One possible reason for why Hillary lost

After the election it appeared that the age old past time of bitching and whining about the millennial generation came to ahead with such comedic rants like the following:

This gives an overview of how many of my generation think in contrast to what Bill Maher claims:

Hillary lost because was all style and no-substance and more importantly the corner stone of her campaign and what he sycophants who surrounded her constantly chanted – “It’s her turn” as if the presidential election isn’t a campaign of ideas but people having turns. Anyone remember when Scott Brown and the Republicans referred to the senate seat for Massachusetts that Scott Brown resigned from as being ‘our seat’? Anyone remember the noise that Hillary made saying that it was the ‘peoples seat’? Funny how she is concerned about democracy and the position being at the behest of the voters but when it came to the presidential election it was all about ‘her turn’. As noted in the second video – using “It’s my turn” is the best way to turn off millennial voters when your justification for the position isn’t based on what you can bring to the table but some sense of entitlement that it is your turn now. Either we live in a meritocracy where your ideas compete in the marketplaces of ideas with the best rising the top or it is just simply a merry go round between privileged elites akin to an aristocracy but without the pomp and circumstance.

What was more nauseating was the complaining by Bill Maher about people complaining about Hillary Clinton’s lack of ‘authenticity’ but ignores what people were actually getting at – what does Hillary Clinton actually believe in? What was her guiding philosophy? She only just started to adopt Bernie’s platform after he lost and a huge amount of pressure put on but even then it was very watered down at best but more importantly did she actually have the backbone to fight for it once in power? It is all very nice to say, “yeah, I support this” but when push comes to shove and when she is in the White House then is she really going to grab the Republicans and Democrats in the house by the balls and tell them to tow the line or will she just crumple like a cheap styrofoam container on the slightest feeling of pressure from her donor class or those in the congress/senate when they try to push back? There is nothing in her past behaviour that fills people with confidence that she won’t back peddle and go back to the old Hillary Clinton – there wasn’t a free trade agreement she didn’t like, a source of donations that wasn’t beyond the pale (donations from Saudi Arabia whilst claiming to advocate for women’s rights) if ultimately the ends justified the means in her own eyes.

Keeping in mind that when I write this it isn’t a justification for why people voted for Trump or whether Trump will do things better than Hillary but rather why many either voted for Trump or decided to stay at home. The reductionist approach that Bill Maher makes on his show might make certain people feel happy because it absolves them of their responsibility in the loss but it does not ultimately change reality which is that Hillary ran in an election which assured of a win if she got her act together given how flawed the alternative was. Until there is ownership of what happened rather than resorting to the conspiracy theories then things won’t change and as one commentator put it, the Democratic Party will become a costal party which has little to no relevance in politics for the foreseeable future.

On the matter of Robert Bork

Watching this interview of Robert Bork from around 20 years ago:

1) I have sympathy for the arguments that conservatives have regarding a strict reading of the constitution when you consider that as a piece of text you have to ask whether it is something look into it like some self re-enforcing device that re-enforces what you already hold be true. The argument that a conservative might make is that if you believe that text is infinitely malleable then you open it up to judges playing linguistic gymnastics that not only can expand the scope of freedom but also be used conversely to restrict freedom. Take the Chinese constitution where article 35 guarantees “citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession, and of demonstration” but we all know what happens in reality. The value of the constitution has as much to to do with what is written down as those doing the interpretation and the enforcement of that interpretation with the question being how flexible can an interpretation be whilst still being true to the original source (the ‘spirit of the document’) whilst accepting that society does move forward and thus our understanding evolves on social matters.

2) He conflates being a libertine an liberalism or more correctly conflate the ‘lonny left’ aka ‘destroy the system’ crazies with normal people on the right and the left who don’t want the whole system overturned but rather tweaked around the edge so that it ‘sucks a little less’. Although on many occasions I may speak like a radical the reality is that I’d sooner preserve the status quo with measured improvements going forward rather than radically overturning the system resulting in something that discards both the good and the bad in this naive view that a clean and fresh start will enable something automatically better. That being said through there is a time for radical rethinking when something is a horrible compromise from the outset with the best example of that being the healthcare system with the Untied States and the compromise that exists today in the form of the ‘Affordable Care Act’ but when it comes to ‘same sex marriage’ you have most people ‘lets expand it’ rather than the radicals who wanted to get rid of marriage completely.

Going back to the original point regarding libertine and liberalism, he conflates the lack of government imposing of social morays as some sort of example of liberalism failing her as a conservative who would argue for a smaller state he contradicts himself with the claim that the government should be small but at the same time have the largess to regulate the private lives of its citizens. Long story short he makes the claim through his bemoaning of ‘kids these days’ is that the solution needs to be top down rather than a call to individual responsibility and communities at the ground level ensuring that certain behaviours are no tolerates through a shared set of values that the community enforce at home as the first port of education for young people. I would argue that a hallmark of a civilised society is one where the individuals are raised to be self regulated where by their self regulated is born out of reason and rationalism rather than because of some behemoth of a state is imposing ‘the good’ upon the people via various ordinances be it central or local government.

It is important at this point to remember that there is a difference between being conservative versus being a reactionary. A conservative does one progress forward but at a measured and considered pace – nothing radical, nothing that disrupts the system but rather retaining the good aspects of what exists but fine tuning to deal with the negative aspects. The problem is that there is conflation of someone being a reactionary to being conservative or mores specifically the best example being the South Park use of the ‘member berries’ – romanticising the past and believing that a better society exists in a child like view of the world as understood through your youthful eyes when in reality it ignores in large part what actually made that time great. It is like when I hear social conservatives talk about the good old days but they never talk about the high taxes, the large involvement of government in the economy, the expansionist welfare state, the regulation of industry and banking to ensure that things didn’t go belly up every 7 years etc. all of that is ignored unfortunately in favour of this make believe time that never actually existed in reality.

Why the Democrats will keep losing as long as they refuse to listen

When you, as a member white upper class bourgeoisie pontificate with condescending scorn towards the working class then don’t be surprised when the ‘basket of deplorables’ send a ‘fuck you’ coutesy of the vote they made for Trump in the election. If you keep telling that schmo on $42,000 per year that he is some how ‘privileged’ and that his mere existence as being a man as the cause of everything wrong in the world then don’t be surprised when that individual decides to give a giant ‘fuck you’ to the Democratic identity politics riddled party even if it means voting against their own self interest. Congratulations white upper class bourgeoisie, you lost the election but you made damn sure that your peers knew that you threw a fit of hysterical self righteous indignation by really putting those working class deplorables in their place. The likes of Thomas Frank have pointed out the fallacy regarding the Democratic Party strategy ( link ) but it appears that the leadership just simply won’t learn and those outside of the United States wonder why so few turn out to vote on election day.

The politics of Trump vs. Clinton

As an outsider it is rather depressing when I see the election that is taking place especially when the media itself tries to play the game where it claims to be ‘fair and balanced’ when in reality it is an attempt to make false equivalency that some how the ranting ramblings of Trump are some how on the same level Clinton. Then again, this is a byproduct of the subjectivist bullshit that has existed for years thanks to a few academics refusing to take a stand one way or another so instead they do this wishy-washy attempt to appeal for a compromised middle ground where in reality the alternative argument is actually a denial of reality rather than a differing of opinion.

Take climate change, there is scientific proof that is climate change, there is a shit-tonne of evidence to show that it has happened and continuing to happen now and yet the media insists that some how there is a legitimate alternative view point out there. Sorry, there is no alternative legitimate view point other than a small ground of nitwits denying reality in much the same way that anti-vaccine nutcases grasp at straws claiming that their opinion is just as valid as the evidence collected by millions of scientists and doctors around the world.

Can there be a difference of opinion on how best to address a problem but when there is a basic denial of reality then it is impossible to move forward. Take climate change, there was at some point a few Republicans willing to admit that it is actually happening so then it was possible to move forward with debating what should be done – market based solution such as a carbon tax or emissions trading scheme? direct action? At least there is an agreement on the facts and thus the debate moves beyond that into the debate over how is the best way to address it. The problem is in the US political system that there is no agreement on the basic facts thus making any debate regarding policy next to impossible.

The reality is that the election in the US isn’t an event where there are two competing equals are vying for a job but one candidate who is over qualified but horrible at campaigning and then you have Donald Trump who taps into the seedy underbelly of American society. It is important to note that this seedy underbelly has always existed but it has existed behind a dog whistle politics where in the past they had to adopt the Lee Atwater abstraction from what the real message is:

The only difference is that Trump just said, “fuck it, I’m replacing the dog whistle with an actual whistle and throwing out the abstraction for the plain language that people want to hear” thus you have George Wallace reborn without any the pretence of respectability that came with the Lee Atwater southern strategy. The media however are hell bent on trying to make out as if it were two candidates of equal stature in the name of the bullshit false equivalency that has strangled the discourse within the United States – and I’d argue around the world too.  There has been next to nothing done when it comes to fact checking what Trump says, they’ve given hundreds of hours of free air time to Trump where they focused on an empty podium waiting for Trump to appear even though Sanders was giving an actual speech of actual subsistence then you’ve got the unwillingness to call Trump out for his bullshit when he is interviewed because the spineless host is ‘worried’ that Trump might not come back on their show.

Personally I don’t agree with everything Clinton wishes to do; she is too much of a hawk when it comes to foreign policy, she isn’t left wing enough when it comes to healthcare, her tax policy fails to address the fact that America has the most complicated tax system on earth and the failure to properly regulate wall street. Even with those issues I’ve outlined the alternative is a whole lot worse – I’d sooner vote for someone who I agree with 80% than doing the stupid decision that half the American population have done and that is to vote for Trump simply to ‘stick it to the man’. Is Clinton a perfect candidate? no but no one ever is a perfect candidate, it is about choosing the one that is less likely to screw things up. Oh well, off to bed – maybe I’ll write a small rant about the flaws of democracy tomorrow.

Speculation over Apple making $1billion investment in Vietnam

I was reading through an article where there is speculation around the rumour of Apple investing $1bilion in an R&D facility in Vietnam ( link ). I wonder whether this is a big investment to offset their reliance on China which is becoming increasingly hostile to Apple with the latest, to use a technical term, ‘fucking around’ to give local brands a ‘chance’ by subjecting Apple to the sort of scrutiny that no local brand is subjected to. I sometimes wonder whether Apple should even bother trying to win over consumers in China – sell it in Hong Kong and tell the mainland to go ‘piss up a rope’. China ends up throwing a wobbly and Chinese mainlanders go over the border on mass to purchase iPhones anyway.

It will also be interesting to see what happens in the light of the TPP and when/if it eventually is passed and adopted by those involved especially when one throws India into the mix given that they have shown interest. It’ll be interesting to see whether we’re seeing a strategy by the United States to use trade as a tool against China as it becomes increasingly isolated as Apple focuses outside of China and American businesses look outside of China for growth opportunities. America has fed the beast and now it is trying to find a way to tame it – I doubt they’ll have much success.

Democratic convention vs. Republican convention

Although I had created a video I decided to mothball my idea of regulate videos in favour of writing out what I saw when following the two conventions – following both the ‘Democracy Now!” coverage along with the ‘Washington Week’ from PBS/NPR along with many other outlets that have been covering both sides. When it came to the Republican Party what i saw was a convention of cringe worthy old white people waving flags with funny hats trying to convince themselves that they’re the ‘true Americans’ aka ‘real Americans’ from the ‘fly over states’ whilst ignoring that they’re a dying demographic. The Republican Party ultimately has hitched itself to a dying demographic which is quickly turning into a protest party rather than a viable party that can actually win. Whilst the conservative movement in UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand have adjusted to the new reality of a pluralistic and socially liberal society thus able to be a viable party to win elections, the Republicans seem to be like King Canute trying to stop the unstoppable force of change and slowly becoming an irrelevant party if it weren’t for the gerrymandering that takes place.

What is even depressing are the speeches themselves which was nothing short of ‘doom and gloom’ and ‘the county is going to hell in a hand basket’ so gone from the days of the Ronald Reagan ‘morning in America’:

In favour of the ‘we’re all completely fucked’ and ‘they’re coming to get you’. Every speaker was doom and gloom, there was no positive vision, there was no outreach independent and swinging voters, there was no policies being announced with the only rise in enthusiasm came from what appeared to be as the unified hatred that the Republican base have of Hillary Clinton. It is a sad situation when the Republican Party, rather than being unified around a set of policies and a positive vision, the party is unified around a single minded hatred of Hillary Clinton which, quite frankly, is an unhealthy basis on which a party can maintain unity just as it is toxic when a party is unified around the cult of personality associated with a leader.

The Democrats on the other side had a campaign that had all the feeling of Reagan’s ‘It’s morning in America’ with great speeches, a positive outlook, a ‘yes we know there are challenges but we’re going to work on those challenges with these ideas…..”. In other words, as noted by commentators on Democracy Now! it sounded like the Republican Party of the 1980’s – optimistic, aspirational and looking forward to the future with positive policies that benefit everyone. Then there was the ‘fly over’ of the event centre and every race, colour, creed and orientation is represented which heavily contrasted to the angry middle aged white people who dominated the Republic convention. One party represents the America of 50 years ago and the other party represents the America of the future because in the end it’ll be demographics coupled with an intransigent party structure that’ll ultimately undermine the Republicans ability to adapt to the new political reality. It does make me wonder whether long term we’ll see the more centre right candidates of the Democrats end up working with the moderate Republicans to ultimately form either a party or Libertarian Party merge with these moderates to create a centre right party to ultimately replace the Republicans long term.

Don’t blame others for your misfortune

In reply to a post I saw on E2NZ.org (god knows why I went there, it’s like a car crash in slow motion) where I made two replies, the first was a reply to the following post:

Thank you for posting that. Your post really resonated with me.

I feel your pain – that is pretty much my story as well. My parents immigrated to NZ 18 years ago and I have grew up here. Like you I went to high school and university here, got a well paid job (thanks to having a couple of open minded UK immigrants as my bosses), bought a house on my own and doing my best to settle in.

But lately the anti-immigration sentiment is really starting to make me feel uneasy. All I hear is Asian getting blamed for all sorts of problems – rising house prices, pushing Kiwi out of jobs, causing traffic accidents to even the declining popularity of rugby (sigh…).

I guess unlike you I don’t have any families here. My parents went back home years ago, finding it too hard to settle in. And to Kiwi women, an Asian man is not seen as a desirable partner, no matter who successful I am. So I am isolated and staring down the prospect of dying alone here.

And I know exactly what you mean when you say your ‘newly-found aggressiveness worries me. It also makes me incredibly sad.’. I am normally a calm and caring person but I find myself getting short-fused, angry, bitter and just want to see the world burn. I guess that is what happen when one group of people is marginalized and no one cares.

If you hang around people who are the lowest rung of the socio-economic ladder then it is like writing off the whole of the UK because you spent two years living on a council estate then claiming that the noisy chavs down the road apparently represent the UK over all. If you choose to hang around with people like that then whose fault is it? it is like hearing people here whine about New Zealand and all they’ve done is live in Auckland – congratulations, now you know why Auckland is given the big finger by the rest of New Zealand due the fact that it is a wannabe Sydney which has all the grittiness but none of the excitement that comes with a big city.

I’m living down in Wellington and there has been a big influx of people from the provinces into the major cities which has resulted in many of the more provincial points of view floating around in cities that are pretty cosmopolitan and accepting which colours peoples perception of New Zealand. I’m hoping New Zealand over time such views fade but all countries are going through this urbanisation process where there is greater centralisation as people go where the jobs are resulting in conflict between the existing cosmopolitan culture and the xenophobic culture of the new comers where in the provinces their views were seen as acceptable but having to contend with the fact that those living in the bigger cities don’t have such a tolerance for small mindedness.

Regarding the original poster (the original blog post) and his/her experience, once again it not only comes down where you live but also politicians looking to blame others for their inept planning and when things turn to crap they look for a group to blame; immigrants, gays, Muslims and blame all of societies woes on them. Does this happen in other countries? too damn right – just look at the United States and the number of people supporting Trump, the rise of the far right in France, the overt racism in Australia with Pauline Hanson winning a senate seat – I know this website (e2nz.org) has turned into a New Zealand bashing circle jerk and yes I do believe we should be better than those examples from other countries but lets not try to make out the argument that some how the world is this giant peaceful racially tolerant utopia and New Zealand is some disgusting racism riddle shithole in the south pacific that is beyond redemption.

Whether you enjoy living in New Zealand is based on what decisions you make; if you come to New Zealand expecting bread, circuses and tacky kitsch entertainment then you’re better off moving to the United States and living in a state like California or Nevada (specifically Los Vegas) but if you want to settle down with a family and get involved with the community/workplace then you’re welcome. If you decide to sit in the lunchroom and only talk to people from your ethnic group and then bemoan that you feel isolated then whose fault is that? it reminds me of when I was working at Pak ‘n Save and working with a group of Chinese students who had come over to study and work part time. Out of the group of Chinese work mates there was only one who ever actually came and sat down at the same table as all of us and get involved in conversations and improving her English (her English skills btw were no better or worse than the rest of her Chinese friends) – the net result? she went to parties, met new people, her English improved to the point that after a few years she almost had a New Zealand accent. If you sit in the corner, isolate yourself, and create a mini-[insert country here] then don’t be surprised that your circle of opportunities drastically shrinks for employment and meeting new people. Your life is what you make it.