How Trump schlongs his base

A problem with the most fanatical of Trump’s base is this – *if Trump does not win, whatever legitimate concerns they have, independent of whatever illegitimate views they may have been peddled, don’t just go away and deserve to be heard.
But supposing a not-Trump candidate wins, and wants to represent all Americans and address those legitimate concerns (jobs, whatever) – how do you do that when Trump has peddled the idea (amongst others) that your election was a fraud not worth recognizing?
How do you try and help people who probably would not even accept a chance to be heard. You can’t try and accommodate those who dont recognize your legitimacy in the first place; they won’t allow it and imply that you are the someone properly elected to deal with those issues.
So that is the biggest disservice Trump has done to his supporters when it comes to voting fraud claims.
He is putting them in position where they will by their own convictions choose to not have a voice at the table (to the extent it may be offered).
The big Fuck You may be said toward, presumptively HRC, but ultimately when it comes to how American democracy works, he is schlonging the butthole of his own base.


Democracy can not survive too much ignorance

The politicization/assaults on the institutional integrity of American institutions – whether federal courts (to include the Supreme Court) or executive agencies (such as the FBI) by BOTH parties when it suits their respective agendas, undermines our democracy for purposes of electoral points.

I would say, “Shame on Republicans, and shame on Democrats” – but for my suspicion that both sides’ partisan hyenas are more ignorant (if profoundly so) than purposeful in dragging down American governance. 

It’s almost impossible to get anything other than (competing) spin on major media channels nowadays – they place “balance” above truth. So it’ll be a Trump surrogate v a Clinton surrogate, both peddling spin. There literally is no effort to actually seek unbiased #facts and insight into governance, just more back-and-forth ratings-seeking nonsense. This is noise.


In the Venture Capital world, you do whats called “due diligence” – you vet potential investments *before you decide whether or not to proceed. You don’t decide first, then conduct due diligence to validate a foregone conclusion. 

Investigations can lead to evidence of misconduct, or they can exonerate one from potential false allegations. That’s why they are done – to discover the truth, not to affirm premature conclusions.

A VC that conducts due diligence to rubber stamp decisions already made puts the cart before the horse. And so it goes, too, with FBI probes.


Every time I see people draw pre-mature conclusions on social media, based on this-or-that (anything but relevant facts), it is a reminder that:

“The American author and aphorist William Feather once wrote that being educated means ‘being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don’t.’ As it turns out, this simple ideal is extremely hard to achieve. Although what we know is often perceptible to us, even the broad outlines of what we don’t know are all too often completely invisible.”
“Have you met Saddam?”


Benjamin Wittes is editor in chief of Lawfare and a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of several books and is co-chair of the Hoover Institution’s Working Group on National Security, Technology, and Law:

The press is full of “breaking news” stories that FBI Director James Comey has “reopened” the Clinton email investigation. It’s juicy news less than two weeks before the election. But it’s not quite right.

Here’s the text of Comey’s letter:

When the FBI wants to say it is reopening an investigation, it knows perfectly well how to say that. In this case, the investigation was actually never formally closed, so it doesn’t need to be reopened. The relevance of this letter is thus likely not that some explosive new evidence of Clinton criminality has suddenly emerged.

It is, rather, that Comey made a set of representations to Congress that have been complicated by new information, apparently from the Anthony Weiner sexting case. So he’s informing Congress of that fact before the election.
Comey represented to Congress that the Clinton email investigation was “complete.” But as the letter relates, new emails have now come to the bureau’s attention that appears relevant to the email investigation. (Weiner’s estranged wife is one Clinton’s top aides.) Comey has okayed a review of that new information to determine whether the emails contain classified material and also whether they are, in fact, relevant. And this fact renders his prior statement to Congress no longer true.

The key point here, in other words, is not that Comey is “reopening” a closed matter because of some bombshell. It is that he is amending his public testimony to Congress that the FBI is done while the bureau examines new material that may or may not have implications for investigative conclusions previously reached. 

Here’s the subtext: Comey and FBI investigated Clinton hard, and when various legal and practical hurdles made it impossible to move forward with any kind of criminal case against her, Comey stated his view—quite unflattering to her—that her behavior had been “extremely careless” with highly sensitive information.  

He did this in public because he made a decision that Clinton and her team deserved public scrutiny for their acts, because she is a major party candidate for president. This is why he went out of his way—maybe too far—in revealing unfiltered information so that the public had the opportunity to consider it before voting for or against her. 

This summer, in short, Comey closed the investigation, stated his reasons, and took arrows both from those who thought he should have gone forward with a case and those who thought he should have said much less than he did. And he testified before Congress that he was finished. 

The trouble is that now he has learned something which he thinks may complicate his earlier judgments. And he has authorized additional investigative steps to find out. He found out that he is not finished. So the question is whether to tell Congress (and the public) or not.
Even at the risk of helping Trump, Comey has notified Congress (and the world) about it so as to clarify his prior testimony. This allows voters to judge how to consider this before the election—even though he will almost surely not be able to say anything more until after the election. It’s a way of not pretending that the investigation is “complete” when he knows there is some degree of residual issue. 

If you’re inclined to be angry with Comey over this, imagine that he had not said something and it emerged after the election that, having testified that the investigation was complete, he authorized additional investigation of a new trove of emails. 

Comey and the FBI are in a terrible position here, one in which they would be accused of playing politics whatever they ended up doing. 

The interesting question is whether the FBI’s predicament is Comey’s own fault. It’s certainly not his fault that the email mess fell into his lap and had to be investigated in the year of an election. Nor is it his fault that the the FBI ended up investigating the DNC hack and whatever trouble Weiner has gotten himself into of late. Reasonable minds will differ, however, about whether Comey leaned too far forward in publicly disclosing information about his thinking on the email case. He can be criticized for having said and disclosed too much and thereby made his problem worse.

But what you can’t reasonably say is that Comey has been anyone’s political lackey. Over the howling objections of many Republicans, he ended the Clinton email investigation, concluding that “no reasonable prosecutor” would go forward with a case. Over the snarls of the Clinton forces, at the same time, he commented quite disparagingly about the behavior of the woman who is likely to become his boss. And now, with the election only days away, he has amended his prior resolution of the case to deal with new information.

Say what you will about the FBI, but it’s surely been independent.
“Engage your mind before you engage your weapon” /twitter/FB


Selling Souls

People talk about “selling” their souls to this-and-that all the time. I don’t find it the big deal that its made out to be at all – whether you join big law because you have gargantuan student debt, or if a singer goes “mainstream”. It’s a reflection of compromise that just happens in life- we don’t always do what we want to do. In some regards, the ability to go against our own desires is a good thing.
What’s worse, in my mind, is unwitting hypocrisy. When people do stuff (out of convenience), that they don’t even realize is contrary to whatever values they otherwise claim to stand for.
You only have to observe partisan politics to see that, or things like Amy Schumer being funny but not.


Trump and a Whale’s Vagina

#Anchorman, and the resilience to Facts

“I think he has in his mind that there’s not the proof,” House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul said… “Now he hasn’t had the briefing I had, but I made it clear that in my judgment it was a nation-state.”
McCaul, a Trump supporter, told Tribune CEO Evan Smith that he was brought in to brief Trump on national security after the first presidential debate — a topic the Texas Republican conceded is “not [Trump’s] strength.”
Despite the coaching from the congressman, Trump stated during the final presidential debate last week that the U.S. has no idea who is behind hacks of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails. The material was released by WikiLeaks.
“She has no idea whether it is Russia, China or anybody else,” Trump said during the debate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “You have no idea. Our country has no idea.”


America First

I endorse America 🇺🇸:
What does democracy entail? Is it as simple as a Choice? Or is it also something more abstract, that includes values such as due process, fairness, and liberty? 
What if, for example, Choice itself isn’t what democracy is, but rather a proxy for Fairness – the notion that each citizen having a voice is Fair and hence, democratic. 
If so, voting for Fascism is in fact anti-democratic, an un-American.


Bet on the jockey, not the horse

“sometimes you bet on the jockey, not the horse.”

Frequently, I like to look up stuff about a company’s CEO and company culture. I find interviews they’ve given posted online to find out how they think.

So one guy I really liked, for example, was Zillow’s Spencer Rascoff. In his interviews, he came across as a really thoughtful and good dude, who had a vision of what kind of company culture he wanted to build at Zillow, beyond profit/loss numbers etc. Zillow’s main competitor at the time, Trulia, was led by a guy who’s name I don’t remember. Everything I could find on him was very, in a way narrowly, bottom-line business focused; not very open/flexible thinking, not as broad but simultaneously nimble a thinker as what I thought Rascoff came across as. So I bought a few shares of Zillow. A year later, Trulia was bought by Zillow.

Another was Rap Genius, now Genius. I googled everything I could find about one of their founders Mahbid Moghadam. Not like there wasn’t enough public bad press about his antics (telling Mark Zuckerburg to fuck off, or trying to manipulate Google search results), despite his explanation that as a startup – in a Trumpian way – no press is bad press. Then I also found an article about some girl who was on a reality TV show who dates Moghadam. The girl came across as completely bat-shit crazy. And I thought – man, this just not good. What is this guy doing, his personal life sounds like a wreck as well, I don’t know about his judgment. My friend thought, first, I was crazy for digging as far as the guy’s choice of girlfriends. But, he said that don’t worry, Andreesen Horowitz is raising a $40m series C round, and will bring in “adult supervision.” So I went in for a few.

Of course, not long after, Moghadan was forced out after the Santa Barbara shootings, where Moghadan took to Genius to annoatate an article about the shootings with racist and misogynist comments (a final straw kind of like Trump’s Billy Bush moment).

To me, being seduced by a company’s business model or a new market but not paying attention to the leadership and company culture is like what NFL teams do year after year after year- drafting guys like Greg Hardy, Justin Blackmon, Josh Gordon, Johnny Manziel.

None of these guys are playing right now. They were total headcases. 

By contrast, I read once about how the Miami Dolphin’s prospective head coach wanted, as a condition of accepting the job, that the Dolphins draft his college QB, Russell Wilson. He said Russell Wilson was the best prepared hardest working QB he had ever coached. Miami, like many other teams, balked, citing Wilson’s lack of “prototypical” NFL quarterback size. So Wilson’s college coach declined to take the job, and Miami drafted Ryan Tannehill while Seattle eventually took Wilson. The Dolphins weren’t going to draft the jockey Brett Bielema wanted.

There is a danger in a bias toward things we can physically observe and/or measure. Just because something is intangible or hard to measure doesn’t mean if you ignore it, it won’t matter. So I think that Wall Street analysts are comfortable with numbers and all that sort of publicly available, material information will be baked into a stock price. But nobody can really measure intangibles so its sometimes like it doesn’t matter for publicly traded companies, unless its based on a cultish following like for a Elon Musk or Steve Jobs.

This is pretty much almost true of everything in life, from dating to whatever



Been thinking about how restless I get, and how it sometimes feels like when I travel its to *seek something. But what?
Bopping all over western Europe, I usually get restless in any one city after just a few days. It’s not because I get *bored – there is plenty to do.
Then I think about the time I was in Afghanistan where I was plenty bored. It’s not like I was Seal Team Six (with movies editing out real life downtime on some stinking COP with nothing to do but workout). And there I never felt *restless.
I’ve concluded that it’s not about new things to see and do to keep you occupied, busy.
It’s the *uncertainty that I crave – even in the frequent lulls of boredom, in #Afghanistan, you never knew when shit was gonna happen.
The *uncertainly is what makes you feel *alive. Not just *awake and going through the motions of life. 
Maybe that is why when people ask me

my most memorable trips in the past few years, I say #Kyiv – standing at Maidan Nezalezhnosti where the smoked out buildings and flowers for fallen Ukrainian soldiers remain fresh and the future uncertain.
Or #Morocco, where, in the words of Afghan-born British author Tahir Shah:
“… the lack of safety was an energizing force, but at the same time it was a constant concern…. For the first time in my life I became completely alert. In the West, you can drift from day to day in the knowledge that society will protect you and your children…. But after five minutes on North African soil, I knew it was up to me to guard my family. No one else was watching them. As our first year in Morocco drew to a close, I found myself thinking a great deal about the move. The learning curve had been severe. I concluded that a life not filled with severe learning curves was no life at all.” 



The #NFL is the prime sporting venue to witness how athletes perform under stress – not #MLB, not the #NBA, not the #NHL. You could have a World Series at-bat, Game 7 free throw, Stanley Cup penalty shot – but none has the same pressure of an NFL quarterback dropping back against a oncoming pass rush: none comes with Oh-Shit-Im-gonna-get-crushed fear that can trigger actual *survival instincts.
Every Sunday, from September through December, every year, you see one NFL QB make terrible decisions under duress (throwing into coverage, not seeing a defender), while another steps into the pocket and deliver strikes under the same pressure (or wisely throwing the #football away). All of them are tremendous athletes – even the worst starting QB in the league is probably a top 50 QB in the world.
That’s why the NFL is the premiere showcase of how what’s between a person’s head matters, and really separates those who may be *tremendously Gifted athletes – but no more – and those who are natural warriors. 


Pussy Generation

Been thinking about Political Correctness and the use of the word “Pussy”, and thought of #ClintEastwood. And you know what, the word could be used more. My turn (five mental jumping jacks, and go):
America’s #Pussies should just Get Over #ColinKaepernick’s free speech. People are offended by that, but not racist or sexist speech? Quit being a Pussy – this is part of living in a Free Society, as guaranteed by our amazing Constitution. Be an American, and stand up for others’ right to express things you disagree with, in a manner they choose fit. Be proud that our society permits and one would think embraces that free expression.
If there is such a thing as Reverse- #PoliticalCorrectness (like Reverse Discrimination), this could be what it looks like: demanding nothing less than ostentatious displays of “Patriotism”


IOS update for deplorables

Many Trump supporters do have #deplorable *attitudes steeped homo/xeno-phobia and racism. 
I suspect there is a direct correlation with the fact that many (or at least significantly greater percentages when compared to those supporting HRC) are white and have never left their hometowns.

 It’s much easier to be a homophobic racist when your life experience does not involve exposure to different/minority cultures, norms, lifestyles, and when you haven’t learned to develop empathy and the ability to see different points of view. 

One could argue, that in a globalized, digital, age, such Long Island insularity is no excuse.

But then again, it’s like that annoying IOS update reminder. 

Those who cling to their deplorable attitudes are likely the ones who consistently press “later”, refuse to update, and complain about having to change how they think.