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74 Responses to Taleb

  1. Misdreavus says:

    Unironically, one of the worst IYIs of all time. And I can lift more than him.

  2. Polynices says:

    I think plenty of what he says in general makes a lot of sense but he is really embarrassing himself with the IQ stuff. No amount of pig-piling is too much, IMO. The latest I saw was him retweeting people that agreed with him but if you read what those people are saying they’re obviously too dimwitted to have any idea about the matter and are just parroting what he said in the first place.

    He often criticizes people who put theory above practice. Which is why it’s so bizarre to see him put a theoretical mathematical objection to IQ above the practical reality of IQ being useful and predicting real outcomes.

    • Pincher Martin says:

      He often criticizes people who put theory above practice. Which is why it’s so bizarre to see him put a theoretical mathematical objection to IQ above the practical reality of IQ being useful and predicting real outcomes.

      This happens a lot among the high-IQ set who both have a math background and wish to deny IQ has any empirical value.

      Long before Taleb entered the public discussion, there were numerous educated IQ-skeptics online who linked to some statistician (whose name I’ve forgotten) who wrote a short paper trying to prove the statistical valueless-ness of g. And I’ve seen other high-IQ types go through similar theoretical endeavors.

      I find these critics all miss the point. They become amateur philosophers of science rather than amateur scientists. Their arguments harken back to David Hume and the problem of causation and unknowability of the future, but with a statistical bent. They maintain a skepticism of IQ they would hold in no other area of social inquiry. Try and tell me that Taleb (or any other serious investor) would ignore some measure in finance that worked as well as IQ, which he claims succeeds only 5 to 40 percent of the time.

      What these critics miss (usually because these critics know next to nothing about psychometrics) is that we can predict a lot of general things with IQ tests. Again and again and again these tests prove their validity. At the individual level, longitudinal studies show they have stability and consistency. At the social level, they have value in understanding the potential for development. Look at them from a different angle – say, in a different country with different demographic groups at a different level of development and with different history – and the general results still hold. Even within families, the tests have value.

      The science is falsifiable. It can therefore come to conclusions that the people who pass out and grade the tests didn’t anticipate. I would wager, for example, that most of the early proponents of biometry and psychometrics would’ve assumed women were far inferior to men in their capacity for reasoning. But even if you hold that the tests still prove men are, on average, smarter than women, the results are much closer than most 19th-century and early 20th-century scientists would’ve assumed.

      Of course, there’s noise. This is social science, not the predictions of well-known and studied planetary bodies. But if social science is to ever advance beyond the silliness so common in the last century of Freudian quacks and Marxist dodo birds, then social scientists in all fields have to accept and work with these empirical findings.

      • Long before Taleb entered the public discussion, there were numerous educated IQ-skeptics online who linked to some statistician (whose name I’ve forgotten) who wrote a short paper trying to prove the statistical valueless-ness of g. And I’ve seen other high-IQ types go through similar theoretical endeavors.

        Cosma Shaliz
        g – a statistical myth

        I have had several goes at Reading this blog and every time I have given up. Way over my head.

        The guy is obviously smart and knows a lot of Marths. But that should make it easier, not harder, for him to simply explicate the issue.

        The fact that he goes on and on into mind boggling detail suggests to me that he is indulging in technical obscurantism.

        • Misdreavus says:

          It’s all bullshit. By his own exacting standards of evidence, we can’t even prove that poverty causes adverse outcomes in children, and yet I’m 100% sure Shalizi (and nearly all his colleagues) accepts that as a gospel truth.

          Except broadly speaking, in most developed countries, that’s not even true. Shared environment makes no difference.

        • gregor says:

          As long as the cognitive tests are positively correlated, I don’t see how you can avoid the conclusion of a general intelligence. And when you think about it, since it’s the same brain doing all the tests, it kinda even makes sense.

          “Oh, no, it doesn’t have to be general intelligence, it might be this contrived thing I cooked up to mimic the much more elegant g model.” His counterexample involves a mere 2,766 independent abilities and he assumes each test uses several hundred of these abilities with the correlation arising because many of the abilities are shared across several tasks.

      • Jim says:

        Philosophical skepticism is the last ditch of obscurantism. Nobody argues philosophical skepticism if they have any semi-reasonable positive argument.

        • Pincher Martin says:

          I generally agree, but if a man is going to hold to these extreme skeptical positions, then don’t be a hypocrite. Be consistent.

          Most of the high-IQ critics of IQ are ONLY skeptics on the soft sciences when it’s about IQ or race. Talk about finance, economics, polling data, etc., and suddenly they are back to being amateur social scientists who are comfortable with making assumptions about correlations, small sample sizes (in fact, much smaller sample sizes than what is usually found in psychometrics), and other fuzzy evidence.

          As Greg might say, it’s the Veeck Effect.

          Even Taleb generalizes about Black Swan events in a way that is less useful than anything I’ve ever seen done in psychometrics. And I even think it’s useful for him to do so, to be reminded that the smartest of us often fall into habits of the mind that can disrupted by surprises. But to do what Taleb does, you still have to think like a social scientist; you must generalize and use analogies.

    • pyrrhus says:

      I think Taleb is making a bid for respectability, or something like that..When I, as a supporter who has read all his books, as have my kids, pointed out on Twitter that his blind support for conventional medicine (which he calls science) was inconsistent with the rest of his diatribes against conventional thinking which didn’t adjust for risk…..He banned me.

      • Pincher Martin says:

        I think Taleb is making a bid for respectability, or something like that..

        I doubt it.

        Why can’t he just be a smart guy with a huge blind spot? There are so many people like that in the world that it shouldn’t surprise anyone when another guy joins their ranks.

        Taleb lashes out in typical ways, of course, by banning milquetoast critics and calling his debate opponents naughty names, but that’s not unusual for super-sensitive smart guys who are getting their ass handed to them.

  3. Nayfil says:

    Taleb never had his ass handed to him on a silver platter. As mentioned here, he tries to dismantle and claim absolute truths in the same breadth. Like most people he has one – tree good ideas and recycles them in perpetuity in his multiple, stream of conscious, unreadable volumes. At the beginning of the Syrian war he wanted to donate to rebels who tried to overthought Assad, now he berates politicians who sort of did the same. He is lucky with the timing of his fat tail swan and very accomplished with the twitter threats.

  4. Aldon says:

    Taleb’s attitude here is less surprising when one recalls he’s from an ethnic background that leans towards lower IQ

    • gcochran9 says:

      You know, I don’t really think that’s the case.

    • Rosenmops says:

      According to wiki he has a Greek background. He is not an Arab.

      Perhaps he is just being politically correct with the IQ thing. Maybe he has some motive to deny that there is a relation between race and IQ. Or maybe he just isn’t very observant.

      • Frau Katze says:

        It says he’s of Greek Orthodox Christian background. That shouldn’t be confused with being Greek. The whole area had many Greek speakers 2000 years ago. It was a lingua franca. Since the earliest Christians were just south in Israel, one of the earliest denominations was called Greek Orthodox.

        Also, a lot of Lebanese make a point of saying they’re not Arabs, but speak the language only thanks to Islamic invaders (Egyptian Christians make a similar point).

        It’s certainly true that the language spoken in Mohammed’s home area was spread around. But I don’t know how different it was. I know very little of Semitic languages but it’s obvious that Hebrew is related to Arabic, and I rather expect the whole area was speaking related languages.

      • Frau Katze says:

        Many Lebanese Christians have been successful and I doubt they’re a noticeably stupid group. Take Carlos Slim for example: son of Lebanese Christian immigrants to Mexico (and forced to make his name sound Spanish). He’s one the richest men in the world.

        • sprfls says:

          Carlos Slim is Maronite Catholic; Taleb is Greek Orthodox. I don’t know enough about Lebanese history to comment but I’d guess there are subtle differences between the various Christian groups.

          Fwiw I grew up around a lot of Middle Eastern Christians (mostly from Syria) and they were most definitely smarter than average. And btw, if anyone thought Jews dislike Muslim Arabs, well, have you ever talked to a Christian from the area?

          • Frau Katze says:

            I was speaking of Lebanese Christians in general. I know there are different denominations but I don’t think that makes any difference. The point is, they’re not Muslims, they did not convert.

            I don’t personally know any Lebanese Christians (or any Lebanese at all). But I’ve read a lot about the area (I started on a massive reading campaign on the Middle East after 9/11),

            There might be denomination differences too subtle for me to notice, since they weren’t the main object of my reading.

          • Frau Katze says:

            From my reading I picked up that Lebanese Sunnis were the high status Muslims, with the Shia being a distinct underclass (although this has likely changed somewhat since 9/11).

      • Aldon says:

        You’re not going to find actual Greeks off the street who look like Taleb. And by all relevant (genetic) criteria there is no huge gap between his kind and Arabians.

    • pyrrhus says:

      He’s a Lebanese Orthodox Christian, who are notoriously the smartest people in the ME…though perhaps not in the world.

  5. Julian says:

    He made some comment about how IQ tests are more predictive of the lack of success of low IQ people than the success of high IQ people.

    I think something along these lines is often brought up by people denigrating IQ as a measure: if IQ means so much, why don’t all these people with particularly high IQs actually do something? Why haven’t any of the super high IQ societies like Giga solved some big problem? But this is a misunderstanding of the test and perhaps of intelligence itself.

    I have a friend who is a Mensa member but he also has ADHD. He can’t get anything done, he’s all over the place. Apart from the IQ score and some early scholastic success, there isn’t much sign that he’s smart unless you talk to him.

    I hold the unoriginal view that the higher up the IQ scale you go after about 120, the more likely you are to find people who are basically handicapped by some other mental difficulty. Probably quite a few of history’s autistics, dyslexics etc. were written off.

    A genius could do nothing with their life or change the world. It’s a lot easier to predict the future of a mentally disabled person.

    • Steve Johnson says:

      I hold the unoriginal view that the higher up the IQ scale you go after about 120, the more likely you are to find people who are basically handicapped by some other mental difficulty. Probably quite a few of history’s autistics, dyslexics etc. were written off.

      Because you’re looking at it the wrong way.

      Don’t go up the IQ scale, go up the success scale and check IQs. What you’ll find is that each more successful level has higher IQ than the level below it – holding other things constant. Of course other things aren’t constant so it’ll be uneven but I’d doubt if there was any area of intellectual achievement where IQ was a detriment – lower IQ at a higher level of success would have to have a mitigating factor – another factor that’s hugely useful that the person has that compensates for the missing IQ points. In some fields that’s impossible.

      • Julian says:

        That sounds explanatory rather than predictive. “We always knew little Johnny could be an astronaut, just look at his IQ score” meanwhile his brother has five more points and is crazy and homeless somewhere.

        • Steve Johnson says:

          Taking for granted your premise for a second then yes, IQ is still predictive – “little Johnny could be an astronaut if he tried” (because of his IQ). His brother – nope, having schizophrenia is pretty debilitating.unless the onset is late enough and you’re high enough IQ and named John Nash.

          Stretching your example and making an analogy – let’s take a pair of brothers, both very athletic, both tall – younger brother is 6’8″, older 7′ even. Both want to play pro basketball but the older brother was born missing a hand – the thing keeping him from pro basketball isn’t his height.

  6. Dr. Cochran

    I am a neutral observer on this topic. I do not have a particular leaning.

    What I do have is a curious mind on matters and observations, and therefore seek to understand and to be understood in the light of information.

    My tone is always suggestive and never affirmative.

    I will only speak on an attempt to reconcile the observed group differences in IQ scores. Here are a couple of my highly hypothetical articles looking at worst-case situations on the topic of PGSs and between-group differences in IQ scores:

  7. JayMan says:

    I’ve been listening to the Benny Hill theme quite a bit in the past week.

  8. Maciano says:

    I’ve never been impressed w/ Taleb’s ideas, most of them have been quite well known for centuries

    Skin in the game: agent/principal problem
    Lindy effect: quality remains, bad quality doesn’t
    Antifragile: learning system/process
    Black swan: can’t model everything
    Fooled by randomness: ppl see patterns, where there are none; low risks add up in time,…

    He’s not the worst intellectual, but he is a liar and therefore useless.

    • Misdreavus says:

      Taleb savagely attacks people on Twitter, and then pre-emptively blocks them (so they never have a chance to respond). He blocked Razib Khan years ago, and Razib, to this day, has no clue what even warranted the blocking.

      What a thin skinned bitch he is.

      • Nayfil says:

        Nassim Taleb idea of thick skin is to attack people who don’t applaud his rants. Every time he opens his mouth about politics or religion he embarrasses himself. His idea of intellectually stimulating conversation is teenagers retweeting his riffs worshipfully. He grew up as a privileged, spoiled kid and managed to stay in that mental state all his life.

  9. reiner Tor says:

    So Fat Tony believes that blacks are just as smart as whites? M’kay.

  10. Coagulopath says:

    Sam Harris said it well.

    “I know many of you love this guy, and think he’s a genius. I can assure you, none among you, are as impressed with his intelligence as he is. This guy is just insufferable. I’ve actually never witnessed a marriage of incompetence and confidence so fully and grotesquely consummated in the mind of a person with a public platform. This is the most arrogant person I have ever had the misfortune of meeting. When you meet him you quickly discover that he radiates a sense of grievance from his pores in a way that few people do. It’s kind of like a preternatural force of negative charisma. He is a child in a man’s body. And the mismatch between his estimation of himself and the quality of his utterances is so complete and so mortifying to witness in person that you just find you’re jumping out of your skin.”

  11. Hallie Scott Kline says:

    Hey Sam Harris— tell us how you really feel 😉

  12. Abelard Lindsey says:

    I always thought Taleb was way overrated. His “black swan” scenario is based on his “prediction” that there was a housing bubble, based on dodgy, sub-prime mortgages, through out the ought’s and that it would crash. Half the people I count as friends made the same prediction even before Taleb did. The hiousing crash was 100% predictable as all bubbles crash sooner or later. It was by no means a “black swan” event.

    • reiner Tor says:

      To be fair, he actually wrote that the 2008 crisis was not a real black swan, which would be something totally unforeseen.

    • Space Ghost says:

      Half the people I count as friends made the same prediction even before Taleb did.

      How much money did they make off of it? Because that’s all that matters. Shooting the shit in the bar doesn’t count because there’s no penalty for being wrong.

  13. Zeinish says:
    • gcochran9 says:

      Horseshit. Do better.

    • Misdreavus says:

      Nassim’s support for Trump makes him less credible. Not more. FWIW I predicted Trump would win the primaries (and the general election) early in 2016.

      By mid 2017, judging from his cabinet choices, it should have been obvious to all that Trump didn’t have a chance in hell of passing any of his populist agenda. He wasn’t nearly smart or disciplined enough for the job. No border wall (or even workable plans to build one), no restrictions on legal immigration, no re-negotiation of trade deals (the latest USCMA is a farce), etc.

      Who won this time? Goldman Sachs, the Zionists, and Gary Cohn. So much for Taleb’s “Fat Tony” intelligence.

      • Maciano says:

        I’d say Trump did accomplish quite a bit, and it’s also clear he was genuine in his promises. Is it really Trump’s fault the US gov is so inert and hostile to change? At least, he’s opening up te conversation, Clinton would have assured even worse policies.

        Sure, Trump fires too many people and tweets like a 14yo boy, but that was the guy people intentionally elected.

        • reiner Tor says:

          Trump failed to protect his own supporters, starting with General Flynn, and lets the leftist scum running the cyberpunk tech giants purge the right without the slightest retaliation or attempt at retaliation, nor did he try to do anything to support any of his supporters who lost their livelihoods, failed to at least address the issue of violent “antifa” thugs threatening his high level supporters (Tucker Carlson and some others), or his officials were kicked out of restaurants while waiting for their main courses (at least he could have tried to make some gay cake issue of this), gave the Republicans the tax cuts for the rich, which they wanted badly and which literally any Republican president would have done, but he didn’t ask for the Wall and immigration restrictions (or anything else) in return (and now will probably give the Democrats lots of extra immigration and a yuuuge amnesty in exchange for some watered down wall project), in foreign policy launched two military strikes on the Syrian government (risking nuclear war), and started the trade war in the middle of his presidency (which might bring the recession forward and so doom his re-election bid), but probably will settle for some fake PR gains (like the already mentioned USMCA deal).

          Yes, he’s working against a hostile establishment and deep state, but he didn’t even try too hard.

        • Misdreavus says:

          What achievements? The guy is basically a third term of Bush Jr, only even dumber and more inarticulate.* He even started his first year with a massive tax cut for his donors. That’s how you repay the voters who showed up to your rallies in the rust belt? Twice now he has signed omnibus bills that explicitly forbid spending any federal funds on a border wall. One time he even whined about it on twitter, and yet signed the bill the very same afternoon.

          Illegal immigration is surging and is back up to Obama’s numbers in his second term. Why am I the only person who pays attention to stuff like this?

          (*That is, other than a new, massively expensive war in the Middle East. But don’t worry, Bolton is working on that as I type this.)

          • reiner Tor says:

            Bush Jr. didn’t start a war in his second term. I think he was a slow learner, but at least he learned. I’m not sure Trump is capable of learning much at all.

            • Bush Jr. didn’t start a war in his second term.

              Only because he doubled down (the surge) on the war he started in his first term.

              And did you read or listen to Bush’s second inaugural address?

              No, he didn’t learn.

          • Jacob says:

            “What achievements?”

            The Overton Window moved right, “GOP is the party of Trump,” etc. Republicans now marginally interested in betterment of society
            The Left has tossed us the white working class. Those Rust Belt voters you mentioned? They didn’t vote for Romney
            Illegal immigration went down for a bit, I’m pretty sure, in 2016-2017
            Two decent Supreme Court picks
            Pulling out of Syria? Maybe?

            It isn’t nearly enough, but Dubya wouldn’t have given us even this much.

            • BlackFlag says:

              The moving of the Overton window was mainly accomplished during the campaign. Now it’s moving back as big tech and banking eradicates free speech on the net

              • The moving of the Overton window was mainly accomplished during the campaign.

                No, he also had to win the election.

              • Jacob says:

                I don’t know if it’s moving back. I think it’s getting wider, or splitting in two.

                My family spent New Year’s Eve moving my grandparents to memory care, but we did catch Fox’s coverage of the ball drop.

                One of the hosts said, if I recall, “Happy 2019! End the Fed!”

                Imagine convincing someone from the Bush years that this is 2019 Fox.

          • gda53 says:

            According to Michael Pillsbury (author – The Hundred Year Marathon) and Gordon Chang, two of the foremost experts on China, the Chinese leadership consider Trump the smartest US President in half a century.

            I tend to value their expert opinion over most commenters here, even when I respect many of those same commenters opinions in other areas not connected to DJT.

            I wonder, if (when) he does manage to coral the Chinese juggernaut, will that count as a pretty momentous achievement? Or will that be brushed away as nothing, or an accident, just like the cessation of NK hostilities, the best economy in memory, the energy-independence of the US on his watch, the shaming of the NATO countries into starting to pay some of their fair share, the release of the EU from dependence on Russian energy, the trade deals engineered by his brilliant negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, etc., etc.

            None of which, I might point out, would have happened without Trump.

            All these achievements and more, while battling the entire apparatus of the former administration, the Clintons, the DOJ/FBI/Media/Deep State and most of the GOP, who have been actively working to take him down from even before his election (in fact, as it turns out, from 2015). Not to mention the joke of the Russia, Russia, Russia thing that they tried to hang on him, and which has handcuffed him, with the Mueller “investigation” due to continue ad infinitum. Or at least long enough to prevent him releasing the unredacted documents that will expose the biggest scandal ever in US politics (assuming the so-called “journalists” deign to print it)? A scandal, mind you, that extends far beyond just DJT.

            And try getting any real policy achieved with people like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell “on your side”.

            Give the guy a break. Don’t like his style, his crassness, his womanizing, (some of) his tweeting? All fair comment. But to say he’s been unable to produce any results just makes anyone saying that look pretty damn silly. And wrong, of course.

            TDS really makes otherwise intelligent people blind to reality. Whatever gets you through the night, I guess.

            • Misdreavus says:

              You’re going to have to try harder than that. Gordon Chang is one of the dumbest Sinologists out there, proven by his long list of failed predictions about China.

              Lighthizer is an epic failure, proven by the fact that America’s trade deficit is larger than ever. I don’t want to hear your excuses. 2/3rd of the USCMA comes directly from the TPP (with major provisions repeated nearly word for word).

              Trump is, to a large extent, responsible for emboldening his own enemies. Who hired Rosenstein in the DoJ? Why did he endorse Paul Ryan, a guy who refused to support him all the way until election day? Why did he put two New York Democrats (Ivanka and Jared Kushner) in the White House and allow them to draft his own policies? Why didn’t he negotiate at all for border wall funding in his omnibus bills?

              Why did he make Gary Cohn his chief economic advisor, and waste months of political capital doing his bidding by fighting for a worthless tax bill? Just think of all the red flags – former president of Goldman Sachs, believer in unrestricted free trade, supporter of open borders. Cohn even voted for Hillary in November 2018. Do you think the only proof for this man’s stupidity is limited to his puerile rants on twitter?

              And lastly, why didn’t he endorse any populist candidates at all during the primaries? When you account for the economy, the GOP faced one of the worst losses in House since the Wilson administration. He is the lamest of lame ducks, with impeachment hanging over his shoulder any month now (although the Senate is unlikely to cooperate).

              As for your precious economy, pay no attention to GDP statistics. Look at the white suicide rate. It’s now higher than Japan’s. The life expectancy for American whites is also on the decline. People are dying like flies from opioid abuse, and yet the parasites who sell this to your people continue to stream across the border.

            • Misdreavus says:

              By the way

              You can’t call something “Trump derangement syndrome” (TDS) when Trump is truly an objectionable man on multiple levels.

              The proof for this was everywhere long before he even announced his candidacy. Trump forced an elderly widow in Scotland to bathe from a well (in the middle of winter) because she refused to sell him her property, which he considered an eyesore. The decades of defrauding and cheating his sub-contractors – largely small and medium sized businesses (owned by white people). Hiring illegal immigrants at his own properties. Etc.

              The man even applied for foreign worker’s visas at Mar A Lago after being elected. He’s spent months vacationing at his own private resorts, and even charges the Secret Service (to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars) for the cost of boarding, meals, amenities, etc.

              Fuck him, and I have zero pity for the gullible fools who continue to cheer for him, thinking he is some kind of nationalist messiah.

              • Frau Katze says:

                I’m only a Canadian observer but what I see in many Western countries is people not wanting to become a minority as third worlders pour in. Might I remind you unlike things like economics that can easily be altered, third worldization is forever. It cannot be undone.

                Such is the desperation that Trump doesn’t need any other qualifications. And much will be overlooked. His personality is irrelevant. These are desperate times.

              • Honestly, who cares about most of that stuff? Politics is not a morality play. You’re on stronger ground discussing Trump’s policies, where despite his populist rhetoric he’s still been a pretty traditional Republican.

                Is Trump a liar, hypocrite, and general-all-around son of a bitch? Yes, yes, and yes. Anyone who has paid attention to the man over the years knows this. But if he tightened up immigration and made a dent in the financial leviathan’s power, I wouldn’t care if he charged the Secret Service for the free candy they hand out in the Mar A Lago lobby nor would I give a shit if he was mean to dozens of elderly Scottish widows.

                As FDR said of Nicaraguan President Somoza, “he may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.” I don’t care that Trump’s a son of a bitch, I just want him to be our son of a bitch.

                And so far he’s not been our son of a bitch.

              • Misdreavus says:

                My point is that he’s made absolutely no progress on any of these issues. Nor does he show the slightest inclination of attempting to fulfill his promises.

              • My point is that he’s made absolutely no progress on any of these issues. Nor does he show the slightest inclination of attempting to fulfill his promises.

                Your point here is too emphatic. Trump has no principles, but he’s pretty good on self-preservation, and to stay viable in 2020, he has to demonstrate some progress to his hardcore followers. That’s why we’re in a government shutdown right now. Trump didn’t want the shutdown, but his hand was forced after some of his followers began grumbling about him failing to get anything done for them.

                Trump doesn’t have a wide base of political support, nor is he likely to expand his base of support in the next couple of years, so if he can’t keep his hardcore supporters happy, he’s done. He will have to show at least some inclination to follow through on his promises until he’s re-elected.

                Many of Trump’s followers are dupes, so an important question is whether they will be bought off with a few meaningless political victories in the next couple of years that don’t address any of the underlying problems that pushed them to support Trump in the first place.

              • gda53 says:

                I see I’ve touched a nerve here. And yet you forgot to trash Michael Pillsbury in your screed. Or to deny most of the achievements I listed.

                I really have no irons in this fire, other than being, like Frau Katze, a Canadian observer, stuck with a dancing idiot for a leader.

                My expectation for Trump was pretty low when he came in, and was lowered once I saw the extreme reaction to him (like yours). Imagine if the GOP and others had actually tried to help the man govern, instead of trying to help him out of office.

                I’m sure Trump is a nasty man, though he obviously has a personal charm about him. His Trump U was, I admit, particularly odious (you forgot to mention that one!). But when the alternative was Clinton, well…..there really could be no choice there. At least Trump hasn’t sold out his country, or wandered around the world spreading US secrets right left and centre. How many CIA agent deaths in China was she responsible for again?

                Kind of you to dismiss Lighthizer when his job is obviously just started. Hope you’re not in charge of measuring the accomplishments of any employees. I pity them if so.

                “When you account for the economy, the GOP faced one of the worst losses in House since the Wilson administration.” Really? I thought everyone knew that the state of the economy was a presidential election thing, not mid-term. I guess you’re the only one who doesn’t, or maybe you just saw another opportunity to put the boot in. Or perhaps you’re ignorant to the fact that 93% of the media reporting (according to Harvard) on Trump has been negative. Which does tend to sway the gullible public, including you apparently.

                I note you failed to mention the results in the Senate, because of course it fails to comport with your narrative. Selective, aren’t we.

                Haters gotta hate. Amazing how easy it is to spot the TDS folk. They’re the ones who don’t want to carry on a reasonable discussion. They just want to rant.

              • Frau Katze says:

                @Misdreavus I must say he took his own sweet time to get started on the border wall. Why didn’t he start before the midterms?

            • reinertor says:

              The economic (and stock market) boom is something for which Trump dumbly claims a lot of credit (he should have waited for the election to do that – so that he could blame others if a downturn arrived before that), but is mostly the result of forces which have very little to do with the government or the person of the president.

              The energy independence of the US was mostly accomplished during the Obama years, and is a result of a new technology (fracking), which is nice, but has nothing to do with either Obama or Trump.

              Regarding China, I think it’s one of the few populist policies where large parts of the US elite seem to be at least partly in agreement with him. It was probably inevitable that sooner or later there’d be a conflict. (The best outcome for all of us would be a protracted cold war between these two powers, where both would be forced to keep sane domestic policies and go relatively easy on their allies lest they defect.) I don’t think he’ll be able to stop the Chinese juggernaut, but maybe he’ll be able to create a recession in China (which the Chinese will probably survive easily).

              Regarding NATO, it’s a myth that the European countries don’t pay “their fair share.” Basically, most US military spending is done for other reasons, like countering China, or waging stupid wars in third world cesspools. Needless to say, the only country with even a half plausible danger to Europe is Russia, and Russia has neither the strength nor the will to attack Europe. In Ukraine in 2014 it occupied the only part of Ukraine with a majority ethnic Russian population, and then helped to create and then freeze a civil war in the only other part of it with a roughly 50% ethnic Russian population. At the time, Ukraine barely had a functioning armed force. It’s pretty questionable that Russia would be able (or willing) to keep Ukraine occupied for a long time (it’s barely able to finance its military to at least partly compete with the US for a third world war, then to add the costs of a sizable security force in Ukraine is something it’s both probably unwilling and unable to finance), and in any event, Russia chose not to do that. European NATO members have air forces several times stronger than Russia, and European armies put together have more soldiers, artillery tubes, etc. than Russia. (There are a few items where Russia holds the advantage, like the number of battle tanks, but those tanks are usually a generation behind European tanks.) Most of the US military spending in Europe is done to provide logistics for US wars elsewhere, or to learn lessons from large-scale exercises in Europe. The very little costs the US actually spends to protect Europe (mostly the Baltic states, which are impossible to protect in a serious conflict anyway) is easily offset by the fact that European countries provide lots of manpower to the stupidest US wars (occupation of Afghanistan, occupation of Kosovo, previously the occupation of Iraq) or that European countries provide their airspace and bases for said stupid US wars.

              I’m not sure what you’re referring to with “the release of the EU from dependence on Russian energy.” Europe was somewhat dependent on Russian energy because it was cheap, and it’s still cheaper than any alternative. In the event of a war (or similar serious confrontation, like a Russian total war to occupy Ukraine), we could quickly cut it off and adapt to the new situation. (Yes, it’d cost a lot of lost output. So what?)

              • gda53 says:

                Europe is dependent on Russian oil/gas. Trump offered (and Poland, at least, gratefully accepted) to export same to the EU to prevent that dependence,

                I was under the impression that the EU nations had agreed to up their GDP spending on defence to 2%. Most were nowhere near that and still are’nt. Trump has pushed them to increase their spending, which no US president had in the past. A good thing, I believe. He also raised the very point you have regarding the need for NATO (or at least the need to rethink the raison d’etre) now that Russia is, basically, no longer a world power, but a big gas station with nukes.

                “The economic (and stock market) boom is something for which Trump dumbly claims a lot of credit for…… is mostly the result of forces which have very little to do with the government or the person of the president.” – Stock market – I agree. Economy – I believe you need to educate yourself a bit more there. That is most definitely related to the regulation cutting etc., which was a Trump thing. I don’t think you can take that away from him.

                Appreciate having a discussion rather than being subjected to a rant.

        • Jacob says:

          Trump hires people out of a hat. Few of his advisors, cabinet members, and so on actually care about stuff like a border wall.

    • White Trashionalist says:

      If you make a prediction a month it’s not hard to make 2 or 3 successful predictions over the course of a few years blogging. From skimming his unimpressive blog that seems to be the case. He’s pretty funny though:

      “In a previous post, I had mentioned some basic precautions about using escorts. In this post, I shall talk about how to optimize your experience, especially having multiple satisfying sessions in an hour.

      As some of you know, most reasonable escorts are quite OK with MSOG (multiple shots on goal). If an escort is charging you extra for more than one turn, just walk away. There are many others who look just as good and will be willing. Many snobbish american-born escorts try to extract as much money from you for as little as possible, surprised?

      In any case, once you are with a willing escort- the question is: How do you insure that you have satisfying MSOG?

      My simple answer for a whole spectrum of issues from poor mood, anxiety, premature ejaculation is PDE5 inhibitor drugs. Yes, it is that simple. Not only do quarter- to half- maximal doses of these drugs cure anxiety-induced ED, but they also work great for premature ejaculation. My experience suggests that you can essentially convert a 1 hour session into two-three SOGs with almost no refractory phase. Indeed, the confidence caused by their effects make the session even better.”

    • Aldon says:

      Tell us where all the 80 IQ billionaires and notable scientists are. And what stops Kunta Kinte from making a society like Japan.

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