better now when interest rates are low than in the future when we are both too late AND interest rates may be higher.
Tuesday 16th of March 2021 04:59:09 PM
I was surprised to see my Memoire "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: My Life in the Music Business" is already up on Amazon for preorders!! I just finished the corrections on Monday and the Audible version last week.
Monday 15th of March 2021 07:09:17 PM
As the Trump supporters seem to be the most resistant to taking the vaccine, the word should get out that the left - or the Democrats - or the never Trumpers - say - great that will result in less Trump voters alive to vote. Responding to conspiracy theories seems to be Trump people DNA so this should jolt them into getting the vaccine.
Policy to win for the future.
Sunday 14th of March 2021 05:32:30 PM
Democrats need to watch out for two things that could hurt in the midterm elections. First are the continuing and sweeping Republican efforts to restrict voting, particularly within communities that are likely to vote Democrat. Second, The Southern border. The huge influx of immigrants, most who are coming for economic reasons NOT really for asylum reasons give a big bullet to Republicans to use against Democrats. Lets not forget how close the last election was. The immigration policy of Trump appealed to his supporters and even many Democrats fear how a new immigration policy that is more lenient to immigrants will seriously hurt when it comes time to vote in less than two years. Imagine the dampening effect of saying 1. We don't believe the wall is the total solution BUT we do believe that some sections should be completed and will do so. We will take the advise of the DHS tasked to control the Southern border. 2 We will continue and enhance our efforts to help countries where immigrants are coming from so they no longer need to come. The Democrats need to kill stone dead the consistent Republican mantra that the Dems "want open borders" (which of course none of them do). That mantra has worked for the Republicans big time. 3. We will work to build a smarter immigration policy. What we DON'T want is a policy aimed at stopping immigration from the Southern border that also stops immigration that we DO want; like attracting the brightest from around the world to keep America competitive.
Saturday 6th of March 2021 04:55:30 PM
Its time for real Republicans to take the party back from the RINO Trumpians. Primary those idiots like MT Greene and Matt Gaetz. Attack them where they think they are strong because in reality that is where they are weakest. Trumpians think short term. Real Republicans should think long term. Make America Great Again by putting Trumpism on the dust heap of history.
Wednesday 3rd of March 2021 04:49:46 PM
One of the things the QAnon people proved - yet again (as if we needed reminding) is how normally intelligent (and stupid people as well) can believe the craziest things. Eating babies in pizza parlor basements? Many religions incorporate some pretty crazy ideas as well. Meanwhile, as we have seen throughout history, cults tend to fracture with time. It certainly happened to Christianity splitting into Catholic and Protestant and then many more splinter groups. It happened to Islam dividing into Shia and Sunni sects. The bigger the belief group, the more questions are asked over time and the inevitable happens. One question leads to another and another. The same will happen to QAnon. The obvious direction will be to question the role of Donald Trump. January 6 did not lead to reinstalling him as President. Joe Biden was inaugurated and is obviously the President. March 4th will come and go and Biden will still be President. Trump himself will come under increasing legal pressure that will undermine his "mystique". Trump did not deliver the QAnon promises. In the end he was a looser. Therefore the QAnon message should soon become that Trump was merely a stepping stone - a false profit - even the anti-Christ. The future will be the arrival of the REAL profit. Someone a lot smarter than Trump turned out to be. After all, he couldn't keep his mouth shut even when it was wise to do so. He was too predictable, and too associated with unsavory groups, The truth is his narcissism was useful in the short term but in fact a real sickness that could only hurt in the long term. History gives a pretty good indication that QAnon will fracture just as all other large cults and Religions have done. The division will most likely be between the die hard Trump supporters and the false profit/anti-Christ supporters. Whatever happens, two things will become apparent. First; that the Trump people will be far less than now and the Republican party will have a chance to reconstitute itself. Second, and the real worry for the future - that a new smart Trump like figure will emerge and REALLY threaten American democracy. That is what we most need to watch out for.
Sunday 28th of February 2021 04:15:03 PM
There is talk at the CPAC conference going on now in Florida to change it's name to TPAC: changing the C for Conservative to T for Trump. I agree that is a GOOD idea as it rids the true republicans from the RINO Trumpians. Perhaps the real Republicans can finally break away from those phonies who live in fantasy land along with the Qanon fellow travelers and other nut cases.
Friday 26th of February 2021 06:21:58 PM
The Democrats need to understand one fundamental thing about politics in the USA today. Immigration (with its racist overtones) is a big factor in the division in the country. The Republicans keep harping on the Democrats as the party of "open boarders" even though no one in the Democratic party believes in open boarders. So a clear statement of what the Dems DO believe is necessary as it is imperative to kill this false impression as soon as possible. The point should be 1. NO, absolutely we do NOT believe in open boarders. That's why we have boarder police and controls on the boarder, and at airport entry points. 2. We DO believe in immigration at reasonable levels which are akin to what Republicans and Democrats both have agreed upon in the past. 3. We DO believe Mexico needs to do more to prevent caravans crossing from Central America to the USA and we are ready to help. 4. We DO believe that one way to stem immigration on the Southern Boarder is to help make life more secure in Central America so people do not have to travel North to the USA. If we can pump billions into Afghanistan and Iraq why cant we do the same for Central America? 5. We do NOT object to "the wall" and believe it is useful in some places but believe there are also better ways to deal with the problem. 6. Many American companies NEED foreign workers to be competitive or to do tough jobs most Americans dont want to do (like temporary farm workers) so we need effective laws to allow for such workers. 7. Finally, we need once and for all to deal with the issue of the 11 million or so undocumented people already in the US who have been here for many years, paid their taxes, have dreamer kids, and are not going anywhere nor can we realistically deport so many people without huge damage to the American economy. IN SHORT, we need an EFFECTIVE immigration policy that works for America on all levels. The Trump policy of simply build a wall, keep people out and bury your head in the sand about the millions here already not only did not work it was bad policy for the future of America.
Sunday 21st of February 2021 06:42:45 PM
The most scary thing I am hearing on the news here -both from traditional right wing commentators as well as the Democrats is the growing acceptance on the right of an autocratic approach to government. The argument is that indeed the idea of democracy really IS being undermined. AND it is coming from people who are thinking they are the true patriots and are just saving the country from a perceived "socialist" disaster. Underneath all of this is a very real fear from whites that the minorities and minority interests are taking over. Add gender issues, abortion, homosexuality issues and you have emotional issues to use as clubs to advance those autocratic issues. To add to the scary scenario is the realization that given the media landscape, the internet, fake news, etc, the genie is already out of the bottle and there is little we can do about it. You cant have a free press AND control it at the same time. That means bad ideas can gain just as much currency as good ideas. Meanwhile in a world where "if it bleeds it leads" and the outrageous gets more coverage than everyday good news AND people can now tune into what they WANT to hear and never hear countervailing arguments means it is hard to corral people back to thinking in terms approaching the Truth. Indeed "truth" now depends on what "side" you are on. The final ingredient to pulling off an autocratic take over is a "champion" that people can follow who will push for the issues they most care about while they are willing to put up with the things about the champion that they dont like. As long as they THINK he is pushing for those issues it doesn't really matter if the champion does not really care one way or another. Hitler had many supporters early on that he later turned on the more powerful he got. He also lied and lied and lied along the route to greater power. Those around him as well as the general public rationalized and rationalized and rationalized as well to the point that they ended up putting up with outrageous things that eventually led the entire country to disaster. Historically speaking, the Trump experience has shown us how easy it is to move a country towards what happened in Germany in the 1930s. The problem is - for US democracy - we are not out of the woods yet.
Friday 19th of February 2021 05:15:22 PM
One can argue points of the Iran Nuclear deal but the end result is the point to keep an eye on. 1. Did the deal negotiated during the Obama term stop further advancement of an Iran nuclear program - even if for only ten years? Yes. Did Trump pulling out of the deal do anything to stop the Iran nuclear program? No. In fact during the Trump term Iran more than doubled its capability so the Trump action was unquestionably a stupid move. Meanwhile we know now that Donald Trump never knew the terms of the Iran deal and only said it was terrible because that was to him "good politics". His interest was getting elected and looking good to his base and going on the attack worked for him. It's interesting to see Fox "news" criticize President Biden for being open to rejoin the nuclear deal but of course do not mention the abject failure of the Trump policy. Iran is closer today towards building nuclear capability then they were at the end of the Obama Presidency. And it is all due to Trump.
Thursday 18th of February 2021 08:48:24 PM
The other thing about the Texas energy fiasco is an unintended consequence of deregulation. The power companies in an effort to compete kept lowering their fees to the point that they could no longer afford repairs and purchasing items they thought they might not need (like heated turbine blades). The result was an underfunded grid. It was not an issue if everything went well and was normal. But the freezing cold spell that hit was NOT normal (though it might be in the future) so the system failed. Motto? be careful what you wish for. Lower electricity and heating bills? now there are major blackouts - no electricity and no heating.
Thursday 18th of February 2021 07:12:12 PM
Wind turbines making electricity work fine in the freezing north of Norway, Finland, Sweden BECAUSEthey are made to withstand bad weather. The blades are heated and made to let ice and snow slip off. The ones Texas bought were the cheap ones that work fine in above freezing weather conditions but NOT in weather Texas is experiencing now. So it is NOT the fault of wind turbines as Fox commentators like to say (in their usual anti green energy rants) but the fault of buying cheap. Meanwhile natural gas and all other modes of making electricity failed in Texas, In a state where only 7 percent of the energy is renewable, it is hard to blame the "Green energy" supporters for the problem.
MTG and Republicans
Sunday 7th of February 2021 08:34:44 PM
Marjorie Taylor Greene's crazy conspiracy theories and support of silly QAnon posts are not the really dangerous aspect of her acceptance into the Republican Party ranks. Those ideas will been for just what they are - crazy and silly and anyone who believes them is confirming stupidity. Even she has now stated the ideas are false. The real danger is her claim that the Republican Party is Trump's party. More like idol worship of 'Dear Leader". NO party should be the party of one man. I hope Democrats never claim that the Democratic party is Biden's party. What MTG is contending is that the Republican party is NOT a party at all - it is a cult of one man. Hardly a democratic sentiment. In fact she is confirming our fears that what Trump really represents is a new acceptance for autocracy. Let's remember the truism : Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Capitalism and climate change
Saturday 30th of January 2021 11:10:38 PM
Of course Fox and other right wing media will decry the loss of jobs due to the Keystone pipeline cancellation and Biden's moves to limit further drilling on public land - and they would be right. Jobs in those areas will be lost. However jobs always get lost when new technology comes along - it is the capitalist way. Meanwhile more jobs will come in new areas of endeavor that will more than make up for the job losses AND have better results for the economy and such issues as climate change. The reality is that climate change is already having a negative impact on the US economy and it is only going to get bigger. Trump's failure to take it seriously will end up in history of one of his biggest failings as a President. Biden knows the time is now and he has no choice but to react. Some jobs will be lost, more will be made. Long live capitalism.
Reading current events
Saturday 30th of January 2021 10:56:35 PM
Watching Matt Gaetz. Josh Hawley or Ted Cruz might leave one either scratching their head in amazement or thinking they are digging a hole to bury themselves in. However, a factor that must be realized is that IF Trump is not convicted (which seems likely) he will be eligible to run for the next Presidential election. And he will be looking for a running mate. Mike Pence will not be that person. There is a void in the Republican Party and people like Matt Gaetz are assuming they have a shot at getting that position THEN running for President themselves later. That must be the thinking of Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz. Its a jockey for position dance we will see as long as Trump remains a potential candidate. The Republican Party really is stuck. Trump got tons of votes and still has wide support because most Republicans still believe the lies and misrepresentations Trump told them. Media such as Fox and Newsmax continue the Trump message unabated and remain untethered to the truth. They are following the Mitch McConnel strategy when Obama got elected - "my job is to make sure Obama is a one term President". Its not 'make America great again as much as it is get the Republicans (or Trumpians) in control again. So the Trump people will not see and hear media that will change their views. In fact some refuse to watch CNN or MSNBC as a point of principle. They have no intention of letting facts change their views. The big question will be what happens over the next year or so. If Trump is hit with serious charges of tax fraud and the like and we finally see his taxes and find out there was indeed more going on between him and Russia his power should diminish. Likewise if Biden is successful in curbing the virus and all the Republican predictions of him moving the US into "socialism", being soft on China, ruining the economy etc turn out to be just silly propaganda that proves to be false then there is some potential to glue the country back together again. It is likely that more and more dirt will come out about Trump and hopefully it will begin to stick. Fingers crossed.
Truth and the Alternative
Friday 29th of January 2021 07:12:47 PM
Watching the news over the past week two thoughts come to mind. First the divisions in the United States are hard to escape. Watching TV, switching between channels Fox, MSNBC, CNN Newsmax etc it becomes very apparent that a major factor or perhaps THE major factor now that Trump cant tweet is the media itself. When I watch Fox for instance, I ask the question: is this program meant to make me angry? Is it meant to decrease my faith in the Biden Presidency? Is it aimed at confirming my antagonism for the other side? Unfortunately in most cases the answer is YES. So for the Trump supporter watching only Fox and Newsmax or other similar outlet, the fanning of the flames continues unabated. The public is divided because the media makes it that way. Second. The Republican party is no longer what it was. Those that feared what Trump might do to the party, Republicans even more than Democrats, were proved right. Trump has destroyed the Republican Party as we knew it. It is now a party that did not even bother to have a platform in this Presidential election. The platform was Trump. For all the talk of cancel culture blamed on the left, the Trump people are quite happy to cancel those views in their own party that are not 100% Trump's. How the party of Lincoln could sink to the depths it has - supporting anti democratic views - believing crazy conspiracy theories and the like should be shocking to behold. The reality is that the media makes its money from advertising. Advertising rates depend on viewership or listenership. The more eyeballs or ears the greater can be the advertising rates. That is Capitalism at work. One can argue that ALL views are there for the ears or eyes so its OK. BUT the reality is that people tune into one or two outlets that tell them what they want to hear and do NOT hear other outlets that give the opposing view. THEN that media outlet can guide them to even more extreme views that will KEEP them on that media and keep them away from the opposing views. Its business. We are stuck with it. Free Press is great, but now we face the freedom to spread lies as well as the truth. People complain that certain media is spreading lies, fanning the flames of division and other people complain that any restriction of the media is anti democratic. Both are right. That's the catch 22. What Trump did is make Truth become what you want it to be. Alternative facts. Worse, he proved that Truth does not matter. What matters is what you BELIEVE. He also proved, largely through Twitter, you can influence people to believe what you want them to believe. He proved "you can fool some of the people all the time" - and in a democratic system like exists in the US that can be enough.
Monday 25th of January 2021 05:57:40 PM
Unintended consequences come to those who dont think things through. A short term thinker like Donald Trump made political capitol out of attacking China (though at the beginning of his Presidency he heaped praise on China) largely as a way to appeal to his base and cover his failure to bring back jobs from China to America and more recently as a way to cover his failings due to the Covid 19 situation. During the election and as we still hear on right wing media Biden was painted as 'week on China". The reality of his China policy is that he pushed China into a realization that it could not any longer depend on US suppliers for technological goods and that as soon as possible China needed to make its own parts - in China and decouple from any dependence on the US. This will have severe consequences for American Tech and not just loss of jobs. Thanks Donald! You fucked another major US industry. Meanwhile the Covid pandemic also showed the US that depending on foreign suppliers was also a problem for the US and much talk was about bringing back manufacturing so the US would NOT be so dependent. That talk disappeared when it became apparent that a face mask made in China cost thirty cents. The same mask in the US cost ten times as much. Our economy is based on Capitalism so it was never going to fly that paying ten Dollars for a one Dollar item would work in America. Then of course are the farmers who sold their goods to China. Trump's anti China farm policies then forced China to look to other suppliers such as Brazil who were only to happy to sell the China. To keep the US farmers on his side all he could do was go socialist and pay them money they lost when their China market dried up. In the passage of time it will become ever more evident that the main achievement that Donald Trump boasted about - the economy - will prove to be an illusion.
Thursday 21st of January 2021 05:43:15 PM
QAnon people are shocked that Trump did not take over the government and arrest Biden. In other words what they said was going to be true turned out to be NOT true. Joe Biden is President - Trump slinked out of theWhitehouse and is now holed up in Florida in disgrace. Of course we have seen that there are a couple of religions that have predicted the end of the world and when the date came to pass and the world did NOT end they had to come upwith an excuse (they made a wrong calculation or some other excuse). Such crazy ideas have a way of overcoming facts and continuing. QAnon will most likely not be different. If onecan believe the "eating babies" and other super weird ideas of the QAnon people one can easily see how this jolt to reality can be overcome and move them back to strange and outlandish ideas. Meanwhile, over over the next few months and years all the predictions of disaster if Biden won that Trump and his people pushed and supported by Hannity types will prove to be as silly and stupidas most of us knew they were. We have already seen the dire warnings Trump made of the stock market ("ITS GOING TO TANK") did not happen. In fact yesterday, the day Biden became President saw the stock marketreach the highest point ever. Talk of "they are coming for your guns" will prove to be bullshit. Loss of "freedom" etc. by "radicle socialists:" (HORRORS!) will prove to be baseless. One would hope that medialike Fox and Newsmax would stop trying to sell this bullshit but I fear its just wishful thinking. They make all their money from people who believe such things. It is in their interest to KEEP people believing such things. History will show that the last two Democratic Presidents came into power when the country was in serious trouble. Obama inherited the 2008 financial disaster and Biden the disaster stemming from Covid. Republican Bush came into a healthy economy as did Republican Trump. Trump's contention that he inherited a mess was just another lie aimed at validating his "I will save America" mantra. Under Obama the economy was consistently growing as the unemployment numbers consistently fell. Trump's contention that he is passing on a great foundation to Biden is assilly as it is false. The US is in far worse shape today than it was when Trump became President and Trump has to accept at least part of the blame. We will all see the truth in the months to come - we have to hope that some, or many of those people whobelieved the lies will come to see the truth as well. Fingers crossed
The Trump departure
Tuesday 19th of January 2021 04:38:32 AM
For a guy who has pushed "make America respected again", "make America great again" Trump leaves the Whitehouse in ignominious fashion. The greatness of the United States starts with one of its greatest gifts to humanity - the peaceful transfer of power. Donald Trump has dumped on that idea. Not conceding an election when it was obvious that he lost, not having the class and grace to invite the Biden's to the Whitehouse as President Obama had done for the Trumps. Not appearing at the inauguration of Joe Biden. Acting like a spoiled child not getting what he wanted - a poor looser pouting in seclusion as his anger festers and fuels his delusions. Trump has severely tarnished not only his own reputation but that of the Presidency and indeed of the United States as a country. Happy he is soon gone - so sorry that he has done so much damage.
Monday 18th of January 2021 07:19:00 PM
In the end we ALL have to be thankful that Donald Trump turned out to be just as stupid and unqualified as we thought at the beginning. I include all those Republicans who knew this in 2016 as well as Democrats. Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Kayleigh McEnany, Mitt Romney, to name a few. Too bad that media like Fox and Newsmax are still in stoking the Trump base mode to keep their viewers (in the case of Fox) or gain viewers (as Newsmax). Hannity, Ingraham, Levin, Limbaugh, and the like have painted themselves with the Trump brush and continue to do so. Hopefully they will join those that refused to believe the Titanic could sink when it hit the iceberg. They believed the hype that the ship couldn't sink. It did. Belief in that untruth led to the slow response that led to so much loss of life.
Saturday 16th of January 2021 05:23:06 PM
Abraham famously said "You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time but you cant fool all the people all of the time". Those words are as true today as when Lincoln said them. However, political leaders have learned and we in the US abruptly learned in the past few years - one does not need to fool all the people all of the time. One just needs to fool ENOUGH people all of the time. In a divided democracy like the US that means you only need to fool 51% of the public and actually much less than that as a significant percentage never vote. In the US it also turns out that it is NOT just how many you can fool but where you can fool them. The electoral college means one can win the Presidency without winning the popular vote as long as the states one does win in are the right ones. Whether Trump was clever enough to figure that out or just did it as a narcist would - the truth is that Trump got elected and nearly got elected again by fooling less than 50% of the electorate. In 2016 it was enough of the electorate in the right places - in 2020 it was not; even though he got over 70 million votes. The vast majority (perhaps all) of those that invaded the Capital on January 6th BELIEVED what Trump had been telling them - AND what social media, Fox, Newsmax and other right wing pundits had also been telling them. They were the people "you can fool all of the time. "
Saturday 16th of January 2021 12:02:41 AM
President Clinton faced impeachment for a personal sexual act that apparently the majority of the voting public accepted. Clinton was re-elected. It was not what the Republicans went after him for. I remember those days and the fact that the Republicans could not get their head around the Clinton win. So one party not accepting the other is nothing new. When Obama became President, one of Mitch McConnel's first pronouncements was that his duty was "to make Obama a one term President". So much for supporting the will of the people. Prior to that Donald Trump worked hard to spread the conspiracy theory that Obama was not born in the USA. He used that lie to build political profile even though he knew it was a lie. He told us "you will not believe what we are finding". Then never told us he found nothing. In that regard it is poetic justice that conspiracy theories came back to bite him in the ass. If you live by the sword you die by the sword. The various Republican pundits can rightly claim that the Democrats did not favor Trump from the vary start. A "you started it" argument. In fact, seeing the videos of the Republicans back in 2016 most of them also did not favor him. Graham, Cruz, Romney gave scathing criticism - even his current press secretary heaped abuse on Trump. Everyone knew at the start who Trump was. They were shocked when he won the nomination. They were even more shocked when he won the election. Even Trump was shocked. Then the rot set in and Republicans reversed their positions to a degree many still cannot understand. The Democrats did not reverse their position. They knew Trump was a shit just as the Republicans had done at the beginning. The really scary thing about Trump is that he got so many people to believe his lies. I think even he began to believe them. If he had been just a little bit smarter - been more careful with those who he attacked, what lies he told, he might have won the election and in 4 years the US might well have faced the birth of a dictatorship. In the end Trump's stupidity saved US democracy.
Friday 15th of January 2021 06:52:58 PM
These days it is interesting to switch back and forth from Fox and Newsmax to MSNBC and CNN to see how different each is reacting to the events of Jan. 6th. On Fox Tucker Carlson said last night we all saw what happened at the Capital on Jan. 6th (ie believe your own eyes) then told us what it wasn't (ie believe his eyes). Seems to me he was telling me what I saw with my own eyes were lies. 1. He said it was not a racist mob. True AND false. Interviews with police have claimed some were called niggers. So some were definitely racist but no one has claimed that the entire mob was racist, nor that all the Trump supporters are racist. The point has always been that Trump has attracted the racist element and it is part (however big) of his base of support. 2. He said it was not an insurrection. Then what the hell was it? Looked like an insurrection to me. Trying to overturn an election, which is what they were trying to do is the very definition of an insurrection. 3. He said it wasn't an invasion by a mob of "dangerous white supremacist's". Did I not see the confederate flag? The guy with the Camp Auschwitz T shirt? Posts on the internet make it clear white supremacists were headed to Washington following Trumps invitation. So there WERE white supremacists in that mob. Though again, no one is saying all the mob were white supremacists. Tucker's rant was that the attack is being used as a way to clamp down on free speech as never before in American history. He is right that there is a clamp down, but it is not against "free speech". It is a clamp down on dangerous speech; speech that might lead to violence. A better safe than sorry reaction. Like in all such situations there can be overreach but that is to be expected under the circumstances. The same happened after 9/11. Trump did the same with his "Muslim ban". The January 6th situation gave many of the Trump supporters of the past a chance to clean up their act. Try to tell the truth versus tell people what they want to hear. Unfortunately Tucker continued with the old party line and chose not to do so.
The fundamental fact is quite simple. In a world where a person can and DOES tune in to one media outlet and therefore ONLY hears one opinion there is a danger if that outlet does not tell the truth. Newsmax is NOT going to tell its viewers that there are convincing countervailing arguments to points they make. They don't want people tuning into other networks. If you only watch Newsmax your view of what is going on is completely different from the person who watches CNN. Same if you watch Hannity, Ingraham, Levin, Carlson on Fox. Switching back and forth from Hannity and Rachel Maddow one is in two different countries. The problem of the Trump supporter is that many of them ONLY listened to him and made a point of NOT listening to any arguments contrary to what he was pitching. He encouraged them to believe only him calling all opposition as fake news and enemy of the people. At one point even Fox suffered his ire. The Chinese communist government does the same. They stifle and outright block any views that do not suit them. Russia goes as far as assonating opposition. It's all about control the message. If you control the message you control the people.
Thursday 14th of January 2021 07:33:03 PM
History teaches us the past can help predict the future. It is said "if we don't learn from history we are destined to repeat it". It is also said "history repeats itself"? Truths we often choose to forget. We have the luxury of knowing the history of Germany and the rise of Hitler. How an advanced Western Christian country could in a few short years fall pray to a madman who led the country to some of the greatest crimes in human history. Years from now we will see the history of how a man like Donald Trump could take the worlds greatest democracy - also largely Christian - to the brink of turning that democracy into an authoritarian state. And, like Germany, the starting point was a democratic election. Perhaps some history will cover foreign influence via the internet - false stories planted the Russians or Chinese or others. But that will only be a small part of the story. Much more time will be devoted to the reality that Trump was supported by others along the way - others who gave that support for their own reasons that enabled Trump. In fact if that support had not been there Trump would never have succeeded. The same was true for Hitler. Much of the blame has been directed towards the Republican Party and "enablers" like Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Jim Jordan and the like. As history will show is that was only one side of the equation - and not the most important side in my view. Worse was the media that supported Trump as that also supported the Republican Trump supporters. If that media had not been prepared to fuel the Trump band wagon and help spread the exaggerations and outright lies, the Republican supporters would have moderated their support accordingly. So the real blame must go to the media that stood to gain - largely a financial gain - from Trump. Rupert Murdoch will not come out unscathed. Nor the architect of Fox "news" Roger Ailes who correctly identified a potential audience that the mainstream media was not covering. The fact that the mainstream did not cater to that audience was simply that it was an audience of grievance, open to conspiracy theories and NOT of news. Ailes was right and Fox made a lot of money out of it. And still does. Then comes the happy Fox stooges who made out like bandits. Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and the like. Hannity will be one of the figures who will suffer the worst disgrace as he was an unabashed supporter even after the Capital insurrection of January 6, 2021. Though not the brightest tool in the shed, one has to admit that supporting lies can generate substantial personal gain. It will be interesting to see how the Newsmax people come out - and of course internet platforms as well. Also history will show that there was a prelude to all of this. Extreme right wing pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin who made a nice living fueling gradience, anger and making wild accusations. They laid the groundwork for the Trump era. They proved there was a market for nutty views, conspiracy theories, and general bullshit. Blame also has to be laid on them.
The cancer is still there
Wednesday 13th of January 2021 10:39:04 PM
Trump is impeached. His support base has not been. Worse, the lies are still being promulgated on social media, and media like Fox and Newsmax. It is still being promulgated by certain members of Congress so the cancer is still there. O Anon still exists as the rather stupid congress member from CO Lauren Boebert has made clear with her crazy tweets. Matt Gaetz from Florida still makes false claims. Trump has not conceded nor corrected the false claims he has been pushing. There are still nutcases keeping the nonsense going.
Wednesday 13th of January 2021 07:57:16 PM
Watching the impeachment hearings today I agree with the gentleman from Wisconsin, A Republican. He is right. Most of the people at the Trump rally on Jan 6 were protesters who did not invade the Capital and who fear what a Joe Biden government will do versus a Trump win. The problem is WHAT do they fear and WHY?Just listen to Hannity, Ingraham, Dobbs, Limbaugh some members of Congress etc. and we are told that the Democrats are a bunch of commies who want a totalitarian dictatorship and remove all freedoms from the American people. The Democrats will take everyone's guns, etc etc. These should be obvious lies but as they are repeated over and over again on places like Fox news and now Newsmax and all over the internet they are believed. That President has stated the same lies as the truth AND continues to attack the electoral process saying he won the election when he did not. He has built a house of lies and now it is falling in upon him. He has himself to blame. Meanwhile the Democrats have a dilemma. They have a bigger base than Trump and that base wants action taken. Its not just Trump that has a voter base. AND do they just let slide the obvious seriousness of what Trump and his followers have done? Should there not be consequences? Trump has gotten away with so much that past norms are no longer today's norms. They may be right that the only way to correct the rot is face it head on and impeach. The problem America faces is places like Fox STILL throw out attacks and lies that do not help the situation. The divide is still encouraged by the media - both right and left. BUT they are not equal because the right wing media is the one telling the vast majority of the exaggerations and outright lies. NO the USA is not going to become a communist state. No the borders are not going to be wide open, no guns are not going to be taken away and the second amendment is not going to be ended. Freedom is not going to end. China is not going to take over America. However what might happen is more healthcare options, focus on climate change, better covid response, respect for our allies and a host of things that do not amount to a dramatic change in the life us Americans have been living for so long. All this talk of "radicle socialist" plots are just right wing bullshit that have as much truth to them as that the election was stolen. The real tragedy of America - and perhaps the world - is that bullshit is so easy to foster and people believe some pretty crazy things. No matter what we do - who is right and who is wrong - we are stuck in that reality.
Tuesday 12th of January 2021 07:33:36 PM
The Solution to the current situation is simple. If Jim Jordan, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruse and other strong Trump supporters came out and said "we had reason to believe the election had serious problems, perhaps significant fraud happened but after looking deeply into the situation found that no claims were serious enough to change the result of the election and we are therefore sure that Joe Biden did in fact win the election fairly and we support the decision of the majority of the American people - the threats and the divide would soon dwindle. Of of course if President Trump said the same that would be what is really needed. That President Trump has not, nor it seems will not say that is the fuel that is driving the anger against him from the Democrats, some Republicans and the Corporations. Fox news, Newsmax and the Trump base can point fingers all they want, spin all they want, offer equalivancies to Black Lives Matter or whatever but in the end the truth is that unlike elections in the past that were far more close, in all cases the looser conceded and the peaceful transfer of power happened with no fear of riots and insurrection. Trump has neither conceded nor admitted his loss. In fact he continues to say he won. By doing so he continues to feed the lies and maintains the divide in the country. No matter how you cut it - spin it - it is Trump that is the divider.
Tuesday 12th of January 2021 06:49:20 PM
Spin Spin Spin, The fallout from the Trump insurrection will offer great educational lessons to the marketer, political pundit, and anyone interested in branding. As I discovered from the days working with big stars like Sting, The Police etc, major companies are super concerned NOT to get themselves into potential consumer loss by being seen as supporting anything that might be considered negative or controversial. There is a lengthy clause in every sponsorship and endorsement contract between stars (music, sports, TV, movies, whatever) and a corporation. There are famous stories of drink companies, shoe companies etc cancelling contracts due to associations that the brand might consider as potential problems. Banks, PGA and an array of brands cancelling Trump after the Capitol situation is very much that. It is NOT some conspiracy on the left to silence those on the right. In fact many big CEOs, company directors, are Republicans and many probably voted for Trump as he was the Republican candidate. It has always been the case that these corporations donate huge funds to both parties. Many are known to donate more to the Republicans as that party has always been seen as more sympathetic to the rich than the Dems. The Trump mantra of cutting regulation was aimed at pleasing the corporations - so were the tax cuts. So it does not fly to say Corporations are anti Trump - or anti Republican. Meanwhile, whatever happened to the "drain the swamp?" Many of Trump hires came from what he called the swamp. One of the great mysteries is how the Trump base (largely of the lower incomes) could go for a guy who was so obviously out for the rich of which he was personally a great example. How he got people to vote against their own interests will be studied for years to come. Meanwhile the problem is that in so many cases "you are damned if you do and you are damned if you don't". Like the current debate over impeachment. If no action is taken does that mean one inadvertently gives license to political figures knowingly spreading falsehoods and paying no price for it? Or does it further divide the country? In fact it does both so what is one to do? There are good arguments on both sides and there are therefore no good answers.
Tuesday 12th of January 2021 02:35:44 AM
Fox is under attack from the even more right wing conspiracy platform Newsmax. Interesting if not so damaging to the country. Meanwhile Hannity proves that if Trump is a shit so is he, and just as ignorant. I guess he is stuck having supported Trump for so long its hard to change now - especially when another network is trying to steel your audience. He never had a moral compass anyway nor a sense of patriotism for his country so he keeps on with Trumpish positions and his attacks on anything associated with the Democrats. One has to wonder when and if Rupert Murdoch will at some point realize the damage his Fox channels have helped foster and pull the plug from the Hannity types. Perhaps the advertisers will wake up and pull their ads. That would definitely get Rupert's attention. Money talks.
Monday 11th of January 2021 10:23:30 PM
Do we remember the ISIS guy that back in 2016 said ISIS does not need to attack the USA as Trump will do that for us?
Monday 11th of January 2021 09:42:43 PM
At the heart of the problem dividing the United States is down to the definition of terms. As Lenin once said 'if you can define the terms you are 9/10ths of the way towards winning the argument. I have thought of myself as a "conservative". When I lived in England I was often accused of having "extreme right wing views". Those views were a belief in "free enterprise". Channel 4 TV even did a documentary on me and my views where I said just that. Meanwhile as a journalist of the music paper Melody Maker once explained to me - you believe in free enterprise and Capitalism so that makes you a Nazi. We know that Nazis hate Jews so that makes you anti sematic. In England in the 1970s-80s they too got their definitions mixed up. Actually that journalist could not define either Socialism or Capitalism, she just knew one was bad and the other good - or that was what she thought she was supposed to believe. It took a strong willed Prime Minister like Margaret Thatcher to change that and reclaim the language. Being a conservative normally means small government, lower taxes, strong defense, etc. It has come to include anti-abortion, Climate Change denial, anti gun control and various religions beliefs- and more recently pro Trump and such things as not wearing a mask to counter Covid 19. These new elements are not right-left issues. In the process the word "Conservative" has been changed. At the same time the word "liberal" changed as well. In the USA many now see the word "liberal" as something bad. Strange indeed for a country that calls its political system a "liberal democracy". We also now see the reverse of what I experienced in England; Socialism was now bad and Capitalism good. As it is now defined I am now not a conservative. So when we hear various media outlets talking about Socialism or Conservativism, radical socialist views, conservative views depending on ones position on the political spectrum those words have completely different meanings. So of course we are a divided nation. We speak different languages thinking we are talking the same one. For instance, the latest banning of tweets was NOT against "conservative views" - they were against views that could lead or encourage those that might resort to violence. Whatever one's view of Trump, one can not deny that his denial of the election results and pushing dangerous untrue lies about that election led to the Capital invasion of January 6. The shock of what he encouraged - or more bluntly - incited, caused many to rethink and see what they had chosen not to see. Unfortunately some media still have chosen not to see and still see the world in a different language. They choose to believe (or say they believe even when they know its not true) "alternative facts". Until we speak the same language - believe and SPEAK the same facts - we will remain divided.
Monday 11th of January 2021 06:49:53 PM
I hope it dawns on all the Trump supporters that if they thought Trump was so great why did he do something so stupid as hold that January 6 event? If he had been smarter during the Covid pandemic, worn a mask, - so many simple things - he would have won the election legitimately. If he had been more careful with his tweets. It would not have taken much. Once he lost the election the future for him could still have been bright. He could have been a powerful king maker, or run for President again. But he chose to be stupid and blow it. Lets face it, not smart for a guy that thinks he is so smart. Of course its nothing new. He never was a great business man. Without his father's money he would have remained small time. His casinos went bankrupt. His University was a scam. He was such a bad businessman that he was right to hide his tax returns. If he had released them we would have seen how bad he really was and how many of his claims were really complete fabrications. Out of all this it is so clear that Donald Trump is no bright guy. He is no savior. No Genius. Best words? obviously not. A winner? wrong again. History will say that more than anything he was lucky and the power of social media and cultural changes in the US happened at the right time to help him. Economic success was little to do with him, it had already started during the Obama years. What did he actually accomplish? As history will show, not very much. Getting out of treaties that made things worse for the US are not successes. Is America more respected now than prior to the Trump presidency? Only in Trump's head. I travel overseas often and no way has Trump elevated the standing of America - just the opposite. I cannot say that Trump is stupid (even though I want to) but at the same time I cannot say that he is smart. So what I would say is that Trump is of average intelligence with a high degree of arrogance possibly as a cover for deep insecurity- worst of all he is actually mentally sick. He fooled a lot of people who should have known better. Many of those did see him for he was at the beginning then chose to support him blindly once he became President. We have video of those people who will have a hard time living down the past. The final fact is Trump should never have been President, January 6 gave us the final reason why.
Monday 11th of January 2021 06:08:18 PM
One of the great tragedies of the human experience is that it is rare that difficult decisions are made until a disaster happens that makes it patently obvious to everyone that a difficult decision has to be made. In the past people knew that buildings were not built to withstand an earthquake but the cost of making them safe was expensive so most preferred to put it off telling themselves it will all be ok. Then a big one hit and many were killed then building codes were passed. Many regulations of today were created to deal with death and disasters that could no longer be put off. Climate Change will be one of the next ones. It will take a disaster that cannot be denied or conspiracy theoriyed away to finally make us wake up to what should be obvious right now. Today opposition is correct that it will cost tons of money, meaning probably higher taxes, more government intervention AND of course it hits certain big company pocket books (like coal and oil), The events of the Trump insurrection looks like it will be one of those disasters that finally made people wake up. So many books came out by reputable journalists and the like - and even major Republicans spoke out in the 2016 election including Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruse, Mitt Romney etc. The last four years saw many hide concerns and bury their heads in the sand or simply looked out for their own career or money making interests thinking it will not be so bad. Its just what the Germans did in the early 1930s, Who wants to think things wont turn out alight if some of what you believe in happens like trains running on time in Germany and conservative judges appointed to the bench in the USA? One thing that often happens with autocrats is they begin to believe their own bullshit and begin to think they are above the law and can do no wrong, and then go a bridge too far. Hitler did it. If he had not invaded Russia, or turned the German army towards Stalingrad instead of taking Moscow history might be very different. Japan did it. Pearl Harbor was a mistake and a bridge too far that ended that regime. On January 6 Trump did it. Many of his supporters finally woke up. History books will say that his bridge too far saved democracy in the USA.
Monday 11th of January 2021 12:24:44 AM
Fox and Newsmax are claiming the social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook are restricting speech from the right. From what I see that is not the case. Right leaning views are all over the internet with no restriction even on Twitter. What Twitter has done is restrict speech they consider potentially dangerous. The point is that claiming the election was fraudulent with no credible evidence - evidence that has been dismissed over and over by over 60 courts of law - does not constitute right wing views. Such views are lies that may lead to violence. views that support traditional Republican values, small government, strong military, law and order, etc are on the internet right now and suffer no restrictions. Meanwhile if a left wing group encouraged violence it too would be taken down. The issue is responsibility. Both right and left can encourage violence. Free speech can go too far. The danger for Twitter and Facebook is the potential of laws coming in that open them up to being sued. Meanwhile there is plenty of media for any point of view to listen to or watch. If you are right wing there is Fox, right wing pundits all over radio, Newsmax and other outlets. Plenty of places to go to hear what you want to hear with little to make one believe there are other views that one should consider.
The real problem
Sunday 10th of January 2021 08:24:26 PM
We have a problem. As media like Fox and other right wing supporters say 'what are we to do with the 75 million that voted for Trump?'Actually that is NOT the problem. Truthfully much of that 75 million has been lied to for too long causing them to believe things that are factually and provably untrue. It is not just their fault. They have been told they are "patriots" and supporting Trump is the patriotic thing to do. They have been told that the Democrats eat babies and other wild insane stuff. No wonder they are passionate about supporting Trump. Their blame is therefore more about closing themselves off from the truth - by only listening to one point of view without the intellectual curiosity to hear countervailing arguments. As Mitt Romney said the way to fix the problem is to tell them the truth. Problem is, it is not that simple. There is media that has seen the advantage of guiding an audience to tune into them. Trump was right that "the media is the enemy of the people" - problem is he chose the wrong media. Lets face realty for a second. Suppose there had been no Fox 'News' with Hannity, Ingraham, Watters, Levin, Judge Jeanine, Lou Dobbs and the like and no Newsmax or the internet all of whom gave exposure to the Trump's wild claims of conspiracy, fraudulent election, radical socialism and "fake news". America would not be so divided nor would the Capital invasion have happened. Now we see on Fox their attempt to keep the divide going - its what makes them money. We also see them looking over their shoulder at other networks wanting to cash into the Fox audience. This will force them to maintain and even double down on their Trumpish views. It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall in the Fox board room as they discuss the threat from networks going further to the right. On one hand they are pleased at social sites banning right wing views as that could eliminate some competition for their market (of course they don't say so), but they are loosing Trump who was good for their ratings. So the real issue facing the US and democracy in general is on one hand how do you keep freedom of speech and at the same time keep media outlets in a capitalist society tethering themselves to the truth? There are no good answers. Whatever one does can lead to unintended consequences.
The Trump base
Saturday 9th of January 2021 08:50:51 PM
Interesting bit of news. Donald Trump was surprised at how "low class" and "stupid" his followers were that he saw invade the Capital building. One would have thought he would have seen them at his rallies but it seems that cameras up close gave him a better picture of what his followers actually looked like. I don't blame him for being surprised. From all the video I saw and hearing them talk to reporters it was pretty clear that these were not America's brightest. None of them looked like the types that his daughter's brand was selling to, nor did they look like potential guests at any of his hotels, and certainly not his golf courses. "his people"? I don't imagine we are going to see Trump start building low cost housing. How "his people" ever imagined Trump was for them will be one of the great mysteries of the future. NONE of his business activities have ever catered to the type of people we saw invade the Capital building. "You can fool some of the people all of the time". Meanwhile interesting to see the Newsmax is going after the Fox audience saying they are now the true place to support Trump and hear the facts ("alternative facts") that they want to believe.
Saturday 9th of January 2021 05:07:41 AM
In November 75 or so million people voted for Donald Trump and 82 or so million for Joe Biden. If that same election was held today in the aftermath of the Capitol invasion that number would be much less for Donald Trump. It is a mistake to think that 75 million are the supporters of Trump. At least half of them would have voted for any Republican who headed the ticket. Republicans vote for Republicans most of the time even if they held the nose and voted for a guy like Trump. Now that they have seen the true colors that would no longer be true. The reality is that Trump does have dedicated followers even if they drank the cool aid so they can not be written off. The real number might be as high as 30 million which is significant but no way close to 75 million. Of those probably half will never come to believe anything approximating the truth. They are stuck in believing what they believe and nothing is going to change that. As Trump said - he could shoot someone and still have support. Joe Biden can say all he wants that he is dedicated to the idea of uniting the country - and he means it. But there is no way he is going to convert the committed Trump people. This is especially true because there are media outlets and right wing pundits who have a vested interest in perpetuating the anger the Trump people are told they should have. Division I am afraid, is with us to stay.
Spin, impeachment and other things
Saturday 9th of January 2021 03:45:36 AM
It may seem a waste of time and a further division between right and left BUT there is a good reason to impeach Donald Trump. The reason works for both the Democrats AND the Republicans who might be thinking of themselves running for President in four years. An impeachment can lead to the prevention of Trump from ever holding Government office. That means he would not be legally able to run for President ever in the future leaving other Republicans able to do so. It also would make it difficult for him to retain as much influence on the Republican party as he has now. Meanwhile the right wing media has already started the spin. Fox with the Hannity Ingraham types are already obscuring what happened. One crazy idea with no proof at all is that it was left wing ANTIFA types that might have been the invaders of the Capitol. There is plenty of proof that it was indeed the Trump supporters alone that staged the attack. They also say the tech companies banning Trump and his supporters is an attack on freedom of speech - which it is. BUT then again what are they to do? If they knowingly allow falsehoods to be spread widely on their platforms they open themselves to culpability in the negative results that happen. In effect they could become party to incitement to anti American acts like we saw at the Capitol and have been espoused by President Trump and his supporters. Trump has himself been pushing to change the law to allow someone (like him) to sue if they feel they are not allowed to push whatever ideas they want to push - true or false. The tech companies do not want such a law to come into effect but at the same time they have come to realize that some sort of restrictions might be necessary. They prefer to themselves choose those restrictions rather than the government. Ingraham, Hannity, Levin, Dobbs and others are in the business of "alternative facts". Its the basis of their business. Trump may be leaving the White House but there is still a big audience they can tap into so there is little incentive for them to want to change - why discover truth when it will loose you money? Besides other networks already do that so why be one of many? Better to continue giving exposure to lies as that is where your bread is buttered and (though growing) there are few competitors. We will not be seeing much if any change in those Fox type networks. The sad thing is that the audience that listens only to them exclusively will continue to believe the bullshit they believe now. We will continue to live in a divided society because the society listens to two different points of view and never the twain shall meet.
Friday 8th of January 2021 05:48:33 PM
Now that the days of Trump are nearly over, all the talk about how much was accomplished during the Trump 4 years will hopefully be brought to light. Of course there were some positive things but many that are credited to Trump would have been credited to whoever was President at the time. I never saw any evidence that the tax cuts actually did much to help the middle and lower income groups. The flood of companies to bring jobs back to the US did not happen. Those companies that did move to bring some jobs did so for reasons nothing to do with Trump. Automation was the driver of those jobs. The new NAFTA deal was only slightly better than the last one so all the fuss about NAFTA being the worst deal ever was just political theatre. Meanwhile Trump never knew the details of it anyway. Just like the Iran deal. He never knew its contents either and in fact Iran is now much further ahead in nuclear development precisely because Trump cancelled the deal and never moved to replace it with a better one. Getting out of the environmental accord? Leaving the WHO? what did those moves accomplish. Then there is the wall. Not a bad idea in my opinion but highly overblown and Mexico was and did not pay for the small amount of fencing he actually got erected. The talk of the military was mainly fake news and Trump's idea of a strong military was as relevant as the French building the Maginot line. He was thinking about fighting World War 2 and meanwhile did little to face the real threat of the digital age which is the future. It costs billions to build an aircraft carrier but only a million to sink it. What happened to eliminating Obama Care and replacing it with something better? Replace never came up. Of course that also led to the disaster of the Covid crisis. Health - no matter which way you cut it this was an unmitigated failure and it is Trump's fault. Then there is China. What was gained? Higher costs to the American consumer and meanwhile China was given carte blanch to set up its own trade deals as the US opted out. Incredibly stupid and short sighted. The only way US farmers made out was the Trump payments to farmers (paid by US tax payers) to keep them from going broke. Sounds pretty much like socialism to me. Government not picking winners and loosers? yea sure. And China did NOT pay the tariffs, US importers did who then passed the higher costs on to the US consumer. Trump kept saying China was paying the tariffs which was a lie - is still a lie and will always be a lie. North Korea? All that was accomplished was making Kim more accepted by his own people and making the US look stupid. There was never going to be a war so all that talk was bullshit. Peace in the Middle East? Still no deal with the Palestinians and now even further away from a possibility than ever before. Peace with countries far away doesn't mean anything especially as the US gave them what they really wanted to get the peace deal. Weapons, off the sanctions list, acceptance of a land grab etc. Moving the embassy? how is that an achievement? He never showed his tax returns. He never gave up his ownership of companies. He played golf more than any other President in history even though he said he would not have time to play golf and criticized Obama for doing it. He complained about how unfair he was treated, forgetting his consistent espousing and pushing his Obama not born in the US conspiracy theory. His loyalty to Putin will have us scratching our heads in wonder until the truth comes out. Must be the reason he has hidden his taxes for so long. Selling out the Kurds? A black mark on US foreign policy forever. The stock market? Well it did not tank when Joe Biden was elected. In fact it went up to a new record. Elimination of regulations? Which ones? Most will come back to haunt us. Regulations were put in place for a purpose - usually to correct a danger and prevent ones in the future from lessons we learned from disasters or dangers of the past. Meanwhile all the bullshit about Joe Biden raising taxes, socialism etc is just that - bullshit. Of Course taxes have to go up. No country can give away so much money to save its people and jobs during a pandemic and imagine there are no financial consequences. If Trump was elected he too would have to raise taxes. He would have no choice. Meanwhile all the nonsense about "radicle socialist programs" being espoused by the Democrats are at best gross exaggerations and show a complete lack of understanding to the meaning of the words. Just more political theatre. Of course BOTH Democrats and Republicans are prone to exaggerate, that's the nature of Politics. BUT during the Trump years the Republicans encouraged and forced by Trump took the exaggerations to a new level that included outright fabrications and "alternative facts". Trump proved over and over that one could get away with lying and lying made good TV. The message resonated with pundits who found themselves a new larger audience resulting in more money to them personally. The word "News" grew a new meaning. Say what ever gives you a bigger audience - and keeps that audience coming back for more - that is the new meaning of the word "news". ;'
Friday 8th of January 2021 04:25:45 AM
Jan 7, 2021, I was interested today to see what Fox would say about yesterdays events at the Nation's Capitol. During the day there was some attempt to face realty until Tucker Carlson came on, then Hannity and later Ingraham. Fox then descended into the usual telling the audience what they want to hear, NOT what they should hear. Bend the truth and deflect. Keep your audience angry so they continue to watch your station. Focus on the mistakes on the other side so you don't have to comment on the ones on your side. Its a way to lie without actually lying. The problem now is that Hannity is so used to lying that he does it without thinking. There are laws to prevent lying about a product - truth in advertising laws - you can't yell fire in a movie theatre when there is no fire - BUT you can say what you want in politics. We call it free speech. That's the way it needs to be. The problem is that most of those Trump supporters listen to programming that does not tell them the truth so of course they are angry. BECAUSE they are told to be angry and they are fed crap to make them angry. As we can see on TV when they are asked by a reporter to comment on what they are doing or why they are at a Trump event they done WANT to hear the truth if it is not what they have already decided in the truth. Truth is then fake news. When Fox had the temerity to tell the truth about Biden winning Arizona it turned out to be news the Fox audience did NOT want to hear so they switched to other networks who did tell them what they wanted to hear. That is the dilemma Fox have gotten themselves into. To make their money and keep their advertisers they are stuck catering to an audience what wants to be given "alternative facts". The saddest thing is that most of these people think they are patriots. What they don't realize is that Trump has perverted the word to really mean patriotism is not allegiance to the US Constitution but allegiance to him personally. That is the basis of fascism. That the right wing media has helped him do that is to their everlasting shame.
Pundits are equally to blame
Friday 8th of January 2021 02:34:51 AM
Interesting to see what Fox is doing now that Trump has screwed himself. They cant just change course - especially Hannity and the other pundits who have supported Trump's wild claims. Hannity and his fellow pundits have helped Trump spread the lies and infect his supporters with untrue beliefs. They share in the blame. They know better and did it for the money so that makes them even worse than Trump - who lets face it is mentally sick. The thrust is now Trump supporters are not so bad because Black Lives Matter people did the same a few months ago. The difference is this. Trump is President. Trump had a responsibility to all Americans. The Black Lives People are off the street and reacting to what they see on those streets. The Trump people are reacting to the lies that the President and his media tell them. Violence is wrong on both sides but they are not equal or the same.
Thursday 7th of January 2021 09:17:36 PM
I never liked Ted Cruz but even so I have to admit that his continued support for the overthrow of the election (which lets face it was exactly what he was doing) was surprising. The good news is that any thought that he has a chance to run for President ended yesterday. The same goes for Hawley. Hopefully the Republican Party has been jolted to look in the mirror and get back to the basics that they once believed in.
Insurrection at the Capitol
Thursday 7th of January 2021 08:58:45 PM
It will be interesting to see what the right wing pundits say as well as the avid Trump supporters when the word gets out that the National Guard was not there BECAUSE Trump would not send it. News that he was watching TV of the events and got excited to see his banners waving at the Capitol AND inside it has already been circulating. The truth that has been out there since even before Trump's election is now being taken seriously. Its a shame that jolt like we saw on TV at the Capitol was what it took to make people wake up about this lying President whose talk about make America great really has been about 'make Trump great. However, the truth is what he accomplished was letting all those who were fooled into believing him see just how full of shit he really is. Many of us were thinking the saying "the truth will out" was no longer a truism we could believe in. Better late than never.
Capitol Building disaster
Wednesday 6th of January 2021 08:27:20 PM
Trump, Trump supporters, Hannity, Inghram, and Fox pundits, Newsmax, Lou Dobbs watch your TV set and see what you have wrought. Fuck you!
Exaggerations are the food of politics
Monday 4th of January 2021 08:03:11 PM
For four years both Republicans and Democrats have had to put up with statements from the opposing side that could be assumed to be exaggerations as normally happen in politics. Republicans accuse the Democrats of "radicle views" soft on China, defense etc. Democrats accuse Trump of dangerous anti democratic and impeachable offenses. Both accuse the other of failures regarding the Covid 19 situation. All of us can assume the other exaggerates even though these days the exaggerations seem to have increased in severity. No the world is not going to end when Joe Biden becomes President. Now we hear the one hour tape of President Trump trying to get Georgia to recount the votes (for the fourth time) in his favor. "I need 11,780 votes". This we cannot write off as an exaggeration and what should expect in the messy world of politics. This confirms what books and critics of Trump have been saying all along. He is really a danger to the American democratic system. We are lucky that he did not get reelected this time. For those of us who think "it couldn't happen here" we need to look back to Germany in 1933. Many Germans at that time thought Hitler's worst instincts were exaggerations and "getting the trains to run on time" was a good thing so they could put up with a few crack pot ideas. A few years later they could not control those crack pot ideas and they became state policy. He too used conspiracy theories and lies to make his case. Trump's phone call a few days ago proves just how dangerous Trump really is and what he could do if given the chance. It could happen here. The USA has had a narrow escape.
Saturday 2nd of January 2021 05:34:33 PM
Interesting news. Trump supporters are twice as likely to contract Covid 19 as non Trump supporters. Makes sense as Trump supporters are also more likely not to wear masks or social distance. Seems a strange political strategy to encourage your supporters to get sick and possibly die.
Socialism and Allies
Thursday 31st of December 2020 06:14:26 PM
With all the Republican talking points about "radical socialist programs" we should remember that almost ALL our major allies have socialized medicine - some more than others. France provides free health care to everyone and very low medicine costs. As a foreigner, if I visit a doctor in France it costs me just under $30. Medicine I buy there costs one tenth of the cost in the USA. England has the NHS which provides healthcare to everyone. The Conservative Party Prime Minister caught Covid and stated just a few months ago that the NHS saved his life. Israel, Germany, Scandinavia, Canada, Japan etc etc ALL provide government healthcare. Meanwhile ALL also support the fact of global warming and most are doing something about it. So if these concepts are "radicle" are only so in the USA.
Meanwhile the USA also has socialized healthcare if you are over 65.
Media divisions today
Wednesday 30th of December 2020 05:26:30 PM
Its hard enough to understand the huge division between the Trump/ Republican side and the Democratic side. The best way to understand it is to look at the similar division in the news. On one side there is Fox and the Right wing AM Radio pundits and on the other is CNN, MSNBC and the general news channels (dubbed the mainstream media by the "right") To understand the media division one must realize that in essence both CNN etc and Fox etc are in the advertising business. That's where they make their money, fund their business, make their profits. On the "mainstream media side" there has always been the assumption that part of providing news is providing truth at the same time. The "News" was not always looked upon as a profit center - rather it was a service to the public. Slanted perhaps but still basically trying to stay in the truth column. So CNN, BBC, MSNBC, Newsy, mainstream channels basically divide up the 'news' or truth seeking audience. On the other hand Fox realized that if they also followed providing news to the truth seeking audience they would further divide that audience and indeed face competition from like minded outlets. They would be entering an already saturated market being catered for. Not an attractive business strategy. They saw that that there was a whole other potential audience that was not being catered for. Call them disenchanted, or conspiracy prone, or angry, or ill informed, or racist, whatever but they constituted perhaps 30 to 40 percent of the market that could watch TV. So catering to that audience would mean that a network like Fox could effectively own that large chunk of the audience. For advertisers that was very attractive. Since the Fox audience has included the Trump people it means their news will focus on stories that appeal to that audience and fit the agenda and statements coming from the Trump supporters. The Fox approach was simple. Tell people what they want to hear and they will tune into your programming. Because Trump has consistently dismissed anything negative about Russia Fox pushes the dangers of China as the issue not Russia. The Muller Report becomes "the Russia hoax". Lockdowns are looked upon as intrusions into peoples freedom and destructive of the economy. Mask wearing is challenged. Dr. Fauci is criticized. Little is spent talking about the mounting Covid deaths. Pretty outrageous statements indicating that the world will come to an end if the Democrats control things become regular talking points. Go after the son of President Elect Biden but no mention of the Trump kids actually in government. Regular talk about voter fraud etc etc. Basically Fox is out to keep its chosen audience and thereby keep its ratings and keep its advertisers happy. What is amusing is that once Fox dabbled in some truth telling (like Biden won Arizona) that pissed off Trump who then steered his supporters to other "more agreeable" outlets like Newsmax. So the "right wing" audience that was heretofore the domain of Fox now was being divided up by other outlets looking for that same audience. To beat Fox one way was to be even more Trumpish than Fox. The problem with all of this is that whatever one wants to believe - there is a channel that will tell you that you are absolutely right and everyone else is wrong "fake news" or whatever. If one watches only that one channel that tells you what you want to hear then one becomes convinced and confirmed in one's views. That is the state of play in the US today and the basis of the deep division in the country. One side does not hear what the other side is hearing and therefore lives in their own bubble - a bubble of their own making and one that the media people out for a buck see as a way to gain advertising revenue. Add to this that the Trump era has also improved ratings of the anti trump media. Who would watch the news if things are normal? The crazier the news the more likely all people of any political belief will tune in to see what is going on. For me, my hope is the Biden era will be less newsworthy. Not so good for Fox, CNN, MSNBC; the right AND the left. Perhaps out of all of this "truth" will once again become important.
Friday 25th of December 2020 06:54:12 PM
Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Trump plays golf
Monday 21st of December 2020 11:57:37 PM
In spite of the opinions voiced by pundits like Tucker Carlson, Mark Levin, Hannity etc etc the world is not going to come to an end if the two Democrats win the Georgia election. All the talk of "radical socialist policies" are at best gross exaggerations. Even if the Democrats win, battles in the Senate will continue as always. Things change slowly in the US no matter who is in charge. Perhaps that's a good thing and what the framers wanted. In any case Biden is a centrist and the Democrats have divisions within them.
Marketing lessions of the Trump era.
Monday 21st of December 2020 07:56:20 PM
1. The old adage :any press is good press just spell the name right. Seems staying in the news constantly keeps others from getting coverage. 2. Repeat a lie over and over and it becomes accepted as truth3. Define the terms (as Lenin said) and you are 9/10ths on the way to winning the argument4. People will believe what they want to believe. Truth does not matter. Religions understood this thousands of years ago. People will gravitate to who or what tells them what they want to hear. 5. If it bleeds it leads. Outrageous gets coverage. Nice guys finish last. The more outrageous the more coverage. 6. Sex sells AND gets more coverage than hacking the government. "Grab them by the Pussy moved Russia off the front page. 7. Repetition is the game or in advertising lingo "gross impressions" that's why you see commercials over and over again. Dont let people have time to forget. 8. Following from point 3: The importance of branding so all you have to do is show the logo and the message is delivered. We live in a 30 second world of information so the sound bite is what it boils down to. Get that right and you win or sell or whatever. If you have to explain, you lose. People dont have the attention span to listen to an explanation. etc. etc. etc.
China and Russia
Monday 21st of December 2020 02:52:26 AM
The important fact is what actually happens. Talk is cheap. Trump supporters seem convinced that Trump has been "tough on China" because Trump says so - and that China is the biggest danger the US faces. China is a great danger but one cannot assume what the next President will do. They state with no evidence yet that when Biden is President he will be soft on China. Such statements are just another way to discredit Bidens win. One only has to go back a couple of years to hear President Trump boast of his great relationship with China. If the Trump people were so concerned about China at the start of the Trump Presidency they certainly didn't do much about it except boast about mutual good relations. Even at the beginning of the Covid situation Trump supported China and in fact praised China and downplayed the virus. He did what China did and many other world leaders did as well. The first reaction of most leaders would be to downplay - wishful thinking perhaps but a natural reaction just the same. So Trump cant really be blamed for his initial downplaying. The problem is he never stopped even when it was obvious it was serious. Later Trump levied tariffs on China which according to most economists have only increased costs for American consumers and done little or nothing to hurt China. Trump keeps repeating that China is paying the tariffs which means he does not understand what a tariff is. US importers pay the tariffs, not China, and they end up being passed on to the American Consumer. Meanwhile the US balance of payments under Trump have increased. Did jobs come flooding back to the US. No. So much for America first. Of course the worst foreign policy blunder of Trump was terminating the TPP ceeding the field to China. China has created its own TPP with Asian and South Pacific nations. We were left out of the loop. America first? no, America left out. Has China stopped building its military? No. Has China stopped building islands in the Pacific? no. If Trump is correct that it is China and NOT Russia (he is wrong) that has just done the huge hack then it would make it also true that China has not worried itself about Trump and attacked the US in spite of Trump "being tough/" Basically Trump has not been any more tough on China than his predecessors. His daughter manufactured her products there. MAGA hats are reported to be made in China as well. The truth is China is a thorny issue no matter who is President. So much of what American consumers buy is made in China. They do steal American technology. They have trillions of US Dollars and have helped the US Stock market that Trump has so often boasted about. BUT the next President will have tough decisions to make. Vested interests both on the right and left will resist for different reasons. China is an issue and a big one. Complicated but BIG. Meanwhile Russia is also an issue. Why Trump cannot ever bring himself to criticize Putin, or react against Russian anti American actions we hope to one day find out. Its one of two things. It could be as simple as Trump really wants that Trump Moscow tower and he wants to stay in the good graces of Putin thinking of the future. In other words his motivation is for his own personal interests versus USA interests. Or the Russians have something on him. It could be that they have real dirt - sex or whatever - or that it has been Russian money that has kept his company afloat which is why he has been strongly resistant to showing his taxes. Whatever the case there can be no more question that when it comes to Russia, Trump is on their team, not ours.
Sunday 20th of December 2020 12:34:02 AM
FYI, when he was just a kooky right wing radio pundit I would listen to Mark Levin to see just how crazy he could get. He was so crazy with wild theories and complete bullshit that I never imagined even Fox news - not known for accurate reporting themselves - would give him his own TV show on the Fox network. Though I dont listen any more to Hannity (you know what he is going to say and talk about before he does it), or the Hannity wannabes like Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson - I still check out Fox and the thrust of what the network is pushing. Mark Levin however is so far in kookdom that I watch to be entertained. I fear he might even believe the crap he is pushing. No one could keep a straight face and say what he does so he must believe. He takes crazy to a whole new level - even for Fox.
Saturday 19th of December 2020 05:53:09 PM
Its hard to be angry at a person who is obviously psychologically sick. So I can no longer fume at the many Trump actions that seem so counterproductive and destructive. But at the same time I do not want that sick person running the country. The point to be angry about now is to be angry at the media that knows he is full of shit, the politicians who know that as well, yet still not only support him but push his crazy tantrums. Is it just for the money? Or is it stupidity? Guys; the election is over! 60 courts threw out all the Trump bullshit. Including the Supreme Court. The electors confirmed the election. Republican governors and other Republican officials who voted for Trump have confirmed Biden as president and there was little or no election fraud. Bill Barr, a Trump supporter also confirmed no election fraud. What more needs to be said? The only one who still thinks the election was fraudulent is Donald Trump - and he is sick. He is the political Covid 19 but worse.
Tuesday 15th of December 2020 09:25:56 PM
As we see US media people - especially on the right - talk about Chinese Students as potential spies for the Chinese government what they forget is that the Chinese Government worries that those same students might convert to the idea of democracy and become a fifth column to undermine the Communist party in China. In other words it cuts two ways. The smart US response is to focus on a way to get those Chinese students to work for the US just as the Chinese Government fears. As the Chinese Government knows, the USA can give those students more than they can get in China. Aside from the negatives those Chinese students may see in America now with all the Trump nonsense, the future should make them think the USA is the far better way to go.
The reality of Humanity
Tuesday 15th of December 2020 05:22:17 PM
The human being has believed untruths and even crazy stuff for thousands of years. For most of human history people believed the world was flat; that the sun went around the earth, if one disagreed one could be put to death. Religions espouse one God over another, one messenger, son of god, guru, whatever and build beautiful temples, cathedrals, create great art works, songs and the like to celebrate these ideas. They can't all be right - more likely they are all wrong yet they generate fervent, blind conviction and loyalty to the ideas. One of the fundamental realities of these ideas is the understanding that one must accept the idea in its entirety and NOT allow any dissension. No chink in the armor. Galileo was told to recant his discovery that the earth revolved around or he would be put to death. Today some groups in Islam believe it is the duty to kill anyone who disagrees with the tenants of the Koran, defames Mohamed etc etc. There is a reason for this - and a good one. If one allows one belief to be questioned then a second one will follow and then a third and so on. Luther questioned only one practice of the Catholic church. The indulgences. It was not long until many more ideas were questioned and this led to the Protestant reformation. Likewise authoritarian political leaders have followed the same path. Sadam, Hitler, Stalin, one can go down the list. The point is such a leader cannot admit a mistake because if he/she can make one mistake than what's to say a second one can be made etc. Get rid of anyone who disagrees becomes standard. A person who disagrees is a potential danger. Give an inch and one can loose a mile. Sound familiar? Trump is not unique it turns out. Never admitting a mistake, never apologizing, fire anyone who questions or disagrees (even ones that are almost totally loyal like Jeff Sessions, Bill Barr etc). These facts are why so many commentators, books, etc say Trump is authoritarian. He demonstrates all the traits. Now his attempt to disrupt the democratic process in the US election is further proof of the danger he represents. Meanwhile, his followers are immune to facts just as the many religions have pushed for thousands of years. It is so easy and comforting just to accept something as fact and refuse to have it challenged no matter what. Critical thinking can be confusing and unsettling. Belief is often far more comforting. People is so many cases will look for the reasons to believe and dismiss the reasons not to. Like the guy whose family of wife and 4 children are in a car crash and the wife and two children die, two survive. The guy says 'thank god for the two who survived'. What about the wife and two children that died? If god saved two why did he not save the others as well? The really stunning thing about believing stuff that is obviously so false or highly unlikely to be true is how strong such convictions that those beliefs are in fact totally true. Wars have been fought, millions killed, hatreds created, going back thousands of years. To me what is even more stunning is how there are so many really bad people over the centuries that can generate such furverant support. Hitler, Stalin, Sadam to name a few. Now even in the USA - a democratic, relatively educated, Christian, society - we see that people can fall pray to crazy stuff and follow a really bad guy. And Trump is a really bad guy, and has always been. Now more than ever he proves it. Make America Great Again? Well from what I see now its not so great today. A divided nation, rampant hatred, crazy stuff all around us. More like "Make Trump Great" and the hell with the USA and what it stands for. That a guy like Trump gets support from so many in the media (who are now just as much "mainstream" as the opposing side) and politicians in the Republican Party, and in the population generally is a really frightening thing to witness. All I can think of is Germany when Hitler was taking over. I wish I could escape from that idea - but the analogy is just too similar so I can't.
Sunday 13th of December 2020 09:31:45 PM
There are two facts that have to be at the forefront of any discussion of foreign policy. First is what my father always told me, There is a foreign foreign policy AND a domestic foreign policy. They are often not the same. Actions are often made to appease or cater to some local group to get votes. An example is Cuban Americans in Florida. The majority of those voters are strongly anti the Cuba regime so any politician that calls for normalization of relations - ending sanctions etc with Cuba is likely to lose those voters. Second, the US economic system is market oriented (or capitalistic) in spite of the many socialist programs (social security, medicare, laws about safety, individual rights etc). In such a system there is an orientation to bring costs down to enhance profits. Its the American way. One of the major costs for most businesses is the cost of labor. So if one can make a mask for 35 cents in China, or Pakistan or where ever, and the cost to make it in the US over one Dollar - then it stands to reason that company will go to the foreign source to make the mask. Thats capitalism. The only way to go around that is for the US to institute a tariff on that mask to make it the same price as one made in the US. Net effect is the cost to the American consumer is greater. That is not capitalism. Another little realized fact is that low cost products manufactured overseas help those economies and make them more capable of buying higher cost items made in the US. That's the argument for free trade. Everyone benefits overall but not in specific cases. Trying to save jobs like in the coal or steel industry where labor in the US is expensive but far cheaper overseas may sound good but it is a fools errand. Trump played on the idea of helping coal workers and various manufacturing jobs in the US. The idea was to bring jobs back to the US. It never happened. Our balance of payments increased over the Trump years. Jobs did NOT come flooding back. Tariffs were instituted but the net effect cost the American consumer NOT China. The age old Republican mantra of free trade was abandoned to US detriment. Perhaps the worst foreign policy decisions were the canceling of agreements. Trump seems to have adopted a policy of the bully - sanctions etc. As we have seen in country after country from Cuba to Iran, sanctions don't work and often strengthen regimes we are trying to hurt. Meanwhile, since he never read the Iran nuclear deal or the TPP deal but said they were terrible (because they sounded good to oppose and his believers never knew or attempted to find out the terms as well) the net effect is 1. Iran has more nuclear material now than when he took office - a lot more and 2. China has taken over and created its own TPP leaving the US out of the picture. So much for America first. Meanwhile his touted foreign policy successes relating to Israel are really in one case an arms deal (UAE) and in the case of Morocco simply giving Morocco Western Sahara which it has been fighting over for years. In the case of North Korea we got nothing for giving status to the NK leader. We got nothing in Turkey. The US is not looked as the world leader it was before he took office. Respected more? The opposite is true and anyone who travels overseas will see that first hand. Trump has made the US a joke. And now he is going after the very concept of democracy. The sooner he is out of office the better. Then we can only hope that Fox and the other right wing media will get some balls and start to show some responsibility and patriotism Wishful thinking.
Voter turn out.
Sunday 13th of December 2020 08:41:48 PM
No matter what side of the political spectrum one is on it is true that the amount of votes that Trump got was impressive. He says that this is proof that he won. In truth it proves just how polarizing he is. He generates fanatical support - at the same time as he generates fanatical hatred. The mistake he made in this election is that his base was just not big enough to deliver him a win. His polizerizing generated more that hated him than supported him. Almost 8 million in fact. It also points to the fact that during his presidency he made little or no effort to expand that base. To have done so would not have been that hard. Perhaps simply wearing a mask would have done it. It was a serious miscalculation. Lets keep in mind, given the low historical turn out there was a large gap in potential voters that was there to be had. It is not a great surprise therefore that a polarizing figure like Trump would have made turn out for BOTH sides larger than in the past so that the total turn out was super large. People who never voted before voted this time. On both sides. Trump's negative tweets, self congratulations, and ego got the better of him and came to bite him in the ass. Meanwhile the Democrats did not help themselves either - as we see from what happened down ballet. The Public rejected both - for different reasons. Trump has only himself to blame for his Presidential loss, the Democrats have only themselves to blame for their Congressional loss.
Fox on election
Sunday 13th of December 2020 02:11:26 AM
Watching Fox (which I do along with all the other media channels) I have to comment on two points that are currently being pushed. First Steve Levin finds it does not make sense that Biden would win the Presidency but the Republicans would win in the Congress. In fact it makes total sense. This election was a rejection election. On one hand, just too many (over 8 million people) did not like Donald Trump. He could have won if he had been less nasty in his tweets, fired fewer people out of picq, and wore a mask. But he couldn't help himself. Books were written about him that exposed is badness etc. Trump lost the Presidency - because of Trump pure and simple. The Republicans who were against him were not against the party, they were against him specifically. And let's face it; he is a really bad guy. On the other hand, the Democrats allowed themselves to be labeled as "socialists" akin to Cuba and Venezuela. They never corrected this rather silly view of what socialism in fact is. Worse, the Black Lives Matter people took up the "Defund the Police" slogan which scared just too many people. It will go down as the stupidest, shoot yourself in the foot, slogan of all time. Third the Portland situation and the looters gave too much visual fodder to the anti Democratic media like Fox etc. Then one might also point to the lock down situation which is not Federal, it is local and State. So what happened was on one hand get rid of Trump and have a decent guy as President BUT keep the left out of controlling the Congress so there is a check on the President. The thing that no one is talking about is just how difficult it would be to steel an election the way it has been suggested. Even in Republican controlled states. When elections are fixed in other countries it is the President/dictator who controls the power who does it. So the Dems were not in a position to do a fixing even if they wanted to. Trump, with the large number of judicial appointments and controlling the Presidency might have been able to pull it off but even the President would find it virtually impossible. The fear of many is give him another 4 years and he might find a way to do it. Which is why many voted against him.
Then there is Laura Ingraham going on about Hunter Biden. First he is under investigation and NOT accused or indeited. If the news was out that he was under investigation - when he might be totally innocent (in the US you are innocent until PROVEN guilty) it could be a repeat of the Hillary Clinton situation in the 2016 election. In that case the investigation was announced just before the election then dropped and many feel that FBI announcement was the blow that lost Clinton the election and got Trump elected. Meanwhile, if we are concerned about knowing of an investigation before an election, we might add it would be nice to see Donald Trump's tax returns. What is he hiding? Then there are the pending lawsuits he is facing in New York. What about the emoluments he never dealt with? And his children. The list is long. I should also say that I suspect that Laura Ingraham knows she is pushing bullshit which is why she has that sly smile on her face most of the time. I came to the conclusion that she saw Hannity get away with nonsense and make tons of money so she thought 'I can do that too. ' That's my theory anyway.
Friday 11th of December 2020 05:58:09 PM
The true colors of Trump have been known for a long time. Republican Senators and Congressmen knew less than 5 years ago and said so, some impassionately. Books have been written about his true nature. No mystery there. Now the true colors of the Republican party of today is also known. Not all Republicans thankfully, but enough to scare the hell out of real patriotic Americans. The world is watching and we look like shit. The rule of law? democracy? fair elections? Peaceful transfer of power? even Patriotism. Trump has made sure we have no right to tell other countries anything. Worse we Americans see a political party that we may have disagreed with from time to time but at least respected their right to have different views - now we have lost that respect. We have also seen many in the media become puppets of stupidity - and to a degree that is quite frankly insane. AND even when Biden becomes President it us going to continue for some time. Depressing. Then there are the conspiracy stories. QAnon? give me a break. Talk about stupid! If you are a QAnon believer you are an idiot. Meanwhile here is my offering for a conspiracy theory:Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox and many newspapers was married to a Chinese lady. Given Fox and their furor over the 2015 Chinese spy story relating to a Democrat - what about that wife being a spy for the Chinese government? That would explain a lot of what Fox is doing. It would mean that Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Carlson etc are working for the Chinese communist party. Hey, Q people: why dont you push that idea?
Friday 11th of December 2020 04:04:14 PM
Not long ago President Trump stated that the US was rounding the corner of the Covid issue. Turns out he was way off base. One would think that might jolt some supporters to believe that all the stories about his lies, exaggerations, fabrications and wishful thinking might be true. If one can lie about something so fundamental as the health of the nation then one can surely lie about anything else as well - like the elections. One can only hope. Meanwhile the list of Republicans and AGs supporting the attempts to overturn the election will come in useful. Now all will know who believes in democracy and who does not - who is a real Republican and who is not. It is shocking that so many would actually allow their names to join that list. Concern for reputation and posterity seem to be a thing of the past. Historians will have a lot to talk about and analyze in the future.
Republican Party today
Thursday 10th of December 2020 08:35:48 PM
I am sorry to say that I am coming to the view that the President might be worse than doctors have said - and what many books have said about him - and that he has slipped into a kind of insanity. I think he has talked himself into actually believing he won the election. The high number of losses in court and loosing the election seems to have been a huge blow to a serious narcissist who has boasted about "winning" as what he does. Meanwhile the really disturbing thing is the support coming from those around Trump. One can understand media types like Hannity still on the Trump train as it means money- big money. But what happened to Ted Cruze (after the horrible things said about his father and wife) and to Lindsey Graham and to so many other Republicans and the Republican Party itself. There must be tons of traditional Republicans (my father included) turning in their graves. And for Trump calling those that oppose his attempts to overturn the election RINOs is rich. He is hardly a Republican himself and espouses views that are nothing to do with what the Republican Party has stood for in the past. The biggest take away is how one bad guy can pervert a strong democratic system to the point one would not have believed just a few years ago. And worse: how many will go along with him. The analogy with Germany in the 1930s with the USA today is too close for comfort. I fear that those that imagine they are "patriots", defenders of the constitution etc really have no idea what they are doing and how dangerous what is going on really is. The Germans found out in just a few years - as did 50 million people that were killed. I hope we don't have to find out as they did.
The USA today
Thursday 10th of December 2020 08:08:31 PM
If one wants to know how divided the USA is today go no further than checking out CNN and MSNBC then checking out Fox. The first two focus on the virus and the Trump attempts at overturning the election. Fox focus is on Hunter Biden and a 2015 spy story about a Democrat who is on the Intelligence Committee. Fox is pro Trump in orientation so is pushing stories that might discredit the President Elect Biden and the Democratic Party so they dont have to dwell on the continued failed Trump people attempts to overturn the election. Its like watching two different countries. What is interesting from an intelligence perspective is the obvious big picture that there are governments that want to influence the US elections, or want to get secrets, or simply disrupt so America does not look so good and its model of government by comparison doesn't look much different from what some other government is doing. For Fox - the effort is to say China is the main point which makes the Russia situation that led to an impeachment of a Republican President seem less a problem. Unfortunately any intelligent person realizes that they are simply proving the point that foreign governments DO try to get to know and influence US politicians. They do to BOTH Republicans and Democrats so BOTH need to be on their guard. Fox now says that the Republicans are concerned about Representative Swalwell (a Democrat) and want him removed from the Intelligence Committee. The same thing is being said about President Trump by various Democrats. The Trump people, as clearly outlined in the Muller investigation DID in fact have questionable relationships with Russians - as we see Trump do on a video. The point is simply that both China and Russia are competitors and in many ways operate counter to US interests - each with a different agenda and raison d'etre but both potentially dangerous. If you live in Europe, and NATO and the relationship and support of the US is important then Russia looks far more dangerous than China. The reality is each can be considered adversaries but for different reasons. For the US the China relationship is much more complex than Russia given the huge dependence of US industry on China and the mutual ties that have been built up over the past few decades. Of course if you want to look at the business of spying - look at company to company spying - car companies, drug companies, - tech companies - thats where the bulk of spying occurs. Meanwhile the contention that Biden is going to be soft on China has no basis in fact. Looking at the past can be just as damning to Trump as to Biden. We all remember how Trump praised China and boasted of his great relationship with Xi Jinping just a couple of years ago. Lets also remember that China's recent military expansion is far more evident today than it was in the past. If one was supportive of China ten years ago, one might very well not be so today. Things change.
China spy story
Wednesday 9th of December 2020 04:28:35 PM
As someone who grew up in the world of intelligence - or to use the more sexy word - spys, the China spy story out on Axios today and being continued on the Fox channel is an interesting lesson on what goes on and how important it is that countries like China, Russia, Israel, the European Union etc see the US - AND how a democratic system gives opportunities to influence what the US does. The fact is that though Fox puts out the half truth that the Chinese were targeting Democrats the truth is that BOTH Democrats AND Republicans were targeted. The point is not to influence one political party over another, the point is to choose who is going to have influence in the future and who is not. The party affiliation does not matter. Another commentator I saw on Fox was selling the idea that it was China and NOT the Russians who were trying to influence the 2016 election. Her point was to once again push the idea of the "Russia hoax". The point is that commentator does not know how intelligence works. Russia does try to influence the US government. So does China, so do many other countries. One of the most successful after all is Israel. Both China and Israel have an advantage over other countries in that they can find local American US citizens who have ancestral roots that might help them influence an election in the US. By the way, when I lived in Lebanon and my father was doing his CIA stuff the US also supported "friendly" local politicians, some who did not even know they were being supported by the US. We did it through back channels. The Soviets, French, English etc also did the same thing. We sometimes supported an "unfriendly" who was even more unfriendly to the Soviets. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Thursday 26th of November 2020 07:37:18 PM
For the last few years various psychologists and psychoanalysts have voiced opinions that President Trump is a classic case of a Narcist except he is an extreme case. In fact some even went so far as to suggest the man is actually sick. Then various books have come out that support the fact that there is something seriously wrong with the guy. If all are true then it would seem he should be given some slack with regard to his current unwillingness to concede the election. If the man is really sick - and at this point it is hard to dispute - would we really be surprised that a sick man is doing what sick men do? So really the problem is not Trump himself, it is all the supporters and enablers that have supported him. I cant get angry at Trump as I have come to believe the psych people BUT the rest? The idiots waving flags and acting like he is some sort of messiah? and the Government people who repeat the lies as if truth is no longer relevant? I am not amazed that even an intelligent people can be conned into believing stupid things especially if at the beginning they fit either into their preconceived ideas or have a financial benefit. Germany, an advanced, Christian, society fell under the spell of Hitler in the space of six years and committed atrocities beyond belief and walked the world into a war that killed 50 million people. The scary thing about Trump is the realization that the same thing could actually happen in America. We have seen the seeds planted and how easy it was for so many to imagine Trump as a savior - a savior from what was never clear and was different for different people. Many say "people are angry". Angry about what? Meanwhile one would think it was so easy to see through the bull shit spouted by Trump. But apparently not. Even his statement 4 years ago that President Obama played too much golf and HE would be working so hard would not have time for golf. Then Trump played more golf than any President in history. Even at the opening of the G20 a week ago while all the world's leaders were assembled Trump was playing golf. Of course the recent huge spike in the Corona Virus makes a mockery of Trump's view that "we are turning the corner". Turns out we turned the corner into rampant virus. Meanwhile the one thing Trump had going for him was the economy. Problem is that when history is written years from now and a real analysis is made Trump will not come out very well. His policies against the issue of global warning will cost huge amounts in the future. We could have prevented problems - now they will cost more to deal with. Meanwhile as far as the stock market goes Trump stated that if Biden gets elected the stock market will crash. Yesterday it broke the record as the highest point ever. So much for that prediction. Also people forget that if you have money the old idea that you could put it in a bank and earn interest died years ago so that now if you want to get some interest there are few places other than the stock market to put the money. The government gives money to banks at no interest so the banks dont need to raise money from deposits. Hence they pay no interest. The most depressing thing is the lack of knowledge and the willingness to find out what's true. When Trump said the WHO is bad news, or that the Iran deal is the worst ever, with NAFTA a close second, or that NATO is useless people believed him. Ask Trump to explain the terms of the Iran deal and he cant. He never read the documents - nor did he look at the NAFTA deal NOR did all the supporters who simply chose to believe him. When he said "read the manuscript" his supporters encouraged people to do so to prove how innocent Trump was BUT when asked "did you read the manuscript" of course they didn't. The reality is this: if you put Trump into a room and said tell me SPECIFICALLY why the NAFTA deal is so bad and why the improvement he championed was so good - he couldn't. The man does not read. He watches TV and makes pronouncements that sound like he knows what he is talking about - knowing full well few will check - and those that do can be dismissed as purveyors of "fake nes" or as "enemies of the people". Then there is the Obama Care issue. He said at the beginning of his Presidency that he was going to abolish AND replace. He did work to abolish but the promise to replace was conveniently forgotten. Even a few months ago Trump repeated that within two weeks his great health plan would be announced. Never happened. So much for the bullshit 'promises made promises kept'. Even the "wall" turned out to be half hearted and of course Mexico never paid for the few miles that were constructed. In fact, most promises were NOT kept. The good news is that 8 million more Americans were right to vote him out of office and that sick man will not be President - and we have to make sure never again. The US cannot afford such an idiot ever again. Both Republicans AND Democrats have to make sure Jan 20. 2021 will be the end of Trump.
Want to Believe
Sunday 15th of November 2020 11:49:11 PM
I have been asked to do a lecture/question and answer program on the subject of my experience with my father and his work in the CIA and how growing up in the Middle East influenced me and what I might have learned from my father. Thinking about the subject several things come to mind. First my father was - to say the least -"colorful" and did indeed get up to all sorts of activities one might expect from a CIA operative. And he was not averse to exaggerate especially if it made a point. He used to tell me "dont let the truth stand in the way of a good story". As I realized it later this was really a lesson in marketing - a lesson I put to good use in later years in the Music Business. He never made up activities but he was willing to exaggerate - which is what advertising and marketing is really all about. Push the envelope of truth so to speak. What did I learn? I could add this: "Never assume the truth will stand in the way of people believing what they want to believe'. The Middle East is full of conspiracy theories and now I see them running rampant right here in the USA. I always knew religions were capable of creating really outlandish beliefs so any belief is possible. Jim Jones, the Hale Bob people, Qanon, Scientology, and the like. People will believe anything if they WANT to believe it. The trick is to either tap into what they want to believe OR figure out a way to make them believe.
Meanwhile I have watched in amazement the claims about a rigged election. I wonder if it has donned on the Trump fans that if this election was rigged - especially in Republican states - then surely the last election was also rigged. Trump said last time that it was rigged just like he says the same thing now. You cant have it both ways. ALSO, with so many Trump appointees to the bench, and the landslide he got, and his millions of supporters how could a guy like that loose to a bunch of low level counters many of whom voted for him. Doesnt make sense. BUT then again - its people believing what they want to believe.
There was another important lesson my father gave me. In fact it was based on a quote from Lenin. Basically I you can define the terms you are nine tenths towards winning the argument. I saw this in England in the 70s where Socialism was good and Capitalism was bad. Most people could not tell you what either meant. Today we see the same thing in the US. Many in Florida equat the word "socialism" with Cuba and Venezuela. I doubt if 99% of those people can tell you what socialism means. Most think it is the same as communism - which it is not. They also dont know that Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Germany and many other countries are "socialist". Also ask those same people how they like Medicare and they will say "great!. So if you hate socialism I assume you want to terminate medicare as medicare is "socialism". It distresses me that neither the media nor the Democratic party seem to understand the need to educate the public as to what these - now emotional terms - really mean. Even one of my sons said to me recently "doesnt socialism mean there are no elections?" NO. Every socialist country has elections. Dictatorships are the ones that dont have elections, or have elections controlled by the dictator. Iran has elections - except they only allow "approved" candidates to run. Same as China. Even Russia has elections - but they are controlled by Putin. It can also be argued that the USA is also not a full democracy as our founding fathers did not like the idea of majority rule - which is why there is an electoral college. Why 40 million Californians are represented by two Senators and several million Dakotans are represented by 4 Senators.
Lastly, the way to know what is really going on, one has to get as many inputs - especially opposite ones and then use common sense to work out what is true and not. Those that watch only Fox news are not going to get full information. Personally I watch Fox, CBS, MSNBC, BBC, France 24, PBS news, If you only get news from once source - that makes you an idiot.
Sunday 8th of November 2020 03:41:50 AM
It may be gratifying that Joe Biden won the election but one has to note that Trump, after all the books exposing his faults and the constant flow of horrible reports from the many employees he fired,and indeed the silly tweets from the President himself, STILL he won a huge proportion of the American public. That is scary in itself. I am reminded of the many film documentaries on Adolf Hitler, and the look of the adoring fans and supporters and the view among them that he could do no wrong. In the beginning even people who did not like him and his racist rhetoric figured, at least he got the trains running on time and he is good for business so they went along and supported him. They figured his nastier instincts could be controlled. Eventually his power grew to a degree that they could NOT control him and we know what happened. There are similarities in the Trump story. Mitch McConnel and the Republicans in general figured they could use him to get what they wanted - like a useful idiot - and they were right. I wager that Mitch and a whole bunch of Republicans are breathing a sigh of relief that Trump lost AND they maintained all their seats and even added a few in the House. In another term Trump might well have gained too much control and indeed perverted the system to the point they could end up like those Germans who thought they could prevent Hitler's excesses. Meanwhile the bad news is over seventy million Americans voted for a really bad guy and many believed even his most outrageous lies. The good news is that over the next few years the Trump predictions of disaster with a biden Biden win will prove to be bullshit. Perhaps then they might begin to believe that he is just a boastful lier who figures truth is for idiots- or as Mitt Romney said, a con man. I am not surprised Trump has not conceded, just proves yet again the man has no class.
Thursday 5th of November 2020 07:48:46 AM
Two things: yesterday I and my wife took a drive to Beverly Hills and saw major streets blocked by police, boarded up shops, banks, hotels, all with an expectation there would be trouble If Trump did not win the election. That alone tells you where this country has sunk to in the last 4 years. A shocking spectacle for a nation that has been the light of the world for democracy. Whether one supports his policies or not one thing for sure he has damaged this country to a degree I never thought possible.
Meanwhile I just watched a rant by Sean Hannity, a disgraceful grievance laden tirade of bullshit, lies, and utter nonsense - projecting on others what Trump and guys like him have foisted on the American Public. He will go down in history as the buffon we always knew he was. No shame, no class, He was happy to say Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were counting ballots correctly 4 years ago but now he has reversed his position saying he does not trust the count. If it goes your way its all good - if not you spew anger. The mark of a classic poor looser.
Bob Lefsetz podcast
Tuesday 27th of October 2020 06:15:12 PM
It was fun to do Bob's podcast. Thanks to all those who wrote that they liked it.
Tuesday 27th of October 2020 06:12:27 PM
Glad to see the Go Go's documentary that is airing on Showtime got lots of attention. That band deserves a lot more credit for their achievements than they usually get. First all women group to have a number one album in the USA - and with songs THEY wrote and played. Also for me, a great achievement for my little IRS label that everyone laughed at until they had that Number one.
Saturday 24th of October 2020 05:40:40 PM
Though I hate to admit it, My father would have liked Donald Trump. Not for his politics - as my father's view was that even an idiot can get things right occasionally just like a broken clock is correct twice a day. But Trump's ability to tell a lie like he actually believes it AND even better tell a lie he knows is false would have appealed. Trump would have fit in with my father's mantra "dont let the truth stand in the way of a good story". He would have agreed whole hartedly with the "shit hole countires" statement becasue Yes many countries ARE indeed "shit hole countries". Basically, my father was always fascinated by people with "no moral compass" as the latitude that gave to do what was necessary is a distinct advantage. Remember, my father once complained that "the USA did not overthrow enough governments. " He was also of the view that one cant get angry when an animal, germ or whatever does what is in its nature to do. You cant get angry at a Tiger who attacks you and eats you. Its in it's DNA and its not it's fault any more than a Diphtheria germ that gets you sick. Don't get angry - just figure a way to beat it or avoid it. My father was was at first a big believer in FDR but over the years gravated to old school Republican ideals. Strong defense, low taxes, etc. I don't think he would have understood the Trump Putin connection nor the North Korea stunt - both pretty naive and stupid. He would also have been sick to see the evangelical religious types take over of the Republican party. How could a party of what he would call "common sense" go for shit like that? And Qanon? well that would top it off. The Republican party of today and what ever "Trumpism" is would have him thinking the monkeys have taken over the zoo.
Cut to the chase
Tuesday 20th of October 2020 04:29:49 PM
Watching TV so much as many are doing these days - not just Trump - I realize that what I saw yesterday several times is the realissue of the election. Forget the virus, foreign policy, health care, protests, China, jobs, and all the other talking points of either side. When Trump supporters say: " if Trump wins then the election was fair. If he looses then it is was fraudulent. " That means the real issue is democracy itself. When it is said by men armed with assault weapons it is downright scary. That is why so many say Trump is "dangerous". If for that reason only Trump has to go. 4 years from now will be too late. If the USA descends into "my way or the highway" then we are all fucked. Republican AND Democrat.
Monday 19th of October 2020 08:08:39 PM
Funniest thing I heard last week was an avid Trump supporter who said he was making 4 times as much money under Trump than in the previous regime. When asked what his job was he said "debt collector. "
Meanwhile I am thankful for two things Trump has helped expose. First he has put a clear wedge between the words "Evangelical" and "Christian". The point being that the values of Jesus Christ and the Bible - turn the other cheek, the meek shall inherit the earth, are not in evidence in Trump world while slagging off everyone that does not agree, boastful pronouncements, mean spirited tweets are. To find "Christian" reasons to support Trump if run into a computer would spit out "does not compute".
At the same time he has exposed the "pro Life" supporters are nothing more than "anti abortion" supporters. Pro life is a phony brand name as if you add up ALL the Trump policies from loosening environmental controls on contaminants that kill people - not to mention his handling of the corona virus, more people will die because of him than any prevention of abortions. I can understand people being against the idea of abortion but lets call it that: anti abortion and NOT pro life.
Wednesday 14th of October 2020 05:25:00 PM
Politicians in favor of Universal Health Care have stated that if your taxes go up to pay for the health care are less than the cost one is paying for insurance (and one no longer needs to pay those high insurance rates) then the net effect is a decrease in an individual's annual expenses. In other words: one hand gives - the other hand takes away. The question politically is: is there a difference in cost to the individual? Trump has done the same thing regarding taxes. He has lowered tax rates (though it is argued most of the benefits go to the rich) BUT at the same time he has levied tariffs on goods imported into the US. Those tariffs are paid by the US consumer so in effect are a new tax. Trump says over and over that those tariffs are paid by China or whoever but that is not what tariffs are. The exporter does not pay, the importer (ie US companies and consumers) pay. So tariffs are a tax in the US. As far as the government is concerned it does not matter if one lowers income tax and the reduction in revenue is offset by income from tariffs. The net effect is the same. Meanwhile, no matter who gets elected there will be no option but to raise taxes AND keep the tariffs. The government needs to find a way to recoup the huge payments re the virus which has ballooned the debt to levels never before imagined. There is also one other cost issue that is rarely mentioned. Sure, eliminating and lowering regulation standards today will help make profits easier to make, and should result in more jobs today BUT might (and some say for sure) increase the costs of dealing with environmental impact in the future. Fires, Hurricanes, Tornados, sea level rise all will cost huge amounts to deal with. All are costs that are born by government so funding for the damage repair, prevention and the like has to come from somewhere. Clean air, water etc. are also issues that cost money to solve. So one hand decreasing todays costs will mean the other hand paying the costs in the future. The likelihood is that the future costs will dramatically outweigh the benefits of today. For me, the biggest danger of the Donald Trump era is whatever benefit one can say we gain today; and there are some; seeds are planted that will lead to a world we don't want to see tomorrow. Unfortunately Trump looks for "wins" today so he can look good TODAY. Tomorrow is not his problem. But it will be ours.
Monday 12th of October 2020 10:43:58 PM
My mother's brother Ian Adie was a highly respected China expert and worked for Australian intelligence while also a professor at Canberra University. He once warned that we should hope China stays communist as Mao made it because if it ever adopted a 'capitalist' style approach they will take over everything in a matter of a few decades. I don't think he imagined China as it is today - but gobbling up everything he was not far off the mark. I have managed to keep up with some of his China expert buddies - students he trained and the like. What I hear from them is interesting. We hear that China does not like Trump and would rather Biden be in the White House. However that is largely incorrect. China indeed thinks Trump is bad news in the short term, but they see him as a sure fire way to decrease American power and influence in the world, so long term they absolutely want to see him reelected. And they see that given 4 more years he may be able to set up America on a course of decline even after he leaves the White House. In other words they see Trump as a useful idiot. Funny thing is that Russia sees him in exactly the same light and both are now working together imagining a new world order without American domination. All this talk about Trump being a danger for the future - well - it's true. His support base and enablers have simply thought of their short term interests and buried their heads in the sand. Its like American business thinking of the quarterly reports, the stock market today, my job now. China thinks in terms of 5 year plans. We take the short view - China takes the long view. The long view usually wins out.
Sunday 11th of October 2020 06:47:16 PM
Some might say Donald Trump does NOT see the big picture - I Disagree. However, the problem is that the big picture he sees is 'How does it fit into his personal interests'. That explains the relationship with Putin. When he is over being President he will revert to wanting to build a hotel or other major building in Moscow.
On the 'Promises Made - Promises kept' front I am waiting for these:1. During the last election Trump complained that Obama played golf too much and that were he President he would not play golf because there was so much work to do. He has played more golf during his presidency than any President in history. 2. Obama Care was to be 'repealed and replaced'. He went a long way towards the repeal part but no more mention of the 'replace' part other than the plan will come out in a few weeks. Its almost 4 years and we are still waiting. 3. The Wall? Of course the "Mexico will pay for it" claim never happened and disappeared from his speaches. Meanwhile he said recently some 380 miles of it have been built and we find out that of those most of the milage was replacing old wall and very few miles are new wall. Also some of that new wall is already falling down with weak foundations. 4. He was going to release his taxes. Still has not happened and he is still trying to stop release. If he has nothing to hide why not release? and if he is correct that the $750 he paid in Federal Tax last year is fake news, easy to prove by releasing his taxes. What's the problem? Just release your fuckin taxes and end the story. 5. Ended the Iran deal which he claimed was so bad but he has not managed to get any replacement and now Iran is closer than ever before to being able to build a nuclear weapon. No question a serious blunder of foreign policy. 6. Ending NAFTA and TPA turns out changes were mere tweaks and no huge change. So apparently they were not so bad after all. 7. American companies are going to flood back to the US from China. Only a few came back and job export still happening BECAUSE in a capitalist system labor is a cost that every company tries to reduce so they can make additional profits. It's still cheaper to manufacture outside the US. 8. Getting rid of over regulation. What regulations were changed? It turns out the main changes allowed more pollution of land, water and air. 9. Lowered taxes. Did that but most went to the very rich. Disparity between the rich and poor increased during Trump presidency. 10. Was going to make America respected around the world. Well, that is a joke and the opposite happened. 11. Was going to "rebuild the Military". Definitely increased spending and added stuff but just as the French did after World War I he increased the military imaging the world of the previous wars. It takes Billions of Dollars to build an aircraft carrier BUT it only takes a Million Dollars to sink it. The Chinese and Russians have plenty of carrier sinking munitions at vastly lower cost so should a war happen those new ships are gone. 12. Global Warming. He is looking pretty wrong on that one. And when history looks back he will not look good. it will be a huge black mark on his legacy. 13. Worst of all, American is more divided than ever AND we are not looked upon with the same favor by the rest of the peoples of the world.
Friday 9th of October 2020 06:11:49 PM
People wonder with all the negative news about Donald Trump, books from people who know him - whatever - HOW could he still have unshakable followers? Lets not forget in the final days of World War 2 in Germany, Hitler still had people fervently supporting him in spite of what they could see with their own eyes. Some believed that he had a secret weapon that would save them. Some refused to believe the Holocaust. The truth is people will believe what they want to believe and rationalize to an incredible degree to validate such belief. Fake News is a convenient retort to facts they would rather dismiss. Perhaps the most dramatic example of crazy thinking is the Qanon thing. If people can believe that crazy stuff - they will believe in anything. Then there was the Hale-Bopp Comet people who killed themselves to catch a ride on the Comet. How crazy is that? Yep, crazy is all around.
Pastor Samuel Rodriguez
Friday 9th of October 2020 04:51:03 PM
I was just listening to Samuel Rodriguez on the Amanpour & Co. TV program and once again the word "socialism" was used by a person who has no idea what the word means. To Mr. Rodriguez he imagines "Socialism" is what happens in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua which may be socialism in name but are better described as dictatorships or communist and no mention of Norway, Germany, Holland, France, or the so many advanced countries that apply the same "socialist" principles that some to the left of the Democratic Party espouse. He claims that because he is "Latino" he knows the meaning of socialism - which he does not.
The problem is, for those of us who are educated to the meaning of words, and political philosophies people like Samuel Rodriguez may mean well and really believe what they are saying but in reality what we see is a sign on their forehead that reads "I am an uneducated fool and don't know what I am talking about". The fact that this guy is in the position to influence others makes his lack of knowledge disturbing and in fact down right dangerous.
Tuesday 29th of September 2020 04:19:27 PM
With the debate today between Joe Biden and Donald Trump one thing is for sure. Trump has a BIG advantage. When one candidate believes his statements must be tethered to the truth and one candidate can say whatever he thinks his audience wants to hear and the truth does not matter it is pretty obvious who has the advantage. Lies told over and over again start to stick. That's why Trump always adds "crooked" or "sleepy" in front of his opponent's name. The Democrats need to fight fire with fire and always refer to Trump with "nutty Trump". Or to really confuse the base "socialist Donald Trump". Trump has given away so much money due to the virus he easily can be called a socialist. Even better how about "looser Donald Trump". Bankruptcy, overwhelming debt, and jail might well be his future. So whatever he is now, in the end he will be a looser. And if there is anything he hates it is being called a "looser". What's worse is in the end he will make the American people the loosers.
Friday 25th of September 2020 05:01:08 PM
The reality of much voting in a Democracy is voting for the lesser of two evils. Most people like parts of a candidate's platform but not all of it. Some people vote on a single issue that is such a big deal for them that they will forget about faults no matter how many there are. That had a lot to do with Trump's win. Elections are won by a majority of those that vote. If there are 100 eligible voters and all show up to vote it takes 51 to win the election. If only 50 show up to vote it takes only 26 to win. Therefore those that don't vote actually ARE voting. That makes voter suppression exactly as important as voter turn out. For every Democrat that does not vote means one less Republican needs to vote - and visa versa.
The Virus and the left - right divide
Thursday 24th of September 2020 09:03:57 PM
How the Government has dealt with the virus should have thrown a monkey wrench into the capitalism vs socialism discussion. A pure capitalistic society would NOT have pumped a penny into any sort of stimulus program. No rent deferrals, no money to workers not getting paid, no unemployment checks. In a pure capitalist system if you dont have money tough luck. Perhaps that's the way it should be. Meanwhile Government stepping in to solve a societies pain is exactly the concept behind the idea of socialism. So the US response has proved that IN FACT the socialist ideal is very relevant in the US Government structure and it is generally accepted by BOTH Republicans AND Democrats that the Government has a responsibility to help the disadvantaged. SO the argument is really how much the Government is responsible for and how much it is not. Republicans say the Government should step up but not too much. The Democrats say it should step up more then the Republicans. The fight is between the two positions. Labeling one view socialist and the other not is ridiculous and totally incorrect. Are the Democrats more socialist than the Republicans? Yes but BOTH are socialists. At the same time Democrats are not are communist any more than Republicans are pure capitalists. So for all those people marching with anti "socialist" banners should understand the two points of view AND I hope they do not take one penny of employment, stimulus or whatever else is given to them from the Government. I found it very interesting that Donald Trump insisted that his name be on the bottom of the checks that were sent out to all those that lost work. Money that increased the debt to levels never seen or imagined before. That makes him probably the most socialist of Presidents ever.
Wednesday 23rd of September 2020 04:56:46 PM
When I look at the political landscape today I can't help but be depressed. Both Right and Left are confused and the commentators have lost control of the language to the point the public now relies on the internet where everything goes and you can choose to be indoctrinated by whatever you want and never hear opposing views. Even the owners of the internet platforms have lost control - the beast has been let loose and stopping it will be impossible in any "free society". The most misused word in the political world today is "socialism". Good to some, evil to others. "Capitalism" comes a good second and the reality is that BOTH in their extreme forms do not work. The best way to understand the idea of socialism is to look at how Insurance works. Insurance is actually pure socialism in that all the clients pay in money and only the ones that need it take money out. Add capitalism into the mix and the deal becomes everyone pays in and only the ones that need take out AND the money paid in exceeds the expected pay out so the Insurance company pockets the difference as profit. Capitalism is based on the market - ie the "people" deciding what they want and are willing to pay and the market supplies those wants. The problem is that we have learned that all people are not equal nor are they all moral so the temptation to exaggerate the benefits of a product or service so as to gain more clients can easily overshadow ones desire to be honest. Also the weak can loose to the strong so Capitalism left free of encumbrance soon turns to monopolism which by definition means the market no longer drives supply and demand so it is no longer capitalism. To correct this weakness in capitalism regulation has been used. Truth in advertising, truth in labeling, anti trust laws, building codes, safety laws etc etc have entered the equation to prevent capitalism from destroying itself. The right - left argument has come to focus on how much regulation is needed or desired. Prevent greed from getting out of hand while still maintaining personal incentive. Socialism in the extreme becomes Communism which is based on the idea that no one owns anything specifically but everything generally. In small terms the kubutz is the best example. Problem is this extreme idea never solved the idea of personal incentive so it failed. However, socialism is not a fixed concept any more than capitalism is. It goes from light gray to black - black is communism which is NOT the current meaning of socialism as much as Sean Hannity wants to describe it. So the best societies have combined elements of socialism and capitalism to meet somewhere in the middle and the left/right argument becomes as simple as how much is left to the individual and how much the government should be responsible for.
Sean Hannity argued on Fox the other day that socialism has failed everywhere it has been tried but then listed only communist countries. Communism and Socialism are NOT automatically the same thing. Actually, the most successful societies such as Norway, Denmark, Holland, Germany, Singapore. Australia, New Zeeland etc are more on the left (ie more socialist) than societies more in the right like the USA. The USA also has socialist elements such as Social Security and quite a few laws and programs that would fit a socialist political model. The flies in the ointment in all political formulas are racism, nationalism and religion - or simply tribalism. These flies have perverted both left and right. The Republicans were originally small government, more individualistic, low debt, separation of church and state and generally "smart" realistic views of the world. Immigration was not originally part of the thinking. Religion is now a big player in the party, the debt issue has been forgotten and things like global warming and other "smart" thinking is shunned. Immigration (racism) has become part of the party platform. Meanwhile the Democrats have not escaped stupid ideas either. The Black Lives Matter movement identified a social injustice then pushed the idea to the brink of stupidity with ideas like "defund the police". Anti-racism comes across as wanting no restrictions to immigration. National Health care comes across as anti capitalistic. The truth is that the end result is that the average person is not sure exactly what the Democrats stand for. That makes it easy for the right wing to label them negatively. Trump does this every day tweet after tweet, speech after speech which both right and left leaning media broadcast. The truth is, tell a lie often enough and it becomes accepted as true. Of course there is another word misused: "liberal". Very strange in a country like the USA which is defined as a "liberal democracy". The Constitution is liberal. The Bill of Rights is liberal. Yet listening to places like Fox one would think "liberal" is something bad. In the end I come down to this. The left right argument will go back and forth and both have good and bad points so we will probably never all agree on what is best. Personally I don't see health care as a good area for capitalism to operate and government would be a better place - not perfect by any means but still more cost effective and better over all for the most people. Europe and many other countries make that plain to see. Meanwhile the biggest problem is the widening gap between the general public - two tribes talking past each other and no longer one people as one hoped the US would become. The internet/ media is a culprit and a big part of why this is happening. But it is also the leadership who can manipulate the media either purposely or inadvertently. I dont know if Trump is actually an autocrat but what is obvious is that he has added to the problem by fanning the flames that were already there. We can deal with a small fire, but he has made it a big one and for that reason alone Trump is a danger to the very idea of the United States. His fans choose to not want to recognize this. In the end they will come to realize the danger and what it leads to. The fear is that it will be too late.
Trump, Iran, Russia and China
Saturday 19th of September 2020 10:15:19 PM
China would like to back a candidate that is bad for the US but good for China but sees neither in Biden or Trump. Instead they see Trump as bad for China AND bad for the US and Biden as good for the US and at least not bad for China so prefer Biden to Trump for that reason. Russia likes Trump because he is bad for the US and bad for China which is also why North Korea is for Trump. Iran is under no illusion that either will be good for Iran but hate Trump no matter what. The Europeans think Trump is an idiot. The Asians are of mixed feelings as they worry about China.
Good deal, Bad deal
Saturday 19th of September 2020 03:45:43 PM
There is something I dont understand Mr President. On one hand you say we were doing so well economically - best in history etc yet on the other you say all our international deals are terrible and everyone is ripping us off. How can both be true?
Saturday 12th of September 2020 06:54:43 PM
The unfortunate truth about the supposed peace between the Gulf states and Israel is that both will change their minds when they get what they want - the Gulf more US arms and Israel when the settlers pressure the government for more territory on the west bank. Peace? bullshit!
Monday 10th of August 2020 08:23:43 PM
Bernie Madoff showed that even smart people can believe stupid things, Donald Trump is the Madoff of politics today