Monthly Archives: May 2017

Trump Was Not An Anomaly

From a thread about Trump ruining the GOP brand:

“Trump isn’t an anomaly who squeaked through the GOP’s primary process, Trump was exactly what conservative leaders engineered their base to accept.

“Trump himself isn’t the story. Thump is an unthinking virus, a rabid dog, a scorpion who only knows how to sting. He is a child in a man’s body who had obscene privilege and wealth and no one who cared enough to equip him to be an adult with integrity and dignity. Trump really isn’t important in the story, just as a hurricane itself isn’t blamed as much as forecasting and first response and recovery.

“No, the story is about the conservative base, and the twisted, cynical and desperate ghouls who have manipulated these people over the last decades. The focus should be on how Republicans have whispered racism and hatred and fantasies of loss of unearned power and status in the ears of fearful and ignorant white people. Conservative leaders “primed the pump”TM for the base to accept a spoiler, an unthinking thug who babbles comforting populist nationalism and division from enemies and impossible promises of MAGA nonsense. Trump is exactly what conservatives have been building towards, even if they didn’t recognize how exactly it would manifest.

“Trump is a disaster. He is as dangerous as a snake in a crib or a grenade in a munitions dump or a sociopath in the White House. But it’s not his fault. Sadly, Trump is incapable of understanding his position. If he’s indicted, he literally may not be convicted because of mental incompetence.

“Let that sink in.

“No, we must focus on the actual culprits, the conservative leaders in Washington and state governor’s offices and legislatures and conservative local governments who have colluded to create these conditions. They vilify education and facts, they downplay science and critical thinking, they scare their aging base into thinking that government is evil and full of minorities that are out to get them. And, to their eternal shame, they bought it.

“So let’s shift attention from Trump to the real culprits. Let me state this clearly so that there is no misunderstanding:

  • If you voted for Trump, despite the warnings of over half of the country, you are a dumb, miserable sucker.
  • If you continue to support Trump, despite daily evidence of corruption, incompetence and self-sown confusion, you are an awful, hate-filled person. And you are the reason this is happening and continues to happen. Until you join the rest of us in condemning Trump, your conservative leaders will dither and remain silent on Trump’s ruin. And if you are OK with the country burning because you feel it will somehow hurt your liberal neighbors more, you are an irredeemable piece of filth, along with Trump and the leaders of the Right.”

Full discussion in context.

Image of Reince Prieus from this Politico article.

60+ Russia/Trump Connections

“It’s hard for me to see any U.S. ties to Russia…except for the Flynn thing and theManafort thing and the Tillerson thing and the Sessions thing and the Kushner thing and the Carter Page thing and the Roger Stone thing and the Wilbur Ross thing and the Felix Sater thing and the Boris Ephsteyn thing and the Rosneft thing and the Gazprom thing and the Sergey Gorkov thing and the Azerbaijan thing and the “I love Putin” thing and the Donald Trump Jr. thing and the Eric Trump thing and the Sergey Kislyak thing and the Russian Affiliated Interests thing and the Russian Business Interests thing and the other private Russian interests and the Emoluments Clause thing and the Alex Shnaider thing and the hack of the DNC thing and the Guccifer 2.0 thing and the Mike Pence thing and the numerous suspicious dead Russian’s thing and the public request to Russia to hack Hillary’s email thing and the Trump selling a house for $100 million at the bottom of the housing bust to the Russian fertilizer king thing and the Russian fertilizer king’s plane showing up in Concord, NC and Las Vegas during Trump campaign thing and the Russian fertilizer king’s yacht anchored next to Robert Mercer’s thing and the McConnell, Ryan, Nunes, Burr covering up Trump’s Russian collusion in September 2016 thing and the Nunes personal investments in the Russian winery thing and the Cyprus bank thing and the Trump not releasing his tax returns thing and the GOP rejection of a bill to require Trump to show his taxes thing and the election hacking thing and the GOP platform change to the Ukraine thing and the Steele Dossier thing and the “Leninist” Bannon thing and the Sally Yates can’t testify thing and the IC investigative reports thing and the Trump calling the Russian connection “fake news” thing and the Spicer’s Russian Dressing “nothing’s wrong” thing and the Chaffetz not willing to start an investigation thing and the Chaffetz suddenly deciding to go back to private life in the middle of an investigation thing and the Lead DOJ Investigator Mary McCord SUDDENLY deciding to resign thing and the White House going into full-on cover-up mode, refusing to turn over the documents related to the hiring and subsequent firing of Flynn thing and the Chaffetz and White House blaming the poor vetting of Flynn on Obama thing and the Poland and British intelligence gave information regarding the hacking back in 2015 to Paul Ryan and he didn’t do anything thing and the M16 agent following the money thing and the Obama personally warning Trump about Flynn’s involvement but hiring him anyway thing and the Corey Lewendowski thing and the Preet Bharara firing thing and the Betsy Devos’ Brother thing and the Sebastian Gorka thing and the Greg Gianforte from Montana thingand the Pence actually was warned about Flynn before he was hired thing and the Pence and Manafort connection thing and the 10 Allies coming forward with audio where Trump was picked up in incidental wire tapping thing and the Carter Page defying the Senate’s order to hand over his Russian contact list and the trump wants to VETO Sally Yates’ testimony thing…”

Academic Politics vs Corporate Politics

From /r/askacadmia:

“Compared to the corporate world, there are three unpleasant things about academic politics. One is that there is no clear common goal. In the corporate world at any moment of time usually there’s a well defined goal (profit, saving, market expansion, sales, loss reduction etc.), and if something doesn’t work, it least in theory, you can always stand up and ask the team to relate back to the goal. Look, we are not doing ourselves any good by getting involved in THIS, because it does not move us towards our main goal for this year. And then supposedly everybody readjust.

“In academia, large-scale goals are almost never articulated, so every person comes up with goals of their own, and there is no clear way to figure out what do we want as a team. Basically, except in situations of emergency, we never want anything collectively, as a team. Sometimes the majority of people happen to have their goals aligned, but it always happens spontaneously, not because we are explicitly required, or want to work together. I guess the whole mythology about tenure and academic freedom does not help here as well. People are so proud of the concept of academic freedom that they basically flip out every time somebody tells them what to do. It’s very much a “don’t tread on me” mentality. How dare you tell me how to teach! What speakers to invite! How to do research! People are very protective of their freedom, which is great, but it makes things harder in so many cases, as they may become protective of their freedom “just in case”, preemptively, before any actual conflict arises.

“Another, related complication, is that there is no culture of escalation and arbitrage. In the corporate world if you say “do it”, and another person or function says “don’t do it”, you can always escalate to the management, have a meeting, and agree on the priorities. There is typically a procedure for resolving conflicts, and there is a clear power, so when sales and IT have a conflict, they just calculate the costs, have a meeting, put these costs together, and delegate the decision up. In academia the structure is much flatter, the responsibilities are less clear, and there is no culture of escalation. If you would write to the dean about a conflict with another faculty, it would be perceived as an insult and open war, not as a working moment that happens literally every other week. Which means that pretty much conflicts of interest can sit there for years without ever being resolved.

“Finally, the last issue is that academics really like to think, analyze, and look into details, and really don’t like making decisions. Which is the exact opposite of the corporate world: there people usually work against a pressure of time, so they know (or are taught the hard way) that in many cases it’s more important to make a decision, any decision, than over-analyze and procrastinate. So, at least in my experience, in the corporate world when you call a meeting, present your analysis, and no obvious red flags are identified, typically people vote for a “go” decision, and immediately send a proposal to the management. In academia typically nobody would believe your analysis, because they will feel that they need to do it themselves (not that they have the time of course), and then several hypothetical reservations will be voiced, and “what if” scenarios will be described, and a few people in the room will have some strong reservations they’ll never voice (because, again, there is no culture of conflict resolution), and then everybody would agree to give it another thought, and maybe reconvene in half a year, or maybe form a committee, and give it another look, so forth and so on. There is no decision culture, and things can drag forever, even when people are generally sympathetic to the cause, just because they don’t have a habit of working small things out in order to push something big forward.”

Full discussion.