Sep 17

The NFL and Trump

I’m amazed that my lack of interest in sports is now considered patriotic!  One thing to remember is that in the age of revenue sharing you can’t watch/participate in anything sports related without supporting the NFL.  Yay!  Let us read more books.

Sep 17

American in 2017, in one headline

Meet one of the couples getting married on the Mall in between a pro-Trump protest and a Juggalo rally


crimes were committed by people who identified as Juggalos

Aug 17

American under delegated, retired, military rule

I suppose we’re at the point where someone should point out that if you combine

  • the presence of John Kelly selected as Trump’s chief of staff, Mattis as secretary of defense, and the host of other flag officers in his administration,
  • Trump’s seeming aversion to the nitty gritty aspects of administration
  • Trump’s inexperience with the subject matter

We largely have retired military rule – if they’re not making the actual decisions, they’re influencing the available options enough to where they might as well be.  It’s a good thing for the most part – Trump seems content to play court jester and social media director, and not much beyond that.  Seemingly he’s capable of  being somewhat presidential, but seems content to delegate any actual decision making to others, and just issue commentary.

Aug 17

The non special theory of our times, and media engineering

What if we don’t live in meaningful times, and what if the truly notable facts of the 2016 election are

  • A crowded Republican field – allowing the only candidate Trump an opening against more establishment types
  • A phenomenally unpopular Hillary Clinton

Coupled with

  • Advances in media engineering (like “financial engineering” creating new mortgage products, subprime and otherwise) allowing the media to profitably saturate America with “junk” (not necessarily fake”) news.
  • Increases in generalized anxiety due to Facebook, lack of physical activity and sleep deprivation

Match those two things together and we feel like we’re in some deep important times, even if in terms of importance it’s like we’re stuck in the 50s with out the cold war.


Aug 17

What people actually like about Donald Trump

Here is yet another article about Trump, and him saying offensive things, part 3939, to wit A Deal Breaker for Trump’s Supporters? Nope. Not This Time, Either.

Trump not apologizing for anything IS what people like about him – it doesn’t matter what he’s actually said, it’s the way he says it and defends it they actually like.  It’s the medium, not the message, much the same way the Democrats never minded Obama continuing Bush’s wars, NSA surveillance, or an official, not euphemistically named “Kill List”.  The more offensive, the more “courageous” it seems (courageous being something that prompts criticism, which is courageous by the standards of neurotic modern times, not in any actual sense).   If you’re a groupish person you are quite loath to criticize your “champion” (in the original sense of the word), and by and large you’ll come up with reasons for the behavior rather than condemn it.


Jul 17

Transgender Dog Whistles

So, the whole “transgender issue”, whatever that is seems to be the premier dog whistle and distraction of the age – Trump just made some pronouncement on the topic – which will gin up lots of controversy, which probably means that there is some other more important, probably brand detrimental bit of news that will be coming down the pike soon.  Russia?  Sessions?  Healthcare?

Jun 17

Five thoughts on Trump

  1. From some thought of Tyler Cowen – you can’t be the Court Jester and the King at the same time – the “deep state” – to the degree that it exists, which is a lot – is mostly just filling a vacuum left by Trump not actually doing things (which is probably for the best, but who know)
  2. NO ONE is talking about Trumps age (71), seemingly poor health, and direct family history of Alzheimers.  Are we that old of a country, i.e. we’re all so old that some topics are just considered taboo across the political spectrum?
  3. Trump’s alienation of the Republican industry members (i.e. the people who are the assistant undersecretaries, etc, who actually know how to do stuff) will haunt him the rest of his term – leading to a lot of things not getting done (yay!).
  4. He has spurred the democrats to be an actual opposition party, something they generally do not do well.
  5. The Republican congressional majority does not seem to matter much.

Dec 16

One thing about Trump and the alt-right that has gone unsaid

The obvious (to me) parallel to the alt-right and trump is Obama’s “palling around with terrorists” in the 2008.  It was a meaningless statement then, and the alt-right angle is meaningless this year, but meaninglessness hasn’t stopped anyone lately.

Dec 16

Trump, lack of strategists, and OODA loop

One unremarked advantage Trump had was the lack of political “infrastructure”, or the hordes of pollsters and consultants that surround candidates.  That let him to push, not necessarily better ideas, but to float a tremendous number of ideas to the public at a rapid clip, keep the popular ones, ditch the unpopular and build a coalition off of what people liked at the time.  All without having to vet everything through interest groups and campaign infrastructure.

Short version – he had a much faster OODA loop for his marketing.

In that sense – I think he will be a role model for other politicians – it’s eerily similar to an Adwords campaign now that I think about it.

Jun 16

Why is no one comparing Trump to Howard Dean in 2004?

Granted, that was 12 years ago, but the appeal still seems the same, light on ideology, high on displays of “social” strength.  I suppose a better way to put it would be that both were irritable strongmen, or “champions” who are rather light on ideology but heavy on irritability.