"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Donald Trump Presidency: Expectations and Results in Our Age of Disruption in a Rapidly Changing World

The current President of the United States, Donald John Trump, is not everyone’s cup of tea. That is in the nature of the business of politics. Every leader in every nation has adherents and detractors.

Since we are non-partisan, owe allegiance to no political party, and are center-oriented in our politics, we support every elected President of the United States of America -- as the nation's head man. Our assessment of a President thus turns on general results, not on selected political issues. We agree on some things and disagree on others. How can it be otherwise?

In our view, President Donald J. Trump is a wheeler-dealer type by personality and background -- a very much results-oriented man of "expediency", a word well defined in this context at Google's dictionary entry for expediency:
"the quality of being convenient and practical despite possibly being improper or immoral; convenience.
"an act of political expediency"
"
We expect such behavior from Trump, and we are seldom disappointed. But we do not judge Trump by his "acts" of expediency. Only results count for us.

Accordingly, we ask: Does it make sense to make our political or other expectations a standard of judgment about what is happening in political, legal, social, religious or economic spheres?

Is the fulfillment of expectations what MAKES a President successful or not? Our expectations? How many "expected" the current economic boom under Trump? Is expectation relevant to an assessment of results?

"Expectations" may not be the best determinant of "happiness" regarding daily political or other events, because then a great deal of unavoidable "disappointment" is pre-programmed. Indeed, many mainstream journalists spend a lot of time complaining that their expectations have been dashed. But that is not the true bottom line for evaluating events at the Presidential level.

If we expect something and it is not fulfilled -- and our happiness depends upon expectation fulfillment -- we are disappointed and unhappy. Many expectations stay unfulfilled, so that this is a recipe for unhappiness and disappointment.

If our expectations are fulfilled -- how frequently does that happen? be honest with yourself -- we are “happy”. Our happiness then depends on expectation fulfillment --  "Just like I imagined it!" Again, just how often does that happen?

We thus unnecessarily put our happiness at the mercy of events over which we often have little control to make things meet our expectations. So, why do it?

Why should we make expectations a factor?

Expectation fulfillment is generally a short-term matter that quickly fades into the background when long-term matters are at issue. Daily political discussion TODAY is filled with opinions about largely ephemeral events that TOMORROW correspond to the statement, "There is nothing as old as yesterday's news".

Let us look, for example, at Trump's predecessor. Consider the question of "How did President Barack Obama's Presidency over two terms correspond with (y)our expectations?" Frankly, not many people know a quick answer, because many political expectations are not a long-term thing.

President Obama's Presidency should thus be judged not by short-term political expectations and their fulfillment or non-fulfillment, but rather by what was accomplished or not accomplished, long-term, during Obama's administration.

One example of achievement is Obamacare, which has neither been repealed nor replaced by the Republicans, in spite of nearly 10 years of trying. The necessary Congressional majorities have simply not been found among the nation's elected representatives. How does that mesh with (y)our expectations? It all depends, does it not? Is Obamacare working? Is that the standard of judgment? Polls show that about 51% of Americans currently approve of Obamacare. As a result, it has become a virtual political non-issue -- why aggravate the majority of voters? In the meantime, other issues have risen to the surface. The world is a sea of problems. How are they being solved?

In the long run, Donald Trump's tenure as President of the United States should similarly be judged by his achievements, and not by whether his actions correspond to our preconceptions and expectations, where we could be wrong.

Much of mainstream media has still to learn that lesson. To their credit, even the arch-liberal Guardian in the United Kingdom already admits to some achievements by the Trump administration as they write in How Trump has changed America in two years:
""This is the greatest economy in the history of our country," Donald Trump told reporters last year. Two years into his presidency he has plenty to brag about but also some big problems. Many of his own making.

Unemployment is close to levels unseen since the first moon landing. It ticked up last month but even that rise came as more workers came off the sidelines and started looking for work. So far about 5m jobs have been created under Trump.

It is pretty dubious to claim presidents "create" jobs but they all take the credit when things are good; unsurprisingly Trump is no exception. The current recovery clearly began under the previous president, Barack Obama. Even with the unarguably impressive improvements under Trump, he has a way to go before he can fulfil his promise of being "the greatest jobs president that God ever created"."
We must thus view preconceived expectations with a grain of salt. On the one hand, the "left" expected Trump's demise long ago. The predominantly left-oriented mainstream news media and strongly negative crystal ball opinion columnists failed miserably in predicting the future of the Trump administration, so much so, that not only is Trump's demise unlikely, but Trump's re-election is as likely it was for his predecessors, given current poll results.

Similarly, the "right" establishment may have expected Trump to ultimately follow their line of thinking. But Trump in fact does what HE wants, if he can. So, he is no friend of the G.O.P. establishment. Rather, by most counts, Trumpism is winning and not establishment Republican factions. See the article by Perry Bacon Jr. at FiveThirtyEight at The Five Wings of the Republican Party.

Political developments worldwide, especially "populism" -- which is a powerful force at the root of Trump's ascendancy to the Presidency -- can surely be better understood if we recognize that the world has a need to adjust its political expectations to conform to the present realities of our planet and its inhabitants.

The establishment in many areas of activity has failed to do this, and so we should not be surprised that populists like Trump are surfacing, and are favoring different solutions than have been tried previously by political mainstreamers.

Politics is not the only area of human activity in need of substantial reform and modernization. Trump says it is time to "drain the swamp". Figuratively, it means that things have to be "shaken", in the sense that Aristotle told us that "even the trees must be shaken by the wind to grow".

Without pressure to do otherwise, humankind gets lazy and stagnates into various kinds of decadence, everywhere apparent.

The Trump political situation can be compared with the problems of modernity confronting establishment Archaeology and related disciplines such as Oriental viz. Biblical Studies, which remain stubbornly backward (of course, in part by the retrograde nature of their study), and out-of-date, because they are not sufficiently pushed from outside to get out of their cozy rut.

The "history industry" is dominated by academics who continue doing what they have always done, story-booking how they think the past was, based on often tenuous authority-based rather than evidence-based "opinions", as presented, e.g. in conclusory documentary films, as if no alternative "stories" existed and as if all questions had been resolved, which is by no means the case.

Hence, the history industry has gotten many things wrong historically viz. pre-historically. The entire field of ancient studies, historical and prehistorical, is marked by what we view to be a glaring absence of analytical critical thinking and the lack of sober consideration of alternative explanatory solutions.

What are needed in the historical disciplines are disruptive people and ideas to "shake" the establishment out of its slumber.

Even in modern technology and media, We Live in an Age of Disruption. Just imagine then how rusty things are in the other "older" arts and sciences.

In a similar vein, Trump is a political disruptive "shaker" in politics.

Trump needs to be disruptive in a technologically-dominated digital age, where many things need to be changed per se and indeed must be changed due to the advance of expanded knowledge in our modern era.

Representative democracy has also lagged behind the times via inconceivable "government shutdowns" or, as in the UK, through people taking direct voter control of the political process, by Brexit referendum. If governments were properly doing their job, such political excesses would be unnecessary.

The U.S. Congress, e.g., has been hopelessly ineffectual in recent years, trying to play President rather than doing their proper legislative role, and has in the eyes of the populace deservedly suffered great losses of face as an institution.

Nevertheless, U.S. Senators and Members of the House of Representatives persist on being mired in a locked-in partisan yesterday, often basking in their own personal glories, rather than doing their jobs effectively. The voters elect representatives to pass legislation for the good of their constituents. Witch-hunting, on the other hand, is a power not based anywhere in the Constitution.

In any case, it is not expectations,
but results down the road
that reveal the successes and failures of policy.

Right now, Trumpism is winning….
like it or not.
Just look at the economy.
Booming.

The rest remains to be seen.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Stanford and Michigan Lead Division I Learfield IMG NACDA College Directors’ Cup June 6, 2019 Standings for the 2018-2019 Athletic Season

As a Stanford Law School graduate together with his better half holding a degree from the University of Michigan, we are pleased to see the newly posted  Division I Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup Standings (National Assocation of Collegiate Directors of Athletics - NACDA) where Stanford University and the University of Michigan lead the pack.

As noted at NACDA.com:

"Trophy Presentation for the 2018-19 Learfield IMG College Directors' Cup winners will take place in conjunction with the 2019 NACDA Convention on Wednesday, June 12 at the World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando, Florida during the Directors' Cup Awards Luncheon."

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Native America: Ancient Migration Between Siberia and North America Based on New DNA Data Analysis: From the Arctic to the U.S. Southwest

The United States of America (USA) and the nation-states of North America, Central America, and South America are all countries whose populations trace their origins back to migrants, or if one prefers, immigrants viz. emigrants. That is a paradoxical issue of fact in our own present migrant-issue-dominated era.

Here is how it all began....

Smithsonian Magazine has an article by Brian Handwerk titled "Ancient DNA Reveals Complex Story of Human Migration Between Siberia and North America: Two studies greatly increase the amount of information we have about the peoples who first populated North America—from the Arctic to the Southwest U.S."

Attached to the link by the Smithsonian:
Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ancient-dna-reveals-complex-story-human-migration-between-siberia-and-north-america-180972356/#mdMUGpRtvgehwOZ1.99
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