Posted on April 11th, 2019
This world is so full of stupid that I find myself becoming numb to it.
Sometimes, when the stupid on display is of such a massive scale that my brain can't even process how crazy it is, I try my best to laugh about it... but can't. Especially when the stupid in question is running the country.
Take this for example...
Good Lord... how does Rep. Thomas Massie even have the brain-power to speak, let alone breathe? Does he honestly not understand the words coming out of his mouth? Massie has two engineering degrees from MIT... how the fuck did that happen?
What truly kills me is that Massie and his supporters are bragging as if they exposed some huge "gotcha"... like Senator Kerry has been claiming to be a climate change scientist, but isn't really a scientist because his degree is in political science. Kerry (a person I loathe, by the way) has never claimed to be a scientist. He has only ever presented findings by actual scientists. You know... like anybody would do when speaking about a topic outside their wheelhouse. When you are a member of government who creates laws, it's your fucking job to listen to what experts tell you when making decisions. Kerry (in this case) did his fucking job which is why he was called as a witness in the first place. How is that so damn difficult to understand?
Massie is so incomprehensibly stupid as to just how dumb he sounds that he's actually bragging about his idiotic exchange by posting it on his Twitter, calling himself "sassy"...
After watching this on Seth Myers, I was compelled to see if Rep. Massie had an explanation... or a clarification. Surely there's some kind of statement which makes this less stupid! What I found was this...
"When I asked Kerry if he had a science degree, he answered 'no' but forgot to turn his microphone on. The left has been using his flub to conceal what this exchange proved which is Kerry admitted he doesn’t have a science degree, even though his degree says 'science.'”
— Twitter, 5:40 AM - Apr 11, 2019
HE NEVER CLAIMED TO HAVE A SCIENCE DEGREE IN CLIMATE CHANGE, YOU DUMBASS!
I tracked down the entire exchange so I could see where Senator Kerry claimed to be a scientist presenting his own findings. What I got was even more stupid...
Yeah... BACK WHEN THE PLANET WAS COVERED IN VOLCANOS AND SHIT, THE C02 LEVELS WERE UNDERSTANDABLY HIGH! BUT THEN THE EARTH BECAME HABITABLE FOR HUMANS AS THE C02 LEVELS FELL!
In all seriousness... what the fuck?!?
Claims to want to get "back to the science of it," but denies actual science. Sounds about right for Congress.
Lucky for me I'll probably be dead before any of this gets catastrophic.
Posted on January 27th, 2019
The Trump Shutdown may be only temporarily suspended, but don't let that get you down... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Vax! =sigh= I was fully vaccinated as a kid, but it's been recommended that I get the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) shot again because of a measles outbreak here in the Pacific Northwest. Since it's highly contagious, I never had it as a kid, I regularly climb into a confined metal tube with lots of people, and I only received one shot (not the series that's now recommended)... it's better safe than sorry I suppose. Fun! Thanks, anti-vax parents, for continuing to bring back diseases with gusto that we thought we had dealt with long ago. Polio, anyone?
• Just Die! And... apparently another idiot missionary is rolling the dice. If forced to choose between the death of a tribe of indigenous persons who are not equipped to handle the germs, disease, and overall bullshit that the outside world brings when it intrudes on their lands... or the death of some piece of shit missionary who KNOWS that it's illegal and KNOWS their actions can cause irreparable harm... I'm going to root for the asshole missionary to die. Hopefully in the most brutal way possible as an example to other assholes who might have similar ideas. Except that didn't seem to work the first time, because you just can't fix stupid. In the meanwhile, these Christian groups calling for the tribe to be arrested can go fuck themselves.
• Other Other! When I first heard that SNL alums Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider had a new series coming to Comedy Central, I was intrigued. Shows that fall out of Saturday Night Live talent are hit or miss, but the ones that hit are usually the most interesting and imaginative stuff to appear on television. And now The Other Two has arrived and it is about the funniest thing I've seen in a while...
Yes, that's Molly Shanon as the mom, and she's as good as you'd expect. And, yes, that's Wanda Sykes in there too (Lord, I wish they would find a starring vehicle for her that's worthy of her talent). It's a raunchy show to be sure, so it's not going to be for everybody... but, if you're intrigued, you can watch the first episode for free over at Comedy Central.
• London! I've wondered about London's airports for a long, long time. At last there are answers...
And... part two...
• Out of Network! Regardless of where you land on the health care debate, this is essential reading. Now more than ever you have to be very careful about what care plan your doctor comes up with for you. It's critical that you know to question everything so as to avoid getting blindsided by outrageous medical costs.
• TransBan! The irony is not lost that President Trump (AKA Cadet Bone Spurs), who dodged the draft with a fake ailment, is in charge of deciding who gets to serve their country now (yes, it was fake... the daughter of the physician who signed off on his foot problem came forward). His desire to strongly curtail (or outright ban) transgender persons from serving was recently upheld by The Supreme Court. To those who understand that a strong military requires talents from all sorts of people, this makes no sense. So what is the president thinking? Not surprisingly, there's a series of tweets to explain it...
“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming ... victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
— President Donald Trump
Huh. Looks like our Commander in Chief doesn't know how the fuck our modern military works. But what does he understand? Let's hear what an actual fucking soldier has to say...
"When I was bleeding to death in my Black Hawk helicopter on that dusty field in Iraq, I didn't care if the American troops risking their lives to help save me were gay, straight, transgender, black, white, male or female. All that mattered was they didn't leave me behind."
— Senator Tammy Duckworth
Oh, and forgive me for completely discounting his fucking bullshit about the "medical costs" being a disruption to our military. It's not like he gives a shit about the millions of taxpayer dollars our military spends shuttling his fat ass to golf courses around the world.
Have a pleasant week, everybody!
Posted on January 20th, 2019
Rejoice and be saved... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Stuck In Your Head! Oh man, I cannot wait for February 8th!
And... it's stuck in my head! So good!
• Judas? Two of my favorite YouTubers are John Crist and Trey Kennedy. Every once in a while they collaborate on a video and the result is darn funny. Like their latest: If Bible Characters Had iPhones...
Here's another one that's entirely too funny...
• Baroque! There's an artist named Christy Lee Rogers who is creating these stunning underwater photos that look like amazing baroque paintings...
The article over at My Modern Met is a must-see.
• NEWS! Conservatives are outraged a gay couple is on the cover of ‘Parents’ magazine
“Mothers and fathers are seeing more and more similar examples of children being indoctrinated to perceive same-sex couples as normal, especially in the media,” an unsigned blog post on One Million Moms’s website says. — Oh dear. My eyes just rolled to the back of my head and are stuck there. I am typing this while blind, so please excuse any spelling mistakes.
If a same-sex couple is what you have for parents... and they love you, care for you, provide for you, and foster your growth into adulthood... THEN YOUR PARENTS ARE FUCKING NORMAL! Likewise, if you have only one parent (for whatever reason) and they are doing their best to provide the same? THAT'S A FUCKING NORMAL FAMILY TOO!
“It could be displayed in waiting rooms of dentist and doctor offices, where children could easily be subjected to the glorification of same-sex parents,” the blog post says. — YES, GOD FORBID YOUR CHILDREN SEE A PHOTO OF A HAPPY FAMILY. THEY MIGHT THINK IT'S OKAY TO NOT BULLY THE KID WHO HAS TWO DADS!
• Dads! AND, YES, IT DOES OCCUR IN NATURE. IT IS ACCORDING TO GOD'S PLAN. AND ALL YOUR ENERGY HATING PEOPLE WOULD BE BETTER SPENT NOT BEING ASSHOLES. WHY NOT TRY BEING ACTUAL CHRISTIANS FOR ONCE?
Penguins are the best!
• Jesus Christ. When you lie, like, ALL THE TIME... it gets hard to keep your lies straight...
I mean, holy shit...
You know it's fucking bad when the Saturday Night Live parodies aren't as funny as our actual government...
This is just exhausting. I am physically and mentally checked out.
And... I'm done. DONE!
Posted on January 15th, 2019
And... I had to cancel all of my March travel because there's no way to plan for a US Government shutdown that has no end date. If this thing is still going through February, I'm guessing I'll have to cancel my travel for April. This is extraordinarily bad. Both for the charity I'm trying to work with and the people who rely on that charity to, you know, continue living and stuff.
Not to mention all the people who are going to have a tough time surviving right here at home. If they have government jobs (or are in industries linked to the government) I'd imagine that money for things like rent and utilities and gas and food is going to be in short supply soon. It's really tough to see people posting their worries online only to be met with helpful comments like "YOU SHOULD HAVE SAVED MONEY IN CASE THIS HAPPENED! ARE YOU STUPID? Well, if they're like so many people, they're not stupid. They're just having to live paycheck to paycheck and don't have an opportunity to save. I paid $46 for two bags of groceries the other day. That'll cover me for about a week. If I didn't already have cat food, that total would have been higher. I can't imagine how much it costs to feed a family of four for a month.
What's difficult for me to figure is the non-stop political blame game that's currently going on. DEMOCRATS WERE FOR A WALL BEFORE THEY WERE AGAINST IT! Well, not really. They were for a "Secure Fence Act"... thirteen years ago... which was attached to a lot of concessions. Needless to say, a lot has fucking happened in thirteen years, so it's not the apples-to-apples comparison it seems. DEMOCRATS ARE WEAK ON BORDER SECURITY! THEY WANT WIDE-OPEN BORDERS! Well, not really. Any Democrat I've heard speak on the subject says that border security is a priority for them... they just want to invest money into something that's actually going to work (and not bankrupt the country over a pathetically inadequate budget projection). THIS IS ALL THE DEMOCRATS' FAULT! Well, not really. According to 2013 Donald J. Trump, weak presidential leadership is at fault for government shutdowns. NO, REALLY, THIS IS ALL ON THE DEMOCRATS! Well, not really. There are Republicans opposed to the stupid-ass wall as well. Enough Republicans that President Trump couldn't get it funded before Democrats took the House earlier this month. If Republicans can't convince Republicans when they are in control of everything, it's the Democrats' fault? Really?
What's even more difficult for me to figure is how people are okay with their very lives being nothing more than bargaining chips over a wall that's not even going to fucking work. I may loathe Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in equal measure, but they've got one thing correct: border security should be debated apart from the livelihood of Americans just trying to get by. But Clownface VonFuckstick doesn't give a shit about people who aren't millionaires, which is all the justification he needs to carry on with his temper tantrum stand-off bullshit. And that's enough for his supporters to taunt, ridicule, and otherwise rip into people wondering how they're going to be able to afford food and shelter if things keep going as they have been.
I'll ponder all that while trying to figure out how I will find space in my calendar to fit the three trips I just canceled. They're going to have to be pushed to Fall where travel dates are already scarce. But since actual lives are at stake, I'll make it work somehow.
Assuming we're not still shut down.
Posted on November 9th, 2018
I wish that I could get through just one day without being filled with rage.
Today I thought I had a good shot at it by promising myself that I would ignore the news and whatever bullshit that President Trump was doing, but that was futile because his level of incoherent crazy was so off the charts that it was everywhere.
As if that wasn't bad enough, work was awful... because I couldn't actually get any work done.
My office iMac, which is around two years old, has been slowing to a crawl for months. Over the last couple of weeks it's happening so often that I had no choice but to try and fix it. I started with doubling the memory from 32GB to 64GB. That helped a little, but the problem seemed to be with the "Fusion Drive" (a hybrid SSD/HD drive). I kept getting a message popping up that it was overheating. I finally decided to replace it, despite the fucking nightmare involved in tearing open an iMac to do so.
And today was the day.
I decided to set up the drive before tearing anything open to install it. This was relatively easy, as I had an external SATA dock that I could pop it into. I downloaded the macOS X Mojave installer, installed it onto the new SSD drive, and 25 minutes later I was booting from it. Nice.
I decided to start fresh by not transferring over my apps and data... just my system settings.
Turns out that was a mistake.
My primary tools at work are Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Lightroom, and Adobe Acrobat. They are all part of Adobe's "Creative Suite" which is managed by their Creative Suite desktop app. You install it, then manage all your app installs from there. Simple, right?
No. Not by a fucking longshot, because this is Adobe we're talking about.
All my apps installed fine, except Acrobat. This happened last time I had to install the thing and was solved after I ran a cleanup app. This time the app didn't work, so I spent FORTY MINUTES trying dozens of "fixes" from the Adobe forums... none of which worked. Keep in mind that this has been a known problem that people have been complaining about for over a year.
AND ADOBE HASN'T DONE A FUCKING THING TO FIX IT! How in the hell can I be expected to not become enraged after wasting this kind of time? AGAIN! And I still don't have a working copy of Acrobat on my work computer, a program I use daily.
Not that Adobe gives a shit... they don't. They bought out and buried the competition until there wasn't any competition, and now they don't have to give a fuck about anything.
I would have stayed until I got things figured out, but it was getting close to 6:00 and the alarm to feed my cats would be going off. They're already freaked out by Daylight Saving Time ending, and I was afraid that not being fed when the alarm sounds would send them over the bend. So I packed up my crap and headed home.
Except I couldn't get home because a train was running through town. It was moving so absurdly slow that it took over ten minutes to pass. And then? The crossing arms would not retract. After waiting another five minutes, I finally abandoned the crossing I was at and drove to a different crossing... screaming "FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!" the entire way home.
When I got home (nearly fifteen minutes after the dinner alarm) my cats were, as expected, going nuts.
So I guess everybody in this house is having a bad day.
The difference being that my cats were happy again after being fed. I'm still filled with rage.
Posted on October 21st, 2018
Another weekend of winterizing, plus cleaning out my garage... but there's still a warm spot in my heart... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...
• BOSTON!!! Congratulations to my beloved Boston Red Sox as they head to The World Series!
And then there's this, which is pretty funny...
SUCK IT, YANKEES! BWAH HA HA HA HA HAAAAA!
• Sears. Five years ago, my local Sears store closed. As I mentioned at the time, Sears was a huge chunk of my childhood, as that's where my first PC was purchased (an Atari 800) and the games and software that I grew up with (viva la Infocom!) all came from there...
I drew this Atari 800 for the cover of Kevin Savetz's terrific book, Terrible Nerd!
So hearing that Sears is now in bankruptcy is met with a note of sadness for me. After all these decades, my local store is still ingrained in my memory. I remember everything about it. I remember exactly where the computer aisle was located. I remember what the display looked like. I remember the sound that the glass door made when it was unlocked to retrieve a box of software. I remember how excited I was when my family made a trip to Sears where I would immediately run to the computers to see what was new. That's how it was all done back in the 80's. The public internet didn't exist... certainly not like it is now. Computer magazines were always outdated the minute they were printed. There was pre-release information here and there, but I never really knew what was real until I saw it at Sears.
And now it's likely the entire chain will be gone forever. It's a tough hit to take, even though the only reason I'd ever shop there (if I even knew where to find one) was maybe for tools. Or appliances. Godspeed, Sears, you will always be in my heart.
• Owls. I've watched this too many times this past week...
Owls are such awesome creatures.
• Security! "Social Security, let’s lay it to rest once in for all... Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit. Social Security is totally funded by the payroll tax levied on employer and employee. If you reduce the outgo of Social Security, that money would not go into the general fund to reduce the deficit. It would go into the Social Security trust fund. So Social Security has nothing to do with balancing the budget or erasing or lowering the deficit."
Once more for the dumbfucks in the back... YOU FUCKING PAID FOR YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE! IT'S TAKEN OUT OF YOUR FUCKING PAYCHECK! So when gaping assholes like Mitch McConnell and other Republican crooks start talking about cutting these programs to cover tax cuts for the rich and out-of-control government spending, THEY ARE STEALING FROM YOU. I honest-to-God do not understand why anybody in their right mind continues to support these pieces of shit when they are openly committed to the destruction of the working middle class. They are for themselves (like all politicians) and their wealthy puppet-masters. And nobody else. So unless you are the 1%, voting for these turds is only cutting your own throat.
• Of Note. We live in hypocritical times...
It's been pretty wild to watch the MAGA crowd go from "Saudi Arabia is an evil regime and Hillary is working with them" to "so what if Saudi Arabia murders a journalist, he had it coming probably, and Saudi Arabia is giving us a lot of money for our weapons"— PeterNorway (@classiclib3ral) October 19, 2018
It’s been quite a day for people who think abortion is murder but insist that an actual murder is okay if the people responsible are spending $100 million on mass murder weapons— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) October 18, 2018
And, just in case there was any doubt whatsoever that Pat Robertson is a steaming pile of shit... here you go...
Excusing evil for lots of money in weapons sales, just like Jesus taught us!
And had it been a Christian journalist... a journalist from TBN... who was hacked apart with a bone saw? He would be calling for President Clownface VonFuckstick to nuke Saudi Arabia. This fucker cannot die fast enough. Not that I am unaware that there are dozens of assholes waiting to take his place, but still...
• Millennium.I liked the original Swedish movie trilogy based on the famous "Millennium Trilogy" of book... I *loved* the US adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It was about as flawless as movies get. Daniel Craig was great... Rooney Mara was unbelievably great... she was Lisbeth Salander. Which is why I was really sad to learn that they would not be reprising their roles for the upcoming The Girl in the Spider's Web. Instead we're getting Claire Foy, which is not a terrible choice... but it's not Rooney Mara...
Fingers crossed. Lisbeth Salander is too good a character to be wasted.
And that's the end of bullets on this fine Sunday morning!
Posted on October 14th, 2018
Spent my weekend getting ready for winter, but it hasn't been all bad... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Jakespreading. My concern for Jake is either growing or easing depending on which minute of the day it is. On one hand, he is peeing regularly. On the other hand, it's too often... sometimes up to three times an hour. On one hand, he is pretty much back to normal. On the other hand, he has been increasingly clingy. Now he's sleeping with me every night. Which mostly looks like this...
He's sleeping next to me, using my leg as a pillow.
For the past two nights, sleeping beside me hasn't been good enough. He wants to sleep on top of me. Which is no biggie when I'm laying on my back but, given my recent back pains, I'm more comfortable on my side. He tries to climb on me but there's not enough room, so he falls off and starts getting upset. I fix the problem by leaning against a pillow. He falls asleep on the pillow (and against me), but is fooled to thinking he's sleeping on me. So it's all good, I suppose. But I think I'm going to start looking into some warm pads that might prove more tempting than a pillow. In the mornings when I come back from taking a shower, I always find him laying on the slats above the heating vent, so I'm guessing he might be in love with a warm place to lay just like his sister...
Tomorrow I'm going to place another call to his doctor so I can ask about the alarming number of times he's peeing... and to ask if I should be concerned that he's grooming his junk more often these past couple days. Call me paranoid, but I'd do just about anything to make sure he doesn't have another extended stay away from home.
• Who? First of all, I love Jodie Whittaker in the new season of Doctor Who. She is sublimely perfect in the role, and everything you could want for The Doctor she projects in spades. Quirky without being silly. Smart without being stuffy. Entertaining without being absurd. She IS Doctor Who...
Which is why my disappointment in her first episode being horribly boring was more upsetting than it usually would be. Things picked up a bit in the second episode that aired tonight (the new TARDIS is pretty great), but it still feels like a bit of a slog to get through. I really, really hope that things start picking up... giving both Whittaker and Doctor Who fans the show we deserve.
• Boca? When I was last at the grocery store, I noted that Boca Burgers have pretty new packaging. What surprised me is that the burgers inside are different. They are darker. And the taste is different. Not necessarily in a bad way... they're just... different. Still tasty...
What I cannot tell is what in the hell they are replacing. Used to be there was "Original Vegan" and "All-American Flame Grilled"... these are "Original All American," which I can only guess is taking the place of both? They ain't vegan (contains cheese like the All-American Flame Grilled) so maybe they are discontinuing those? Confusing.
• The Vote. LOLOLOL! Maria Cantwell just released a commercial saying that "drug companies are too powerful and prescription drugs cost too much money." Guess the blowback she got after accepting $75,000 from Big Pharma then voting against cheaper drug re-importation has her worried? Typical piece of shit politician... says whatever she feels she has to at the moment in order to get elected, and then she'll jettison it when she decides to suck Big Pharma dick for cash again. We get the politicians we settle for. We get what we deserve. Not that we're given much choice. My Washington State Voter's Pamphlet just arrived and there's only one candidate I actually want to vote for. The rest are just votes against Trump-enabling Republicans.
• Asshole. Vice President Pence would do best to just shut the hell up on all matters pertaining to anything because, odds are, his boss has tweeted something totally fucked up on the topic, which makes Pence come off as a hypocritical asshole. Like this...
Why the hell Pence pretends to give a shit about journalists when it's been made very clear that Trump's administration condemns journalists as an "enemy of the people" is beyond me. Disgusting and pathetic. Like most everything to do with President Trump.
• Groupon! Congratulations to Hasan Minhaj on becoming a father...
I can't wait for his show, Patriot Act, to debut on Netflix come October 28th! And, needless to say, if you have Netflix and haven't seen his incredible standup show, Homecoming King, you should do that immediately.
Annnnd... scene. See you next Sunday.
Posted on September 19th, 2018
Posted on July 16th, 2018
I missed half of this crap. It's just so unreal.
Which is saying something given the nature of our current reality...
Didn't know that Ireland wasn't a part of the UK?!? It just keeps getting worse and worse and worse.
Within the span of a 45 minute press conference! This is a perfect snapshot of the bigger picture and how there' no bottom to hit when it comes to our president.
Posted on July 14th, 2018
We're on fire again and smoke fills the air... but don't despair, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...
• M-S-G Can You Dig It? Absolutely fascinating...
I don't eat Chinese food hardly at all (it's not very good here, and choices for vegetarians are severely limited)... and yet I've heard the MSG myth forever.
• Monkey Business! In case everybody doesn't know... I put the first volume of Bad Monkey Comix up to read online for free. You can take a look by clicking on this image...
Or you can just click this link!
• New MacBooks! Apple's new "Pro" MacBooks once again lacking the ports that "pros" need to actually FUNCTION in their fucking JOBS. Such a crock of shit. DONGLES! DONGLES EVERYWHERE!!!
I thought that Apple was supposed to be working with pros to find out what they want in "pro" products? I don't think that's true. Otherwise they wouldn't be sticking with a shallow, shitty keyboard and no standard USB ports. At least you get more than one port now. Still no MagSafe, which sucks.
• Science Fact! Tom Bailey's new album, Science Fiction, is here! If you pre-ordered, it has probably arrived (my autographed copy of the deluxe set did!) but you can also listen to it on the usual streaming services. I'm saving my review for another entry, but here's a sneak preview: love it.
• Be You! Oh noes. Roll up on a woman, call her a slut because of what she is wearing, then think that you can then proceed to slut-shame her into submission? Not. This. Woman. Not today. My guess is not any day...
What absolutely kills me about this is how we rave about "American freedom"... but never seem to back that up. Whether it's telling a Muslim woman she's wearing too much... or telling this woman she's wearing too little... everybody is just DYING to tell OTHER PEOPLE HOW TO LIVE THEIR LIVES. Well fuck that. Live your truth. Be who you are. Defy those who would oppress YOUR FREEDOM by defining what it means for you to be free. So long as you're not endangering others, be free to be you.
• Incompetence. I have been trying very hard to keep politics off of Blogography because I don't want it degrading into a comedy of horrors that makes me want to slit my wrists every time I visit my own blog. But things are so bad right now. So bad. And people don't even seem to realize what's happening. The Trump Administration trade fiasco is probably going to damage this country more than anything so far. Companies are already laying off scores of workers because the reciprocal tariffs are making it impossible for them to operate. It's horrendous, and it's just the beginning. From Professor David Honig...
I’m going to get a little wonky and write about Donald Trump and negotiations. For those who don't know, I'm an adjunct professor at Indiana University - Robert H. McKinney School of Law and I teach negotiations. Okay, here goes.
Trump, as most of us know, is the credited author of The Art of the Deal, a book that was actually ghost written by a man named Tony Schwartz, who was given access to Trump and wrote based upon his observations. If you've read The Art of the Deal, or if you've followed Trump lately, you'll know, even if you didn't know the label, that he sees all dealmaking as what we call "distributive bargaining."
Distributive bargaining always has a winner and a loser. It happens when there is a fixed quantity of something and two sides are fighting over how it gets distributed. Think of it as a pie and you're fighting over who gets how many pieces. In Trump's world, the bargaining was for a building, or for construction work, or subcontractors. He perceives a successful bargain as one in which there is a winner and a loser, so if he pays less than the seller wants, he wins. The more he saves the more he wins.
The other type of bargaining is called integrative bargaining. In integrative bargaining the two sides don't have a complete conflict of interest, and it is possible to reach mutually beneficial agreements. Think of it, not a single pie to be divided by two hungry people, but as a baker and a caterer negotiating over how many pies will be baked at what prices, and the nature of their ongoing relationship after this one gig is over.
The problem with Trump is that he sees only distributive bargaining in an international world that requires integrative bargaining. He can raise tariffs, but so can other countries. He can't demand they not respond. There is no defined end to the negotiation and there is no simple winner and loser. There are always more pies to be baked. Further, negotiations aren't binary. China's choices aren't (a) buy soybeans from US farmers, or (b) don't buy soybeans. They can also (c) buy soybeans from Russia, or Argentina, or Brazil, or Canada, etc. That completely strips the distributive bargainer of his power to win or lose, to control the negotiation.
One of the risks of distributive bargaining is bad will. In a one-time distributive bargain, e.g. negotiating with the cabinet maker in your casino about whether you're going to pay his whole bill or demand a discount, you don't have to worry about your ongoing credibility or the next deal. If you do that to the cabinet maker, you can bet he won't agree to do the cabinets in your next casino, and you're going to have to find another cabinet maker.
There isn't another Canada.
So when you approach international negotiation, in a world as complex as ours, with integrated economies and multiple buyers and sellers, you simply must approach them through integrative bargaining. If you attempt distributive bargaining, success is impossible. And we see that already.
Trump has raised tariffs on China. China responded, in addition to raising tariffs on US goods, by dropping all its soybean orders from the US and buying them from Russia. The effect is not only to cause tremendous harm to US farmers, but also to increase Russian revenue, making Russia less susceptible to sanctions and boycotts, increasing its economic and political power in the world, and reducing ours. Trump saw steel and aluminum and thought it would be an easy win, BECAUSE HE SAW ONLY STEEL AND ALUMINUM - HE SEES EVERY NEGOTIATION AS DISTRIBUTIVE. China saw it as integrative, and integrated Russia and its soybean purchase orders into a far more complex negotiation ecosystem.
Trump has the same weakness politically. For every winner there must be a loser. And that's just not how politics works, not over the long run.
For people who study negotiations, this is incredibly basic stuff, negotiations 101, definitions you learn before you even start talking about styles and tactics. And here's another huge problem for us.
Trump is utterly convinced that his experience in a closely held real estate company has prepared him to run a nation, and therefore he rejects the advice of people who spent entire careers studying the nuances of international negotiations and diplomacy. But the leaders on the other side of the table have not eschewed expertise, they have embraced it. And that means they look at Trump and, given his very limited tool chest and his blindly distributive understanding of negotiation, they know exactly what he is going to do and exactly how to respond to it.
From a professional negotiation point of view, Trump isn't even bringing checkers to a chess match. He's bringing a quarter that he insists of flipping for heads or tails, while everybody else is studying the chess board to decide whether its better to open with Najdorf or Grünfeld.
— David Honig
This level of incompetence when it comes to trade is going to completely and totally fuck us. And make no mistake that we, as a country, are fucked. And this is just trade. We are equally fucked in many other areas. Which leads me to believe that President Trump thinks that the era where America was "great" is The Great Depression.
And don't think that just getting a new president in two years is going to fix the problem. The things that have been screwed up may very well take decades to correct. If they are correctable at all.
• Czech! Came home to see Stripes was on this past week. It was at the part where their unit has accidentally crossed the border into Czechoslovakia and so, naturally, they're all going to die. Amazing how international relations have changed within my lifetime. I've been to Czechoslovakia... and China... and Romania... and other countries it was assumed I would never be able to step foot in back in the day...
Of course... thanks to the ineptness of the Trump Administration, we may very well be going back to those times, so I guess I'm happy to have enjoyed it while it lasted. Pretty soon the only place that Americans may be able to travel is Russia and North Korea.
• Which Brings Us To... So... under President Obama we were the laughing stock of the world you say? What about now, you feckless ridiculous ignorant fuck?
The absurdity of where we are as a country keeps hitting new lows.
And, I think that's enough bullets for a smoke-filled Sunday. See you next week!