Wednesday, November 29, 2017

This is fine.

Trump's behaviour is baffling. It can be explained by either vicious malice or psychotic stupidity. Either way, I think it is dangerous to assume that the situation is being handled by the system, that justice will be served, and that Trump's missteps will be his downfall. They may be in the end, but look where we are at present: Trump has not had to pay for any of his crimes. He's still in power, and he's still propped up by rich people and their subservient politicians. There are looming investigations, but no indication of any specific punishment that anyone is planning for him. If I had to guess, I think the most likely outcome is that Trump will leave office in disgrace within a year, but he will be allowed to do so painlessly (resigning instead of being dragged out in cuffs), and instead of any criminal punishment or jail time, he'll be given opulent severance and be allowed to line his pockets in all sorts of ways. Rich people simply receive money as a natural process. He'll also go out tweeting lies and bile, getting off easy while making sure no one else does.

His disgusting behaviour can partly be explained by the fact that it's worked so far, and he hasn't suffered for it. Might as well continue doing what works. The sad new reality, since Trump's election win, is that opinions are just as important as facts, and the opinions of royalty (or "alternative facts") are more important than the facts of hundreds of millions of plebs. Trump pounced on Al Franken for an inappropriate lewd joke photo, letting his opinion trump facts by saying, "Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps?" His narrative about what may have happened is just as important as facts, or evidence, or lack thereof. Lack of evidence no longer matters, since a negative opinion is enough of a fact for the new America. However, Trump got into trouble by endorsing child-molester Roy Moore. The narrative was changed to accommodate: This is fine because Moore denied the claim. This sets a dangerous precedent, going against decades or centuries of common practice, where remorse and confession lead to lighter criminal sentences. If the new reality is that "I didn't do it" is a valid opinion, even if it is a lie and counters facts, and that such an opinion is treated as evidence of innocence, AND if admitting any fault is grounds for punishment, then why would anyone ever again admit to any mistake? The new reality is, if you commit a crime it's okay as long as you maintain a lie about it, no matter the evidence (though maybe only if you're rich and white). Perjury used to be an offence, now it is an accepted defence.

But this is still a problem for Trump, since he himself has admitted to sexual molestation. In the Access Hollywood tape Donald Trump said, "I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything." He then later excused his behaviour as "locker room talk" and admitted it was a mistake. That doesn't fit the narrative now being used, that denial is exoneration, so the narrative is changed: Simply deny the tape ever happened. Now Franken is bad because he didn't deny what he did, Moore is okay because he denied it (evidence to the contrary is meaningless), and Trump is okay because he has switched to now denying what he did and admitted to. That he previously admitted to it, that there's evidence on tape, that he has committed crimes, does not matter, because opinions are facts and so facts can change. Devaluing his apology by denying it doesn't matter; opinion is more valuable and repentance is worth nothing, or less. Change the story, lie, cheat, harm, succeed, and if you get away with it, do it again.

We have always been at war with Eastasia. It's not like the new power paradigm is to use Orwell's 1984 as a playbook, but more like they've combined 1984 with Huxley's Brave New World. A lot of people are complacent about Trump's lies (whether it's "Don't worry, I'll just make some popcorn and wait until Mueller fixes all of this, and I'll do nothing else", or "As long as Trump keeps upsetting people I don't like, everything he says is gospel to me."). This is the new reality. If it works, it is adapted for repeated use and becomes standard operating procedure. As long as Trump keeps getting what he wants (money, revenge, praise), he can continue being vile and psychotic, and no one will stop him, because they're too busy being shocked and bewildered to think they have to do anything. It's as if this is all too strange to be reality, so just do nothing and wait until reality corrects things by itself and things return to normal naturally. They won't, though, because the new insanity is being left alone to become the new normal. This is reality now. Nothing reasonable matters any more.

I think nothing will be fixed until after some great financial collapse that makes sitting back and waiting for someone else to fix the Matrix, no longer a comfortable option.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Trump Predictions

Here are some predictions I have for the next few months:
  1. Trump will hold a "fancy dress party for close friends" at Mar-a-Lardo. The theme will be "who here should get a presidential pardon after all this Russia stuff is over." Only one pardon per guest!
  2. Due to "increasing popularity", Mar-a-Lardo membership fees skyrocket twenty-fold shortly before.
  3. Trump signs an executive order stating that because many important government fancy dress parties happen at Mar-a-Lardo, all members of Congress and other senior lawmakers and basically anyone who could help impeach Trump, gets a fully paid membership to Mar-a-Lardo compliments of the federal budget. "Very close friends" will also receive a Faberge egg and one thousand bochkas of vodka as a thank-you for all their hard work.
  4. Trump twits "It would be very, very bad for the Dems if Putin's style of dealing with opponents gets more common here. Capeach?" repetitively for a week.
If Trump can make lucrative business deals with anyone who can stop him from abusing his power to make lucrative business deals, then what's stopping him from promising to pardon anyone who can bring him down, in exchange for keeping him propped up?

Bonus prediction:
  1. Trump will eventually bankrupt America. He'll do this by firing $2 million missiles at $10 empty tents and hitting camels in the butt, which Bush Jr. famously said he would not do. Trump has no problem doing that. I don't think it's that he doesn't understand economics, but more that it's not his money that's being wasted, and it's that with which he has no problem. The more money going out in the form of wasted military spending (he has so far ordered more air strikes in Yemen than were carried out in all of 2016), the more money comes in to him personally, I suspect. It won't matter if the US goes bankrupt, or at least suffers financially. Only the losers will suffer, and he knows he's not one of them. What will happen when the US gets sticker shock from the outrageous spending of Trump's nascent presidency, from golf trips to camel-butt missiles to useless overpriced Trump-built walls, with Trump meanwhile working hard to reduce corporate and megarich taxes?

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Horrible Mess

Trump has declared his intention NEVER to give up power:
‏@realDonaldTrump Jan 27: I promise that our administration will ALWAYS have your back. We will ALWAYS be with you!
For all those who said they were just glad that the horrible campaign season was over, I hope you enjoyed your 2 months off! Trump registered to campaign for 2020, before he was even inaugurated. We are now in an era of continuous campaigning. Trump will literally be campaigning for re-election the entire time he is in office. There is speculation that the reason for this is that there are laws preventing groups from criticising a campaigning candidate by name, because it can be seen as political influence. So don't worry about Trump using this just to talk shit about other people, he's doing it to silence his critics. There will be plenty of mudslinging from him in his role as president. Another reason for campaigning now is that it allows him to keep previously acquired campaign funds and to accept new donations. Don't doubt that as long as there's cash still there, he will ALWAYS be campaigning.

How could Trump possibly be re-elected if his policies fail? What strategies does Trump use?

1. Exaggerate the positives in what he has done. Exaggerate the bad in what he wants to control.
“It’s not a Muslim ban,” Trump said in the Oval Office. “It’s working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all over.”
@realDonaldTrump Jan 29: Look what is happening all over Europe and, indeed, the world - a horrible mess!
2. Blame others for his mistakes, for getting in his way or slowing him down, or for sabotaging his plans.
Kellyanne Conway says the Muslim ban is actually Barack Obama's brainchild, and President Trump is just following his lead.
Remember it's not a Muslim ban when Trump does it, but it was actually done by Obama and it is a Muslim ban.

3+. Distract people from the real issues. Continue to incite fear and hatred with threats and lies. Use any event or tragedy to his advantage. And I suspect: If there is no sufficient tragedy to cement people's support and confuse their reasoning, create one. Man-made tragedies have worked well to consolidate power and support in the past, including Putin's 1999 Russian apartment bombings and Bush/Cheney's 9/11. There is no good reason to believe it can't happen again.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

So there's a Russian joke...

Rachel Maddow talks about US troops rushed to EU countries near the Russian border, which Obama did in his last few days of office, as he is sworn to protect the NATO countries and they axed for the troops. The 5-billion-dollar question is what will Trump do with those troops? Because if he pulls them out, he is thumbing his nose at the treaty, giving Putin what he wants, and possibly adding to the speculation that Putin has damning surveillance footage of Trump.

But wouldn't it be silly to risk world conflict to avoid embarrassment? Or is keeping a gross sextape hidden exactly the kind of top priority on which the current president of the United States chooses to focus? And who said anything about world conflict? Hey wait a minute, why has no one said anything about world conflict? If EU nations are nervous and Putin wants troops pulled from their borders, why? Could Putin actually be considering invading? Perhaps more likely, Putin is planning on taking back what once belonged to the USSR. Getting the old gang back together. Making the Soviet Union Great Again. And he doesn't want the neighbours getting involved.

And what could Trump be thinking in this? Is he too focused on his crowd sizes to consider what global conflicts his gross sextapes and his decisions might get the world into? Or is he on board? Strengthen his allegiance with Russia and raise the US up a little, by helping to cause turmoil in EU? To knock them down a peg or two? These are the types of questions we need to start asking now, instead of getting transfixed on lies about crowd sizes (it was a lie, end of story), conspiracy theories regarding whether Trump really lost the popular vote (it doesn't matter, it won't change anything either way) or whether he'll release his taxes (unless it can lead to impeachment, it doesn't matter if Trump has done bad things in the past as long as the world is so hung up on them that they let him continue to do bad things, and then only talk about those when it's too late). Well, there are some people who are thinking of these real issues, such as Masha Gessen, who worries Trump will lead us to nuclear holocaust. She mentions a few predictions of milestones on the road to Trump's bottom, among them banning increasing numbers of newspapers from the White House, and calling on Americans to report immigrants, thereby beginning a culture of citizen against citizen. Lots of scary stuff to watch out for and mark off our Trump Presidency bingo cards!

Now that Trump's in office and we all need to be thinking of what World War III's going to look like over the next several years, it's clear that it's going to be US + USSR teamed up against everybody else. Perhaps Putin/Trump will try to persuade the biggest nuclear powers to form a gang. Then everyone else can be bullied with impunity. Mutual Assured Destruction is a deterrent against the use of nuclear weapons, but if it's only Unilateral Assured Destruction there's no problem. It would almost be a waste to have all those weapons and not use a few. That would really "put the world on notice", as Conway has claimed Trump is doing when he speaks of an intention to expand US nuclear capability.

Oh, the joke courtesy of Gessen is, we thought we'd hit bottom, and then someone knocked from below. Dark comedy! This is starting to look worse than Bush 2. I guess we'll have to be on the look-out for Pence orchestrating a terrorist attack on the US, and the subsequent power-grab of whatever power is left ungrabbed, amidst the suddenly unquestioning, unified, unquestioning support of the US people.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Welcome to 1984

CNN: Trump White House offered 'alternative facts'

"Alternative facts" offer something that a lot of Americans will gladly accept: respite from the truth. There has been a lot of denial of truth recently---including the reality of global warming, the loss of jobs due to automation, and the competency of President Obama---and fighting against those truths is increasingly inconvenient. But now there is no need to worry about it. Instead of fighting between what you want to believe and what you suspect to be true, Americans can choose to accept what they're told, and leave the struggle between the reality that is, and the alternative reality they want, to people who have no scruples regarding that conflict.

An additional worrying thing to come from this is Conway's statement, "Your job is not to call things ridiculous that are said by our press secretary and our president. That's not your job," insinuating that the media's "job" is to present the message that the Trump administration wants. There were also veiled threats to CNN of punishment for calling out the nascent administration on its lies.

Lying about crowd size probably doesn't matter, but the administration---and media too, either unwittingly or complicitly---can systematically focus on trivialities to divert attention away from atrocities. The only atrocity so far that I'm aware of is Trump's executive order "to waive and delay Obamacare fees and regulation." They may be simply laying the groundwork to be mired in controversy so that no one pays attention to things like new wars.

Trump Loves War

While campaigning, Trump said, "I love war, in a certain way. But only when we win. By the way, when was the last time we won a war?" (This footage is from a campaign rally. #alternativefact)

This suggests to me that Trump equates winning wars with greatness, which fits into the "make America great again" motif. The US hasn't been winning a suitable quantity of wars recently. Unlike Bush 2, who wanted to be a "war president" and start wars for the glory of fighting wars, Trump just wants the glory of winning. It is like a business deal. Trump is anxious to make his mark in his first 100 days as president, and has talked about an intent to destroy ISIS. Given his statements, I predict that Trump will quickly attempt to start and win a war, which means going up against the weakest target that he can find, and using overwhelming force against them.

Trump, like all presidents since the US became a world power, will be making life-and-death decisions involving people all over the globe. This means that Trump will be deciding who gets to die in various specific situations. I hope that people are not stuck in the controversy over lies about Trump's inauguration crowd size, that they don't notice which unpersons the Trump administration is selecting for vaporisation.