April 2, 2017

2017

Free Market of Ideas


April

Posts Donald Trump's Flying Circus: The Greatest Show on Earth
Milton Friedman: My God is Freedom
Ronald Reagan: Creeping Socialism
Edward Gibbon: Of Jews and Christians
John Galbraith: The Next Bubble
Cultural Total War: The Global War on Political Correctness
Waleed Aly: The Enemy Within
PBS American Experience: Human Capital
Rosalie Crestani: Rise Up Australia!
James McPhersen: Freedom is not possible without slavery
Peace and Long Life: Cosmological Fine Tuning
High Mackay: The state of the nation starts in your street
Cosmos: Carbon Capture and Storage
Four Corners: Please Explain
Peace and Long Life: Honour and Freedom
John van Tiggelen: After Sorry
Montaigne: The Road to Perdition
Links Bob Inglis: Political climate changing?
Ann Pettifor: How to Break the Power of the Banks
Svend Brinkmann: How to Resist the Self-Improvement Craze
Rutger Bregman: Utopia for Realists

March

Posts John Rasko: Trump's Pharmaceutical Plan
Love is a Warm Gun: Sandy Hook
Malcolm Turnbull: Coal is King
Thomas Piketty: A Recipe for Right Wing Revolt
Thomas Piketty: How Much Does the Richest Woman in History Pay in Taxes?
William Gibson: Idoru
Dylan Thomas: Under Milkwood
Montaigne: On fleeing from pleasures at the cost of one's life
Greg Bear: Bad News
Bertrand Russell: Contempt for Happiness
Four Corners: Alternative Medicine
Peace and Long Life: Freedom (of Action) Without (Freedom of) Will
Live Long and Prosper: Society Versus Community
Links Naomi Oreskes: Why Should We Believe In Science?
Maz Jobrani: Can Comedy Break Stereotypes?
Paul Bloom: Why Do We Create Stereotypes?
Satyajit Das: Consuming our future
Tim Berners-Lee: How Did The World Wide Web Start?
Clay Shirky: Can Open Source Be Traced To The 17th-Century?
Clay Shirky: How cognitive surplus will change the world

February

Posts Alistair Cooke: Saving Capitalism
Martin King: Free at Last
John Quiggin: An Epidemic of Laziness
George Orwell: The Lion and the Unicorn
David Biello: China leads the way on climate change
Tom Switzer: Against Public Broadcasting
Links Dorothy Roberts: What's Race Got to Do with Medicine?
Laurence Cockroft & Anne-Christine Wegener: On Corruption
Mark Blyth: Global Trumpism
Thomas Frank: Why Hillary Lost
William Perry: Nuclear Insecurity in the 21st Century
BBC World Service: Eugenics in America

January

Posts Tom Switzer: The Wrong Side of History
John Kennedy: The Common Enemies of Mankind
Martin Luther: On the Jews and Their Lies
Donald Trump: Ignorance is Strength
Links Scientific American: Trump's 5 Most “Anti-Science” Moves
Discovery: The Future of the Paris Climate Deal under Donald Trump
Suzanne Barakat: After A Horrible Hate Crime, How Do You Not Hate Back?
Earshot: The Seven Ages of Woman
Andrew Solomon: Is There A Healthy Way To Think About Depression?

Donald Trump

Blue Army: Persons of Interest







(Michael Kirk, Trump's Divided States of America, PBS Frontline, Episode 2, WGBH, 2017)






Michael Kirk:
[The Taj Mahal casino was] the biggest deal of his lifetime …
[Trump] spent a billion dollars on the Taj. …
Burdened by debt, [it] would not turn a profit …
The Plaza Hotel — a financial disaster; the airline, Trump Shuttle, was bleeding money. …
Trump and his companies owed more the $3 billion, much of it to the banks …
[But as the bankers] stared into the Trump Organization's abyss, [they] came to believe that Trump's assets … were worth more with his name on them than in foreclosure. …
They sold the yacht and the airline; and they put Trump on a $450,000 allowance.
In exchange he would continue to promote the business.

Donald Trump had survived but his casinos were deeply in debt.
He was looking for a way out.
He found one: Wall Street. …
Trump paid himself $44 million for services … even as the stock price began to fall.
The company filed for bankruptcy 3 times, investors lost billions. …
Trump characteristically described his time in Atlantic City as a success.

For Trump — real estate was increasingly a side business — marketing his name, a full time job. …
For 14 seasons [of The Apprentice,] millions of Americans watched a carefully crafted Donald Trump. …
And for his political guru … the TV audience could become Trump voters.
Roger Stone (1952):
Now, I understand that the elites say:
Oh that's reality TV!
Voters don't see it that way.
Television news and television entertainment — it's all television.
Now he saw an issue he could turn into headlines … the birther issue …
(Michael Kirk, President Trump, PBS Frontline, WGBH, 2017)





Omarosa Manigault (1974) [Director of Communications, September 2016]:
[If he wins, every] critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump.
[Everyone] who's ever doubted Donald, whoever disagreed, whoever challenged him.
It [would be] the ultimate revenge [for him] to become the most powerful man in the universe.
(Michael Kirk, President Trump, PBS Frontline, WGBH, 2017)

Donald Trump (1946):
I am your voice!

Nicolas de Caritat (1743–1794) [Marquis de Condorcet]:
If we cannot find voters who are sufficiently enlightened, we must avoid making a bad choice by accepting as candidates, only those men in whose competence we can trust.
(1785)

William King (1874–1950) [Prime Minister of Canada, 1921-26, 1926-30, 1935-48):
The extreme man is always more or less dangerous, but nowhere more so than in politics.
(Margaret MacMillan, History's People, Text, 2015, p 51)

Don Watson:
Noble and creative as it has often been, provider of an essential thread in the best of the American ideal and source of a rare grace one encounters only in the United States, American Christianity also disguises fear and feeds ignorance, paranoia and prejudice, along with a readiness to smite enemies with weapons of unspeakable destructive force.
(Enemy Within: American Politics in the Time of Trump, Quarterly Essay, Issue 63, 2016, p 23)

Alice Miranda Ollstein [Political Reporter]:
According to a book written by [Argentinian President] Macri’s father Franco, Trump threw a tantrum after losing a round of golf to Mauricio Macri and broke his friend’s golf clubs — one by one.
(There is a lot more to the Trump Argentina story, ThinkProgress, 23 November 2016)

Ying Ma [Deputy Director of a Trump Super PAC, The Committee for American Sovereignty]:
[We] know that in state-craft, every now and then, to be unpredictable is not such a bad thing in negotiations. …
One of the reasons Donald Trump won is that … he is able to simplify a lot of issues that the GOP have not been able to simplify for voters …
(The Trump victory, Between The Lines, ABC Radio National, 10 November 2016)

John Ashton (1956):
Our mainstream politics is less connected to the base of society than [it has been] for generations.
Into that gap scurry opportunists, attention-seekers, populists, pied pipers and demagogues, always good entertainers, peddling the illusion of simple solutions in a complex world.
We don’t feel close to our politicians, or trust them. …
We yearn for a real conversation about who were are and where we are going as a country, a vision for the future.
(Lifting the Lid on the Politics of Climate Change, RSA, 16 May 2013)

Kim Robinson (1952):
A presidential transition [is] a major thing, and there were famous cases of failed transitions [and] the dire consequences that ineptitude in this area could have on the subsequent fates of the presidents involved.
It was important to make a good running start, to craft the kind of "first hundred days" that had energized the incoming administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933, setting the model for that most presidents since to try to emulate.
Critical appointments had to be made, bold new programs turned into law.
(Sixty Days and Counting, Bantam, 2007, p 29)

Populism in America


Alexis ClĂ©rel (1805–1859): Viscount of Tocqueville

General Jackson, whom the Americans have twice elected to the head of their Government, is a man of a violent temper and mediocre talents; no one circumstance in the whole course of his career ever proved that he is qualified to govern a free people, and indeed the majority of the enlightened classes of the Union has always been opposed to him. …
(p 335)

We have been told that … he is an energetic man, prone by nature and by habit to the use of force, covetous of power, and a despot by taste.
(p 479)

It is by perpetually flattering [the passions of the people] that he maintains his station and his popularity.
General Jackson is the slave of the majority:
  • he yields to its wishes, its propensities, and its demands;
  • say rather, that he anticipates and forestalls them. …

General Jackson stoops to gain the favor of the majority, but when he feels that his popularity is secure, he overthrows all obstacles in the pursuit
  • of the objects which the community approves, or
  • of those which it does not look upon with a jealous eye.
(p 480)

He is supported by a power with which his predecessors were unacquainted; and he tramples on his personal enemies whenever they cross his path with a facility which no former President [has] ever enjoyed …
(p 481)

(Democracy in America, Vol I, 1835, Bantam, 2011)