Tuesday, August 23, 2016

There You Go Again.....

Trump's PR Department Constructs New Meme

The Trump Machine scoured the picture files to find this pair of pics which equate
a Reagan thumb's up to a Trump thumb's up! They still wound up with a Trump smirk
alongside a genuine Reagan smile. Reagan's looking at people; Trump at cameras.

Here they tried to catch a Reagan smirk and pair it with
The Donald's famous smirk. The problem for the PR guys is
that Reagan looks like he shares and inside joke with his
audience. Trump here looks like he knows something that
you don't know and thinks you're pretty stupid.

I'm going to do this one in pictures so that the LIV Trump supporters at whom this is aimed may understand. I just hope they'll notice the captions or they'll miss the whole point, but seeing as how the true believers will follow Trump off a cliff, I don't suppose there's much hope of that.

True conservatives (whom Trump says he doesn't need) love Ronald Reagan. He's far and away our favorite president of the past century and a half. So (since they don't need us), Trump's minions (shown at the left) have begun constructing a new meme.  The old "lesser of two evils" meme has been successfully and widely debunked and is obviously not working with principled conservatives so they've taken a new tack. First it was the "devil you don't know is better" argument, which hasn't been as successful as they hoped, with Trump supporters beginning to jump ship lately as they realize that the devil you don't know is still a devil. Whoops!

So to reach conservatives (whom Trump doesn't need in order to win), the Trump machine has resorted to resurrecting the corpse of Ronald Reagan and propping it up beside pictures of Donald Trump that they have tried to match expression and mannerism-wise so that the LIV crowd might mistakenly believe that Trump is a chip off the old Reagan block.

Trying to remember which expression to use
versus seriously presidential
 There are a whole raft of these Trump/Reagan "which of these things is just like the others" kind of photos on the web. A lot of them are png files which makes me wonder if the same Photoshop wizard is making them. I can hear the Trump PR department going, "Chuck, we need you to find some pictures where Trump looks Reaganesque and match them up with old Reagan photos. And we need those by tomorrow. Comparing him to the devil hasn't worked out so well...."

Here's some more that Bozo the Candidate's crack PR team came up with....

 Here we have the mouth open pose. I need hardly comment on which looks like a president and which like a side show barker.

Here we go, still trying to match the serious presidential face of Reagan. Best they could do is Trump's Monty Hall face doing "Let's Make a Deal!"

 Trying to show how Trump captures Reagan's energy. Looks more like the Donald is doing an advertisement for the Squatty Potty.

Still trying to match up the serious presidential expression on Reagan's face with something (anything) remotely similar from the Donald. I've seen Dana Carvey do that same expression in his Church Lady skit on Saturday.

"Now who could it be?"

Church Lady could tell you who it is. The face and eyes are the mirror to the soul. Does anyone beside me think that Trump and Clinton both are using practice faces trying to gin up some real human expressions. Do we have a pair of sociopaths running for president this November - people not capable of expressing genuine emotions. Isaac Asimov once wrote a story about an Android that ran for public office once. He pulled it off. I wonder whether the victory of the robot said more about how well the robot simulated human emotions and expressions or more about how poorly politicians do?

We've certain tossed out any real people from the candidate pool this time around. All we have left are con artists, criminals and criminal con-artists with the cumulative moral strength of a pigeon. Here's hoping there are more wise and principled Americans out there this fall than it would appear based on the quality of this year's top tier presidential contenders.

© 2016 by Tom King

Lest you think the Trump Machine's technique is new, here's a foreshadowing.
Here they compare Cruz to Nixon, Trump to Reagan and Rubio to Bush. We
are supposed to learn from this that Trump is Reagan. I'm not sure who they
are selling this balderdash to, but their collective brainpower could hardly
summon up the energy to light up a night light.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Better the Devil You Don't Know?

The sum of things hoped for.?   What are the odds?
Really? You have to give it to he who must not be elected. The man knows how to twist a meme to his own benefit.  There used to be a saying that everyone knew that went like this:

"Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know."

The point of this old saw was that with the devil you know, at least you have some experience with defending yourself against him. With the devil you don't know, you have no idea what fresh hell is coming your way. Most old sayings are based on generations of collective wisdom. It takes an adept hand at the old tiller o' propaganda to teach everyone to believe exactly the opposite of what they once believed and to simultaneously not really notice that they've done a 180.

We conservatives who are, we are told, not needed by Trump to win are being told that we must hold our collective noses and vote "Not Hillary". The reasons given range from "Hillary is worse" to "He will build a wall.".  If we counter, "We don't know that Trump really will build a wall or that Hillary is worse," they confidently tell us, "Well, we KNOW how bad Hillary is. With Trump there's a chance he could be better."  This is the mirror opposite of the old "devil you know" adage.

                            "Better the devil you don't know than the devil you do."

That, of course, flies counter to logic, reason and "The Art of War" by Sun Tsu. It is much harder to defend our nation against an unknown threat than to prepare to fend off a known threat. With Donald Trump, it's even more so. He comes as an angel of light, all set to defend the rights and privileges of every angry American who is willing to simply ignore his myriad flaws and "eccentricities". Trump is the political equivalent of a scratch-off lottery ticket or a quarter in a Vegas slot machine. You're pretty sure you are going to lose, but, hey, you might not. I don't find the difference between a certain loser and an almost certainly worse loser to present significantly better odds. At least not enough for me to spend the one coin I have (my vote) on either. I prefer to spend my vote on someone I can feel good about supporting, even if he doesn't win.

I don't gamble.
That's probably why it's easier for me to resist scratching either box on my ballot. I don't like crap shoots. With crap shoots, most of us never win. The house generally cleans up and walks away with all your money. What's disturbing about this analogy is that Trump has managed to bankrupt several casinos.

But better the devil you don't know? Who knows? You might win?

Yeah, right!

© 2016 by Tom King

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Government Needs an Occasional Vacation

Every time a Ted Cruz, Mike Lee or Michelle Bachman, Louis Gohmert or Marsha Blackburn dig their heels in on a point of principle (always over budget over-spending) and threaten to shut down the government, the media reacts like Chicken Little, running around proclaiming the imminent falling of the skies. But is the sky about to collapse on us if the government is forced to take a little vay-cay? How much does it hurt us if government takes a little break. It's not like they couldn't send out some social security checks during the interim. They have plenty of our money sitting in the bank with which to do that and computers to release the cash. So what's the big deal if we take a holiday from spending like drunken sailors?

Actually I should apologize to drunken sailors for that one. The government spends at a rate that would make a drunken sailor verklempt. 

I've read the reports in the New York Times and the Huffing and Puffington Post castigating Republicans for the damage their brinksmanship has done to the economy.
They cite a minuscule, six-tenths of a percentage drop in the Federal Reserves anticipated "growth" rate for the economy. Remember, the president can cause that big a drop just by making another one of his speeches and mentioning the word "collective" a couple of times. That economic impact of .6% doesn't mean much more than that a few nervous stock speculators saw their stock prices drop a little because other nervous stock speculators decided they didn't want to pay that much for those over-priced stocks. Some of these financial gamblers lost a little perceived value for their stocks, but if they played it smart and hung on to their stocks, most of these stock prices came back up after a while (see headline below). Standard and Poor meanwhile, worried that the shutdown of 2013 might "weigh on consumer confidence, especially among government workers that were furloughed.”

So, let me get this straight, the government shutdown worried mostly government workers? Standard and Poor tries to bring the rest of us in on it, again weighing in with a moan that, “If people (i.e. government workers) are afraid that the government policy brinkmanship will resurface again, and with it the risk of another shutdown or worse, they’ll remain afraid to open up their checkbooks.”

So, just perhaps, a shutdown might cause people to actually save some of their money instead of spending it, if only for a while. If you are one of those poor simple people who think that everybody being a little frugal and putting some money back for a rainy day is a good thing, you will find that the liberal media finds your attitude unprogressive in the worst way. People sitting on their money is something  the imminent liberal economist, John Maynard Keynes, was always terrified of, as are his progressive acolytes almost a century later. The reason Keynesians like Democrats and even, sad to say, like some Republicans fear a reduction in spending is that Keynesian economic model depends on people spending steadily and paying lots of taxes, so that governments can afford to meddle in the economy, ostensibly to keep the economy stable. If people are left to their own economic devices, Keynes posits that things will be "very bad". Theoretically, a government shutdown should do serious damage to the economy if you buy into Keynesian economics.

Turns out, though, that when the talking heads and government agencies tot up the "damage" caused by the sixteen day 2013 shutdown, they figure it cost the economy around $21 billion. Sounds terrible right?  In describing the impact, however, they mention casually (hoping you don't notice) that during the shutdown, the government didn't spend 10 billion dollars a week. Let's see. Let me add that up in my head. That works out to a little over 1.42 billion per day. Multiply by 16 days and you get around 22.8 billion dollars the government didn't spend. That's a bit more than 21 billion in taxpayer dollars that the government was unable to spend during the shutdown (you can't keep them from spending altogether so they did manage to apparently spend at least 1.8 billion dollars somehow.

And when it was all said and done,  in 2013, right after the terrible 16 day government shutdown in October, the world went on spending and doing business quite well on its own. Some might argue that the economy bounced back nicely, perhaps with even more vigor from having had the government monkey off their back for 16 days.The CNBC (decidedly not a conservative media outlet) led it's 2013  annual year-end report with this headline:

Wall Street closes 2013 at records;
Best year in 16 for Standard and Poor, 18 for Dow

 I think someone on Wall Street should have sent thank you cards to Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Michelle Bachman, Louis Gohmert, Marsha Blackburn and the rest of those terrible Tea Party people.  What do you want to bet that they didn't? So Ronald Reagan seems to have been correct when he told Johnny Carson we could send the government away for 3 weeks and not notice. Of course you don't shut down the essential stuff like the military and the air traffic controllers and such. You only send off the "nonessential" personnel.

Listen to that again. You only send off the "nonessential" personnel and shut down nonessential services during a government shutdown. Apparently those "nonessential" personnel are costing you and me 10 billion dollars a week. Does it occur to anyone else that we might could find a few things to trim from our budget since they are already neatly categorized into the "nonessential" category.

I'm living on a fixed budget, with bad knees and a disabled family member to care for. My personal budget is pretty much limited to essentials these days. I understand about making do without some nonessentials and getting creative with my spending. Shouldn't our government be at least a little more careful about nonessential spending? Doing so doesn't seem to harm our robust, still semi-free market economy. I think we might be able to adapt to a little frugality. We could start by putting the savings back into social security from which the Congress has been stealing for years.

This election cycle we have two candidates for "Dear Leader" lined up, both of whom are very fond of spending ?other people's money" - Clinton the taxpayer's money and Trump* his suckers, uh, investors money.  Hopefully people will at least vote for down ballot conservatives like the Cruz and the rest that I mentioned above. A solid conservative block in Congress would at least have the power to shut the government down, if only for two or three weeks.

I'm with Reagan. Let's send the government on a mandatory three week vacation once in a while, if only to remind some of them that they are, after all, nonessential!

Just sayin'

© 2016 by Tom King

* And before you Trumpians jump on me, you should read Trump's books - especially the part about using other people's money. Trump dearly loves making other people pay for his projects. He used 160 million dollars of George Soros' money to build Trump Towers in Chicago when he ran out of other other people's money.