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Sunday, October 23, 2016
Politics ... Science ...

It looks like America will not wake up this November 9th to the prospect that Donald J. Trump will be its next President. [Nov 9, 2016: OUCH!!] But Trump is not the kind who will just fade as the political sun sets over them, as with Mitt Romney, Bob Dole and Al Gore. So a lot of pundits have been discussing where Trump goes next. Most seem to agree that if Trump can’t be President of the US, he will then try to become the President of a Trump TV Network.

Joe Klein just posted a good article in Time Magazine which outlines the rationale for a post-election Trump TV network, and what it will look like. It will probably be a combination of politics, reality TV and extreme fighting. Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and Laura Ingram will no doubt be a big part of it. I’ve been listening to Hannity’s radio talk show on my way home from work for the past year or so, and it became clear to me by the third or fourth month that Hannity is more of an an entertainer than a legitimate news reporter or a political analyst, despite his current pretensions with Fox News.

As Klein cogently observes

Trump’s campaign orbit–a ridiculous political operation–looks far more plausible as a communications company: Steve Bannon of Breitbart, Roger Ailes and Roger Stone . . . We’ve been heading this way for a long time: a fusion of politics and entertainment, a political party that’s also a network that’s also a reality-TV show.

Well Joe, remember that things have been headed this way for a while now with both parties. Since the 80’s, the GOP had its talk radio for entertainment value, and the Dems had Saturday Night Live. Then on to Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, Samantha Bee, John Oliver, et al.

IMHO, a Trump TV Network is a good way to absorb and dissipate all of the human energy that Trump stirred up especially during the GOP primary season. Various pundits have pondered the long-term damage that the Trump movement might do to the GOP, perhaps either triggering a schism or keeping the GOP as a whole from ever moving back toward a centralist pragmatism. The country will remain deeply divided because of Trump, if not more so; or so goes the theory. I think that a TV Network could create a virtual reality space where Trump supporters would live in a golden land where Donald Trump is forever king. Hopefully this diversion will prevent them from causing any further mischief within the political system.

Nonetheless, Klein is pessimistic about where this all is going:

Moderates in both parties are at a disadvantage in this new political landscape. The extremists have already won the first round of the marketing battle: moderates are routinely called the Establishment and elitists and globalists rather than sane or reasonable people. A willingness to compromise is seen as a moral deficiency. So yes, Donald Trump may well lose this election, but the forces of political sanity–Democrats and Republicans alike–could find themselves on the defensive when it’s over.

But wait — a sign of hope lurks right there within Klein’s article —

And then you have the impending post-Ailes shake-up at Fox News. The Murdoch brothers, Rupert’s sons, reportedly want to take the network into a newsier realm, featuring less polarizing stars like Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Shepard Smith.

Now this is good news in my book. Hillary Clinton is the best candidate on the ballot this year, but she’s still not the ideal figure to hold down the big desk in the Oval Office. She’s collected a wide variety of ethically dubious deals and situations over the years, but the trust problem has been taken to new heights with all the various e-mail revelations and State Department / Clinton Foundation pay-to-play evidence during the campaign.

And quite unfortunately, a lot of the big media establishments, the ones with the best resources to do research and investigative journalism (CBS, NBC, Washington Post, CNN, NY Times, etc.), have pretty clearly shown their political biases. These biases tend to give Ms. Clinton a lot of room to maneuver. Which is not good, given her long record of “royalist” tendencies (“the law is for my followers”). All modern Presidents have stretched the limits of their power, but Hillary could well take this to new heights with a friendly media establishment giving her the benefit of the doubt. But perhaps Fox News might remain the lone cynic, the last one with the media firepower to keep an eye on things in a credible fashion.

You would hope that the new Trump Network would also be inspired to contribute to this cause. However, you also know that Trump is not going to invest in a news establishment that plays by the rules of fair investigation and good reporting. To the degree that Trump TV reports on corruption in the White House, it will be an entertainment-oriented hack job, nothing that can ultimately be taken seriously. So it’s up to Fox to put some balance back into the relationship between the press and the President. That balance is a precious thing . . . sort of like the eggs in a chicken coup, to use a bucolic analogy. And guess who is left to guard that chicken coup in this analogy . . . yes, bad pun, but still much better than the non-joke of waking to a Trumpian presidency.

PS — really interesting article on Bloomberg, which maps out in detail the groundwork so far for a Trump media empire, and how it will probably evolve. In sum, Trump’s whole Presidential campaign has been mostly a direct marketing venture, and will easily morph into a media venture, given enough $$$ to water the plant as it starts to grow.

Oh, one other interesting article I just came across, from the realm of science and cosmology. Has Flatland truly been discovered? An article by astrophysicist Ethan Seigal in Forbes talks about how black holes may well create new universes; the cosmologist and popular author Lee Smolin has often discussed this possibility and incorporated it into some of his more speculative views of the universe.

The interesting thing about Seigal’s new article is the theory that universes created via the runaway gravity collapse process of black hole formation may have one less spatial dimension than the universe that spawned them, based on what we know about black holes. So, our universe may have been created in a black hole collapse in a universe with four space dimensions. AND, universes created by our universe may only have two!!!!! And guess what that is — FLATLAND, recall the classic book by Edwin Abbot about conscious beings existing in a two dimensional world, and how freaky it is for them when they encounter a being from the three-dimensional world.

So, might Flatland actually exist somewhere or somehow? Well, Siegel is talking about very speculative physics. There’s no proof whatsoever that this might occur. And another popular theory equates our three dimensional universe with gravity to a two dimensional surface that experiences quantum dynamics (akin to a hologram; thus the theory is called the holographic principle).

Would this principle apply to the newly created two-dimensional universe, potentially re-inflating it into a three dimensional gravity-driven universe like ours? Despite its groundings in accepted physics, all of this cosmic speculation is way out there. Nonetheless, I find it fun to ponder. [But a Trump Presidency . . . not so much.]

NOV 9 FOLLOW-UP: Alas, how wrong we all can be. The Trump Media Network will have to wait, while America itself will soon become “Trumpland”.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 8:56 pm      

  1. Jim, I too have read that Trump wants to get into the “own a Trump TV Network” business. But Oprah Winfrey who has money she has no clue how to use tried that with OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) and ended up selling her network to Discovery Communications (or whatever the name the company uses). It owns several networks, the Discovery Channel for one, which years ago I watched faithfully it was so good, and I’ve noticed since then a few other channels are owned by Discovery.

    All this by way of saying that a “Trump Network” may end up bankrupt and Trump will have another 20 years of “no taxes”. I am NOT giving away my preference here, but it’s simply well know by now that that’s the kind of thing Trump does.

    I have no clue how to “evaluate” your speculations on what such a network might be; but I’m sure that whatever it would be would simply have to be a “Trump in charge” concept.

    I’ve also heard that Trump is interested in owning a sports team of some sort; I think it was a basketball(?) team I heard as a comment on a program I was watching indifferently. (The “indifference” on my part thus accounts for my not being sure what the whole idea consisted of.) But there may be too many other of the “very rich” he would be competing with in that field, which he may have come to realize is not what he prefers.

    As to your tho’t about “triggering a schism” in the GOP: I’m not sure what I think about that, but I do not think I’d agree readily with the idea. I tend to think that Donald Trump has lost his enthusiasm for politics. It’s too “all invasive” of one’s life for one thing and he does not like that. I also think that Trump considers politics (most particularly being president) way too much work for him. I read that when he wasn’t giving a speech at a rally, he was watching TV. I read that campaign members said they wished he’d listen and learn (and here I paraphrase) some policy issues, how politics worked, and give careful attention to what was going on in the world that was not “Donald Trump”. Having a “tweet” brainstorm at 3 a.m. is not how presidential problems are solved.

    Trump, I really believed, tho’t that when a problem came up as president, he’d just be able to say to his chief of staff (or some other close “helper”): Get somebody to take care of that; let me know when it’s done. As time went on during the campaign, he began to realize that the presidency was much more than simply delegating work to somebody near at hand. Not hisi particular forte.

    I often tho’t that if Trump did become president, we likely might never notice a difference in how the gov’t was run as, in some ways, I think the gov’t runs itself. An example is the last several years of Reagan’s time as president when he entered the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s. It is very difficult to realize early on (in many cases) that Alzheimer’s is a problem with an individual as it is a disease that is not of such a nature that it’s presence is obvious.

    So, it’s entirely possible that should Trump (even yet with the lead Hillary currently has) become president, we might never notice a difference; the gov’t would simply run itself.

    I can’t really comment on the various GOP networks / channels / programs (whatever they are called) as I never watch any of them: not the GOP conservative right nor the Democratic liberal left. They seem to me to be talking to the choir. So I really cannot comment on any of them. I tend to get the local and national news from either ABC, CBS, or NBC; after that, I’ve had enough of whatever it is that I want to know.

    I will say that I tend to think that saying “Ms. Clinton” has a “long record of royalist tendencies” is a bit strong. I think that should Hillary win the election, we may be surprised to find that as president she is much different from how/what she was as First Lady (of both Alabama and the country). I will agree that, having been in politics for 30 years, having seen politics from the inside and the outside, she has acquired so many years of experience in that field that she knows “stuff” from experience that many other politicians do not know. She has an inside view from several different angles that no one else has; I doubt that can be disputed.

    But I also think that we may see someone more like she was when she was Secretary of State. She seemed to work very hard; she went about her business in an informed and conscientious way. As senator from NY, she also exhibited what seemed to me (altho I am not from NY so I have no real knowledge of how she performed as NY senator) somewhat the same attributes. As Trump himself described her, she never quits when there’s something important. As president she may yet exhibit these good characteristics in an even more pronounced way. (I would hope, I’ll put it that way.) This is not my original idea. I did read that should she become president we’d see a very different Hillary Clinton: One very concerned with the good of the country and its people, quietly working (I obviously paraphrase) “like a duck”­­serene on top and peddling like crazy underneath where nobody sees the effort.

    Not many days left before the election is over. Who knows how long it will take to find out who becomes president. Trump seems disinclined to concede should he lose. Trump may drag the whole thing out just for attention’s sake. We’ll know sooner rather than later.

    Now to your “Flatland” post: Now here’s another topic about which I know next to nothing, but it’s also a topic that has interested me for 50 years. I remember vividly in my first teaching job the mathematics teacher taught his students how to prove the existence of four dimensions, which had the entire class talking to anybody who would listen. It seemed them to me that should a fourth dimension be provable, then n dimensions must exist.

    I got the impression from your post that three dimensions are the “most” and everything after that would have to be less; thus 2 dimensions. (Perhaps this was because you were speaking about OUR universe of 3 dimensions specifically.) But for me, I find myself wondering what if we are the result of a long line of dimensions that started with (what would be a large number for US in this three dimensions universe?) say 20 dimensions. What if we are the result of a long line of universes that (have I got this right?) have fallen thru black holes, each creating a universe with one less dimension, coming to where we are here in this three dimension universe. What kind of universes would all the others be?

    This speculation is as interesting to me as the speculation about a “FLATLAND” universe. Why not? (say I).

    I really like this concept. I has so many “places to go” in thought. It might account for the concept of God. If there were universes that preceded us by many, why would humans not carry with them the concept of beings (or A being) higher than we, so far advanced as to be tho’t about as God.

    And then today one of the first things I saw as I sat down at my computer was that scientists have found signals from far out in space (I don’t know how many light years) that could ONLY be from intelligent beings, and these signals are thus presumed to be “alien” in nature. (Somehow the word “alien” in this context seems to be a misnomer, but who am I to fuss with the astrophysicists.)

    I would think that “Flatland” certainly exists as does a universe with 4 dimension, one with 5, one that reaching n dimensions.

    I am well aware that this is all speculation, but I have always been fascinated by such speculation. Who are we (the puny beings that we are) to consider that we know everything to know about even what’s on this planet. We know little about how animals on our own planet communicate, but communicate they must. There’s currently a book by Peter Wohlleben, a German scientist, called The Hidden Life of Trees; after 30 years of living in the forest as a scientist and forester, he’s convinced by science that trees communicate. Notice he says “communicate” not “use words”.

    I often think we have not gotten past thinking that we are the highest level of beings on this planet, which is something I think proves specifically that we know very little about being/creatures that may communicate with each other on this planet, to say nothing of beings that may exist throughout the universe, and also says nothing about beings that may exist throughout the cosmos.

    Love this idea so much I passed it on to my brother who found these articles you mention of such a nature he actually read them and told me how interesting he found them. Not something my brother does frequently.

    I say: Why not a FLATLAND? Why not universes with however many dimensions? Why not universes to n dimensions? What further questions does all this raise about what it might say about the concept of “God”? So many questions: The mark of a very good idea or a finding that will change how we think of our universe, to say nothing of the rest of the universes (to n dimensions) in this cosmos. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — October 26, 2016 @ 3:17 pm

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