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How cutthroat corporate culture imposed on politics dooms the Trump administration

Kellyanne Conway, a political activist and current advisor to President Donald Trump, and Stephen Miller, also a Trump advisor may not, at first blush, seem to be products of a corporate structure.

Employees who work in upper echelons of huge corporations all know corporate structure comes from top management, usually the CEO and Executive Board. It is easy to succumb to the rigorous demands of deeply embedded corporate structure without realizing it. However, when a corporate structure makes a cross over to government, all of the most negative factors of living the corporate life become obvious. Such is the picture the public sees of Conway and Miller. Part of the structure is what many recognize as the “rat race” to stay in close proximity to the top. Within such an environment, the level of competition between top advisors becomes overwhelming, and leaks abound. (Reportedly Conway leaked to the press that Trump was dissatisfied with press secretary Sean Spicer’s performance.)

The Ambitions of Conway and Miller

In order to remain a vital part of the “team,” Conway and Miller often become “creative” about facts and truth. They believe

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Your weekend long reads, Sweden, Migrants, Trump and Russia

Some of you must remember Swedish foreign minister trolling Donald Trump’s all male lineup during a signature of a bill cutting random funding to NGOs providing abortion worldwide. That act alone doesn’t tell us anything, it might be very well a part of America First and cutting additional expenditure. Boy, the reaction was swift. The Dutch started a fund to compensate the American funding cut, prompting the question, what were they waiting for so long? Also, shouldn’t they be spending the money in NATO? But never mind. Let’s stick to Sweden. When the Swedish FM penned an opus in Guardian, named “What Donald Trump could learn from the Feminist government of Sweden“, punching questions like, “The question remains: who should decide over a woman’s body, if not herself?” (Or Iranian mullahs maybe), irony died laughing clearly. In other news, Swedish Secretariat of Gender Studies, an organisation as notorious as the Soviet politburo in their promotion of unscientific dogma, called for an academic boycott of US. I personally think the yanks dodged a bullet there. The Swedish gender research is a laughing stock in mainstream academic community, and is essentially unverifiable, unfalsifiable dross anyway.

My critique on the myth of Sweden’s Feminist foreign policy as well as my book review of Professor Tom Nichols’ “The Death of Expertise” is out in Quillette. Read them here.

Also, my first piece for “The Conversation” on threat inflating Russia came out recently. I try to provide some realism and nuance amidst the ongoing hysteria.

 

 

 

Free Speech: No, CPAC disinviting Milo Yiannopoulos is not an attack on free speech

Milo Yiannopoulos’s brief history as an invited speaker to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) lasted less than a week. Given that Yiannopoulos is who he is, an attention seeker and an expert at victimization politics, he is sure to try to turn this into a discussion about free speech.

But make no mistake: This is no war on free speech, and it is nothing like the violence at Berkeley, which caused his speech to be shut down, or other attempts by anti-free speech radicals to silence invited speakers through intimidation or disruption.

CPAC, given that they are putting on the event, makes the decision over who it invites, and CPAC attendees decide whether to purchase a ticket or not. Even before videos of Yiannopoulos praising the potential of relationships between older men and minor children went viral, many conservatives were disappointed with the decision to invite Yiannopoulos, which was reportedly not made with the full approval of the CPAC board. CPAC, after all, is a “conservative” event, and Yiannopoulos offers no deep insight into conservative thought–or much of anything besides showmanship.

Free speech does not imply inviting anyone and everyone to give a speech. After all, CPAC had not extended invitations to Black Lives Matter activists, Lena Dunham, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, DeRay Mckesson, Shaun King, Brianna Wu, Anita Sarkeesian, or any other identity politics-supporting left-wingers.

They don’t have to extend invitations to anyone and everyone. CPAC, like the College Republicans, is a private group with its own viewpoints and agenda. In the past, CPAC has barred conservative-affiliated groups from being cosponsors for ideological disagreements (GOProud for its support of gay rights) and because of their radicalism (the John Birch Society). Those decisions can be debated, but it’s well within CPAC’s right to make them.

That many of their attendees and sponsors didn’t want to hear Yiannopoulos speak anymore than they wanted to hear DeAndre “Soulja Boy” Cortez Way speak doesn’t make them opponents of free speech–just people with values. In the end, the market place of ideas (and of money–CPAC sells tickets) determined Yiannopoulos’s fate.

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Will Trump change US-Russia relation?

I was interviewed by Radio Sputnik, Moscow, yesterday. 

The audio clip is not very good, but I am attaching it here

The transcript is below.

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Why young Chinese aren’t nationalistic

Sumantra noted a research paper by Harvard’s Alastair Iain Johnston in the journal International Security that raises doubts about the narrative that China is becoming increasingly nationalistic.

One section of the paper highlights differences between attitudes of the youth and those of their elders.

Johnston wrote:

Moreover, contrary to the conventional wisdom, the data do not show that China’s youth express higher levels of nationalism than older generations. Indeed, it is China’s older generations that are more nationalistic than its youth. These findings—with due regard for caveats about representativeness— suggest that rising popular nationalism may not be a critically important vari- able constraining Chinese foreign policy.

Sometimes the claim is made that rising nationalism exists because it is assumed, though not shown, that official government policies such as the Patriotic Education Campaign, launched in the early 1990s, are having their intended effect.

As Johnston’s numbers suggest, China’s youth are in fact noticeably less likely than their parents to answer yes to questions of patriotism and nationalism like, “I would prefer to be a citizen of China,” “China is a better country than most,” and “You should support your country even when it is wrong.”

china better

This makes sense for multiple reasons:

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2 Articles on Liberal Protest

These past two weeks, we have seen massive protests by liberals and left-wing anarchist groups, both non-violent and violent, and both Sumantra and I have written about them.

The general thrust of my thesis is that non-violent protests such as the Women’s March are a fine way of opposing Trump’s radical policies and statements. That kind of non-violent protest should not be associated with fascistic violence like that of Disrupt J20 or the Antifa thugs in Berkeley. However some of the mechanisms of social protest, like #DeletingUber, are very stupid and possibly counterproductive.

Here are my pieces:
Antifa and the Woman’s March: A Tale of Two Protests – Areo

Protesters have depicted both Bush and Obama as Nazis. Neither side has a monopoly on Hitler comparisons and stupid signs, and both sides are guilty of hypocrisy in selectively cherry picking the worst examples of their opponents for condemnation.

But because of certain characteristics of the Left, such as the fact that collectivism lends itself more to collective protests than does individualism and the fact that a good deal of leftists romanticize French Revolution-style “resistance,” progressives are generally more likely to have large-scale marches and marches that often push or overstep the limits of the law. It’s no coincidence that, more often than not, the people occupying a public park or a pipeline construction location are leftists. Most progressives aren’t waving Soviet flags at a World Trade Organization protest, but most people waving Soviet flags at WTO protests are progressives.

Read full article.

And:
By Targeting Uber, Immigration Protesters Punish Innocent Bystanders – The Federalist

Imagine you are a traveler just off a long flight across an ocean. You’re tired, you’re hungry, you’re annoyed from standing in long lines and waiting for your luggage. You already know the immigration ban is in place because you saw it reported on CNN in the terminal. Now there’s no one to take you to your hotel downtown. You find out it’s because taxi drivers are striking due to an order you didn’t sign and had nothing to do with. You might not even support it. You might not even be a citizen of this country. But you have one more headache just because Trump did something the taxi drivers don’t like. Are you going to be more or less likely to support the taxi union?

Read full article.

Chin-Nat Study (1)

New research suggests that conflict with China is not inevitable

Extraordinary research came out yesterday in International Security Journal, which concludes that

  1. Nationalism declining in China.
  2. China views, any potential Great power conflict from geopolitical and not ideological lens.

Here’s the paper.

And some data set.

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The assault on rule of law in America

Anarchists smashed windows and burn cars on the day of Trump’s inauguration. Two weeks later, “Antifa” rioted at Berkeley, destroying property and beating innocent people, just because an alt-right extremist was planning on speaking (Ben Shapiro has a run down of him). In the White House, President Trump ignores multiple court rulings and continues to illegally enforce an immigration ban he unilaterally implemented that is likely unconstitutional.

America, in the eyes of many, is tearing apart at the seams.

Some would blame it on liberals or leftists who are unable to accept that Trump won the popular vote. But the thugs destroying ATM machines and punching people in Berkeley weren’t wearing pussy hats or “I’m With Her” shirts. Quite probably few of them voted for a “corporatist” like Hillary. Probably few of them voted at all in a “corrupt” system.

Donald Trump should be speaking out and changing his ways. He’s the president, and he needs to take leadership.

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New long essays…on Trump, Russia, Berkeley, and the new world order

For those of us old enough, late Gen-Xers and early Millennials, and influenced by mid-90s Grunge, the riots in Berkeley which forced the University of Berkeley to cancel Milo’s talk comes as no surprise. We, from a generation whose defining trait was indifference and calm unflappable belief in the forces of structure over agency, always wondered what it felt like to be constantly radical, hyper, to have the relentless altruistic idea of value and virtue promotion, of the self imposed burden and crusading revolutionary world changing zeal. It constantly felt like Big Lebowski trying to reason with Shaun King. In fact the latest riot was therefore so inevitable that it barely needs mentioning; the inevitable outrage of a pampered generation of middle class pretend revolutionaries, so ideologically inflexible, so detached from working class sensibilities, so mollycoddled to believe in inherent malleable, ever expanding rights like tampon tax, rather than calm quiet resilience; cheered on by Hollywood millionaires, some of the tweets are borderline treasonous. Everything that happened since Trump won was and remains a bourgeoisie rebellion, and here’s a word of caution from someone pushing mid thirties with a growing Homer Simpson tummy; it is going to end brutally. We’ve seen it all before, us, and the generations before us.

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Ridiculous couple of weeks, with all the protest and violence, and worst of all, the hyperbole, but here are a few essays by yours truly.

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#NeverTrump was right: Trump is everything #NeverTrump warned about

In less than two weeks in office, President Trump has already proven to be everything #NeverTrump warned about. He has lied, abused his power, implemented unconstitutional policies, disgraced the office and divided the nation.

Trump has lied brazenly

@Cheryl707 @SalenaZito @BradOnMessage That’s a lot of words to use to defend a pathological liar. – @AndyKindler

Just the day after his inauguration, Donald Trump was already brazenly lying to the CIA and the public to appease his narcissism. He told the CIA that he had the largest crowd ever for his inauguration and that maybe 1.5 million people came. He had press secretary Sean Spicer yell at reporters and berate them for accurately reporting the crowd size. Spicer’s first remarks included provably false statements about the number of metro riders at both his and Obama’s inauguration and the use of floor coverings. The next day Kellyanne Conway defended Spicer on the grounds that he was simply using “alternative facts.”

And spread conspiracy theories
But that wasn’t even the worst of it. Trump also said that “3 to 5 million illegal votes” caused him to lose the popular vote, which he lost by 2.8 million votes. Defending his nut job claim, Trump cited random internet person, Gregg Phillips.

Trump has a long track record of affiliating himself with conspiracy theories, including leading the birther crusade against Obama, suggesting Obama is a secret Muslim, believing that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination, being advised by Roger Stone, and appearing on the Alex Jones show.

Trump’s lies about politics spread into much that he says to defend his policies, including stating that, “If you were a Muslim [applying for refugee status in Syria] you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible,” and that his executive order banning everyone including green card holders from seven countries was the same as something Obama did.

Trump abuses his power and violates the Constitution

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