Empty World

In memory of the tragic event of one week past, I offer this instrumental track from Planet and Sky. It was supposed to be modeled on the five stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, but it morphed a little bit and became more upbeat towards the end – which might be needed right now. Enjoy.

Caveat Emptor

One view arising in the clarity of hind-sight about this election is that Donald Trump didn’t win because of a huge outpouring of hate as many would like to believe. Rather, he won by addressing the needs of our population who believed they are ignored and misrepresented. These are ordinary, good hearted people that have been incredibly marginalized, and as polls would show us eventually, completely ignored. These people voted for Reagan, Clinton, Bush and Obama. They’re the silent majority and now louder than ever.

As we attempt to understand the outcome of the election it’s clear Hillary Clinton did not recognize, or more accurately motivate and convince, a large section of our population that feels disenfranchised that her approach would address their needs and fears. This population is largely white. It’s self-evident that the Trump campaign did understand this demographic and won as a result. This is how our democracy works. What remains so unpleasant is “how” he appealed to this audience and what is says about those who voted for him. Do the “means justify the ends” and what does this mean for those who voted for him?

Trump unleashed the use of racism (i.e. hate, bigotry, fear of “others”) to stir-up the white voter. Any attempt to normalize the situation by suggesting that this was not true is obviously indefensible. One only has to replay the last 18 months to bear that out. Trump also preyed upon the very insecurity you described by offering easy to digest slogans and sing-song rhetoric to mask the forces of modernity that are inevitable. For example, coal mining jobs are not simply coming back because he “says so” which was further punctuated with racist comments about “illegals taking your jobs”. The miner, facing a rapidly changing global market for his product (caused in large part by fracking) will never see his job return just as car factories are largely automated now due to technological advance. His appeal to a “simpler time” where TV’s used vacuum tubes and where Archie Bunker roamed at night was designed to mask the advance of the world that is already upon us. Ironically, his use of technology, namely Twitter, was in part responsible for his ascension.

These are the tools of a demagogue and are effective when in fact people feel disenchanted or marginalized. History has confirmed this and it has now repeated itself. This was the basis of his appeal. The issue at hand now is what risk have we introduced by electing a “soulless” leader, willing and adept at preying upon these insecurities and unbounded in his search for personal adulation above thoughtful, purposeful dialog. The presidency is not the boardroom. It cannot be run in a purely hierarchical manner. One cannot simply mandate an order and expect it to be carried out. This has the very real possibility to further expose, if not unravel, his fragile, if not penile, personality.

Given his apparent lack of cogent policy to date, the likelihood of surrounding himself with sycophants, the very real possibility he will not be able to grasp the magnitude of the position, and therefore fail to deliver any positive approach, the likely trajectory overtime will be to continue to replay these themes and if history teaches us anything they will be replayed on an even more virulent level.

The challenge now is for every person who voted for him to recognize his deception, and the basic pathology of the person who embodies it, and hold him accountable to higher ideals and principles or accept they too are racist and ultimately responsible for the potential debacle at hand. The challenge is also now for those of us who did not vote for him to not despair but begin the repair effort.


It seems quite clear to me all of a sudden. The polls weren’t that far off. Near the end there were a bunch of national polls showing the race about a 4% lead for Clinton. Nate Silver said that a systemic flaw in polling could move the results about 3% in either direction, so it could really be anywhere from a 1 to 7 point lead and that looked pretty safe. As it’s turning out, there was a systemic flaw and it was undercounting Trump voters by a little more than 2% nationwide. That’s how Hillary ended up only winning by a little under 2% in the popular vote.

It seems like everyone forgot about the electoral college. It was state polls that mattered and those are always a little slower to show a late trend. I bet Clinton’s people had some late data and it’s why she was doing rallies in Michigan and PA in the last couple of days. They probably hoped whatever they were seeing for Wisconsin was just wrong (no time to be in all three states).

Looking forward, the Democrats have a big problem because this fluky thing of winning the popular vote and losing the EC could be a persistent pattern. Dems have a huge advantage in very populous states like CA and NY and that pushes up the PV margin, while they’re actually struggling to be ahead in enough states to win the EC. All it’s going to be about next time is taking back the rust belt. I wonder how they can do it.

How about a New Clean Energy Deal? Invest heavily in Solar and Wind Technologies in the rust belt, transforming the old dying industrial heartland into manufacture of wind turbines, solar roofing, battery factories, and electric cars. Put everybody to work along with AI to do the tedious crap. That will boost productivity enough to make the work week half as long, twice as easy, and significantly higher paying with amazing health care. Convert factory farms to cultivated meatless protein factories and build a thousand or so vertical farms to keep all the food local. Where you have to import, use hyperloops, drones, and self-driving electric trucks.

For everybody else outside the rust belt, put them to work in a big way, but keep the work week short and the pay sky high. Most of us can be foremen supervising robots in large scale assembly of solar and wind plants, building true 21st century infrastructure. All jobs cheap and easy – like playing computer games and getting paid really well for it.  Future’s so bright I gotta wear shades.

As for Trump and all his evil minions… seduce them into an alternative reality fantasy dome where they get to think they’re really rich, pay no taxes, and run regulation-free corporations while they have special bigotry bots to abuse in every way their hearts desire.

Good 3:45am thoughts to play with. Should do this more.