Odds and Ends

As the Trump Turns

I have been thinking more on the turning of Trump.  I read and listen to those who boldly and loudly paint the best possible interpretation of his complete 180 degree U-turn on several major statements Trump made during the campaign: getting further involved in Syria, coming to agreement with China, etc.

I won’t go through the reasons / excuses / multi-dimensional chess that only a grand master can comprehend.  Pick your own best possible interpretation: what good comes from a complete about-face?  People want to see leadership.  Think about your job – do you consider as a leader a boss who says one thing and does another?  Or do you – and everyone else who wants to deal in honest terms – view him as a flake, untrustworthy, dishonest?

People want to deal with those who are felt to be consistent.  Who gains by inconsistency in discussion and negotiation?

Good cannot not come from doing evil.  Lying and bombing cannot produce anything good.

Time to buy old US gold coins

And, so….

Supporting Trump a Mistake?

Keep in mind my definition of support – much broader than voting for or donating to.  It could include nothing more than pointing out areas of agreement, or areas of distinction between Trump and Clinton.

With this said…the Saker offers seven reasons “Why voting for Trump was the right thing to do.”  He writes this in the wake of all of the 180 degree turns in the last weeks.  While I say nothing about the “voting” part, regular readers know my view on the “supporting” part.

Saker’s seven reasons are all good and worth keeping in mind; here, I will only offer his conclusion:

So while “Monday morning quarterbacking” is fun, it is also absurd. Those who now tell us “I told you so” are right but for the wrong reasons, whereas those who supported Trump were wrong, but for the right reasons. Trump betrayed his campaign promises, but those who voted for him could not simply assume that he would do that, especially not when there was no reason at all to believe that Hillary would betray hers: does anybody seriously believe that after being elected on a promise of war she would have turned into a dove of peace? Of course not.

Simply put: Hillary was guaranteed bad. Trump was possibly bad. The logical choice was therefore obvious, especially when ‘bad’ would most likely mean nuclear war.

Of course, putting one’s head in the sand is also an option.

Vive la France

Euphoria in the markets: France avoided the dreaded Le Pen / Mélenchon run-off.  Each of these two wanted out of the EU and the Euro.  Instead, alongside Le Pen will be Macron – a young, seemingly conformist, candidate.  He likes the EU and the Euro.

The markets feel pretty good regarding the idea that Macron will win the run-off in a couple of weeks.  So…all is well…

But, of course, it isn’t all well.

Between Le Pen and Mélenchon, something over 40% voted for candidates who wanted out of the EU.  Include Macron, and well over 60% voted for candidates that are not from the two parties that have controlled French politics for sixty years.

Oh…by the way…none of the issues that are the cause for French (or, more broadly, European) angst are going to get any better – sure, Macron might have a trick or two up his sleeve to delay the inevitable…but the inevitable is inevitable.

The EU will decentralize, and along with this, the common currency.

Some Mad Bugger’s Wall

…after all it’s not easy

Banging your heart against some mad bugger’s wall

–          Pink Floyd

Supposedly the US government is going to be shut down at the end of this week, all because Trump wants to include funding for his big, beautiful wall…and the democrats don’t like that idea.

Now, I am as a big a fan of a government shut-down as the next guy…a real shutdown, not the nonsense of only slowing down on the so-called “non-essential” services.  In any case, the drama is always fun to watch.

But the wall?  Trump had many crazy ideas during the election campaign; this is one of the craziest.  Of course, it won’t work toward the advertised ends – this should be reason enough to drop the idea.

There are much more effective ways to accomplish what Trump supposedly wants to accomplish.  Start with a law that distinguishes citizens from non-citizens in terms of “benefits” from the state.  Force congress to vote on this issue.

Win or lose, this will energize those who supported Trump.  The symbolism is much more compelling than any symbolism to be found in a worthless, one-thousand mile long, make-work project.

A Sale is a Sale

There has been much written about the United Airlines fiasco; there are those who offer that United sold a seat and the passenger has the right to the seat (or some version of this).  A sale is a sale!

It got me to thinking: what about the other side of that coin?  An airline could ensure no one gets bumped; an airline could commit to selling only as many seats as were available on the plane – no overbooking…if…

…if…a sale is a sale…well…how about no cancellation by the passenger.  Whether you fly or not, you pay for the ticket.

But, of course, the passenger today is allowed to cancel – with no charge if a (more expensive) refundable ticket was purchased, with a charge if a (less expensive) non-refundable ticket was purchased.

Which, if you think about it, is more or less the same position that the airline is in: the party who changes his mind pays a cost.  A passenger can pre-pay the cost by purchasing a more expensive refundable ticket, or pay the cost only if cancelling a flight reserved via a non-refundable ticket.  And the airline pays the cost if it cannot accommodate the passenger.

United’s mistake was that it didn’t choose to follow its contract; it didn’t choose to pay the cost in a non-violent manner.

The United States Does Not Conquer for Territory

I found this to be cute:

“I am aware of a car bomb attack at one of the gates in the U.S. base, but we are not allowed there to get more details,” [Mubarez Mohammad Zadran, a spokesman for the provincial governor of Afghanistan’s eastern province of Khost] said.

Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.