Duck! and Gather

Archive for the ‘predictions’ Category

A few posts ago, I linked Obama and Sarah Palin as the symbols that history will associate with the end of affirmative action.

Now comes Bernie Madoff. I’m now announcing something even more profound: Obama and Madoff will be remembered in history as the symbols for the end of Blackness and Jewishness, respectively, as attributes that separate these groups from the “rest of us”.

It has occurred to me over the past couple of years that America, which is truly an historic melting pot, beyond culture, and untethered from history, still had two persistent minorities (blacks and Jews). Two signs that theseĀ  two groups were persistent minorities was the following:

  1. the children of members of these groups would automatically be considered members of the group. And the process for these children to “opt out of the group” was painful (ie. “You mean you’re not one of us anymore?”); and
  2. each group was richly defined by its own specific, ubiquitous language, food, philosophy, habits, etc. — distinct from the polyglot, un-culture, void that is America.

Before Obama, Blacks were already the source of entertainment (i.e. music, sports) in our nation. Now, with Obama, that group is the source of the soon to be greatest POTUS of the past century. This output is extraordinary for a group that comprises only about 10% of the population.

As for Jews, who comprise only about 2% of the population, the influence of that group on the nation is truly astounding. Google about it and be amazed.

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Hey, don’t get me wrong. I’m happy and all about last night. But, unlike my wife, who believed such a day would never come in America and thus was overcome by the proceedings, I was stirred only a little. As you may know, I predicted last night’s results two years ago.

So I was fully expecting what happened. And since happiness is (IMHO) simply the gap between what we expect and what we believe we already have, I’m feeling pleased this morning, but not surprised, and perhaps even a little bit nervous. On that last sentiment, consider the following ….

Compare these next four images:

1789 Election

1932 Election
2008 Election

2008 Election

As you can probably tell, these are the electoral maps from the U.S. presidential elections of 1789, 1860, 1932, and 2008. Notice any interesting patterns amongst these four images?

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Blog-o-rama for me today. Here’s the next one: I was thinking about my Obama prediction of December 25, 2006, and how it’s going to come true tomorrow. In December of 2006, few in the world would have predicted what is going to be realized tomorrow.

How come I did? How did I ‘know’ this? Why am I so ‘smart’?

Well, it turns out the reason why I’m such a proficient prognosticator is a rather banal one. Call me the puny Wizard of Oz. Here is what is behind my curtain:

In short, my reading interest is quite broad, my reading style is critical in nature, and my math brain reminds me that truth is universal. That’s it right there.

Specifically, it doesn’t matter what wacky thing I’m reading. If my spider sense suspects that I’m reading about some true phenomenon in one domain, then that phenomenon must be consistent with ‘truths’ that I have already stumbled across in other domains. And when the ‘other domains’ are wide and numerous, that makes for a quite challenging steeplechase for any new idea to jump through. But if some idea does manage to jump all the way through, then my confidence for its truth is high.

That’s what happened with my Obama prediction.

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  • In: predictions
  • Comments Off on But He’s Our Whore

Tomorrow, a boatload of my predictions issued in 2004 and 2006 will come true. Specifically:

Tomorrow will be a very auspicious day for this imperiled nation of ours. Weeks ago, my wife and I voted for Obama by mail in California. My guess is that he has already won, before the election day voting even starts tomorrow.

One thought that comes to mind concerns Obama’s sharp “swing to the center” back in late June. People like me howled about it. Particularly concerning Obama’s FISA-flip.

At the time, Kos said it best:

Kos said, paraphrasing: “It’s not like we’re not to going to vote for the guy, but still …”

So what is the relevance today of Obama’s June swoon?

To me, the relevance is that, in June, we got to see Obama for what he is. That is, he showed himself to be a whore of limp principle. Thus the gap between Obama and his political competition was reduced to a difference merely of degree, not of kind.

To put it simply, they’re all whores. But … and this is a crucial ‘but’ … he’s our whore.

We voted for him. We hope you do too.

I haven’t blogged about Obama since July 7. I suppose I have been avoiding the subject — not wanting to “go there” again. But my business partner just called me and asked: “What’s up with Obama? Why is his campaign sagging?” (Recent media reports say that McCain has overtaken Obama in the polls.)

Well, ask me a question, and I’ll tell you what I think. What I think about Obama is that he is risking not merely winning with a slight margin in November, but actually losing.

I agree with the people who say that this election is unlike recent past elections. In fact, I have a more radical view than most about this one.

I believe the country is headed for collapse. I believe when that collapse becomes evident to most Americans, the “two Americas” of John Edwards’ campaign stump speech (right message; wrong candidate) will become painfully clear to all. Essentially, the America of 2008 comprises certain entrenched powers, and then there’s the rest of us.

This isn’t a division of wealth, fame, or class, necessarily. Rather, it’s a division of mindset. It’s the mindset of Head versus Long Tail. It’s elitism versus populism. Top-down control versus bottom-up. Concentrated power versus diffuse power. Hierarchy versus network.

I think this election of 2008 is a lot like the election of 1860. Imagine what would have become of America had Lincoln been pro-slavery, or had Lincoln been defeated at the polls by a pro-slavery opponent. Had that happened, there would be no America today.

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Two years ago, I posted Greece Beats the US: A Perfect Allegory for Duck & Gather. That post mentioned that, in the semi-finals of the 2006 World Basketball Championships, the Greek national team beat the U.S.

I argued that this defeat of the U.S. served as a nice allegory for America’s dark future. Basically, my argument runs that we Americans are by far the most talented and extraordinary nation the world has known (I’m not just talking basketball here). But we are headed for an epochal collapse — one that may well cost us our world empire and even threaten our very survival.

The punch line of all this: We’re doing it to our ourselves! That is, we Americans are the authors of our own impending collapse. I won’t bother going into peak oil, obesity, the wacky weather, crushing consumer debt, or any other of the glaring signs of the coming apocalypse. Instead, let’s talk basketball.

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  • In: predictions
  • Comments Off on The Way Out for Obama

Yesterday, Maureen Dowd of the New York Times confirmed what one might expect: Obama is way stressed out. She paints him as caught between the “warped imagination[s]” of the left and the right in America.

If so, then his mistake these past few weeks has been in trying to pander to the pet prejudices of each group. One problem with doing that, of course, is that in an Internet world in which nothing is secret, whatever he says to pander to one set of extremists enrages the opposite set.

Another problem with doing that comes when the man doesn’t even believe in his own pandering. When that’s the case, he’s stressed doing it, and not at all charismatic or engaging. This is what I have seen in his pandering to the right wing (evangelicals, neocons, big corporations) these past few weeks. I don’t believe Obama shares the pet prejudices of those groups. So when he pretends to do so in his speeches, those speeches fall flat.

What to do if you are Obama? I mean he just can’t ignore the evangelicals, neocons, and big corporations because that’s too big a chunk of the country. What to do? What to do?

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for the money has gone too far

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