Cooperation, Not Combat

The trade war with China accelerates as the Trump administration’s latest tariffs have been matched. Talks have broken down, and Trump seems to think that the taxes are paid by China, not US consumers. He’s not going to back down anytime soon.

Where does it stop? If the end goal is an even trade between the two nations, it’s not actually possible to accomplish it this way – unless it drops to zero. There are systemic problems in world trade generally and China specifically which create this issue that can and must be worked out. A competent administration would do that hard work and create a world that is much more even all around.

But no, we’d all rather just bully our way to prosperity or something.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Conspiracy in Hindsight

As with every 9/11, the passage of this date brings an exhaustive recounting of long debunked conspiracy theories.  This piece from 2014, slightly updated,  discusses only one aspect of the ridiculousness of this spectacle.  

The US commitment to being the policeman of the world. continues, bringing us into conflicts everywhere.  One of these is the still ongoing fight against Da’esh or ISIS, which has never been totally vanquished.  Why?

If you believe one conspiracy theory popular in the Middle East, it’s a creation of the US – for the purpose of doing just what we’re doing now, which is a justification for more interference.

While this comes from a region of many conspiracy theories, hatched by governments like Iran with strong propaganda needs, it’s actually a common type of conspiracy theory. It comes from looking at the result of a world event and then working backwards to determine that the outcome must have been planned by nefarious forces. Such “Hindsight Conspiracies” are part of the news cycle these days – despite almost always being pathetically wrong.

Continue reading

Faith and Deeds

This piece from a year ago is still valid.  

A lot of people are upset about the direction of the nation. Nearly a two to one ration finds that the nation is on the wrong track, according to a Rasmussen poll. That fits with the ongoing controversies sweeping our mindscapes involving protests of various kinds.

A lack of faith in our government should be one thing which unites us. It’s something of an American tradition, after all. Some think it’s involved in vast conspiracies. Some want to stockpile arms against it. Some think it’s just plain incompetent. Some think our history is a complete lie.

No one, anywhere, thinks that government is going to solve all of our problems. No one trusts it completely. No one thinks our taxation system is completely fair. No one thinks that the system always produces justice.

Yet protests about our system or our government are the surest way to spark a highly emotional shouting match that transcends any ability to get anything done. And there may be a good reason.

Continue reading

Industry 4.0

Call it the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” or the more hip “Industry 4.0” if you like. What matters most is that industry, or the process of making things, is changing in ways that seem fundamental and permanent. The world is moving on to a new era which, difficult as times like this can be to understand, appears to be rather well defined and describable.

If you do a deep dive into Industry 4.0, however, there is still something missing. It’s the “why” of the process which seems to be at least assumed, if not elusive. Not just why it is happening, but why it is being driven now and why it is expected to cast aside Industry 3.0.

What’s missing in the increasing chatter of Industry 4.0 appears to be the fundamental force behind it, which is the decline of what we might call “capitalism” in favor of a purely market centered, low overhead “marketism” approach.

Continue reading

When a Republic Dies

For those who find it difficult to process the daily blowtorch of news, it has come down to one fairly obvious event that inflames everything else: this is what it looks like when a republic dies.

There has been warning along the way. The parallels with Rome have been clear and the utter dysfunction of government manifest constantly. Decency died a long time ago, and the vulnerable have suffered as pawns for years before it culminated in the destruction of families for pure political sport.

But the warnings fell on ears deafened by the trumpets of war, incapable of caring the slightest bit for the republic itself. So that brings us to a time when it is obvious that we have one, maybe two last chances to save the centuries old birthright, a republic enshrined for the purpose of protecting freedom.

Continue reading

Not Correctness, Politeness

I’m still recovering from a surgery, so one more repeat this week.  This is from 2017.

Has “political correctness” run wild, threatening to destroy our language and culture? Certainly, it’s a pain to have to learn new terms all the time. And no one likes to be scolded for using the wrong ones. But is this all just a way of repressing free speech and making people more pliant and reducing the culture to nothing?

No. We are in the middle of a process of determining just what “polite” is.

That’s not to say it’s every gonna be easy. There is no “process” and no one gets to vote. It’s necessarily messy to clean up the language and make sure it works for everyone. We all have to agree at some point. And in the meantime, the one thing that far too many people seem to agree with is that politeness isn’t necessary at all. That’s the real problem.

Continue reading