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Donald Trump: America's Berlusconi?
#61
Pumpkin pie is delicious, especially with a scoop of ice cream.
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#62
(01-08-2017, 11:04 PM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(01-08-2017, 05:37 PM)Mikebert Wrote:
(01-08-2017, 12:26 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: Trump has a terrific opportunity on the economic front, because there has been no actual recovery from the financial recession.  Instead, under the Obama administration, the economy has grown parallel to the long term trend, but below it, rather than recovering to the long term trend after the recession as is more usual.


[Image: cbo_fit_postwar.png]


If Trump can identify and reverse the Obama policies that prevented a recovery, and avoid implementing any depressive policies of his own such as trade isolationism, there could be a rapid first term economic improvement that would make him wildly popular.  Granted that is a big "if".

As the graph shows the deviation from linearity began after 2000. Both sides have had a crack at it with no results. The problem is things are better for those on the top than they have been for a very long time. Furthermore Republicans are completely dominant without having done anything to address this issue. As soon as Obama leaves office they can assert that its morning in America again.  Polls show the GOP base is coming to believe that the economy is in good shape since the election. If it ain't broke you don't fix it.

The substantial deviation from the trend clearly starts with the 2008 recession.  Prior to that, the line was as close to the trend as it was for most of the 1990s.  I grant that the housing bubble did not produce the same upward pop that the internet bubble did, but that has limited relevance to the current situation.

I don't see how you can say the Republicans are dominant when the President is still a Democrat.

Parts of the Republican base may be reacting to the effervescence of the stock market in the wake of the election.  However, if Trump doesn't deliver improved wages and employability to the working class whites who put him over the top, or substantial improvement to some other segment to make up for their votes, he's going to have difficulty winning reelection.

Quote:This has happened before after ca. 1910:
[Image: latest?cb=20080315042052]
Last time effective action on the problem was taken only after those at the top perceived that they had a problem.  I don't think we are there yet.

What do you see as the issue in 1910, and how and when do you think it was addressed?  Fair warning:  I can see what you're talking about, but it appears to me to date from about 1907 with respect to GDP, and it doesn't appear to me ever to have been addressed;

We are past the stage of economic development in which the secret of happiness is the economic system producing more stuff. You can furnish an apartment very well with serviceable stuff that people have cast off at thrift stores. Services are where the creation of happiness is now. It is easier to provide potential services than to sell them.

Donald Trump promised jobs to people well prepared for an old economy in which manufacturing led. That time is over. The assembly-line jobs in the auto industry don't pay as well in real terms as they used to: the going wage in real terms at Ford is now worth less in real terms than the much-vaunted $5 a day wage that Henry Ford offered a century ago.

...Republicans will have crushing dominance in elective politics in a few days. Democrats have a few states and some big cities in which they have some authority... but elsewhere one might as well be living in a single-Party dictatorship except for the right to protest.  Profits will be sacred and people will be expendable, according to the only Gospel that matters anymore -- that of Ayn Rand.

Supply does not create its own demand. Just because there is a fine cancer hospital in town does not mean that I will get treatment for cancer if I do not have cancer.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#63
(01-09-2017, 06:28 PM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(01-08-2017, 11:04 PM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(01-08-2017, 05:37 PM)Mikebert Wrote:
(01-08-2017, 12:26 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: Trump has a terrific opportunity on the economic front, because there has been no actual recovery from the financial recession.  Instead, under the Obama administration, the economy has grown parallel to the long term trend, but below it, rather than recovering to the long term trend after the recession as is more usual.


[Image: cbo_fit_postwar.png]


If Trump can identify and reverse the Obama policies that prevented a recovery, and avoid implementing any depressive policies of his own such as trade isolationism, there could be a rapid first term economic improvement that would make him wildly popular.  Granted that is a big "if".

As the graph shows the deviation from linearity began after 2000. Both sides have had a crack at it with no results. The problem is things are better for those on the top than they have been for a very long time. Furthermore Republicans are completely dominant without having done anything to address this issue. As soon as Obama leaves office they can assert that its morning in America again.  Polls show the GOP base is coming to believe that the economy is in good shape since the election. If it ain't broke you don't fix it.

The substantial deviation from the trend clearly starts with the 2008 recession.  Prior to that, the line was as close to the trend as it was for most of the 1990s.  I grant that the housing bubble did not produce the same upward pop that the internet bubble did, but that has limited relevance to the current situation.

I don't see how you can say the Republicans are dominant when the President is still a Democrat.

Parts of the Republican base may be reacting to the effervescence of the stock market in the wake of the election.  However, if Trump doesn't deliver improved wages and employability to the working class whites who put him over the top, or substantial improvement to some other segment to make up for their votes, he's going to have difficulty winning reelection.

Quote:This has happened before after ca. 1910:
[Image: latest?cb=20080315042052]
Last time effective action on the problem was taken only after those at the top perceived that they had a problem.  I don't think we are there yet.

What do you see as the issue in 1910, and how and when do you think it was addressed?  Fair warning:  I can see what you're talking about, but it appears to me to date from about 1907 with respect to GDP, and it doesn't appear to me ever to have been addressed;

We are past the stage of economic development in which the secret of happiness is the economic system producing more stuff. You can furnish an apartment very well with serviceable stuff that people have cast off at thrift stores. Services are where the creation of happiness is now. It is easier to provide potential services than to sell them.

Donald Trump promised jobs to people well prepared for an old economy in which manufacturing led. That time is over. The assembly-line jobs in the auto industry don't pay as well in real terms as they used to: the going wage in real terms at Ford is now worth less in real terms than the much-vaunted $5 a day wage that Henry Ford offered a century ago.

I agree that services are more important to today's economy than manufactured products.  This is part of the reason I argue against protectionism:  there's a lot more room to improve the employment and wage situation in services than in manufacturing.  I also agree that Trump has put too much emphasis on manufacturing.

I do think Trump has a golden opportunity to improve the employment situation.  However, I don't think staying the course purely on manufacturing is the way to take advantage of that opportunity.  That's why I characterize it as a "big 'if'" whether Trump will actually take advantage of that golden opportunity.

Quote:...Republicans will have crushing dominance in elective politics in a few days. Democrats have a few states and some big cities in which they have some authority... but elsewhere one might as well be living in a single-Party dictatorship except for the right to protest.  Profits will be sacred and people will be expendable, according to the only Gospel that matters anymore -- that of Ayn Rand.

Now you know what it felt like to be a conservative in 2009-2010.  Don't worry, either Trump will deliver better than Obama, or the Democrats will make gains in the House.

Quote:Supply does not create its own demand. Just because there is a fine cancer hospital in town does not mean that I will get treatment for cancer if I do not have cancer.

Supply and demand are functions, not scalars; they are functions that interact.  If you are interested, I can explain further, but I'll need to create some graphs and figure out how to display them here.  That said, Trump's golden opportunity isn't classical supply side stimulus.
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#64
(01-09-2017, 03:12 PM)Eric the Green Wrote:
(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.

The guy exiting the scene is our own Hamlet.  I don't think DJT is Macbeth, but he aspires to be Prospero.  In any case, he has theater written all over him.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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#65
(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 obsession.

Fixed it for you.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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#66
(01-09-2017, 05:31 PM)SomeGuy Wrote: God, the default quoting scheme on this site is awful.

There are a lot of limitations, but selecting View Source (ctrl+shift+s) gets you past the interface and down to the level where the control is direct.  I use it most of the time.

FWIW, posting links with embedded text is also a lot easier.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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#67
(01-10-2017, 09:05 AM)David Horn Wrote:
(01-09-2017, 03:12 PM)Eric the Green Wrote:
(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.

The guy exiting the scene is our own Hamlet.  I don't think DJT is Macbeth, but he aspires to be Prospero.  In any case, he has theater written all over him.

Would that make Ivanka Miranda?  Hillary Clinton Sycorax?
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#68
(01-10-2017, 09:11 AM)David Horn Wrote:
(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 obsession.

Fixed it for you.

Thanks, buddy. Wink
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#69
Quote:There are a lot of limitations, but selecting View Source (ctrl+shift+s) gets you past the interface and down to the level where the control is direct.  I use it most of the time.

FWIW, posting links with embedded text is also a lot easier.

All I do for my posts is delete what is automatically in the reply box, then scroll down and quote the things I want.  I was just remarking on his full page+ nested series of quotes he left in there just to write a sentence or two.
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#70
I wanted to quote a few passages from the book that motivated me to start this thread: The Sack of Rome: How a Beautiful European Country with a Fabled History and a Storied Culture Was Taken Over by a Man Named Silvio Berlusconi (2007):

[The parenthetical expressions are my own interjections.]  I have also added boldface for emphasis.

The affinities between the Italy of Berlusconi and contemporary America are hardly coincidental.  Most of Berlusconi's success in his career, from real estate to television...has consisted of importing American models to Europe...he brought focus groups, the thirty-second political ad and a "contract with the Italians," based on Newt Gingrich's "Contract with America."  More important, like other businessmen-politicians [Ross Perot, Michael Bloomberg, Donald Trump] and celebrity candidates [Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura--and now Donald Trump], he tapped a deep distrust and dislike of politics, which characterizes modern democracy in an age of declining political participation.  He helped create a continental model of the politics of anti-politics... (pp. 11-12)

[Does any of this sound familiar?]

Berlusconi's time on the international stage was generally perceived to be an embarrassment, raising the question: how could someone so shrewd and successful in some areas of his life be so apparently inept in another?  Part of the answer is that Berlusconi, in the world arena, revealed his deeply provincial nature.  Berlusconi after all had succeeded by getting the heads of pension funds drunk and telling dirty jokes.  Remarks like "Let's talk about soccer and women" play much better at home than overseas.  The favorite topics of conversation in any café in a small town or working-class neighborhood in Italy are soccer and women, and so average Italians hearing his remarks react with a sense of identification.  Berlusconi appears like a regular guy the average Italian male would love to buy a drink for in exchange for hearing about the sexual exploits of his favorite soccer star.  (pp. 291-292) 

Berlusconi's media obsession may end up being both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness.  His deep conviction that everything is a matter of perception made it difficult for him not just to appear to have done well, but to have actually governed well.  The viewers of Berlusconi who had had enough of Berlusconi now placed him at the top of the category of politicians who talk a lot but do nothing...Media can help you get elected and even reelected, but image alone, if it bears no correspondence to reality, is not enough...  (pp. 315-316) 

...Berlusconi's controlling nature, his belief that he alone knows more about everything...and his natural instinct to reward friends and punish enemies, have meant that he would be very unlikely to push for real deregulation of the Italian economy.

Even the solidly right-wing American think tank the Heritage Foundation took a dim view of the Berlusconi government's performance: "Promised reforms have been postponed or forgotten.  Serious structural problems...remain unaddressed...The economy has underperformed... (p. 318)  

[This essentially characterizes Obama's legacy, too, in my opinion.  If the same can said of Trump's time in the Oval Office, the nasty mood of the country may take a decided turn for the worse.]

So what, ultimately, is the meaning and lasting legacy of the Berlusconi phenomenon?  Is Berlusconi a temporary anomaly--a reaction to the collapse of Italy's old parties in the early 1990s--or is he the harbinger of a new kind of media-based celebrity politics?  Are Berlusconi's various conflicts of interest and his takeover of the media fundamentally innocuous since they do not appear to have brought him lasting success?  Is the Berlusconi experience a lesson in the power of media politics or its limits?  What is likely to be his lasting legacy, if any?  (p. 319)

The formula Berlusconi developed--money + media + celebrity = political power--is the winning formula in many advanced democracies, not least in the United States.  With the dominance of television in politics, money ahs arguably never mattered more in our political life.  The billionaire in politics [Ross Perot, Steve Forbes, Mike Bloomberg and Donald Trump] has become an unsurprising figure in American political life...  (p. 328)

[I think, too, the emergence of the billionaire as politician is prima facie evidence of an incipient oligarchy in America.]

There are powerful correlations between high levels of television watching and low levels of voter turnout and other forms of civic and political participation.  Our balkanized information environment reflects (or perhaps helps create) a society increasingly marked by economic class, with an active, very well informed, literate elite that knows how to get what it wants from government and gets it, and a much more passive, ill-informed majority that watches television, is suspicious of government and media, and feels that it is losing ground economically but isn't sure what to do about it.  (pp. 340-341)

The concentration of media, the decline of reading and civic participation, decreasing identification with political parties, the role of celebrity in politics, the appeal of anti-politics, declining unionization, and the rising gap between rich and poor are growing realities in many advanced capitalist democracies.  They create new and troubling possibilities for governments that are run by and for the very few with an enormous media machine at their disposal, who need to win only a tentative nod of approval from an increasingly indifferent and ill-informed public every four years in order to continue with their business.

Thus, Silvio Berlusconi as a political figure may come and go, but the Berlusconi phenomenon is, in all likelihood, here to stay.  He may appear at times a caricature, but in fact is a reflection of ourselves in a fun-house mirror, our features distorted and exaggerated but distinctly recognizable.  (p. 342)
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#71
Jordan Wrote:God, the default quoting scheme on this site is awful.

Amen.
 
Quote: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

Could you explain why?  I have an old idea of mine (from ca. 2004) in mind.  What is yours?
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#72
Quote:Could you explain why?  I have an old idea of mine (from ca. 2004) in mind.  What is yours?

The right age, the right timing (in terms of S & H predictions from T4T), the temperament and policies to effect genuine change (for better or worse), shifts in the electoral map that had been standard throughout the 3T, political consolidation of his (nominal) party behind him...
I mean, I was just glancing through (the second half, much of the first is filler) T4T again, and if their predictions have any merit, this would have to be it.  Like you said, if something major doesn't happen, there is no shift in the power of the contenting factions from the previous turning, no political realignment... then there just isn't much to the theory.
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#73
(01-09-2017, 06:24 PM)SomeGuy Wrote: Pumpkin pie is delicious, especially with a scoop of ice cream.

I'm on team, apple.  It figures Smile
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#74
Apples are delicious, too, especially green ones.  My mother used to bake these cinnamon apple things and serve them with ice cream.  Mmm, goes great along with the other holiday specialties of diced ham and potato pie and potatoes au gratin.  No onions need apply.
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#75
(01-09-2017, 05:57 PM)SomeGuy Wrote: Here we go, another War & Peace length tract on the imminence of doom, gloom, and meatloaf for all.  Rolleyes

You will all die horribly in searing pain! (Mr. Hengist, STOS, better known as Mr. Dundee from Night of the Meek)
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#76
Or pie crust stuffed with ground beef and cream cheese.  God I am so hungry!
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#77
(01-10-2017, 04:28 PM)Mikebert Wrote:
(01-09-2017, 05:57 PM)SomeGuy Wrote: Here we go, another War & Peace length tract on the imminence of doom, gloom, and meatloaf for all.  Rolleyes

You will all die horribly in searing pain! (Mr. Hengist, STOS, better known as Mr. Dundee from Night of the Meek)

That would at least be entertaining.  It's the endless, grinding tracts on the impossibility of happiness, the death of culture, the imminent fascist takeover by the "Rethuglicans", and the badly applied references from the 1930s (with the occasional WWI era figure thrown in) for the sole purpose of letting the reader know that the author has read a book once or twice that gets me down.  The whole history of posts reads like an extended suicide note.

Plus, it's difficult to take anyone seriously who doesn't like meatloaf.  Meatloaf is awesome.
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#78
(01-09-2017, 06:24 PM)SomeGuy Wrote: Pumpkin pie is delicious, especially with a scoop of ice cream.

Thanks to Seth Meyers, John Oliver, Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert and the rest who are turning the Pumpkin Chump into delicious pumpkin pie with ice cream so we can enjoy this rotten food.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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#79
(01-10-2017, 04:11 PM)Mikebert Wrote:
(01-09-2017, 06:24 PM)SomeGuy Wrote: Pumpkin pie is delicious, especially with a scoop of ice cream.

I'm on team, apple.  It figures Smile

Pecan pie is the only pie worth having.  Too bad we didn't elect Cruz.
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#80
I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump. I ran over and said: "Stop. Don't do it."
"Why shouldn't I?" he asked.
"Well, there's so much to live for!"
"Like what?"
"Are you religious?"
He said: "Yes."
I said: "Me too. Are you Christian or Buddhist?"
"Christian."
"Me too. Are you Catholic or Protestant?"
"Protestant."
"Me too. Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?"
"Baptist."
"Wow. Me too. Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?"
"Baptist Church of God."
"Me too. Are you original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?"
"Reformed Baptist Church of God."
"Me too. Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?"
He said: "Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915."
I said: "Die, heretic scum," and pushed him off.


***

That's about how I feel about your pecan "pie".
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