Monday, January 9, 2017

More Predictions

I'm going to make some more predictions today about the changing world. Time to get out the old crystal ball and rub it.

● In The Navy: Trump is apparently planning the largest Naval buildup since Reagan. On the one hand, this is a good idea. China is trying to build enough of a threat to deny the Navy access to the region and modernization is always good. But is there a catch? Have we reached a point where drones are so capable that naval vessels are no longer practical in a war? Seriously, if I was going to build an Air Force today, part of it would be thousands of drones all ready to play Kamikaze. In that kind of world, what chance do manned ships really have?

● Bacteria: I'm seeing evidence that medicine is slowly turning to the world of gut bacteria. It appears that the bacteria in our guts are what regulate weight and several other things. Don't be surprised if in ten years, whole segments of the pill industry collapse in favor of this stuff. As a further aside, I've seen some interesting studies which suggest that eating a huge variety of stuff will make you the healthiest. Interesting. Worth watching.

● Barbarians At The Gates: I don't see any signs that things will get better in the Middle East in my lifetime.

● Fading Away: Something tells me that China is fading away quicker than expected. They didn't manage to become a first world economy before their cost of labor got too high to support their supposed miracle. Now their demographic nightmare will be starting. Most interestingly, China doesn't seem to be throwing its weight around with the same passion as they did a decade ago. I read all of this to mean that China has peaked and is starting a fast slide down to irrelevance.

● Worried: Trump has really impressed me so far. The GOP has not. Just when it seemed that the GOP was 'getting it', they returned to their old obsession with Planned Parenthood... first flippin' priority. Clearly, they are still obsessed. Ultimately, I think this signals that a war with Trump is likely as he doesn't share their obsessions and they don't care about his agenda for jobs and irrelevant things like that! Heathen!

● Dumb As A BRIC: For the past twenty years, the financial people have been betting on the BRICs -- Brazil, Russia, India and China. Some add South Africa to that. Some add Turkey. These were supposed to be the stable economic darlings that were going to show us tired Americans how to run a business. Russia has collapsed into tyranny and cronyism... Mr. Toad's wild ride. Brazil's economic miracle turned out to be a corrupt lie, as highlighted by the Olympics and the impeachment of their grand poohbah. China is imploding in slow motion as its female-less population ages. South Africa remains a backward killing field. Turkey is rounding up 50,000 coup plotters and is knee deep in terrorism. That leaves India. One out of six ain't good. If you want to know where to put your money for the next decade, invest in the United States.

● Like Me Off Facebook: Watch for Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook to run for higher office. I'm not sure yet what he stands for, but he seems to be preparing to run for something. What's more, he has been rather rational in his positions, which makes me think he has a conservative streak. Could be important in the future.



tryanmax said...

On Zuckerberg, or Kanye for that matter: I don't know why the conflict of interest stuff is a fight Donald Trump thought was worth having, but he did. Its resolution will determine the calculus by which future private success stories determine if and how they might give back through service. Part of reducing the influence of lobbyists entails giving successful people a shot at steering. Otherwise they'll continue to be backseat drivers.

On Planned Parenthood: Maybe it's not the best optics for the GOP, but they finally have a shot at this particular goal and, frankly, the Democrats deserve this. From all appearances, it looks like the Republicans are planning to use machinations the Dems constructed to exclude Repubs from Obamacare legislation to defund PP. Furthermore, Obama and the last congress pulled some 11th hour stunt that basically dared the GOP to do this. Turnabout is fair play.

Timing is good because it's as far from an election as possible. PP won't collapse w/o federal funds, as evidenced by the ease with which they raise lobbying dollars, so it'll be hard to stir up an election issue unless PP simply decides to close shop in protest. I don't think their ideology would allow that as it'd still be a pro-life win.

As for the actual nuts and bolts that nobody cares about, I don't see how Congress could deny PP, or any other clinic that happens to provide abortion services, Medicaid reimbursement, so the idea of them being completely defunded is hyperbole at root. It's Title X family planning dollars that are at stake, and even there it'd be awkward to exclude clinics based on whether they provide abortion services. The GOP could move that bluntly, but if they're smart, they'll tie Title X funds to something like the size of the recipient entity in a way that renders an org the size of PP too big to qualify.

tryanmax said...

P.S. on PP: This is a battle that can't be fought obliquely, PP sees to that. If they get the notion that one federal dollar is at stake for them, they declare themselves under full frontal attack. Nor is this an issue the GOP can easily let go. The American people may be comfortable with the status quo on the subject, but that doesn't automatically entail detente. I think part of what makes Americans comfortable with the way things are is the idea that their party is on high alert against the other party.

Darski Cutler said...

so let's just be clear... you are thinking that PP is some nice little agency which does not deserve to face any retribution for the evils they undertake:

the fact that they murder more blacks every week than the Klan did in its entire history doesn't matter. MS's eugenics agenda is too well known for any denial.

the fact that they abort babies for 10 year olds is disgusting; that they refuse to report child sexual abuse is criminal.

the fact that they were selling baby body parts is so far into sick and evil that y'all just want to forget about it and forgive them to save your own conscience says much about you.

the PP Christmas card was pretty much, "Jesus was a baby and we kill babies" so give us money.

PP has caused their own downfall. but that killing babies thing seems to be addictive; y'all just won't give it up.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks for proving my point, Darski.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, It doesn't mean detente, but what it does mean is that the GOP can't make this their priority and they can't hold the rest of their agenda hostage to it. All that does is prove to people that the GOP remains a single issue theological party who doesn't care about the issues that matter to the public.

The GOP is like that friend you've come to despise because they won't stop obsessing about the girl who dumped them. And now that they've won a social issues-free election, the first words out of their mouth are about that girl.

AndrewPrice said...

This is probably a relevant addition. According to a Rasmussen poll (LINK),

Only 16% of the public says their views align with the GOP in Congress. 37% say their views align with Trump and another 37% say their views align with the Democrats.

Even within the GOP, only 27% say their views are like those of the GOP Congress, whereas 63% are more like Trump's views.

That means that only 1.5 in 10 people think like the GOP in Congress, and even within the GOP only 3 in 10 think like the Congress.

That very much fits what I've seen in my life on these issues.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, BTW, DUCK! We have 30-60 mph winds today and Colorado is coming your way! This is pretty incredible.

Koshcat said...

Damn - wind has been blowing hard since about 2 am.

Many of the congressional GOP are in a no win situation with regard to PP. Yes, they know that most people put this as a low priority. However, many of the groups that fund the politicians' elections have it as a very high priority. Democrats have the same problem with environmental groups. The trick is to look like you are trying to do something but not actually do anything so they continue to send you money.

I disagree with your statement about the Navy. Vast majority of trade is by sea and it is a fairly efficient way to project your power elsewhere. In a changing world, it is good that you can move that around easily. I have concerns about fighting with drones. It is too clean and bloodless. Makes it too easy to kill someone and too easy to cause collateral damage.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, Our font lawn is covered in garbage right now and there are three empty garbage cans roaming the street. My parents lost two trees and their neighbor's tree is lying in my parents' driveway. I'm a little surprised there hasn't been more damage in our part of two, but so far we've been lucky.

I do agree there is a need for a navy, especially in the modern world where you need to protect trade. But I do wonder if drones haven't changed the game so much that navies are becoming peacetime law enforcement only. Just a thought really. Either way, I'm happy to see that Trump is favoring a bigger navy and engagement.

You're right on the PP thing, but I think the optics of it require that you do it later after you've done a lot of good things, won people over and they have stopped worrying about what you might do. Then you do it and people say, "Yeah, I guess they had to try, but who care because they also did ____." Right now, the optics are, "Geez, what a bunch of nuts!"

The real irony here is that even if they win a defunding vote, which I don't think they will, nothing will really change. PP will get their federal money through other means like Medicaid, Medicare and direct federal contracts. So it will be yet another self-inflicted wound for zero substance.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. I agree about the fighting with drones. War becomes too easy when you watch it through television sets and you're never in danger.

But on the other hand, Drones strike me as the latest "equalizer." Now you don't need a super advanced massive military to take on anyone. All you need is a ton of small drones.

Let's hope the military is working on drone hunters.

Darski Cutler said...

actually Andrew you have proven my point. No matter how evil they are you must. kill. babies. and taxpayers. pay. for the. service. PP tells teens to have lots of sex - that is "sex education". you can't fix stupid!

AndrewPrice said...

This is the problem, Darksi. The world doesn't divide into:

Futile suicidal charge OR pro-abortion.

There are a great many people who would like to see it ended, but also realize that the public will not accept that at the moment and who realize that trying to stop it by force will only cause it to become more entrenched. If you want to end abortion, you need to win hearts and minds first. All this does is make the GOP irrelevant to the debate because they are seen as crazies who cannot be trusted without babysitting.

BevfromNYC said...

"...PP will get their federal money through other means like Medicaid, Medicare and direct federal contracts. So it will be yet another self-inflicted wound for zero substance.:"

See, here is where you could be wrong. I absolutely believe that if PP really wanted to stop the silliness, they would be pro-active in declining to take any kinds of federal funds and relie solely on private donations and grants from private trusts and charities. They could get the donations as it seems Hollywood millionaires alone could pick up the slack. Then PP could spend less on political action and more on what they confess is that they are all about "women's reproduction health clinics".

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Except that (1) donations are not as reliable as budget money, which is why most charities try to hook into federal funding, and (2) PP is a combination of a political organization seeking to promote "family planning" and a healthcare organization related to its mission.

PP is no different than a thousand other "charities" in that regard from the Red Cross to Nation of Islam to the NRA.

So for them, it makes sense to do what they do. And like all organizations that rely on federal funding, they've found ways to make the funding more reliable and harder to kill.

That doesn't mean you can't kill it, but it means you need to be more clever about it. Killing federal programs/funding can't be done with a hammer, it needs to be done with a scalpel and it often needs to be done at an angle so no one knows what you are doing and they can't get the public to understand what you are doing.

Defunding is all for show.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Do you want to know the most significant change conservatives could make to the federal government? Re-imposing the requirement the Supreme Court basically neutered that laws must be specific to be legal. Sounds like nothing, but that change opened the door for the Imperial Presidency. Doesn't sound sexy though, so no one is trying to do it.

ArgentGale said...

1. Interesting take on the military drones with regards to the Navy.

2. I had noticed a trend in articles and the like talking about it, as well as seeing various probiotic yogurts and the like at the store, so it's interesting that there's something to this. The weight regulation part alone is definitely going to be worth some money once scientists figure it out!

3, 4, and 6. Nothing too surprising on a lot of those fronts. It's nice to know that China doesn't have the power it seemed to.

5. Damn... I was wondering when the GOP's pet obsessions were going to come out to play and start scaring the public again. I knew it'd be coming sooner rather than later, too, but it's still worrisome and disappointing, especially in light of that poll. With the left in the shape that it's in the GOP needs to get its act together fast; the last thing we need are resurgent Democrats with their own hateful fringe in the driver's seat. I hope Trump's up to the task of dragging them into line with the public.

7. It wouldn't surprise me if he was getting ready to move beyond Facebook, though I suspect his positions are still more left than center. Still, he has made more of an attempt to be rational than other tech and social media figures, I'll give him that.

- Daniel

Patriot said...

Andrew......And why is PP defunding in the news again? Because we are back to the media (squirrel!) diverting attention away from things going on that are bad for Democrats (Trump!). We go through this every time there appears to be dem troubles....and there are a lot of them right now.

So, let's get the public' eye off how bad we are and get re-focused on how lunatic those awful Christianists in Congress are! See what happens when you put the freaks in charge of our gov't? All they care about is abortion!!

I don't think it will work this time as once Jan 20 hits, there will be SO MANY HORRIBLE THINGS TRUMP IS DOING that defunding PP is going to be way down on the list. I believe most Americans have made up their minds about this issue and it is only the most vocal that are trying to keep it as a BIG DEAL!!

Sorry for the caps........

tryanmax said...

Andrew, thanks for the heads up on the wind. Koshcat, Bev and Patriot basically chimed in on anything I'd have to say. Interesting about laws not needing to be specific. That's messed up.

AndrewPrice said...


1. It makes me wonder. Obviously, I can't say for sure, but you would think a wall of drones would be pretty cheap to throw up into the air and they could do a lot of damage since they don't care if they die.

2. The first story I saw on this was a study that said that changing gut bacteria was a better weightloss tool than bariatric surgery. Since then, I've seen a ton of studies and theories all talking about expansions of the idea.

3, 4, 6. China has real problems. How they handle it will be the question. I'm not sure there's much they can do. It's like the perfect storm of things-that-kick-a-country-into-stagnation.

5. It is a problem. What is just as worrying is the sense that they see the world as business as usual, which is what has been killing them since the 1990s.

7. He my be left of center, but he has done some interesting things. I'm not endorsing him by any means, but don't be surprised if he runs for President within 20 years time on one party or the other.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, We topped out at 97 in town today. Apparently that's a category II hurricane. The roof blew off our courthouse and they closed I-25 to commercial traffic because so may semis got blown over. Even my kids' school district cancelled their buses today because two got knocked over by the wind.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, The media certainly is using it as a distraction, and they are making it something it is not. Sadly, that's how our media works.

But knowing that, the GOP needs to be more careful in how they do things.

AndrewPrice said...

tryamax, I can't remember the name of the case at the moment (law school was too long ago), but...

The court always held that for a law to be valid, it needed to be specific so that the Executive knew exactly how it was to be enforced. The idea being that if you let the Congress pass a vague law, then the Executive would essentially be making law when they decided how to implement it.

The problem is that it's hard for legislatures to be specific and get the results they wanted -- for political reasons it's easier to fudge over differences and it take a lot of careful thought to think through what you want specifically. So the court neutered this. While keeping the doctrine alive, they basically said that there is no law so vague that it needs to be struck down. Instead, the Executive can fill in the details and the courts will make sure the Executive didn't go beyond the intent of Congress.

The end result was that the Executive became huge and powerful and laws became increasingly vague. The classic example is the ADA which says, "provide reasonable accommodations" but doesn't define what that means or even who deserves an accommodation.

This also opened the door to activist courts, who could now essentially tinker with the requirements as they saw fit and force the Executive to do or not do what they wanted. The end result was a massive power grab for the Executive and the Courts which fundamentally changed the nature of our government away from small, representative government.

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