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U.S. and Russian Relationship at a Low?

Everyone is saying the relationship between the United States and Russia is really, really bad right now. President Trump says it is bad. Russia agrees. All the pundits agree too.

So it must be true, right?

In the 2nd dimension – where things are just the way they look – it does seem that the U.S. and Russia are in a bad place with each other. The United States attacked Russia’s little buddy, Assad, for allegedly using chemical weapons. But Russia says Assad didn’t use chemical weapons. Now Russia is mad at the United States. 

Maybe the situation is exactly what I just described.

But just for fun, let’s hop up to the 3rd dimension (of persuasion) and see what the view looks like.

Hopping up now. Looking around…

Okay, it looks different from here. In the 3rd dimension, the smartest thing for both Trump and Putin to say right now is that relations between Russia and the U.S. are terrible… while not thinking it is true in any practical sense.

For Trump, pretending to have bad relations with Russia solves for his “Puppet of Putin” problem while giving him room to improve. He’s setting the bar as low as the bar will go. And he gets a free pass on Russian relations right now because public opinion in the United States is supportive of the Syrian strike. Later, when relations with Russia improve, it will look like progress. Trump wins now, and he wins later too.

Luckily for President Trump, Putin also has an incentive to pretend that relations with the United States are strained. He needs to put up a strong front because of all the usual reasons countries act tough. Given the circumstances, I’d say Russia is acting restrained.

The United States and Russia are what I call “natural allies.” We have some common problems to solve (notably ISIS), and no natural problems with each other, such as claims to the same territory, or a long history of shooting wars against each other. And both countries are super-pragmatic. 

The smartest play right now for both Trump and Putin (two Master Persuaders) is to claim relations between their countries are in the basement and can’t get much worse. That quiets the haters without creating any real risk of a trade war or a shooting war. Everyone gets what they need in this situation. And when relations improve – which they will – everyone gets to take credit for it.

I wish all of our national problems were as harmless as this one.

Update: At about the same time I posted this blog, the President tweeted:

Things will work out fine between the U.S.A. and Russia. At the right time everyone will come to their senses & there will be lasting peace!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 13, 2017

You might enjoy reading my book because of Russian influence.

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The North Korea Reframe

Prior U.S. presidents framed the North Korean nuclear program as a problem between the United States and North Korea, with China as an unhelpful third party with its own interests. That framing was weak and useless. North Korea did whatever it wanted to do.

President Trump recently changed the frame. Now it’s not so much a problem between the United States and North Korea as it is a branding battle between China and the U.S., with North Korea being the less-important part of the equation. President Trump has said clearly and repeatedly that if China doesn’t fix the problem in its own backyard, the USA will step in to do what China couldn’t get done.

See the power in that framing? China doesn’t want a weak “brand.” 

With the new framing, we already see China talking tougher about North Korea. They stopped buying North Korean coal, which is something they said they would do before Inauguration Day. But by then, Trump had already reframed the situation the way I described. And he was weeks from being Commander-in-Chief when he did it.

The only thing lacking in Trump’s reframing was a credible threat that he would launch a decapitation strike against North Korea. That problem was solved over chocolate cake at Mar Lago when the visiting President of China, Xi, observed Trump give the order to send 59 Tomahawk missiles into a sovereign country that had pissed him off just a few days earlier.

Then Trump ordered an “armada” of American warships to the vicinity of North Korea just to remind Xi that we have options.

Trump also suggested that our trade negotiations with China will go a lot better if North Korea is no longer a problem. Trump didn’t go so far as to suggest adding a “North Korea tax” to Chinese imports, to pay for our military presence in South Korea, but I like to think it is an option.

This is the sort of thing I was hoping to see when the Master Persuader took office. His reframing on North Korea is pitch-perfect. We’ve never seen anything like this.

Some of you will be tempted to argue that nothing has really changed. But I think the face-to-face meeting between Xi and Trump, and the movement of North Korea to a branding competition between superpowers is a big, big deal. It would be hard, if not politically impossible, for Xi to go easy on North Korea from this point on.

In related news…

This has been a good week for President Trump. So far, we have seen:

1. Sean Spicer (accidentally?) caused the opposition media to argue that Hitler analogies are ridiculous. 

2. The Syrian attack established Trump as a measured and decisive leader. His popularity will rise. Even many of his critics supported the attack.

3. Trump solved for the “puppet of Putin” allegation by attacking its client state, Syria.

4. Trump’s Supreme Court nominee succeeded, albeit the hard way.

5. The healthcare issue is moving forward after the initial trial-balloon that was more of a negotiating step than a real proposal.

6. Tax reform is now on hold for healthcare reform, but no one thinks that is a bad way to go. The savings on healthcare are part of any budget and tax plan.

7. Relations with China look good. Trump and Xi had good chemistry.

8. China is putting the pressure on North Korea like never before.

9. The economy is good, and optimism is high, in part thanks to Trump. (Mostly the optimism part.)

10. Iran is probably a bit more flexible this week after watching the Syrian attack.

11. News coverage had already mostly evolved from “Trump is Hitler”  to “Trump is incompetent.” The Syrian attack and the North Korean situation moved Trump to “Effective, but some of us don’t like what he is doing” I wasn’t expecting that to happen before the end of the year.

You can tell me other presidents have had better starts. But I doubt that is the case. Keep in mind that Trump started in the deepest hole of any president, ever. He’s already halfway out of the hole and establishing himself as a strong leader on international issues.

You might enjoy reading my book because reading books is something you enjoy.

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Trusting Your Government in a Time of War

President Trump’s critics and supporters agree on one thing: Our new president has a history of “stretching” the truth whenever there is some advantage in doing so, and sometimes even when there is not. You might say he is famous for playing loose with the facts. We all expect a high degree of “hyperbole” from President Trump, to put it kindly. He gets away with it because barely-enough Americans believe his intentions are in line with America’s best interests.

The odd exception to our universal understanding of President Trump’s mode of operation is his claim that he is totally certain Assad was responsible for the chemical attack on his own people last week. The President’s critics and most of his supporters believe President Trump when he suggests that our military can track any plane in Syria and know what that plane did to whom.

Do you believe that?

I have it on good authority that the United States can track and identify aircraft in Syria. But does that mean we are watching (or recording) every plane at every minute, and we also know what ordinance they dropped?

Do you believe, for example, that our military can identify Syrian jets doing a normal bombing run at the same time as a hobby-sized ISIS drone drops some sarin gas in the blast zone? Can our satellites see that?

Or suppose rebels lobbed an artillery shell with sarin into a village that was being bombed at the same time. Would our satellites and drones and AWACS pick up the incoming round?

Maybe.

But my experience of life is that literally nothing works that well.

Or to put it another way, if we could do shit like that, the war would be over in a week. We’d know who every player on the ground was, and what they were doing, at all times. Heck, if we can detect a hobby-sized drone with a gas canister strapped to its belly from outer space, we don’t need boots-on-the-ground to beat ISIS. We can kill everyone who needs killing from the sky.

Generally speaking, the information you get from a war zone is fiction. You wouldn’t want it any other way. The Commander-in-Chief has to simultaneously manage public opinion and a military conflict. In the context of war, misinformation can be a useful tool. History would give a free pass to any president who misled the public in the interest of national security. 

My view is that the public will never know for sure who was behind the Syrian gas attack. But I also think it doesn’t matter because most of the world believes Assad was behind it. And that created options for Trump to get an advantage in Syria while simultaneously “negotiating” with China, North Korea, Russia, Congress, the American public, world opinion, Iran, Israel, and anyone else who is watching.

Some critics have pointed out that launching 59 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles is expensive. But it is starting to look like a good investment, at least so far. That could change, of course.

It is entirely possible that Assad launched the gas attacks to test for a U.S. reaction. Perhaps our military does have 100% certainty about the source of the attack. All I’m saying is that war-related claims have no credibility by their very nature. And in this specific case, the truth is irrelevant. What matters is that the allegation of Assad’s guilt opened new strategic options at a reasonable cost, and President Trump jumped on them.

That’s all we know for sure.


You might enjoy reading my book because a hobby-sized drone could lift it.

I’m also on…

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The Syrian Air Base Attack

As I blogged yesterday, the claim that Assad ordered a chemical attack on his own people in the past week doesn’t pass my sniff test. For Assad to order a gas attack now – while his side is finally winning – he would have to be willing to risk his life and his regime for no real military advantage. I’m not buying that.

But let’s say the world believes Assad or a rogue general under his command gassed his own people. What’s an American President to do? If Trump does nothing, he appears weak, and it invites mischief from other countries. But if he launches 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian military air base base within a few days, which he did, the U.S. gets several benefits at low cost:

1. President Trump just solved for the allegation that he is Putin’s puppet. He doesn’t look like Putin’s puppet today. And that was Trump’s biggest problem, which made it America’s problem too. No one wants a president who is under a cloud of suspicion about Russian influence.

2. President Trump solved (partly) for the allegation that he is incompetent. You can hate this military action, but even Trump’s critics will call it measured and rational. Like it or not, President Trump’s credibility is likely to rise because of this, if not his popularity. Successful military action does that for presidents.

3. President Trump just set the table for his conversations with China about North Korea. Does China doubt Trump will take care of the problem in China’s own backyard if they don’t take care of it themselves? That negotiation just got easier.

4. Iran might be feeling a bit more flexible when it’s time to talk about their nuclear program.

5. Trump’s plan of a Syrian Safe Zone requires dominating the Syrian Air Force for security. That just got easier.

6. After ISIS is sufficiently beaten-back, the Syrian government will need to negotiate with the remaining entities in Syria to form a lasting peace of some sort that keeps would-be refugees in place. Syria’s government just got more flexible. It probably wants to keep the rest of its military.

7. Israel is safer whenever an adversary’s air power is degraded. 

On the risk side of the equation, we have the possibility of getting into war with Russia. I’d put those odds at roughly zero in this case because obviously the U.S. warned Russia about the attack. That means we knew their reaction before we attacked. And it was a measured response of the type Putin probably respects. I expect Russia to complain a lot but continue to partner with the U.S. against ISIS.

If it turns out that the sarin gas attack that sparked this military action didn’t come from Assad, it doesn’t much matter. President Trump will bank all of the benefits above even if the attack turns out to be a hoax. We know Assad had some chemical weapons at one point, and probably used them. No one will be crying for Assad if the attack was unnecessary. And realistically, the public will never be 100% sure who was behind the attack.

I doubt this is the first step in a larger plan for war to depose Assad. But if Assad thinks it might be, we have a stronger position over there.

I’m not pro-war, so this military action alarms me the same way it alarms most people. But objectively speaking, the risk-reward ratio for this attack on Syria’s air field was exceptionally good. You rarely see so many benefits arise from one limited military action.

I thought President Trump would hold off on military action in the service of regime change. That still seems to be the case. But once our intelligence services traced the plane that allegedly dropped the gas back to a specific air base, it opened the option that Trump took. I didn’t realize that our military knows what every aircraft in Syria is doing at all times. That’s impressive, bordering on hard-to-believe.

You might enjoy reading my book because that’s the kind of person you are.

I’m also on…

Twitter (includes Periscope): @scottadamssays​

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The Syrian Gas Attack Persuasion

According to the mainstream media – that has been wrong about almost everything for a solid 18 months in a row – the Syrian government allegedly bombed its own people with a nerve agent

The reason the Assad government would bomb its own people with a nerve agent right now is obvious. Syrian President Assad – who has been fighting for his life for several years, and is only lately feeling safer – suddenly decided to commit suicide-by-Trump. Because the best way to make that happen is to commit a war crime against your own people in exactly the way that would force President Trump to respond or else suffer humiliation at the hands of the mainstream media.

And how about those pictures coming in about the tragedy. Lots of visual imagery. Dead babies. It is almost as if someone designed this “tragedy” to be camera-ready for President Trump’s consumption. It pushed every one of his buttons. Hard. And right when things in Syria were heading in a positive direction.

  • Interesting timing.
  • Super-powerful visual persuasion designed for Trump in particular.
  • Suspiciously well-documented event for a place with no real press.
  • No motive for Assad to use gas to kill a few dozen people at the cost of his entire regime. It wouldn’t be a popular move with Putin either.
  • The type of attack no U.S. president can ignore and come away intact.
  • A setup that looks suspiciously similar to the false WMD stories that sparked the Iraq war.

I’m going to call bullshit on the gas attack. It’s too “on-the-nose,” as Hollywood script-writers sometimes say, meaning a little too perfect to be natural. This has the look of a manufactured event.

My guess is that President Trump knows this smells fishy, but he has to talk tough anyway. However, keep in mind that he has made a brand out of not discussing military options. He likes to keep people guessing. He reminded us of that again yesterday, in case we forgot.

So how does a Master Persuader respond to a fake war crime?

He does it with a fake response, if he’s smart. 

Watch now as the world tries to guess where Trump is moving military assets, and what he might do to respond. The longer he drags things out, the less power the story will have on the public. We’ll be wondering for weeks when those bombs will start hitting Damascus, and Trump will continue to remind us that he doesn’t talk about military options.

Then he waits for something bad to happen to Assad’s family, or his generals, in the normal course of chaos over there. When that happens on its own, the media will wonder if it was Trump sending a strong message to Assad in a measured way. Confirmation bias will do the rest.

There is also a non-zero chance that Putin just asked Assad to frame one of his less-effective Syrian generals for going rogue with chemical weapons, and executing him just to calm things down.

I don’t think we’ll ever know what’s going on over there. But I think we can rule out the idea that Assad decided to commit suicide-by-Trump.

You might enjoy reading my book because of all the reasons.

I’m also on…

Twitter (includes Periscope): @scottadamssays​

YouTube: At this link.

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How a Hypnotist Sees a Verbal Slip

A few days ago, Mike Cernovich broke the news that ex-Obama advisor Susan Rice had asked for the identities of Americans caught up in electronic surveillance of foreigners, including some Trump associates. After Mike broke the story, the big news organizations followed. I asked my well-informed Trump-hating friend what he thought of the story.

He said he hadn’t heard of it.

I was surprised. It was the headline news. While we were on the phone, he checked CNN’s website on his computer and informed me that no such story existed. In his words, it was probably “fake news” that he assumed I saw “on Breitbart” or some other site he considers below his standard of news excellence.

So I asked him to navigate over to Business Insider (partly owned by Jeff Bezos) to see if the story was there. And sure enough, it was. Prominently. My friend read the story and agreed it should have been covered on CNN as well. 

That’s when I had the entertaining experience of explaining to my friend that his news habit of relying on CNN and the New York Times made him more of a victim of manipulation than a consumer of news. I explained that unless he is sampling stories from both sides (left and right), he is being completely misled by one of the sides. Both sides get the facts right, usually, and eventually. The manipulation comes in the form of what they emphasize and what they deemphasize. CNN apparently decided that the Susan Rice story was not important news. Coincidentally, this particular news also made them look like ridiculous turds for mocking the Trump “wiretapping” claim non-stop as a sign of the president’s character and perhaps his sanity.

We don’t know all the facts yet, but we do know that Trump’s claim of being “wiretapped” by Obama is starting to look dangerously close to something similar to the truth. CNN did not see that coming, and it would be awkward to walk-back all of their mocking. So they just sort of ignored it.

A few days after the event, when I assumed CNN had caught up to the pack, I Googled “Susan Rice” to update myself on the story before writing this blog post. CNN’s top story on Susan Rice is from 2012. See it at the bottom.

Anyway, my point today is about Susan Rice’s unusual wording in denying any leaking of the Trump surveillance information. She said, “I leaked nothing to nobody and never have and never would.”

When I learned to be a hypnotist, my instructor taught the class that some types of verbal slips are actually a message of honesty from the subconscious. Rice’s odd wording leaves open the possibility that she leaked SOMETHING to someone. To a hypnotist, Rice’s choice of words would be regarded as an unintentional confession of leaking.

To be perfectly clear, I have no science to back this point. And I assume some hypnotists would see it differently. But I have been tracking this sort of verbal slip for decades, and I find it surprisingly predictive. 

The example our hypnosis teacher used in class is that when you are on a first date with a woman, and she intends to say, “I’m famished,” but uses the wrong word and says, “I’m ravished” instead, she is signalling an interest in sex. I didn’t believe that was true until a woman mixed-up those two words on a date with me. That date worked out well.

I don’t know if Susan Rice is being honest in her denial of leaking. But if I had to bet, I’d go with my training.

You might enjoy reading my book because sometimes you are famished and sometimes ravished.

I’m also on…

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The Systems President

Was President Trump’s first attempt at getting a healthcare bill a failure?

Your answer to that question probably depends on whether you are a goals-thinker or a systems-thinker.

If you see the world in terms of goals, you would say the healthcare bill did not get enough votes on the first try, and therefore it is clearly a Trump/Ryan failure. 

But if you see the world in terms of systems, things look a lot better. I talk about the advantages of systems over goals in my book. The quick summary is that a system is something you do on a regular basis that improves your odds of success in a non-specific way. Systems-thinkers choose paths that allow them to come out ahead in the long run even if they appear to be “failing” along the way.

For example, if you are a founder of a startup that doesn’t work out, you usually end up with new skills. Maybe you also gain new contacts in the industry, more insight into the market, and that sort of thing. Those new assets make your odds of success on the next startup far better.

College students are systems-people. They go to class and study every day without knowing precisely where their careers will lead them. All they know is that a college degree gives them more options and better odds of success. That’s a good system.

I’ve blogged about my main system in life that involves building my Talent Stack. I figure out which skills I need to add to the ones I already have to make myself unique and valuable in the marketplace. For example, right now I’m building out my skillset for livestreaming over Periscope and YouTube. That skill goes well with my blogging. I don’t know exactly where that all ends up, but I know my options will increase with my Talent Stack.

With that bit of background on systems, let’s get back to healthcare. As a systems-thinker, I don’t see the first attempt at a GOP healthcare bill as a failure. I see it as part of Trump’s normal systems-thinking approach. The tell for a good system is that failure puts you AHEAD. And that’s exactly what happened.

By the way, I told you during the campaign that one of Trump’s signature moves is creating two ways to win and no way to lose. He did that again with healthcare. Here were his two ways to win:

1. Healthcare bill gets passed on the first try. Trump looks like an effective leader. The details of the bill get improved over time.

2. The healthcare bill does NOT pass on the first try. This softens up the far right by branding them villains. Now they have to compromise on the next bill or watch as centrist Democrats enter the conversation. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on Obamacare, and the conditions for compromise are IMPROVING EVERY MINUTE. That’s what the Master Persuader tells us happens when you “walk away from the table” like you mean it. Trump just walked away from the table to go work on tax reform. If you watch his Twitter feed, you know he is winking at the public and telling us to stay tuned on healthcare.

Meanwhile, a fascinating thing is happening outside of government. Watch how many private citizens are looking into the details of healthcare reform and even proposing their own solutions on blogs and articles. The nation is engaged on the topic in a way that looks like a self-organizing system. All the public needs is some sort of common website that is designed to discuss the pros and cons of the various ideas in plain language so the best ones can bubble up to the top.

I’ve blogged before that the United States is no longer strictly a Republic. Social media creates a direct-democracy option in the sense that public opinion can be so strong that politicians have to bend to it. But social media only has power if it can focus on something specific. Until the public comes up with its own healthcare plan, social media is powerless.

But consider our unique situation. As far as we citizens can tell, Congress is no longer functional for any issue that has as many lobbyists as the healthcare topic. They can’t get it done on their own. Too many industry-created roadblocks.

Social media, and the weight of public opinion, could overcome any roadblocks in Congress by making it impossible for politicians to get reelected if they ignore the public’s preferred plan. But the public has no preferred plan. There is only public confusion about the options.

As a citizen, I call upon the Trump administration to help the public create a system to sort out the best healthcare options for the country, free from the pressure of lobbyists. Just tell us which website to look at, and we’ll do the rest. When we (collectively) have a good set of proposals (let’s say three different plans), Congress can turn them into bills and vote. If the public takes sides with one of the bills, that helps to neuter the lobbyists. Lobbyists know politicians need to get reelected. And that means lobbyists are helpless when the public and the politicians are on the same side.

I don’t like living in the “can’t do” country. If Congress can’t get healthcare fixed, the public appears ready and willing to fill the gap. All we need is a preferred website to focus that energy.

Better yet, let’s see the debate on healthcare as a limited engagement reality TV show. Bring on the experts on each mini-topic (such as selling insurance across state lines) and have them try to convince a panel of business-expert judges that their plan is the best.

I’d watch it.

You might enjoy reading my book because it talks about systems being better than goals.

I’m also on…

Twitter (includes Periscope): @scottadamssays​

YouTube: At this link.

Instagram: ScottAdams925

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A Direct-Democracy Healthcare Bill

I don’t know much about Congress, and all its arcane rules, but I think the process for creating a healthcare bill goes something like this:

  1. Congress asks lobbyists to write a bill that is good for the healthcare industry and bad for the American public.
  2. The bill fails because Congress is neither credible nor functional. But the public doesn’t care too much about the failed bill because it wasn’t for their benefit anyway.
  3. Repeat.

With our current system (a Republic), that’s as good as we can do in 2017. The politicians need money to stay in office, and this is how they earn it – by selling out their constituencies.

But the days of the Republic are over. Social media is now the dominant force in politics. The people rule, but only when they have focus. Unfortunately, the people don’t have expertise in healthcare, and they don’t have a plan of their own. So they can’t focus on anything useful.

Can that be fixed?

Surely, some private citizen or group of citizens has the necessary expertise to come up with a bipartisan healthcare bill. Maybe it could even be explained in plain language so voters can understand it. And maybe it can be online so critics can weigh in with counterpoints and supporting links, so the plan improves over time.

I’m sure there are conservative think tanks with ideas, and liberal think tanks with ideas. I don’t want to hear any of them. If I can identify the authors with a political side, the plan has no credibility.

What we need is a healthcare plan that has an unknown creator, ala bitcoin. We need both sides of the political debate to see the plan as neither left nor right, but rather something supported by data, and perhaps by the case histories of other countries.

Give me a plan I can understand, that is backed by data, not written by the healthcare industry, and not identifiable as right-leaning or left-leaning, and I’ll help sell it.

Let me give you an example of what some of that might look like. This is just a thought experiment, not a suggestion.

Suppose President Trump declared Detroit (for example) a special Healthcare Economic Zone. The Zone would feature:

1. Free healthcare for everyone in the zone, paid by the healthcare industry itself because…

2. The zone would be a test bed for new technologies and new systems. That means some extra risk for the patients, but not much. 

For example, let’s say IBM wanted to test its Watson computer to diagnose patients. The rules in the zone would say IBM has to provide real doctors to confirm every diagnosis until Watson can outperform humans. So a patient might need to spend twice as long at the doctor’s office, but in return, he gets free healthcare, and potentially better medical treatment than anywhere else in the world.

The zone could have a special FDA fast-track for approving the things that are somewhat obviously safe(ish) but would normally take years to work through the system. Here I am not talking about internal medicine, just external medical devices. For example, if someone invents a handheld CAT scan device, we probably know enough about how to make that safe without a full FDA process. The fast-track stuff would be limited to the easy decisions. The questionable stuff would still take the long, safe route.

Now, what happens in Detroit if everyone has free healthcare? I think it would attract businesses that want to save money on providing healthcare to employees. And the medical industry itself would bring lots of jobs into the area. If you give me some robots, and some human employees who don’t need me to pay for their healthcare, I’ll build my medical device factory in Detroit instead of contracting with China.

The things we learn from the special Healthcare Economic Zones would spread to the rest of the country and provide practical models for what works best.

We can have more than one special Healthcare Economic Zone. Each one would teach us something different. For example, one zone might focus on technologies and systems that dramatically lower the cost of medical care. The stuff that works can spread to the rest of the world and lower the cost of healthcare everywhere.

The idea of Healthcare Economic Zones isn’t mine, by the way. I heard it from one of the smartest people on the planet. (He’s the one sitting to the left of the actual smartest person on the planet.) But don’t blame him if I interpreted the idea wrong in this blog post. I probably missed some important points, but I think you get the idea.

Waiting for Congress to fix healthcare seems like a fool’s dream. It is obvious that they don’t have the tools to do that. But nothing is stopping citizens from proposing their own ideas and using social media to pound it through the system. 

My other idea for fixing healthcare is to tie it to term limits. I’d like to see Congress play chicken with itself and pass a bill that says term limits go into effect if they don’t pass a viable healthcare bill by some future date. That would get their attention. It won’t get us a good healthcare bill because lobbyists are writing the bills, and Congress isn’t functional. But at least voters would get revenge on their representatives for betraying them when no bill is passed. That’s not nothing.

You might enjoy reading my book because Detroit.

I’m also on…

Twitter (includes Periscope): @scottadamssays​

YouTube: At this link.

Instagram: ScottAdams925

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Trump and Healthcare

Today we are witnessing one of the most important events in political history. But you probably can’t see it because the news is talking about healthcare, and how Ryan and Trump totally failed to get enough votes.

The real story is happening in parallel with the healthcare story, and that’s what renders it invisible. Something enormous is happening that has nothing to do with anything you are seeing in the news. In fact, you’ll probably read it here for the first time.

I’m dragging this out to see if you can guess the big news before I tell you. It is something I predicted would happen. It is something the country needs MORE than healthcare. It was, until yesterday, perceived as the biggest problem in the United States, if not the entire world.

And that problem almost totally went away yesterday. The smell might linger, but the problem has ended. We should be celebrating, but instead we will be yammering about healthcare.

Do you know what problem just got solved? It’s invisible for now, but later everyone will be able to see it.

Don’t see it?

Okay, I’ll just tell you.

With the failure of the Ryan healthcare bill, the illusion of Trump-is-Hitler has been fully replaced with Trump-is-incompetent meme. Look for the new meme to dominate the news, probably through the summer. By year end, you will see a second turn, from incompetent to “Competent, but we don’t like it.”

I have been predicting this story arc for some time now. So far, we’re ahead of schedule.

In the 2D world, where everything is just the way it looks, and people are rational, Trump and Ryan failed to improve healthcare. But in the 3D world of persuasion, Trump just had one of the best days any president ever had: He got promoted from Hitler to incompetent. And that promotion effectively defused the Hitler-hallucination bomb that was engineered by the Clinton campaign.

In all seriousness, the Trump-is-Hitler illusion was the biggest problem in the country, and maybe the world. It was scaring people to the point of bad health. It made any kind of political conversation impossible. It turned neighbors and friends against each other in a way we have never before seen. It was inviting violence, political instability, and worse. 

In my opinion, the Trump-is-Hitler hallucination was the biggest short-term problem facing the country. Congress just solved for it, albeit unintentionally. Watch the opposition news abandon the Trump-is-scary concept to get all over the “incompetent” theme.

No one wants an incompetent president, but calling the other side a bunch of bumblers is routine politics. We just went from an extraordinary risk (Trump=Hitler) to ordinary politics (The other side=incompetent). Ordinary politics won’t spark a revolution or make you punch a coworker. This is a good day for all of us. It just doesn’t look that way because the news is distracting you with the healthcare issue, which is also important, but a full level down in importance from electing Hitler (in your mind).

Speaking of healthcare, I predicted on Periscope here several days ago that the only way to get a bill passed was to let Ryan fail hard on the first attempt while scaring the left at the same time. That softens both sides to the middle. There was literally no other path to the middle. You couldn’t get there without the first step being a major failure by the majority party. This necessary step toward success is, of course, being reported as total failure.

Today I’m getting a lot of what I call the “November 7th effect.” That’s where my critics are prematurely celebrating my wrongness because the Ryan version of healthcare failed. I hope to see my critics again toward the end of the year. Don’t be strangers.

Update: Watch on Twitter as my critics come after me personally and ignore my points. That’s how you know I’m onto something. (Otherwise they would criticize the point.)

Aliens could have just vaporized Paris, London, and New York, and @ScottAdamsSays would blog about the upside. https://t.co/143jhh5A5I

— Robert P. Murphy (@BobMurphyEcon) March 25, 2017

You might enjoy reading my book because we don’t have affordable healthcare in this country.

I’m also on…

Twitter (includes Periscope): @scottadamssays​

YouTube: At this link.

Instagram: ScottAdams925

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