The U.S. jobless claims numbers are out today
Since Uber started signing up drivers in Taiwan three years ago, conventional taxi operators started protesting and found an ear in government. Authorities say the service has always violated laws. This month the central tax bureau ordered Uber to pay $4.25 million in back taxes and fines.
The boss of Malaysia Airlines says turning round the business after the MH370 and MH17 crashes is an “unprecedented” challenge.
The Premier League has agreed a new TV rights deal in China, which the BBC understands is worth up to $700m (£560m).
To celebrate the launch of The Grand Tour, Amazon is offering a $20 price drop for Prime just for today. This means you can sign up for an Amazon Prime account for $79 instead of $99. The discount is being offered between Friday at 12:00AM ET and 11:59PM PT.
So I hear you want to overhaul your customer service? Well here’s the way I go about it as a customer service consultant when I’m called in to undertake a customer service excellence initiative.
Sri Lanka is now claiming its ministers didn’t say what they reportedly said, but this should make little difference in the development of the Hambantota dream.
This does not mean that the Soros regime change racket and its multiple tentacles, in parallel to the Clinton machine-dominated DNC, will quit. Plan A – Maidan in the USA – is not exactly a winner among the masses. Thus Plan B – long-term harassment – was decided this past weekend at a summit in a Washington hotel.
The endless snowflake whining – we lost the presidential election because of «rogue» FBI, WikiLeaks, the Russians, etc. – was predictable. Yet among the corrupt-to-the-core DNC it seems like no apparatchik has ever read Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle. Or is familiar with how showbiz – and talk radio – works.
Paris is arguably the world capital of critical thinking. Perplexed Parisian intellectual circles at least have found out that the current pan-Western crisis is not only about economics, politics, finance, security and immigration; it’s about «political discourse» itself.
The easy chic café diagnostic is that Trump’s victory is the symptom of language distorting reality by playing to emotions. It’s true that complex rational discourse does not deliver anymore. The masses don’t read 3,000-word essays; this is for the elites and self-described «experts». But they do respond to outrageous tweets. More than ever, perception is indeed reality.
Thus the amalgam between Trump and the Front National (FN) in France, led by Marine Le Pen, also a master communicator capable of turning primary emotions into political reality. No wonder «white supremacist» Breitbart News – Trump’s informal Ministry of Information – will increase its exposure in France and support Le Pen.
What the Paris debate gets right is that nationalist isolationism across the West – using amalgam and clever terminological shortcuts – has become a credible solution to «cure» national identity. Thus the appeal of ditching the EU, among countless Europeans, as a credible alternative against unemployment, as well as a means of increasing security. It’s a Trump Remixed syndrome; barbed wire (metaphorical and otherwise) as a possible choice for re-launching economic growth.
With Trump’s victory being analyzed as the defeat of political discourse, or the victory of the controversial word, what the Paris debate gets totally wrong is promoting lofty exhortations to «reconcile oneself with complexity» as the only solution. The challenge is actually how to do nuance and complexity in only a few words at a time.
Words, words, words
What sophisticated intellectual analyses don't get is that Team Trump strategized a running reality show showcasing – what else – a brand. Dialogue was kept to a – tweet – minimum. Trump himself unveiled it; «These are just words». The Clinton (cash) machine fell into the trap and took these words literally. These were in fact metaphors – understandable by a fourth grader and delivered by a «man boy» impersonating a fourth grader,
In his CBS interview this past Sunday, Trump admitted the obvious; he won because of the power of social networks, despite the Clinton cash machine spending «much more money than I did». Trump has over 28 million followers combined on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. This supposedly «hidden minority» dribbled any poll modeling available. And outside the Beltway and Hollywood, they were everywhere.
Trump perfected the art of simplified political discourse cutting off the middlemen – while reducing corporate/mainstream media, in the process, to no more than a pathetic footnote. The New York Times – «all the news that are irrelevant to print»? – has been a sorry show in itself, promising on the record to «report world news more accurately».
It’s not that Trump, on the record, had not sent a warning; «I’m very highly educated. I know words. I have the best words». And he knows how to get maximum effect out of minimum (word) investment. Mega-investor Peter Thiel totally got it, telling the National Press Club in Washington how «the media is always taking Trump literally».
Thiel stressed, shortly before the election, that «a lot of voters who vote for Trump take Trump seriously but not literally, so when they hear things like the Muslim comment or the wall comment, their question is not, ‘Are you going to build a wall like the Great Wall of China?’ or, you know, ‘How exactly are you going to enforce these tests?’ What they hear is we’re going to have a saner, more sensible immigration policy».
So what if Trump was killing syntax via his loud and inarticulate outbursts? The meaning was always clear. The pile up of exploding rhetorical devices was always targeted at tapping into raw emotion. Thus the avalanche of «us and them»; «yuuuuge» superlatives («amazing», «tremendous potential», «wonderful»); all kinds of hyperbole; non-stop repetition; calculated stutter enhancing his trademark «improvised» delivery; and a sea of euphemisms («grabbing women by the pussy?» Nah; just plain old «locker room talk»).
Snowflakes meanwhile were endlessly re-comforted by their standard interpretation of Trump as a con artist invented by mass media who first excelled on reality TV and then turned politics into a circus. They did not see him capitalizing on his monster advertising dollars/ratings pulling power; they did not see that the more (hated) corporate media attacked him, the better he looked for the «invisible minority»; and they did not see how the Trumpian brand of «magic realism» played all kinds of tricks with «reality».
Social Darwinism run amok
Zygmunt Bauman, the foremost conceptualizer of liquid modernity – and a huge influence in my 2007 book Globalistan – correctly observed how Trump has offered a unique, once in a lifetime occasion for a condemnation, without appeal, of the whole political system.
Bauman’s on to something when he notes how traditional mechanisms such as the Montesquieu-style division of power between Executive, Legislative and Judiciary, as well as the Anglo-Saxon checks and balances, may be increasingly deprived of meaning to the benefit of an agglutination of power in authoritarian mode.
Bauman perfectly understood how Trump married identity politics to economic angst – condensing all aspects of the existential angst consuming what’s left of the working class and the middle class. Thus the success of the lightning fast solution – the expulsion of the ethnically diverse.
The US electorate that bothered to vote – very important; 43 percent did not – may have bought, according to Bauman, a strongman not as poison but as antidote; a «doer» capable of deploying instantaneous solutions with immediate effects. If and how he will be able to deliver is another story.
What’s certain is that the seesaw across the West between conservatives and social democracy is not a see saw anymore. When in power, everyone was just reproducing slight variations of neoliberalism.
Yet as we have now seen, liberalism has been dealt a serious body blow – even as the so-called progressive Left has utterly failed to «sell» to the masses a serious, history-based critique of neoliberalism.
Meanwhile, civil war – national and global – is now raw, everywhere; social Darwinism run amok. We have an Atlanticist Wall – from Brexit to the Rio Grande – in the process of being erected against the Global South. We have the Declining White Man against minorities that in many cases have become majorities. We have Western elites pitted against «Islam» – an absurdity, because the real enemy is Salafi-jihadism, a derivation of Wahhabism. And ultimately, we have The Ultimate Predator – Man – relentlessly decimating Nature.
In a Gramsci sense, the old order has completely collapsed, but the new order has not yet been born. It might be a new order based on the BRICS – mostly Russia, India and China. The progressive Left must find the conceptual road map to be part of it – and influence it.
Meanwhile, we will be living among the myriad debris originated by the Trumpolitics IED. America invented the politically correct. Trump bombed politically correct. America is proud of corporate media. Trump bombed corporate media. These are already two important victories.
Trump launched an IPO over the White House. Now he’s the CEO. If – and that’s a mighty if – he manages to run it like a sound business, that’s bound to be a good deal not only for the US but to the whole planet.
Despite post-election threats that if the president-elect attempts "to implement his unconstitutional campaign promises, we’ll see him in court," Politico reports that three constitutional lawyers say the ACLU won’t have much of a shot before a judge. The Supreme Court has "consistently reaffirmed the power of the president to control the entry and exit from the country as a matter of national security," giving Trump’s administration a decided advantage in any litigation.
A week after the ACLU tweeted…
Should President-elect Donald Trump attempt to implement his unconstitutional campaign promises, we'll see him in court.
— ACLU National (@ACLU) November 9, 2016
Reuters reports that the president-elect’s team is considering an immigration system modeled after a controversial one implemented in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It fulfills Trump’s promise of “extreme vetting” for immigrants from countries affected by terrorism, a threshold he has yet to flesh out more fully. As Politico notes,
That program, labeled the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, required those entering the U.S. from a list of certain countries — all but one predominantly Muslim — to register when they arrived in the U.S., undergo more thorough interrogation and be fingerprinted. The system, referred to by the acronym NSEERS, was criticized by civil rights groups for targeting a religious group and was phased out in 2011 because it was found to be redundant with other immigration systems.
Robert McCaw, director of government affairs for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said a reinstitution of NSEERS would be akin to “just turning back the clock.” CAIR will lobby heavily against the system as not only discriminatory but also ineffective, McCaw said, if it ends up being proposed by the Trump administration.
He also accused Kobach, an architect of the original NSEERS program when he was with the Justice Department under the George W. Bush administration, of having “a long ax to grind with the Muslim community.”
“NSEERS and registries like it are totally ineffective and burdensome and they’re perceived by Muslims and other minorities as just being a massive profiling campaign that, in the past, targeted Muslim travelers solely based on their religion and ethnicity,” he said. “When every country on that list happens to be a majority-Muslim country, it is religious profiling. Because there are threats from other nations and other communities and groups that don’t make it on NSEERS.”
But, as Politico concludes, a program like NSEERS would likely pass constitutional muster before a judge, multiple experts said, in part because it already has. The system was never struck down by a court in the nearly nine years it was in place.
Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, said Wednesday that “a president’s power is at its apex at the nation’s borders” and that the Supreme Court has “consistently reaffirmed the power of the president to control the entry and exit from the country as a matter of national security.” Such precedent, he said would give Trump’s administration a decided advantage in any litigation.
University of Virginia international law professor emeritus David Martin said the NSEERS program is constitutionally sound but fraught with issues as a matter of policy. He said even when it was in effect, NSEERS was “more and more seen as potentially counterproductive” as the Sept. 11 attacks receded in America’s rear-view mirror and the government developed “more of an appreciation that doing certain things that singled out Muslims and were seen as discriminatory were strategically unsound.”
But the cries of discrimination that have already begun from organizations like CAIR and others carry tremendous moral and political weight.
“It’s kind of an American tradition to claim that things you disagree with are unconstitutional, and sometimes are out of keeping with the spirit of constitutional values, even if ultimately a court might uphold them,” Martin said. “So, I think it’s quite legitimate to argue on the basis of constitutional values even if you don’t absolutely have a Supreme Court precedent that clearly establishes your point.”
President-Elect Trump's immigration group had also discussed ways of overturning President Barack Obama's 2012 executive action that has granted temporary deportation relief and work permits to more than 700,000 undocumented people or "dreamers" who came to the United States as children of illegal immigrants.