Encore of Revival: America May 29, 2017

Today is Memorial Day, when Americans remember brave men and women in uniform who do the necessary work and take the necessary risks to preserve freedoms for others—freedoms that can never be attained by entitlement. Freedom is neither free nor guaranteed. It must be earned and preserved. Today we pause to honor those who do that for us.

At the recent NATO conference, Britain’s Prime Minister May confronted President Trump about leaks from within an administration Congressional Democrats have blocked Trump from replacing. There seems to be no word so far on May’s view of Obama hiring people in the leaky administration or the Democrats for not encouraging leakers to be replaced more quickly.

Montana’s Republican Congressman finally did what many people have wanted to do to news reporters. Greg Gianforte reportedly body-slammed a reporter from the UK Guardian and broke his glasses. And, you know what they say about hitting a guy with glasses. Perhaps the reporter lacked the foresight to see it coming. Or, maybe he didn’t understand the very news he was covering, so he made the news instead. Shoving an uninvited microphone into the face of a Montanan is a bad idea—but Gianforte will have to get used it since he plans on going to Washington. This proved that the new Congressman is not part of the establishment.

It wasn’t the first time that a country-bumpkin good ole’ fashion red-blooded American opened a can on the Britts. It’s not the first time and won’t be the last time Americans feel frustration with the news media. Three newspapers pulled their “endorsement”—even though it was probably too late to matter, albeit the news doesn’t endorse candidates, it reports on them, hopefully not provoking assault in the process.

Gianforte apologized after he won the election, both to the reporter and the Fox News team on the scene for the trouble. Waiting was the right thing to do—staying his apology until it wouldn’t get him more votes. He was sincere, his supporters in the room forgave him, and it did seem to be about personal respectability and leading by example. His support will likely increase, both for being able to make such a “real-human” mistake and for being able to apologize for it. These things could make him a much needed and positive influence on Congress.

There is something symbolic to this. With Gianforte’s victory in Montana, a second “butt-kicker” will soon arrive in Washington. The news industry as a whole is taking a tumble, literally and figuratively. The scripted assault plan from the media playbook is now mounting against Hannity and everyone is responding on cue. Information leaks in Washington continue, all in ways that indicate the previous administration. An obviously predictable change is under way on many levels.

But, “obvious” isn’t obvious to everyone. Mark Zuckerberg wants a “universal basic income” and threw GDP under the bus in favor of the ethereal, non-economic feeling to “find a meaningful role”. If a minimum income can be guaranteed then there is no need to study or “try new ideas” for that matter. Zuckerberg wants a “cushion” so we can try new ideas without feeling economic fear, forgetting—or perhaps never learning—that invention’s mother is necessity. If there is no risk then there is no progress. Dostoyevski’s, and many others’, very inspiration came from not having an economic cushion. If Zuckerberg got his way, innovation would diminish, as it has in every economy every time it has ever been tried on Earth, from the Pilgrims to the Russians. But, kids who don’t study their history tend to repeat it.

Steve Jobs didn’t speak at Stanford until he had gray hair and, when he finally did, he simply told stories from his life. By contrast, the young Harvard dropout speaking at the Harvard graduation this past weekend couldn’t talk about his life story because he hadn’t lived long enough to have one. Mark can’t say that he got fired from Facebook, started a new company, found his spouse, then went back to prove that only his brains could run the company he started. He’s still green. Even though he talked about innovative-economic theory, he made his fame is from success in software, not success in macro-economic planning. It was a kid telling kids what the kids wanted to hear.

The entire generation lacks “independent critical thinking”—the ability to scrutinize one’s own ideas and dispassionately present and welcome arguments, both pro and con, to understand life most accurately. Not knowing what to make of current events, that generation is drunk on the fantasy that Trump only won the election because the Russians rigged it—a leaped-to conclusion no prosecutor has even suggested and an indication that the young voters watch James Bond more than they watch the news.

Trump is as green to politics as Zuckerberg is to economics, except Trump has a life story that includes both failure and rebound. He is a business man who reached out to Director Comey, a man he had the power to fire at any time. A good boss does that in the business world, but in politics that pre-firing courtesy easily comes across as scandal—even when it is not—especially in the eyes of those who are already on a witch hunt. If Trump did something truly wrong, it remains yet to be seen.

These supposed “scandals” in the news about Trump, so far anyway, are mere delusion for the disillusioned, begging the question of whether delusion is all there is to these reported scandals. It would be great if a non-delusion-driven investigation would actually get under way so that there would be something real to report and comment on. And, that day may yet come, even though it is not today.

Many voters—mostly the kids—are still disappointed after the first time an election didn’t turn out how they wanted it. They are in the “denial” stage of that process of grief. If they were as right as they think themselves to be then they would have seen it coming. But, they didn’t. Based on evidence, the world today does not need Zuckerberg’s basic universal income guarantee; we need basic critical thinking.

Some people have that basic thinking, the rest wake up every day surprised and disappointed. In such times, everything is seen for what it truly is and, evidently, that trend won’t stop anytime soon.

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Prelude to Conflict: Asia, December 22

Prelude to Conflict: Asia, December 22

China made two well-crafted blunders which Beijing likely considers a success. China called for US arms sales to Taiwan to cease, then Xi went to Macau where democracy supporters could protest him more directly at the second inauguration of Macau’s CEO. Macau’s protest was reportedly led by Jason Chao (周庭希).

Japan removed the most at-risk fuel rods from Fukushima, a preventative measure. Jack Ma (马云), the Chinese businessman with an “American dream” who founded Alibaba, gave counter-intuitive wisdom to Taiwanese—the kind of ideas one would expect from Americans, but not from old guard Mandarin-speaking business owners.

Taiwan now has approval from Obama to purchase four US Perry-class frigates, sparking China’s formal complaint. Perhaps Beijing overlooked the fact that their complaint grants the US expanded permission to file future formal complaints with China. Taiwan is also building a lighthouse on the disputed “Itu Aba” Taiping Island (太平島) adjacent to a runway which is being engineered for military air support.  · · · →