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Another Way to Make Mexico Pay for the Wall?

I saw a news item about border security seizing $500K worth of marijuana at the border. The agent being interviewed said this was not unusual.

What do they do with all of that seized marijuana? I assume they destroy it after taking home whatever they can fit in their pockets. (I kid the border patrol.)

But let’s think creatively for a minute. California’s cannabis dispensaries would happily purchase that weed and sell it to consumers. Why not sell it to state-legal dispensaries and use the proceeds to help pay for the wall?

This plan would require changes in federal law. But that’s doable. Or at least it would be, if we had a functioning Congress.

I don’t expect this to happen because Congress is not effective. They’ll let that low-hanging fruit rot.

Add that to your reasons for despising them. They earned it.

You might enjoy reading my book because of events.

I’m also on…

Twitter (includes Periscope): @scottadamssays​

YouTube: At this link.

Instagram: ScottAdams925

Facebook Official Page: fb.me/ScottAdamsOfficial

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Can a Nation Attack a Company?

North Korea keeps testing missiles that can reach the United States. China could turn off trade with North Korea, and effectively force them to stop, but that isn’t happening. Why the hell not?

A story in Newsweek says the bulk of Chinese trade with North Korea involves just ten Chinese companies. The working assumption is that those ten companies are so “connected” and powerful that even the Chinese government can’t influence them, or might not want to try.

Fair enough. That makes the government of China common observers in this drama. Embarrassing for them.

But those ten companies are certainly our enemies. I’d say those ten companies are fair game for a cyberattack, a financial attack, competitive attack, and any other kind of non-military attack we can mount. My understanding is that only our government knows which ten companies are involved. If we aren’t moving against them, I don’t understand why. The Chinese government would try to stop us, but I’m betting they wouldn’t try that hard, if you catch my drift. 

By the way, how do we know ten companies are the villains in this story? Sounds like the sort of thing a clever president would leak to the press to foreshadow what might be happening behind the scenes. I’d hate to be an owner of any of those ten companies.

Keep in mind that none of us has the required knowledge to distinguish a good idea from a bad one in this realm. I offer this sort of blog post to diversify the pool of ideas. That in itself can often be good.

You might enjoy reading my book because I published two blog posts for you today and reciprocity is hardwired in humans.

I’m also on…

Twitter (includes Periscope): @scottadamssays​

YouTube: At this link.

Instagram: ScottAdams925

Facebook Official Page: fb.me/ScottAdamsOfficial

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The Turn to “Effective, but we don’t like it.”

Prior to President Trump’s inauguration, I predicted a coming story arc in three acts. Act one involved mass protests in the streets because Hillary Clinton’s campaign had successfully branded Trump as the next Hitler. Sure enough, we saw mass protests by anti-Trumpers who legitimately and honestly believed the country had just elected the next Hitler. I predicted that the Hitler phase would evaporate by summer for lack of supporting evidence. That happened.

I also predicted the anti-Trumpers would modify their attack from “Hitler” to “incompetent,” and that phase would last the summer. That happened too. The president’s critics called him incompetent and said the White House was in “chaos.” There were plenty of leaks, fake news, and even true stories to support that narrative, as I expected. Every anti-Trump news outlet, and even some that supported him started using “chaos” to describe the situation.

Now comes the fun part.

I predicted that the end of this three-part story would involve President Trump’s critics complaining that indeed he was “effective, but we don’t like it.” Or words to that effect. I based that prediction on the assumption he would get some big wins by the end of the year and it would no longer make sense to question his effectiveness, only his policy choices.

How does the anti-Trump media gracefully pivot from “chaos and incompetence” to a story of “effective, but we don’t like it”? They need an external event to justify the turn. They need a visible sign of the White House moving from rookie status to professional status.

They need General John Kelly to replace Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff.

Done.

Watch in awe as the anti-Trump coverage grudgingly admits things are starting to look more professional and “disciplined” at the White House. And as the president’s accomplishments start to mount up, you will see his critics’ grudging acceptance of his effectiveness, but not his policy choices. We’re entering that phase now with the help of a new Chief of Staff that even the mainstream media can’t hate. Generals command respect from both sides of the government because they have fought for both sides. No one forgets that.

Expect to see lots of stories about General Kelly bringing efficiency and effectiveness to the White House. Reporters and pundits don’t want to criticize a four-star general who fought for them. At best, expect the anti-Trumpers to say the Chief of Staff is calling the shots, not the President. That’s the predictable fake news attack. But I don’t think it will stick through the end of the year.

By year-end, expect “Effective, but we don’t like it.”

Now for some related fun. I have often said Trump supporters and anti-Trumpers are in the same movie theater but watching different movies on the same screen. You’ve seen lots of evidence of that, but I’m going to give you an experiment you can try at home. It might blow your mind.

1. Identify your most lefty, Trump-hating friend or family member.

2. Share this link of President Trump’s accomplishments while you are in the same room so you can watch them read it.

3. Watch as your lefty friend turns “cognitively blind” to the list of accomplishments as if it is not really there. Your subject will KNOW President has accomplished nothing, and all of his or her friends know it, and the television channels they watch know it. So how-the-hell could there be in existence an extensive list of legitimate accomplishments that make perfect sense and can easily be verified?

The only way that list of accomplishments can exist in your anti-Trumper’s world is if the anti-Trumper has been in a hallucination for months, duped by the media and everyone they love. The existence of the list of accomplishments will form a crack in their reality. It simply can’t exist. That’s the trigger for cognitive blindness. The list will simply be “invisible,” but not in the literal sense, only the mental sense. If you check back in two days, your anti-Trumper will claim once again no such list exists. Watch their eyes when they say it. It will be freaky.

Some anti-Trumpers will pick any one or two items from the list, argue that they are not good for the country, and use it as an excuse to see the rest of the list as nonsense. Some will simply tell you Trump has shepherded no “major legislation” through Congress, which is true. It is also true that he intentionally waited for Congress (and Obamacare) to fail hard before he got serious. The harder they fail, and the more dire the situation, the more power the president will have to push creative solutions on a weakened Congress. Keep in mind that President Trump is a predator when it comes to deal-making. He would have been an idiot to enter the fight hard and early when Congress was at full credibility and strength. That gets you nothing but a committee-made crap-law that may or may not have your name on it. By waiting, he accumulates leverage and widens his options. That’s how I would have played it. I would wait for the lobbyists, Congress, and my critics to punch themselves out before I involved the public and put together a plan to shove down Congress’ useless throats with the help of social media. 

I think the President would have been modestly happy with some kind of “skinny” win on healthcare. It would have been good for momentum. But he’ll be much happier with a real health care solution that takes advantage of innovation. (Our constipated Congress ignored innovative solutions, as far as I can tell.)

Frankly, I don’t know how much the world really needs tax reform or infrastructure spending. The stock market doesn’t seem to move on the news of either thing becoming more or less likely as we go. My prediction is that President Trump’s reelection chances (should he run again) will depend mostly on what happens with health care. If President Trump gets that right, on top of the things already going well, Mt. Rushmore could get crowded.

You might enjoy reading my book because you might want to have some accomplishments of your own.

I’m also on…

Twitter (includes Periscope): @scottadamssays​

YouTube: At this link.

Instagram: ScottAdams925

Facebook Official Page: fb.me/ScottAdamsOfficial

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Health Care is a System, Not a Goal

Last night, Senator McCain cast the deciding vote to kill the “skinny” version of a proposed health care bill. Notice how he explains it as a failure of process, not a problem with the bill itself:

“I’ve stated time and time again that one of the major failures of Obamacare was that it was rammed through Congress by Democrats on a strict-party line basis without a single Republican vote. We should not make the mistakes of the past that has led to Obamacare’s collapse, including in my home state of Arizona where premiums are skyrocketing and health care providers are fleeing the marketplace. We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of aisle, heed the recommendations of nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people. We must do the hard work our citizens expect of us and deserve.”

Love him or hate him, McCain did what heroes do. He took a bullet to prevent Congress from ignoring the wishes of half the country. Now we have a chance to do it right. Let in some new voices. Consider some new options. Make it a team effort.

My optimism for a good health care outcome just hit its peak. Had they passed a bill, it would have limited their options for improvement to the stale ideas we’ve already heard. Now, for the first time, the public and perhaps Democrats can contribute some ideas and broaden the options.

Today is a very good day disguised as a bad one. If you think in terms of goals, Congress failed to pass a bill last night. But if you think in terms of systems, our options for solving health care just went from limited to plenty. We’re in the best position yet.

Did you wonder why President Trump seemed somewhat hands-off on health care? I think it’s because his strongest play as a negotiator involved waiting until Congress utterly and completely failed. That almost didn’t happen last night. It took a war hero to finish the job. 

Now it’s our turn to come up with better ideas, or to support better ideas wherever we see them. And if we are smart, we will insist on testing some ideas in limited ways, such as Special Health Care Zones in some states, and that sort of thing.

And we should be focused on innovation and technology to lower health care costs. There isn’t any other path forward.

You might enjoy reading my book because it is all about how systems are better than goals.

I’m also on…

Twitter (includes Periscope): @scottadamssays​

YouTube: At this link.

Instagram: ScottAdams925

Facebook Official Page: fb.me/ScottAdamsOfficial

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How “Confident” are Intelligence Agencies that Russia Interfered with the Election?

Remember when all seventeen intelligence agencies agreed that Russia interfered with our elections?

Turns out it was only four.

Do you know how you get four agencies to agree on something of this nature? It’s easy. One publishes an opinion and the other three loyal agencies assume it is credible, so they support it. Do they all do independent investigations?

i kinda doubt it.

Based on my experience on this planet, probably one intelligence agency out of seventeen investigated and told the others they did a great job of it. Still, you can’t ignore even one intelligence agency that did an investigation and is totally positive Russian interfered with the election. That’s still credible information.

Wait, did I say “totally positive”? Here’s a quote from CIA Director Mike Pompeo from this past week: “I am confident that the Russians meddled in this election, as is the entire intelligence community.“ 

Is confident the same as totally positive? And are “the Russians” the same as Putin?

Personally, I use the word “confident” when I’m not 100% sure, but I think the evidence all points one way. Coincidentally, that is exactly what confirmation bias looks like too – all the signs point in the same direction. They just happen to be false signs. And it seems to me that a good non-Russian hacker could make a hack look like it came from anywhere.

A related thought is that real Russian government hackers wouldn’t have gotten caught. But that might underestimate our capacity to track this sort of thing.

But wait, if we can track this sort of thing and know who did it, using our secret methods, doesn’t that mean we are 100% positive? That’s different than being confident.

A few months ago, seventeen intelligence agencies knew for sure that the Russian government interfered in the election. Today, I’m guessing just one of them looked at the information in any detail. And we don’t know how well they can identify this sort of thing. They won’t tell us. For good reasons.

The intel agencies (or agency) didn’t convince the President of the United States that Russia interfered with the election, and the president would have access to all of the secret spy methods to convince himself they really know what they know. 

It is entirely possible that our intelligence agencies know Russia interfered with our elections. But they packaged it exactly like a bunch of lying weasels who are simply hoping they are right. I hope that’s just bad brand management and nothing worse.

Facebook Official Page: fb.me/ScottAdamsOfficial

You might enjoy reading my book because Russia.

I’m also on…

Twitter (includes Periscope): @scottadamssays​

YouTube: At this link.

Instagram: ScottAdams925

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I’m Not Your Pope (But Thanks for Asking)

A funny thing happened after my conversation with Sam Harris on the topic of President Trump. An avalanche of anti-Trumpers descended on my Twitter account and insisted I become their moral leader – sort of like their Pope. I have not accepted the job, but I can see the need.

Let me give you some context.

Sam Harris’ view on President Trump is that our new leader is a lying, unscrupulous, unethical con man. My view on President Trump is that he’s a skilled persuader who has offered to use his talents on behalf of the country. I have been silent on the ethics and morality questions because I trust people to make those decisions on their own. Personally, I would lie to a terrorist to save your child’s life. Some people would consider that immoral because lying is bad. I say every situation is unique, and we all have to make our own moral/ethical decisions as we go.

To me, that all seemed clear enough. I completely understand Sam’s criticisms of President Trump’s use of hyperbole and his casual relationship with the facts on the stuff that generally doesn’t matter. (As I like to say, President Trump is consistently “directionally accurate” even when he is playing loose with the facts. Persuasion looks exactly like that.

Anyway, my critics – who are also President Trump’s critics it seems – called out to me on Twitter to clarify the ethical and moral dimensions of this presidency. I didn’t think my opinion on that topic was useful because no one gets their ethical guidance from cartoonists. I figured people could work out the morality questions on their own. But I was wrong. The anti-Trumpers need a Pope. And apparently they want it to be me. I didn’t see this coming.

I will consider the job over the weekend and let them know my decision. If you see white smoke coming from the man-cave in my garage, it means I have accepted the position. 

You might enjoy reading my book because I’m sort of like a Pope to my critics. But without the cool hat. (Not saying I won’t get one.)

I’m also on…

Twitter (includes Periscope): @scottadamssays​

YouTube: At this link.

Instagram: ScottAdams925

Facebook Official Page: fb.me/ScottAdamsOfficial

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Dilbert Blog Moving to WordPress

We are making updates to the Dilbert blog (moving to the WordPress platform) that will result in an error message for many (example here).To minimize those affected, the site will be down starting Tuesday the 25th around midnight ET and be back online …

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Listen to My Conversation with Sam Harris — About President Trump

By popular demand, I had a two-hour conversation with Sam Harris (a prominent Trump critic) about our different “filters” on our new president. You can listen to it here.

The Haters of Imaginary Events are out in force already. They imagine I said objectionable things during my conversation with Sam and they tweet about their hallucinations in anger. So far, no one has accurately stated my opinion before criticizing it. That’s a tell for cognitive dissonance. I’ll be making those monkeys dance today on my Twitter feed here.

You might enjoy reading my book because monkeys are awesome.

I’m also on…

Twitter (includes Periscope): @scottadamssays​

YouTube: At this link.

Instagram: ScottAdams925

Facebook Official Page: fb.me/ScottAdamsOfficial

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I Tell You How Citizens Can Fix Health Care (Now that Congress Failed)

Congress just proved something that we all suspected: They are the wrong tool for fixing health care. The topic is too complicated, the politics are too corrosive, and the money interests are too strong. That’s why citizens will step in and fill the gap with their own proposals. I expect to see a number of citizen-created health care proposals emerge soon. To that end, I thought I would get the ball rolling by framing the problem in this short 4-minute video. This is how any large business would approach the problem of spiraling healthcare costs. Here is the graphic from the video clip:

The advantage American citizens have in 2017, that we never had before, is a populist president who can sell the bejeezus out of a health care plan if someone could come up with one that makes sense. But for that to happen, Congress first had to do a hard faceplant in the asphalt, to show the country they are not the right tool for the job. That phase is complete. Time for the next phase.

You might enjoy reading my book because Congress is broken.

I’m also on…

Twitter (includes Periscope): @scottadamssays​

YouTube: At this link.

Instagram: ScottAdams925

Facebook Official Page: fb.me/ScottAdamsOfficial

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People Who Can’t Recognize Humor (literally)

One of the most mind-boggling discoveries I made while becoming a professional humorist is that a large segment of the general public has no sense of humor. I mean that literally, in the same way that some people can’t tell the difference between good wine and bad, and some people are tone deaf. Humor appreciation is like every other human capacity. Some have it, some don’t.

My best estimate is that about a third of the public don’t possess the capacity to even recognize humor when they see it. But they pretend they do, for social reasons, the same way I used to pretend I liked expensive wine. The reality is that I couldn’t distinguish an ordinary wine from a great one. Both gave me the same type of headache. (I no longer drink alcohol. I see it as poison.)

I don’t mean this post to sound judgy. We all have different skills and different capacities for enjoying different things. I appreciate humor but I don’t get any joy whatsoever from drinking wine, and I don’t have much appreciation for music either. So let us not feel superior for having one type of appreciation that others do not. None of us have the full stack.

In support of my hypothesis that one-third of the public do not even recognize humor when they see it, I give you this satirical video as Exhibit A. On Twitter, lots of folks believed this was serious. Including the part where she mentions Morse Code via blinking. 

I made a similarly satirical video yesterday that generated a lot of hate-tweets from Trump supporters who didn’t realize I was joking. To be fair, my video ended with technical difficulties before I could clarify to the audience that I was presenting satire. That made it worse. But the people who are not humor-challenged knew it was a joke from the title alone. See if you can tell I was joking. My video is here.

You might enjoy reading my book because of all the ways you will appreciate it.

I’m also on…

Twitter (includes Periscope): @scottadamssays​

YouTube: At this link.

Instagram: ScottAdams925

Facebook Official Page: fb.me/ScottAdamsOfficial

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North Korea is an Information Problem Disguised as a Military Problem

In the year 2017, most of our national problems are information problems. And by that I mean having the right information would allow us to solve most problems.

Consider the nuclear threat from North Korea. That’s an information problem disguised as a military problem. 

I hope that statement seems wrong to you, so you will be extra-impressed when I change your mind in the next hundred seconds.

If the U.S. government tries to strongarm China to control North Korea’s nuclear program, that might cause more problems than it solves. No one likes a government-to-government confrontation of that type. China would have to push back. It could get ugly fast.

But imagine what would happen if American consumers knew which American companies were doing the most business with China. 

And imagine American consumers understanding that China can turn off the economy of North Korea, like a switch, any time it wants, thus controlling North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

Now connect the dots.

If you treat the North Korean nuclear threat as a military problem, it becomes one. If you treat it as an information problem, with an economic variable, it becomes that instead.

I’m in favor of my government trying to negotiate an agreement with China, Russia, and North Korea. But if our leaders can’t get it done, I ask the government to get out of the way. Citizens can take care of this one directly.

All we need is some information.

I think that took me less than a hundred seconds. 

You might enjoy reading my book while enjoying a delicious beverage because it is hot outside.

I’m also on…

Twitter (includes Periscope): @scottadamssays​

YouTube: At this link.

Instagram: ScottAdams925

Facebook Official Page: fb.me/ScottAdamsOfficial

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