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Donald Trump: America's Berlusconi?
#41
Economic growth as the USA experienced in the "American High" after WWII is not possible today. In the light of that, growth under Obama has been spectacular.

The USA was the only superpower after WWII, especially economically. Now the USA has many competitors that are growing faster than the USA. Population growth is declining, and resources are becoming more expensive, and this will get greatly worse under the Trump administration which seeks to double down on old dirty industries that are becoming more expensive to operate and staff, choke off immigration, and cut back or eliminate social spending which is returned to the economy.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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#42
Jordan Goodspeed.  Although, since I admittedly reposted the same article to you under my present moniker, if you're thinking that I am "SomeGuy", that would be true, too.

Thanks for unmasking yourself, Guy Fawkes. (Joking) Sometimes, I would like to change my moniker, too. This teacher has been in self-imposed exile for too long now.
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#43
Quote:I won't claim to have known FDR, but nonetheless, no way in Hell is Trump another FDR.

Nope, he's not FDR, Hitler, Mussolini, Berlusconi, or Idi Amin.  He's definitely Donald Trump.  That whooshing sound you heard on your way in was the point flying right over your head.
Quote:Sure, FDR was rich and horny.

Traits he shared with our Fearless Leader.
Quote:But he was not new rich

Irrelevant.
Quote:and not a complete Ugly American like Trump.

Addressed.
Quote:His persona was about as far from Trump as one can imagine. He fit in more with British upper class people.

Which is to say he probably wouldn't be electable today.
Quote:It was a match made in heaven given the times.

I dunno, I think DT is a pretty good fit for today's America.  Not how we pretend, but how it actually is.
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#44
(01-09-2017, 02:21 PM)SomeGuy Wrote: I dunno, I think DT is a pretty good fit for today's America.  Not how we pretend, but how it actually is.

I'd say we are moving from a leader who represented the best that our flawed country could be, to a leader who represents the worst that we are.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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#45
Quote:I'd say we are moving from a leader who represented the best that our flawed country could be, to a leader who represents the worst that we are.
Eh, never really got into the hagiography of the man.  His election was a nice milestone for the civil rights movement, but other than that he was just a reasonably intelligent, prudent, sensible man who was not really able to deliver on the change he promised.  Probably wasn't the best fit for the time he was in, but whatever, the past is the past.

Of course, I'm not really all that impressed with Ta-Nehisi Coates either, so admittedly I am probably a Nazi.  Rolleyes
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#46
"Nope, he's [Trump] not FDR, Hitler, Mussolini, Berlusconi, or Idi Amin."

Agreed, with the exception of Berlusconi.  Trump transmogrifying into Hitler or Mussolini is a "fat-tail risk."  (Idi Amin? C'mon, I know you're being facetious there.)  Trump going down in American history as a Gray Champion, ala Washington, Lincoln or FDR?  Don't see it in his DNA, though I would assign it at least a 5-10 percent probability.

The impetus for my starting this thread can be traced to two sources: an excellent biography titled The Sack of Rome: Media + Money + Celebrity = Power = Silvio Berlusconi (2007), and a recent article by former editor-in-chief of The Economist, hardly a "liberal rag":

"America’s Berlusconi"
https://www.project-syndicate.org/commen...ail2friend

Some excerpts from this article:

For the past couple of weeks, the world has been guessing at how US President-elect Donald Trump will behave in office and what policies he will pursue, following a long campaign full of contradictory statements. America’s previous businessman-presidents – Warren G. Harding and Herbert Hoover – were around too long ago to provide much guidance. There is, however, a recent European precedent: Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi. 

What Trump has achieved, Berlusconi pioneered. Like Trump, Berlusconi is a businessman who made his first fortune in real estate. When he entered politics in 1994, he was an outsider, albeit one who, also like Trump, had long been close to plenty of insiders.

The similarities don’t end there. Both Trump and Berlusconi are intimately familiar with the insides of courtrooms; Trump has moved fast since the election to settle fraud lawsuits against Trump University, but has about 70 other suits outstanding against him and his businesses.  And both have an array of conflicts of interest with their role as head of government, thanks to their large business empires. Berlusconi like Trump, managed to present himself as a rich man and a populist. He preferred to communicate directly with the people, bypassing traditional media and party structures. His propensity for glamorous women and glitzy homes somehow enhanced his popular appeal.


The comparison between Trump and Berlusconi is far from superficial. In fact, Italy’s experience with Berlusconi – or Il Cavaliere (the Knight), as he is known in his country – provides six clear lessons for Americans and the world on what to expect from Trump.

First, no one should underestimate the next US president...

The second lesson is that Trump will probably pursue what is essentially a permanent political campaign, injecting himself directly into conversations...

The third lesson from Berlusconi’s success is that even a very wealthy and powerful person can wield the victim narrative effectively...

The fourth lesson is that mudslinging is bound to happen. Berlusconi’s used his TV stations and newspapers so liberally to smear his opponents that the writer Roberto Saviano called them his macchina del fango or “mud machine.”

Trump’s attacks on the media, often carried out via Twitter, are a precursor to this, as are his campaign vows to “open up” libel laws. His chief mud-slinger is likely to be his newly appointed chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, the former chair of the ultra right-wing Breitbart News.

The fifth lesson is that Trump will probably continue to prize loyalty above all else in his administration, just as Berlusconi has...

The final lesson of Berlusconi is that expressions of admiration for strongmen like Russian President Vladimir Putin should be taken seriously. Narcissistic lone rangers like Berlusconi and Trump are accustomed to making personal deals, and prefer other strongmen as their interlocutors. Berlusconi’s favorite overseas visits while in office were to Putin’s dacha and former Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi’s tent, not to boring European Council meetings or G20 summits.

In the end, however, there is one key difference between Silvio Berlusconi and Donald Trump. Berlusconi had no real agenda while in office, except to further his business and personal interests and nurture his own power by providing resources and favors to his supporters. His greatest disservice to Italians was his inaction in the face of economic stagnation, but at least he didn’t make it worse. Trump, by contrast, does have an agenda, however hard to read. Whether it will make things better or worse remains to be seen.

Mark Twain's now-clichéd observation that history does not repeat, it rhymes, is as operative now as it was when he first said it, but...

...historical analogues, though never perfectly correlated, can nevertheless be somewhat predictive and at the very least instructive as to how a given leader might lead or behave while in office.
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#47
One thing that Trump has going for him among those who oppose him: our expectations of him are so low, that any little thing he does right is going to be impressive; not to mention we'll never hear the end of it from Drumpf and his followers.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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#48
Quote:Don't see it in his DNA, though I would assign it at least a 5-10 percent probability.


Really?  at least 5-10%?  Where is this degree of "precision" coming from, can I see your work?

I think what you meant to say was "I find it unlikely, but not impossible".

Made-up numbers are a pet peeve.
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#49
(01-09-2017, 04:29 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: One thing that Trump has going for him among those who oppose him: our expectations of him are so low, that any little thing he does right is going to be impressive; not to mention we'll never hear the end of it from Drumpf and his followers.

Whereas Obama's followers fully expected him to walk on water, part the seas, and provide them a free pony, and consequently many of them felt let down when he turned out to be just a president.

Sounds like Trump got the better deal.  He avoids gassing the Jews, enslaving black people, or invading Poland and it'll apparently be a pleasant surprise.  Rolleyes
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#50
Exactly, which is one reason why I lean toward the idea that he'll be re-elected.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Reply
#51
(01-09-2017, 01:43 PM)X_4AD_84 Wrote:
(01-07-2017, 04:56 PM)SomeGuy Wrote:
Quote:If you are who I think you are,


Jordan Goodspeed.  Although, since I admittedly reposted the same article to you under my present moniker, if you're thinking that I am "SomeGuy", that would be true, too. Wink


Quote:someone who admits that our country may be lurching toward an American-style fascism, I'm not sure why you voted for Trump.  He checks off more than a few boxes of an emergent fascism in the body politic.  If he does not lead us directly into the funhouse of fascism, might he not lead us, at least, into its antechamber?  Is that not dangerous enough?   You give evidence of nuanced thought from what I've seen in previous posts.  I'd like to think that I do, too. (The older I get, the less I tend to see the world in binary terms: you know, war or peace, capitalism or socialism, "You're either with us or against us.")  God knows you don't have to explain your rationale to me or anyone else.  But I just don't get it, especially with you. 

It might be worthwhile to know that the man who wrote the article I linked to actually writes on a weekly basis, and made comments concerning this issue.  He actually said a year ago that the most likely outcome of this election is that Donald Trump would win.  The things you might want to consider is that while Donald Trump, while no fascist, certainly fills a fascist shape hole, so did a lot of political leaders in the '30s whom we have much higher opinions of.  Including a certain wealthy, womanizing New Yorker with a populist flair and a penchant for talking to the electorate over the heads of the established media. 

I know, I know, dear readers, you're outraged.  I can hear the squealing from here.  If this president is altogether cruder, louder, more volatile, and less thoughtful than that other one, why, perhaps we might reflect on what that says about this period versus that one.  But hey, at least he can walk, right?  Take that, Great Power Saeculum!

But seriously, even if he doesn't do any of things he campaigned on, and gets tossed out on his ear 4 years from now, at least he cleared the space on both parties for something new.  Which is something we sorely need, and, if we have to have a crude populist phase, having a wealthy, socially liberal real estate developer with a taste for pretty women and debt-driven construction projects fill the role is not the worst outcome we could have had.  In the absence of serious address of the issues of a substantial portion of the electorate, that fascist shaped hole would still be there, and could have been filled by someone much worse.


Quote:Anyway, the problem with downplaying "neoliberalism," and attacking its individual planks instead, is that that political tack comes off as so much "scattershot" to the public: the very problem that hindered Hillary Clinton and--to a much lesser extent--Bernie Sanders, who at least offered a half-formed vision to the voters.  The Republicans, I hate to admit, do a much better job of characterizing their policies as a whole.  The Democrats have to roll all the way back to LBJ and his Great Society to find a succinct summation of their policies. "Hope and change"?  (Way too nebulous for me, Obama.)  Trump at least gave Americans a ball cap slogan they could understand; Hillary gave us "I'm With Her."


My problem with this is two-fold.  One, by reducing everything to a single nebulous buzzword, you are necessarily flattening and distorting the issues at play, which are never reducible to single causes.  Particularly if the buzzword in question is somewhat ill-defined, unfamiliar to most people on this continent, and thus susceptible to meaning whatever people want it to mean.  Which would be fine, up to a point, if you were a politician on the stump, who needs to encapsulate complicated ideas in a fashion easy for his constituents to suggest, but that's not what you are.  You are a poster on a board dedicated (at least nominally) to discussion, and as such I would prefer if you put aside the rhetoric and spoke to actual issues or ideas.

But it's a free country, you do what you want.


Quote:  (By the way, if you're at all interested, I'll tell you sometime about a coffee shop conversation that I overheard about Her in my conservative small town prior to the election.  It was as illuminating as it was disgusting.)

I always like hearing gossip.


Quote:I think where you and I really part ways is that you envision Trump as a departure from the "present order" or "status quo," which I've characterized as neoliberalism.  From the policies that he's proposed, and the administration that he's now assembling, it sure looks like neoliberalism to me: privatization? (check); deregulation? (check again); tax cuts for the rich? (big check), austerity for everyone else? (We'll see).  You rightly mentioned Trump's stance against free trade as a break from neoliberal orthodoxy, but I see that as a mere sop to the working-and-middle class voters that he had to woo to swing a narrow victory his way.  In the main, his policies amount to little more than reconstituted Reaganomics, in my humble opinion.

And this is the problem with thinking solely in terms of categories (by your leave).  You could easily have drawn up similar objections to a Jeb administration, a Cruz administration, or even a Clinton administration.  Hell, since you're using the word, Obama's administration came up for much the same abuse.  If you're coming at it from a European perspective, for instance, pretty much all American politicians are neoliberal.  And yet I think we can clearly agree that all of those administrations would have been different, and that some of those differences are too big to be obscured under fancy 50 cent words.


Quote:I readily concede that Trump might prove transformational, though enough time remains in this Fourth Turning for him to merely prove transitional, paving the way for something better (some kind of post-capitalism)--or worse (neo-feudalism or fascism, God forbid).

He may be transitional, may be transformational, things may get better or worse.  We'll have to wait and see, and act accordingly.  I can't help but feel that your ideology may be limiting your thoughts on the range of possible outcomes.  As it does to us all, to be sure.


Quote:I apologize for the "barking."  Don't mean to come off like some drill sergeant.  Chalk it up to political passion...

Don't worry, I have actually had drill sergeants, you don't sound anything like them.

I won't claim to have known FDR, but nonetheless, no way in Hell is Trump another FDR. Sure, FDR was rich and horny. But he was not new rich and not a complete Ugly American like Trump. His persona was about as far from Trump as one can imagine. He fit in more with British upper class people. It was a match made in heaven given the times.

(01-09-2017, 04:38 PM)SomeGuy Wrote:
Quote:Don't see it in his DNA, though I would assign it at least a 5-10 percent probability.


Really?  at least 5-10%?  Where is this degree of "precision" coming from, can I see your work?

I think what you meant to say was "I find it unlikely, but not impossible".

Made-up numbers are a pet peeve.
Touche...though I lay no claim to "precision."  (I did pull the 5-10 percent probability out of the air.)  My broader point is simply to say that Trump's chances of being the next Gray Champion is not a "fat-tail" event.  He could pull it off.  It is certainly more likely than his transmogrifying into Hitler or Mussolini.  But I don't think it's a stretch at all to say that the latter event is a fat-tail risk of less than one percent.  I probably don't need to be a statistician to be right about that.  It would take a confluence of dire events to come together, a "perfect storm," if you will, for some variety of fascism to take hold in America.
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#52
Quote:Touche...though I lay no claim to "precision."  (I did pull the 5-10 percent probability out of the air.)  My broader point is simply to say that Trump's chances of being the next Gray Champion is not a "fat-tail" event.  He could pull it off.  It is certainly more likely than his transmogrifying into Hitler or Mussolini.  But I don't think it's a stretch at all to say that the latter event is a fat-tail risk of less than one percent.  I probably don't need to be a statistician to be right about that.  It would take a confluence of dire events to come together, a "perfect storm," if you will, for some variety of fascism to take hold in America.

God, the default quoting scheme on this site is awful.

Yeah, I lean towards the idea that he is "it" for the turning, for better or worse, and that he has a greater chance of actually doing something useful than he does becoming this century's trope-defining dictator.

I realize you are using those "numbers" rhetorically, and I understand what you mean, but it really is a pet peeve of mine.  Too many science classes where they ding you for false precision, I guess.  Making numbers up wholesale?  Gah!
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#53
He is the anti-gray champion. The only hope for a constructive and positive 4T is the movement against him. Fortunately he is by no-means "it" for the turning, unless he manages to overturn terms limits for the presidency.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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#54
(01-09-2017, 05:37 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: He is the anti-gray champion. The only hope for a constructive and positive 4T is the movement against him. Fortunately he is by no-means "it" for the turning, unless he manages to overturn terms limits for the presidency.

He may in fact be the Orange Champion, Eric.
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#55
Quote:The Orange Chump. 


BURN!!!!  Rolleyes
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#56
Here we go, another War & Peace length tract on the imminence of doom, gloom, and meatloaf for all.  Rolleyes
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#57
And at least one name drop of some historical figure, just to let you know the author knows who they are.  Tongue
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#58
Nope, they must have changed their mind.  I wonder...
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#59
Cool, you can actually delete posts.  Good to know.
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#60
(01-09-2017, 05:51 PM)X_4AD_84 Wrote:
(01-09-2017, 05:47 PM)SomeGuy Wrote:
(01-09-2017, 05:37 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: He is the anti-gray champion. The only hope for a constructive and positive 4T is the movement against him. Fortunately he is by no-means "it" for the turning, unless he manages to overturn terms limits for the presidency.

He may in fact be the Orange Champion, Eric.

The Orange Chump.

Cookiemonster

Orange Chump indeed:

[Image: 14732415_1343803122331333_91986106975858...e=591614CC]

Too bad we didn't throw him out. Think how much of a stink it will be having to keep him around for 4-plus years. My goodness; hard to contemplate..........
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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