Thursday, December 1, 2016

Music Box White Rabbit

video

December is the month for clothes and music,
but underneath it all triple pirouette of luck is brought by incanting WHITE RABBIT, WHITE RABBIT, WHITE RABBIT.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Truth even stranger than conspiracy theories

At a book club meeting…
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Bill: “Truth is stranger than fiction.” An axiom recalled by Nelson DeMille in another of his novels premised on a conspiracy theory, Wild Fire.
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George: The one about ultra rights and oil interests dropping a nuclear bomb on an American city, blaming jihadists, so they can retaliate by nuking Islamic countries and taking over their oil?
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Bill: Something like that. Conspiracy theory-based stories, I find restricting, they remind me of repetitive drum-beating. They seem to be the kind of novels that may appeal to a Trump voter. The kind believing that you, George, engineered the 9/11 attacks, or that global warming is a hoax.
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George: But the premise of Wild Fire was that the president was rational and diplomatic enough but his minders were extremists.
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Bill: Now Washington is upended. An unhinged, vindictive, irresponsible president spouting conspiracy theories, appointing loonie ultra rightists. Can the moderates control these conspiracists who see all of Islam as jihadists? Maybe they will cook up an excuse to start a war.
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George: Truth often is stranger than fiction.
_________
Voice-over

Trump's credulous supporters
Washington Post
A responsible leader makes statements based on evidence. So do responsible academics. Offering unsubstantiated opinion is a characteristic of child behavior. Offering opinion based on unsubstantiated conspiracy theory is something uneducated teenagers might do. America, who is it you will have leading you? You actually listen to what he says? What does that say about your levels of education?
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Monday, November 21, 2016

2019: Golfing while Washington Burns

Three years from now…
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Epaphroditus: The game’s up, Nero. The people are demanding elections again.
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Nero: No problem. Write me some more mud-slinging metaphors like “Drain the swamp” and sound bites like “Build a wall.” Spice them up with conspiracy theories like “Global warming is a hoax”, fake news and hate speech.
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Epaphroditus: OK, chief.
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Nero: And I’ll keep tweeting them out there. Ramp up more attacks on more minorities so the masses will get scared and go out and vote. Did the trick in 2016.
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Epaphroditus: Winning formula. Do the numbers. Uneducated outnumber the educated. 
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Nero: Can’t lose. And then I just carry on being emperor. Can I go back to my tower now?
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Voice-over

History repeats. Populism is something Lenin and Mao tapped into too. 
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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Dr Strangetrump

The triumph of ignorance…
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I have hair, TOO!
George: How are you coping after the barbarians stormed the fort?
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Bill: Testing alternative realities. Went to a movie festival.
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George: Some insight into saner societies?
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Bill: That, yes. But there were also re-mastered versions of classics. Dr Strangetrump, sorry, Dr Strangelove. I watched that. Suddenly, it seemed very contemporary.
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George: In political, social, and economic arenas, paraphrasing John Neumann, can we expect mutually assured self-destruction?
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Bill: Looks like it. Brace yourself. His policies, his personality, his loopiness will land us all in big trouble.
____________
Voice-over
Embarrassing for America that half their voters cannot understand either governance or global issues. As The Economist points out this week, expect further healthcare hardship, tax cuts for the rich subsidized by the poor, more racial and ethnic unrest, trade wars further impoverishing poor Americans, global recession, military cuts destabilizing Europe and Asia. It is the poor who voted this man in who will suffer most.

And global warming a hoax? With a narcissistic, thin-skinned, undisciplined conman pushing conspiracies like that, those who voted for Trump could see even fewer jobs in the US to apply for. Poor America. Poor world.
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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Into the Void: The U.S. Election Outcome

George and Bill commiserate...
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George: The hand-wringing, the teeth-gnashing, the metaphors of excess keep bubbling out. What went wrong?
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Big red U.S. belly
Bill: Well, we in our educated isolated sound-box, ignored the voices.
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George: Voices?
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Bill: In the middle of the electoral map. East coast, educated. West Coast educated. That gigantic midriff is composed of people who don’t understand responsible politics conducted by qualified people. He rode a wave of anger into the White House. Now we have the country being steered by a petulant wheelman with no navigational experience.
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George: It makes you wonder about the democratic process. Perhaps there should be a test people have to pass before they are registered as qualified to vote. Do they read policy? Or only get it from TV reality shows?
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Bill: The Romans only allowed Patricians to vote.
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George: Hardly a good example when you have the anger of the hoi-polloi leveled against the elites.
__________
Voice-over
People everywhere say they are shocked by the outcome of the U.S. election. Markets collapse. People interviewed on the street in Japan say they are scared about future US-Japan relations. Prime Minister Abe puts it in diplomatic speech: he “hopes’ he can work with Trump on “diplomatic” issues.

When a company needs a new manager, or a school needs a new professor, others who know the field review applications and interview the candidate. It may not be quite democratic, but it can be an informed choice for the good of all.  

Maybe we don’t understand enough about America. Through movies, it has seemed familiar, but really, the election result shows middle America is as extreme as a jihadist state.
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Friday, November 4, 2016

Can a Clown Candidate Project Presidential Poise?

Bill and George on Trump’s latest mayhem…
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George: Terminally ill people “stay alive long enough to vote for me”. And talking to himself, "We're going to be nice and cool, nice and cool, stay on point, Donald, stay on point," during a rally. "No sidetracks Donald, nice and easy."
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Bill: This is a candidate who is presidential material? One who asks dying people to forget their suffering and go vote  just to gratify his ego? One whose inner speech comes out in muttered public ramblings?
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George: So what is “being presidential” all about? You had it. I had it. This clown doesn’t.
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Bill: Calmness over becoming hysterical. Politeness over being insulting. Subtle but not simplistic. Witty, not clownish.
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__________
Voice-over
It is a time to be fearful when swathes of the U.S. population vote not for someone fit for the job of president but who triggers their hate.

As John Kerry says, it’s “downright embarrassing” to have a presidential candidate who doesn’t even acknowledge climate change and that the presidential contest has been “a humiliating time for America”.

Barack Obama goes further and says the “fate of the world” is at risk if Trump takes over.
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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

White Halloween Rabbit

Midnight of the 31st merges into the morning of the 1st.

The fancy dress of Halloween is exchanged for the fortune costume of…
WHITE RABBIT, WHITE RABBIT, WHITE RABBIT.

Great costume party on the streets of Shibuya last night. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Conspiracy Theories and Amplified Animosity

On candidates applying for a job…
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George: Does she know her stuff? Does she have experience? Is she good at her job? Is she calm enough to handle pressure? Can she put her point across without going off-topic? Can she win a debate?
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Bill: Yes to all of the above.
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Amplified Animosity 
George: Then why is she so unpopular?
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Bill: There’s this avalanche of hate speech.
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George: That’s the marginalized groups.
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Bill: But don’t you think the media fed this conflagration? Just a bit?
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George: Aah. Yes. The press seeking sensational soundbites. Lacing their stories with juicy conspiracy theories. Highlighting outrageous suggestions. And then there’s social media feeding their participants the same messages they want to hear.
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Bill: Can America settle down and become a civilized society? Will we have war INSIDE America as well as the ones OUTSIDE?
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George: We’ll know after November 8, won’t we.
______________
Voice-over

Why do people hate a knowledgeable, hard-working leader who is good at her job? See Economist article here.
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