Days of Change

The Bubble Has No Electoral Votes

December 6, 2016
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In the post-Trump victory episode of Real Time, Bill Maher had a panel of all liberal commentators including Ana Marie Cox, musician John Legend and some “redneck” comedian named Trae Crowder who is apparently getting his own show. Crowder seemed fairly authentic because he had some idea why Trump one while no one else did.

For a while now, Maher himself has been critical of liberals, especially on terrorism, since he hates Islam as much as every other religion. While arguing this, Ana Marie Cox said the thing that perfectly summed up why Trump won. “Let me get this straight. The problem with American politics is that we don’t cater enough to White men?” It was as snarkily delivered as you’d expect.

For those who don’t remember, Ms. Cox founded a site called Wonkette. It was famous for publishing details of a woman who claimed to accept gifts (including money) for sexual favors in D.C. That was the springboard to Cox’s career in paid media.

So, put yourself in the place of a miner or a steelworker or manufacturer working at a job in front of the same machine every day for years. You make decent enough money, but you’re supporting a family and you never know when the place will close shop. Now, some woman whose never had to struggle a day in her life and makes 10 or more times more than you thinks that you’re being catered to in life. That’s the wrong message AND the wrong messenger.

I would speculate that was the problem with “pussygate” as well. This was a story about Trump claiming that women threw themselves at him and that meant he could do what he wanted. He could do what he wanted because they were throwing themselves at him. Plus, the women he was talking about were rich and/or famous and never seemed to complain until there was a financial incentive. This was the hill upon which Hill’s campaign decided to die.

Let me quote myself from June.

Unlike Mitt Romney, they don’t have to dig up some Democratic Party operative claiming that Romney caused his wife to die from cancer. There are thousands of lawsuits from people who think Trump owes them. While many may be trumped up, (pun intended) the Democrats only need the most legitimate and egregious 1% of victims to have an ad strategy for the entire general election campaign.

There were scores of hard working, family businesses and tradesmen who are currently fighting with a Donald Trump who didn’t feel like paying them. Instead of focusing on that, the Democrats were trying to get possible Hillary voters to keep from voting for Trump. The problem is, most of those women live in states where Hillary had a lock. The other part of winning a campaign is to demoralize the other guy’s supporters. With margins around 1%, focusing on a tycoon who won’t pay an honest man for an honest day’s work might have done it. I guess liberals can’t see those people from the bubble.

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No Explanations Necessary

December 5, 2016
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One of the more annoying terms I’ve seen is “mansplaining,” which is supposedly when a man explains something to a woman because he doesn’t think she understands it. I have to explain things for a living and I will admit it creeps into my regular life as well. However, sometimes I like to explain and add context just to help my own understanding of the world.

So, how about the people who don’t explain things, but simply do them? I don’t tend to like those people because they are short with people like me, usually ending the conversation with “get it done” or something like that. Donald Trump is one of those guys.

I’ve mentioned before that at a personality level, there is something about Trump that I don’t like. However, to many people he appears to be a doer rather than a guy who starts every other sentence with “let me be clear.” What’s interesting that Trump as a CEO would probably anger union employees looking for a raise or benefits. Except now, Trump is the CEO of the American people and he’s planning to work in their interest.

It should be obvious that you don’t have to be smart or intellectually curious to be president. You do have to surround yourself with the right smart people. The guy who made a name for himself across the world also made a billion dollars disappear in the 90’s. I still don’t know which one was elected.

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Economic Populism

December 4, 2016
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Sarah Palin is back in the news and Trumpers won’t be happy.

Palin has embraced the warnings about “crony capitalism” and has taken it to heart. Many conservatives bristle at the term because it implies that capitalism is in the wrong when most of the time, it’s the government that enables cronies. In this case, Palin is writing about the promises lame-duck governor Mike Pence made to essentially pay Carrier to keep 1,000 standing around a warehouse getting paid until it eventually closes some time in the future.

It took the better part of the year, but the same people who liked Sarah Palin’s opinion when it came to Trump in January didn’t care for it in December. Luckily, Trump Mania took hold early and many of his supporters had already abandoned Palin because she didn’t run in 2012. At east it took 4 years. Donald Trump might be able to get through one term before the betrayal backlash happens.

Ultimately, Palin made the smart choice in 2016. She chose the candidate who appreciated her support and who had a chance of winning. Allow me to quote myself.

Sarah Palin endorsements are still important. They were very effective in 2010, as Senator Ted Cruz will attest (and Nikki Haley and other Tea Party winners). Her political prognostication is based on two things, how conservative the candidate is and how likely they are to win with just that extra push from Palin.

As Trump got closer to the presidency, the more smart and powerful he became retroactively to his supporters. While many put little stock in a Palin endorsement, it came at a time when Ted Cruz could have picked up enough momentum to be the alternative to Bush / Rubio (even if he might have lost in the end to them).

Palin is also smart about the details of the Carrier deal. Donald Trump messed with the free market. If he offered to give preferential treatment to them in government contracts, he could be wasting millions of taxpayer dollars by not properly bidding with competitors. If he threatened tariffs, customers of Untied Technologies would pay more, either for taxed products or domestic suppliers who could charge more. If he paid them off, everyone will have their hand out soon.

Industrial air conditioning isn’t exactly a buggy whip. One can assume the industry will be around for years to come. However, when the workers are in their 50’s and getting close to retirement, it is a workforce that is hard to retrain for new manufacturing realities (CNC, ERP systems, computer literacy, Kaizen). If Carrier could fire those people and hire their kids, it might be possible to keep those jobs in the US without intervention.

But then, Palin and I have worked for a living. Trump owns buildings with air conditioning, probably manufactured in China.

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Early Christmas

December 2, 2016
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This weekend, I’ll be playing with technology I bought on Cyber Monday sales. First up are the Bluetooth headphones to black out the noisy people at work.

This weekend, it’s the massive NAS to hold all the video I don’t have time to watch. Have a good weekend.

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Should We Give Trump a Nobel Prize, Too?

December 1, 2016
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One source of mockery early on in the Obama administration was him winning a Nobel Peace Prize a few months into his presidency. Better yet, he was nominated as President-Elect. I know Trump fans are getting excited over staff appointments that have not been completed and deals with companies that Trump has no actual right to be in. The fact is that there a lot of show that can be done early in an administration. Even in the first few months, the president often gets to set an agenda.

I’m going to reserve judgement at least until Inauguration Day.

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Donald J. Trump, Socialist

November 30, 2016
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Socialism is defined by government controlling the means of production. Donald Trump praised a “deal” with Carrier that sought to control their production by use of the government.

The good news today is that instead of 2,000 people losing jobs in Indiana by moving production to Mexico, 1,000 people will not be laid off in February. The bad news is that 1,000 other people will lose their jobs, the people who have those jobs probably won’t see overtime anymore and Donald Trump is morally flexible on the concept of a free market.

When Obama was elected, I figured the bright spot was that he would put in tariffs to keep cheap foreign goods from coming in. I guess not. It’s a short term fix, but it was the best one could expect from a Democrat. Instead, we have a populist who wants to be liked. His supporters love this, too. Many were never big on the free market. The ones who are should be ashamed.

When you offer incentives for jobs, you are buying jobs. Lowering tax rates is one thing. If you do it across the board or for start-ups, you are trying to encourage economic activity. When you play the New York State game of demanding jobs for grants, you end up spending tax money for corporate welfare and often not even getting any jobs.

You either believe in free trade or you don’t. When you act like a job exists to fund a person’s life instead of a contract for work, or when you make a shady deal no one knows the specifics of, you don’t believe in free trade.

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November 29, 2016
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I was looking through my Amazon Prime and saw one of the “free” streaming shows was the 1990’s sitcom “Hearts Afire.” It was heavy-handed and overly talky, much like Linda Bloodworth-Thomason’s other show, “Designing Women.” However, it reminded me of a time in the early 1990’s when people could argue in good faith and not worry about the other side trying to destroy civilization or let people die.

Some of the good feelings were due to the fact that no one was getting everything they wanted. Bill Clinton won the presidency, but Ross Perot was the man who was responsible for Bush’s defeat. In 1994, Newt Gingrich led a Republican win of Congress, which actually brought positive change for a while.

Not surprisingly, I blame George Soros for bringing polarization into American politics. Almost 20 years ago, a group called Move On wanted Congress to censure Bill Clinton and “move on” without Impeachment hearings. It was a compromise where he would still get a slap on the wrist, but not go through a process that would damage his legacy. It didn’t work, and Clinton remained president anyway.

Then the 2000 Election happened.

Much like the 2016 election, the media speculated that George W. Bush would win the popular vote, but wouldn’t get enough states for the Electoral vote. They ended up dead wrong. The defeat was bitter for Democrats because it was the first time the Republicans had the White House and the Congress (at least most of the first term) in more than a generation. Plus, it was really close. This time, the third party candidate, Ralph Nader, lost the election for the Democrats.

This is where Soros came in. His money turned Move On from a grass roots organization to an AstroTurf arm of globalism. The Electoral College makes it difficult to buy a president, so Soros and Move On dumped money into statewide elections, thinking they could choose who counted and certified votes. Worse than that, Soros funded Media Matters, whose sole purpose is to counter anything even slightly conservative in the media, along with the specific war on Fox News.

Unfortunately, the right has also gotten in on the act. Because Democrats like government, almost anything Bill Clinton did was a positive. Conservatives want smaller, and possibly more efficient, government. The problem is that shrinking government is hard and often involves a lot of legal hurdles because of the complicated system used to enact them. So conservatives have been disappointed since at least the late 80’s.

For me, the fact that Republicans run two branches, but the president is legislatively incompetent, means that I am on two sides. Side one thinks everything Trump does is wrong. The other ascribes God-like wisdom to every action. Someday, I hope people start using their brains again.

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Purity Test

November 28, 2016
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The Trumpster fire continues.

So, there are 3 scenarios being proposed for the reason why Mitt Romney was floated as Secretary of State while most of the Trump train oppose it.

  1. Trump legitimately considered Mitt Romney a contender for the job, but has trouble making the final decision (a la Mike Pence / Chris Christie)
  2. Trump wanted Romney for SOS, but his supporters’ angry reaction forced him to scrap it (like his flip-flops on abortion or immigration)
  3. Trump is orchestrating some screw job on the media and using Mitt Romney as a stooge. This is highly unlikely, but the most desired reality for Trumpers.

For the most part, it doesn’t really matter which scenario is true. It’s kind of like Schrodinger’s cat, all the possibilities are true. In this case, when Trump decides what reality sounds best, he will eventually convince himself that was the plan all along.

Earlier, Nikki Haley was chosen for the Ambassador to the UN. Initially, Trump lovers were upset at a disloyal Cruz supporter being brought into the Trump administration. Most were fortunate enough to brainwash themselves into believing her appointment was a boon to her Trump supporting Lieutenant Governor and that the UN would be ignored in a Trump administration anyway. Big Brother is always right.

I’m willing to give Donald Trump a chance as president, but most of the dumb things I hear right now are from Trump die-hards, and I have a hard time finding their grasp on reality. I am enjoying the alternating purity tests, followed by the internal justification used when Trump fails the test. It’s like Republican Obots.

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Flukes R Us

November 27, 2016
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Donald Trump’s victory was a fluke.

In 2008, Barack Obama beat John McCain hard. Obama won by over 5% of the vote with 69.5 million ballots casts and had a nearly 200 Electoral Vote margin. The popular theory is that McCain ran a bad campaign. What really killed him was that his own baggage was added to the baggage of George W. Bush’s unpopularity and the fact no one knew what an Obama was.

For his part, Bush’s victory was a kind of Phoenix rising from the ashes. Last minute October surprises coupled with the media calling Florida before the Panhandle polls closed nearly lost the state and the election. Bush would go on to win reelection with an additional 12 million voters supporting him. Obama lost 3.5 million voters between 2008 and 2012. Hillary Clinton is within 1.3 million votes of Obama’s 2012 total.

There are 5 states this year where the popular vote margin between Trump and Clinton was less than 1.5%. Not only is that below the margin of error, it is below the precision an opinion poll could have. The mistake most media outlets made was to ignore the margin or error and give states to Clinton with 2-3% leads.

At the same time, Trump and Kellyanne Conway should refrain from breaking their arms trying to pat themselves on the back. They only knew that they could win. The people who “knew” that Trump winning was a certainty were prognosticators who deluded themselves with confirmation bias. Congratulations, you were accidentally correct.

It might have been a happy accident, but a new Trump administration is going to have to do some work. Obama proved that you can do things with a single party with enough blind devotion and a majority. However, Trump’s Republican colleagues are not nearly as obedient. Even if they won’t openly defy him, they can tie his agenda in legislative knots. Trump makes big deals, but for every chain of Trump hotels, there’s a failed airline or that $900 million debt.

Is it better to be lucky or good? Right now, lucky is winning.

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The Obama Touch Continues

November 26, 2016
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Remember how President Obama would go to a manufacturing plant to tout his economic successes, only to have it close months later? So, months after opening up trade with Cuba, Castro is dead.

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